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Jordan's Journeys

 

Jordan's Annual "Daddy trip" began in May 2010. Jordan had little interest in joining her brother on "his" annual trip to Ontario so she requested a special vacation of her own. Intending for the two of us to go/do/see new and interesting places we chose the Black Hills of South Dakota for the initial journey. The second trip explored the North Shore of Lake Superior from Duluth to Grand Marais. We will archive her future trips here as they occur!


Jordan's Jouney #8 - Toronto, Ontario - August 9-14, 2017. First trip to Canada, Bluejays v. Yankees, CN Tower,

Day 1 Wednesday - arrive on Bombardier (Delta connection) at Pearson Int'l, UP train to Union Station, Cab ride to pick up condo keys  from Toronto Escapes and on to our temporary home. Turned out our rental condo was on the 54th floor of the ICE 2 tower with a balcony view of the CN Tower, Rogers stadium, and most of Toronto, awesome! After getting settled we walked to the CN Tower to collect our City Pass booklet and shop for a Bluejay's jersey at Rogers Field. We visited the train museum and shopped for water and supplies for our stay. Cab ride to the Distillery District where we enjoyed a 1 hour Segway tour that included a craft beer tasting and chocolate sampling. Walked back to the condo playing Pokemon and bought a chocolate cake for later. After a stop at the condo we returned to Rogers for a hotdog and then to the REC Room for games and the VOID, a virtual reality experience with a Ghostbusters theme - WOW! Back to the condo for chocolate cake.

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Day 2 - Thursday. Cupcakes and Muffins for breakfast then took the ferry to Toronto Island where we rented bikes, had lunch - Gyro for Dad, Subway for Jordan. Biked all over the island then took a chairlift ride. Almost went to the Science Museum but had to cancel our Uber when we realized it closed at 5pm so we would have had about 20 minutes to see it. Went to Ripley's Aquarium - great shark tank!. Line at CN tower was really long, guest services told us to come bact after 7pm when City Pass holders get a speed pass line. Went back to the Rec room to play billiards - Jordan wins 4-3! Baseball game began at 7:10pm - Yankees go down in flames defeated 4-0 by the Bluejays. Back to the condo for ice cream.

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Day 3 - Friday. Walked to the Art Museum for our walking tour of Chinatown and Kensington marketplace, lunch of Big Burrito's in Kensington then walked to a camera shop Jordan found to buy a shutter release remote.Took Uber to Playdium (30 min drive) to do gocarts, batting cages, (minigolf was closed) More video games - batting cages were aweful, Jordan had a much faster gocart than dad, Jordan wins a big slinky. Uber home the CN Tower observation deck at 7:30, came out in a sudden rainstorm so we ran to the REC room to wait it out. Stopped at a shop to buy a Canadian flag then home to change clothes for dinner. Late night (9:45pm) prime rib dinner in the rotating restaurant at the top of the CN Tower during a lightning storm - very cool.

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Day 4 - Saturday. Slept in then dad walked to Union Station to plan our exit route on Monday. Took Uber to Casa Loma - driver couldn't find us to pick us up - very odd, eventually called him and gave him directions. Ice Cream at Casa Loma then uber to the Patagonia store for some shopping. Checked out the southern portion of the PATH but most of the stores were closed. REC room for lunch, Jordan wins a basketball this time. Back to the condo, Jordan went to work out in the fitness center while Dad had sushi for dinner.

 

Day 5 - Sunday. 9:10am pick up for tour to Niagara. Our group stopped at a winery to sample Ice wine, then a walking tour of Niagara on the lake. Lunch at the Fallsview restaraunt at the Radisson overlooking all 3 Niagara Falls. Hornblower boat tour of the falls - got really wet, glad it was a warm sunny beautiful day! Decided to take a helicoptor tour, Jordan's first helicopter ride, we got the front seats of a 7 passenger Airbus chopper. Table Rock visitor center for a last look at the Falls complete with a rainbow then home.

 

Last Day - Monday. Cleaned condo - did dishes, laundry, basically put it into ready to rent condition and walked 2 blocks to Union Station (great planning eh?). UP train back to Pearson where we cleared customs and had lunch at the airport. Plane was slightly delayed, landed in MPLS at 3pm.

