Welcome to What I Did on My Summer Vacation, Part One.
This year, we opted for an economical getaway and decided to vacation in our own backyard: to tour around the great state of Minnesota in search of history, kitschy photo opps, and general family bonding time.
Using the book Weird Minnesota as one of our travel guides, we planned a trip that would take us up Highway 61, through Duluth and beyond, then to head west through the Iron Range and back down to the Brainerd Lakes area where our family cabin is.
Along the way, we sought out stuff like this:
The Lindstrom Tea Kettle Water Tower, Lindstrom, Minn.
Our rule was if it was large, kitschy, made of fiberglass, or had holes where you had to put your head through, we stopped. Or, if they served booze.
In Rush City, we found a big fish:
In Pine City, we found a huge voyageur:
And in Mora we found a Dala Horse, which led to the catch phrase of the trip: "Where's your Dala Horse, babe?" spoken ala the guy from the Two A-Holes sketch from Saturday Night Live.
One of the other trip rules? No fast food. Sorry Mickey D's, but the Zielskes took a vow to eat in local cafes and off the path eateries, such as the lovely Sportsmen's Cafe in Mora:
Following lunch, we posed by more statues:
And filled up our tank at the Frank Lloyd Wright designed gas station in Cloquet:
Along the way, there was plenty of time for Cole-created sight gags:
Until we finally arrived in our first official stayover stop: the beautiful fresh water port city of Duluth, Minn.
We did a clever re-enactment of the famous lift bridge:
We walked around on the rocky shores:
We saw and toured a big boat (There's your big boat, babe.):
We took lots of pictures:
And we broke a few laws:
Duluth is a place I could SO live from June through August.
Throughout our first day we kept track of memorable quotes from assorted family members, and captured such gems as:
Aidan: "Why is Cole changing again?" Mom: "He doesn't like who he's become?"
Dan: "Do cowboys just call their hats 'hats'?"
Cole, informing us whether or not he would get out of the car at our stops throughout Day 1: "If there's a gift shop, I'm so there."
And so ends Day 1. Stay tuned for more Zielske Vacation Shenanigans, coming soon to this blog near you.