Road Trip:  Toronto Goderich Madison Minneapolis Bayfield Spearfish – How is Santa going to find us?

Our last couple of weeks in Toronto were lovely with the weather staying well above freezing. We saw my niece Alex frequently as she would come to take Lucy the Wonder Dog for a day or to pick up food that we forced upon her for nourishment as she studied for finals.

December 15 Julie, Lucy, and Alex just before we hit the road
December 15 Alex, Lucy the Wonder Dog, and Julie

We left Toronto Tuesday, Dec. 15 and headed west to Goderich to pick up a small part for Gaviidae and then headed down the eastern shore of Lake Huron to Sarnia. As we passed through customs, they looked at our overly stuffed car with a bit of suspicion.

After running their detectors around the car, they asked Dan to pop the trunk. I groaned picturing them pulling everything out of the vehicle, which had taken the better part of a day to pack. But I think the chaos in the trunk intimidated them (picture a jack-in-the-box) and they waved us on to the next agent who looked at Dan, looked at the back of the car and made a comment about the amount of ‘stuff’ we had in the vehicle. Dan politely explained that we had been house/dog-sitting in Toronto and now were returning to Minneapolis.  With that, he waved us on and didn’t ask any of the expected questions about alcohol or plants.

Back in the U.S.A.

Doing a Google search on the road, Dan discovered an Indonesian restaurant in Kalamazoo. Well, who could say no to that? We checked ourselves into a hotel and went in search of Rasa Ria. What we found was a small strip-mall restaurant that was clearly more suited to take-out. So we placed our order and headed down the street to a local wine/liquor store named Tiffany’s.

From the outside it looked like any other liquor store but when you stepped inside there was an amazing selection of wines and an entire basement that held cases and cases of wine. This was a place that Dan could have spent more than a few hours and dropped untold amounts of cash. Thank god we had take-out waiting for us! We took our fare back to the room and enjoyed a fabulous dinner! Highly recommend both if you are ever in Kalamazoo!

A Christmas Bird
December 17 Elliot the Solomon Island Eclectus

From Kalamazoo (isn’t that a great name!) we headed to Madison, WI where my cousin Rob and his wife Jill live along Owen the dog, Elliot the bird, and their daughter Chelsea, who recently returned to the nest. She frequently went sailing with us when she was living in Duluth and we had Gaviidae at Harbor Cove marina.

Elliot the bird, a colorful and talkative Solomon Island Eclectus, appeared to take a fancy to my head. Later that evening he entertained us by talking away—even after the cover was dropped on his cage.

For dinner we went to Quivey’s Grove, a restaurant and bar in the house and barn of an 1850s-era  horse farm. The buildings are both listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It’s another dining experience we would recommend for great ambiance, wonderful food, and a very interesting history. If you are there, you must ask to see the Penny Dreadful Valentines as they are hysterical; also go through the tunnel between the stable and the farmhouse. It was built in 1980 to run food from the Stone House kitchen to the Stable Taproom.

Penny Dreadful Valentine
Penny Dreadful Valentine

With the temperatures plunging in Madison, we realized that we would need to head to Bayfield to get our winter clothes as soon as we emptied the car in Minneapolis. In the meantime, Jill provided me with a winter jacket that was much warmer than my quilted barn coat.

On the Road Again.

After one night in Minneapolis, we hopped into our SUV on Saturday morning and headed to Bayfield to fetch our winter woolies and check on Gaviidae. Again we packed the vehicle full of tubs and boxes of clothes and other ‘stuff’ that we need to whittle down and drove back to Minneapolis on Sunday.

After getting the vehicle emptied on Monday, Dan decided that we should head to Spearfish for Christmas to see his family and observe his father’s birthday—Christmas day was his 85th birthday. We packed our bags (again) on Wednesday night ready to head-out early the next day, Christmas Eve. At 6AM Thursday the alarms blasted and Dan crawled out of bed to find that his head was congested and he could barely talk – overnight he got slammed with a really bad virus. Not wanting to pass the bug to his father and other family members, he crawled back in bed and slept till noon.

December 25 Our 'Shared' Card
December 25 Our ‘Shared’ Card

With Christmas upon us, I took the two ornaments that we had acquired in the last few months and hung them above the fireplace mantel and then took our Luci lights and used them for red/green lighting. With this transient lifestyle we are living, I’m clearly going to have to come up with a tiny box of holiday decorations – maybe a string of lights and some garland.

As for presents – Gaviidae is the only one to get presents and that’s just fine. Dan did manage to find a Christmas card for me, a perfect card celebrating us and our time together! And starting a new tradition, after I read the card I gave the same card back to him. I love new traditions!

With family afar, we are thankful for friends who invite us to join them for the holidays – at least I am as I ditched Dan and joined sailing friends for holiday cheer at Vicki’s house and then went to friend’s Jeanne and Mark for their annual extended family gathering. Last year Dan went as I was sick, this year was my turn (smile).

December 25 A sailor's Christmas gathering - Tom, Rose, Larry, Vicki, Paul, and Vicki
December 25 A sailor’s Christmas gathering – Tom, Rose, Larry, Vicki, Paul, and Vicki
December 25 An appropriate way to end the day!
December 25 An appropriate way to end the day!