 


Jordan's journey #7 - Seattle, WA. August 9-14, 2016. Mariner's vs the Detroit Tigers, Space Needle, Salmon fishing, Boeing factory, Pike Street Public Market - let's (Pokemon) go!

Day 1 - Tuesday. Despite Deltas total shutdown on Monday, our flight to Seattle was as scheduled. Killed an hour at the airport in the PGA store where Jordan hit the indoor driving range using a borrowed set of amazing Ping ladies golf clubs. Landed in Seattle just before 11am. A quick cab ride to our hotel - the Downtown Holiday Inn (not to be confused with the attached Holiday Inn & Suites downtown). We walked to the Pier area near the big wheel and had a nice lunch at Fishermans Restaraunts - I had Halibut & chips, Jordan found Spaghetti and Meatballs more appealing. A short walk to Pier 66 to tour the Seattle Aquarium followed by Ice Cream while walking to our Segway tour futher down Alaskan Way. 2 hour segway tour included Jordan running over a rat on the way back to the shop! A stop at Subway to pick up dinner and the first of many Uber rides back to the hotel.

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Day 2 - early morning Uber ride to our charter salmon fishing adventure. Our Captain (Keith of Spottail Guides) and his 30' Grady White took us out into the Puget Sound for 6 hours of "mooching" for salmon. Only 1 keeper boated  by one of the other guests although Jordan did catch a very small salmon and I caught 2 sharks (dogfish). Lunch of halibut & chips for me, chicken strips for Jordan at the locks just down the road. We crossed the locks and watched their operation, the far side had an interesting salmon ladder with viewing windows, lots of king salmon there!. Caught an Uber back to the hotel. Walked to Pike's market, Gum Wall is definately still there! Big farmer's market open til 7:00 but we were on our way to the baseball game so we vowed to come back tomorrow then down to the dock's where we realized I had left the Mariners tickets back at the hotel so 2 Uber rides later we are back at the stadium for the Mariner's vs. Detroit Tigers game. Jordan cons me out of yet another jersey and Seattle wins 3 - 1 in regulation. Cab home - Very long but fun day!

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Day 3 - Walked to the Space Needle and took our first (daytime) ride to the observation deck, very cool. Using our Speed Pass book we visit the Science Museum, Lego exhibit, Chihuly Sclpture Gardens, watched Suicide Squad in IMAX 3D and toured EMP museum. Back to Pike's market for fruit only to find they were closed. Took our 1 hour Argosy harbor cruise and then walked back to the Public Market, Jordan snacks on some potstickers and ice cream while we are there. Picked up some awesome burritos at a small shop on the walk back to the hotel. Wandered the nearby park with Jordan teaching me how to Pokemon' Go. Returned to the Space Needle for our night visit to the Observation Deck, Nice clear night!

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Day 4 - Cliff bars and Pringles for breakfast - looking for something to do with our scheduled Boeing tour pickup at 2:00. Decided to find a mini-golf - quick Uber ride and we arrive at the golf center near the cruise ship ports. Jordan is way ahead but blows up on the final 2 holes letting Dad sneak away with a 1 shot victory (Thanks honey). There is an executive 9 hole course and a double deck driving range there, not enough time to golf but we split a large bucket at the range, Jordan's swing is definately improving! Back to the hotel but we are hungry, remembered a little pizza joint down the road (Zeek's = amaxing!) so we walked over and split a 12" pizza - half cheese, half pepproni sausage, before returning to the hotel to wait for our ride. An hour in the van with 3 other folk to the Boeing factory for a tour of the plants where the Dreamliner, 747, and 767's are made and a tour of the Future of Flight museum. Hotdogs from the vendor in the parking lot for dinner then home to relax and watch RIPD on the TV.

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Day 5 - Pokemon' hunting around the Space needle park then lunch at the Space Nedle's rotating restaraunt. Our waitress is from Minnesota and the views were awesome but the food was less so. Jordan has a Chicken Fettuccine and I have a Monte Cristo sandwich, both of us felt for the rest of the afternoon pretty crappy. Took the Ferry to Bainbridge Island and walked through the downtown shops looking for gifts for Derek and Mom. Found the Jelly bean game but little else and came back on the next ferry. Walked up to the Public Market and finally got Jordan's fruit, some T shirts, a Seattle Starbucks coffee mug for Lisa and my new japanese kitchen knife!. Took an Uber to Victrola coffee where Cindy's son is the manager. He's not in but we pick up a mug for Cindy and some coffee beans before returning to our hotel. I grab a burger at the restaraunt in the hotel and Jordan dines on her fruit.

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Day 6 - We pack up early the head to the Space Needle to do some final gift shopping and some serious Pokemon' collecting then off to the airport for our return to Minnesota. Uber stiffs us with a surprise 2X fare because they are busy (high demand on a Sunday at noon - right, get real)

 

 


Jordan's Journey #6 - San Francisco. July 4-10, 2015. San Fran for the Fourth of July - sounded like an incredible trip! Timing worked out that we would be gone at the same time that Lisa and Derek would be at Seabase in the Florida Keys. Planning started in May and in addition to all the usual tourist attractions had to include a night game at AT&T Park!

Day 1 - Saturday, landed at San Francisco about 11:00am. Arrived at DaVinci on Van Ness around noon. Left our bags witn the concierge and headed to the Wharf area (about 8 blocks to the Maritime Museum). Lunch at Pompei's grotto (I had Captains platter Jordan had spaghetti) and included our improptu Lorax drawing contest. Walked to Pier 41 and played in the old time arcade at Museum Mechanique, then all the way to Pier 39 for Shark Week hats. Returned to the Hotel to check in, relaxed watching storage wars then headed back to Fisherman's Pier. Dinner at the "food truck", bought a flying ring frisbee at Walgreens and watched the fireworks at the marina.

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Day 2 - Sunday, breakfast at the hotel. Rented bikes and rode over the Golden Gate Bridge and back (about 15 miles). Had lunch at In and Out Burger then rode to Pier 39. Went through Aquarium at the Bay and then spent the afternoon shopping on Pier 39. Ice Cream cones at the small boat harbor. Did the 7D experience shooting Zombies and won a huge pirate minion in the oversized claw game. Played games in the Players Sports Grill arcade and watched the juggler. Returned the bikes and did the tour at Boudin bakery. Dinner at Rainforest Cafe.

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Day 3 - Breakfast at DaVinci (in the Dim Sum Club LOL) then down to the Pier to look for a fishing charter. Got a hold of Captain Steve of Flash Sport Fishing but can't get out until Thursday. Took Charter bus tour to Muir Woods to see the giant redwoods, very cool! Lunch at McDonalds for Jordan (same time as the entire Boys & Girls club...., Fish and chips from Nick's on the Wharf for me. Took a cab to Urban Putt - an indoor sculpture style mini golf 14 hole course in the Mission District - Jordan won 40-43. Then we took a cab to Chinatown and the Italian section. Grabbed an awesome Gyro on the walk back to the hotel. Jordan had DimSum at the hotel (fried pot stickers) and the retired to relax and watch TV.

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Day 4 - Took cab to Golden Gate Park, rented paddle boats at Stowe lake then walked to the California Academy of Sciences. checked out the aquarium, both planetarium shows, and the rainforest eco dome. Found some ice cream then toured the japanese gardens. grabbed a cab to AT&T Park to watch the Giants beat the Mets 3-0 in a great game at an all time great ballpark.

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Day 5 - Segway tour! covered 12 miles including a hills segment that let us segway down the very steep and curvy Lombard St. Lunch at Hog Island Oyster with Annamarie Pabst then back to Pier 39 via bicycle cab for another 7D adventure. Alcatraz ferry at 3:50, did the full audio tour then back to the wharf for dinner at Applebees. back to the hotel, early morning tomorrow!

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Day 6 - Fishing! Met Capt. Jonathon Smith with Flash Sportfishing at Hyde Street Pier, 6:00am! Fished with anchovies under the Golden Gate Bridge. Jordan caught 4 striped bass and a couple rock cod, dad caught 3 bass and a few really small rock cod. after limiting the boat for bass we moved to the east side of Alcatraz to look for halibut. Dad caught 1 keeper halibut there and another off the Presidio park area finishing up about noon. A really fun day of fishing with Johnathon and Joe! Fish were cleaned back at the pier under the watchful eye of Herbie the harbor seal. Went straight to Capurro's Restaraunt where the chef prepared 1/2 of the halibut for me using his fish and chips batter. Unbelievebly good! Returned to the hotel with the rest of the fish and after putting the filets on ice in a recycling bucket we crashed for a couple hours. Then back to the Pier area, first stop Girardelli Square followed by some t-shirt shopping. Back to Pier 39 to hit the 7D Experience 2 more times. Jordan felt the need to do the bungee trampoline too. Off to find an ATM and then dinner. Jordan had Subway, dad had to have one last Bodin sourdough Clam Chowder in a bread bowl. Rented Insurgent and crashed for the night. A great last day in San Francisco!

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Day 7 - Travel Day! After breakfast we packed up including all the striped bass filets in a box filled with ice wrapped in trash bags. Trip to the airport in a limo since it was $10 cheaper than taking a cab! Had to repack the checked bags at check-in due to weight much to Jordan's dismay as I had to repack her clothing right at the counter B^(. Final meal of the trip at the airport, Jordan had steak of course, had to discuss the deifinition of medium with the waitress though. Made it home after retrieving our luggage and picking up the car then waiting at airport terminal 2 for Derek and Mom to land from Florida Seabase (all the fish made it home still on ice and with no leaks!)

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Jordan's Journey #5 - Minnesota's Iron Range. July 30 - August 3, 2014. This years trip was a quick compilation of Iron Range must sees squeezed in between Softball seasons. Fun and adventure mixed with learning about the mining methods / history and timber paper industries that built northern Minnesota.

Day 1 - We left home at 6:00am, first stop at Hinckley for good donuts and a quick geocache (picked up a travel bug) and another geocache at Independence rest stop on 53 (picked up another TB) then off to Eveleth, MN to see the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. Stopped by the Worlds Largest Hockey stick then drove to Biwabik for frisbee golf (on the ski hill) and lunch at Giants Ridge. Onward to Tower/Sudan for the Underground Mine Tour and then drove to Ely's famous North American Bear Center. Checked into Grand Ely lodge for the night. Dinner from DQ and a couple quick games of Baggo and Bocce Ball before calling it a day.

                  

Day 2 - Bad donut day, wrong filling at one bakery, chocolate stuck to paper at the gas station ugh - tough way to start her day! Dropped off GrandmasGrandmas TB at the cache near the Ranger station then visited the Wolf Center followed by some shopping in downtown Ely. Headed to Chisholm for the HibbTac open pit mine tour - really cool seeing the big equipment at work. two story tall dump trucks hauling 200+ ton loads to the crusher, back to the Minnesota history center (formerly iron world for a round of mini golf (Dad won!) then to Hibbing and our stay at the Hibbing Park Hotel. Awesome steak dinner (Jordan had filet, I had 20 ounce porterhouse). Several scratch off lottery games and then some pool time.

              

Day 3 - Slept in a bit then enjoyed a great breakfast before heading to Grand Rapids where we picked up a quick geocache and dropped off our 2 travelbugs then took a really cool personal tour of the UPM Blandin Paper Mill. Found a place where we could do batting cages, mini golf (dad won again!) bowling (2 games) and video games. Jordan won earbud and a cheap deck of cards. Checked into the Sawmill Hotel. Did some shopping at Target (new bag for Jordan), Walmart, sorta dinner at the (not yet open) Tall Timber Days and Cherry Berry. Pool time until close.

              

Day 4 - To downtown Grand Rapids for real fresh baked bakery treats then checked out of the Sawmill and drove to Brainerd. Lunch at the China Buffet and then went to Big Bills rubber ducky race (Brainerd Jaycees fundraiser at the Laurel Street Bridge). Pirates Cove for 36 holes of Mini golf followed by go-cart racing at Billy Bone's. The new Mills indoor Range has both gun and archery so we had a compound bow set for 30# and shot for about an hour - first experience with a real compound and trigger. Thanks for the help and tutoring Dan! Did some shopping at Mills & Gander Mtn (found .22 shells) and then bought microwave dinners at Cub Foods. Pool time until 10.

                

Day 5 - Breakfast at the Country Inn and then off to Brainerd International Raceway for the Chumpcar World Series endurance roadrace and Bracket drag racing. Started raining halting the races so we headed home. On the way we stopped at Royalton to see Treasure City though........

 

 


Jordan's Journey #4 - Empire Builder to Chicago & Wisconsin Dells. Aug 11-16, 2013.  For our 4th Annual Daddy / daughter journey we opted for the train instead of a long drive for a change. Scheduled for the week Derek is away at Many Point Scout Camp we chose the Amtrak Empire Builder from St. Paul to Union Station in Chicago to begin our adventure. 3 nights in the downtown Chicago Essex hotel with easy access to Grants Park, Navy Pier and Michigan Ave. Tickets for a night Cubs game at Wrigley to top off the Chicago experience. Departing on Wed 8/14 from Union Station to lake Delton / Wisconsin Dells with a 2 night stay (on site) at the Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park. Return leg home on the Empire Builder Friday afternoon to St. Paul ending a whirlwind 6 day adventure.

Day 1 - Amtrak Empire Builder 28 departs a couple hours late, we arrive in Chicago's Union Station at 6:15pm. had lunch on the train in the dining car, spent much of the afternoon playing cards at a nice table in the observation car.

Checked into the Essex Inn and had dinner at the Brasserie, a French restaurant in the Essex. Jordan had steak & fries (so-so) and I had beef bourguignon (excellent). Finished with dark Chocolate mouse and coffee with Frangelico. Grabbed a bunch of brochures for area attractions and retired to plan out our first day in Chicago.

 

Day 2 -walked to the Shedd Aquarium early - got there at 8:45, already a line. Did the full tour including the beluga and silver sided dolphin show, petting the sturgeon, touching Sting Rays and the 4D experience. Good thing we got there early, by the time we left the line was about a block long outside the building!

Back to the Hotel to relax for a few and then we took the #29 State Street bus to Navy Pier. Got rained out twice, managed to get our game of mini golf in but the second rain shower closed the ferris wheel just before we got to the front of the line. Refunded the tickets and waited out the rain. Bought a couple of umbrellas just in time for the rain to stop of course. Also bought Jordan a Cubs jersey to wear to the game and some cheesy aviator sunglasses. Grabbed a cab to Wrigley for the first night game against the Cininnati Reds. awesome seats in the Bullpen box, three rows off the field just past first base. Cincinnati wins 2-0 on a 7th inning 2 run homer. Took the elevated train (red Line) back to the hotel after the game.

Day 3 - walked over to the Field Museum before it opened, Spent over 4 hours in the exhibits mostly in the animal and dinosaur displays + the egyptian pyramid area. Found a McDonalds on the ground floor of the museum for lunch. Saw the 3D showing of Wakin' the T-Rex - Story of Sue, the largest complete T-Rex ever found that is owned by the Field Museum. Grabbed a cab and headed for the Lincoln Zoo. Very nice especially for a free public zoo.

Took a cab back to Millenium park to check out the bean, then walked back to the hotel through the north end of Grant park. Spent an hour or so in the pool and then decided we were too wiped out to do anything more today. Found the movie Cars on TV so settled in for the night. Feasted on Trailmix, grapes, and chocolate covered peanuts for dinner.

Day 3 - packed up right away and checked out leaving our luggage with the concierge. Grabbed a cab to the Museum of Science and Industry. Awesome museum with the U-505 submarine, Science lab about Storms, Aeorpace, Space, train, and genetics displays. IMax theater showing of the Last Reef and a similator ride in a fighter jet. Got through less than half of the museum in 4 hours but we had to go, caught a cab again which swung by the Essex Inn to pick up our stuff and then drop us off at Union Station for the train ride to wisconsin dells.

  

Spent most of the ride in the observation car playing cards and arrived in the Dells at about 6:00pm. After checking in at the Mt. Olympus hotel and waterpark we got a bite to eat at the Mythos grill and spent the rest of the night at the batting cages and trying out all of the go-cart tracks (we found 3 so far and ran them multiple times until they closed for the night at 9pm.

Day 4 - waterpark day! Tried out almost every waterslide and wave pool including Poseidon's Rage (9' wave). Although it was in the upper 70's the water was really cold so after a few hours we changed out of swim gear and went for a walk. Found out the old Adventure Golf had been turned into a Go-cart track so we tried it out. The Mining Co. was still there so Jordan opted for the blue bucket and ended up with some interesting stones + a 3 carat blue sapphire. Traded it in for two 1.5 carat pink (her birthstone) and ordered them set into earings. Hit the DQ for a treat and walked back towards Mt. Olympus. Visited Alligater Alley and fed the Gators some steak. The Go-cart track there advertised the fastest carts in the dells - They were right! Jordan got spun by an aggressive driver but the carts were much faster than the standard carts at Olympus. back across the road for an evening of batting cages and go-carts until closing time.

Day 5 - packed up and checked out of Mt. Olympus Rome Village leaving our luggage with the concierge. walked down to the Pancake House and had a huge breakfast. Jordan bought the Cow dice game in the gift shop there to pass time while waiting. After breakfast we called a cab and went to Pirates Cove. 91 holes of mini-golf (5 courses with one bonus hole). We played all 5 courses - Dad won 3-2. Walked accross the bridge to Wisconsin Dells downtown to do some sightseeing. shopping (Jordan bought her black hat there).

Shot some paintballs at a target range the took a cab back to the hotel to pick up our bags and go to the train station for our ride home. We arrived early and the train was running late so we left our bags with the station master and walked back into downtown looking for something to eat. Found a Pizzeria that had fettuccini, Jordan ordered with chicken and I had shrimp. We ran back to the train station and ate our dinner on a bench alongside the tracks. Train arrived in St. Paul at 10:50pm.


 

Jordan's Journey #3 - lets go to Colorado! July 22-27, 2012. Our third annual Jordan & Daddy adventure takes place while Derek is at Many Point Boy Scout camp and includes a visit to Aunt Sherri's home in Golden, Colorado. Grandma Dororthy recently sold the Minnewashta home so we are bringing some boxes of stuff to Sherri and moving Henry (Sherri's childhood fave big stuffed dog) to Colorado.

   

Day 1 - Saturday. Derek's last baseball game ends around 3:30. By the time we get cleaned up and loaded it is 5:00pm before we hit the road. Decided to attempt to recover our D&J 2011 travel bug we launched last year. Last reported in a cache near Fort Dodge, Iowa, we took a quick side trip and hunted for the cache until after dark with no success. We did however succeed in getting far enough off course to confuse the tomtom. By the time we get back to I-80 it is really getting late. Checked into the Red Carpet Inn at Lincoln Nebraska just after midnight.

   

 

Day 2 - Sunday. Had breakfast at the hotel and hit the road by 8am. Geocached our way across Nebraska and stopped for a tour at the Great Platte River Road Archway (bridge over the freeway) at Kearney. Jordan picked up a penny token case and the first of many penny tokens. We also did the maze (Dad won when Jordan went her own way) and fed the carp from the bridge. a quick McD's lunch, gas stop, and back on the road arriving at Sherri's house around 5:00pm. Dinner with Sherri and Troy at Mimi's.

 

Day 3 - Monday. Jordan decided on Elitch Garden Amusement Park in Denver. Very hot day - rides and games were fun, the water park was a little disappointing. Won "Ducky Momo" and ate chinese food at the park. Sherri rode the roller coasters with Jordan and Dad did the spinning rides with her.

 

Picked up Troy after he finished work and we headed up Mount Evans (elev 14,133'). Long winding road to the peak, rain and lightning at the top kept us from getting out for more than one quick snowball fight. Saw a herd of elk on the way down and met another Minnesota family from Rochester. Back to the Mt. Evan's gift shop for dinner in the attached restaurant.

   

Day 4 - Tuesday. Sherri takes the day off again and we take the back roads to Colorado Springs. Drove through beautiful canyons and also some large older fire damaged areas. First stop the Cog Train, timed it out perfect, seats available and train leaving in 15 minutes. The ride to the top of Pike's Peak takes 90 minutes with much of the track at 20-25% grades.

  

30 minutes at the top of Pike's Peak was enough time to find 2 geocaches, drop off the newly created D&J Roadtrip travelbug and grab Deutschland TB to take with us. Dad accidentally dropped his prescription sunglasses into a crevice in the rock pile at the peak while looking for the second cache. We moved lots of rock but could not find them and gave up. Sherri took one more shot at it and after moving more rock and laying on the ground with her entire arm down the crevice she managed to find the sunglasses - hooray! Did our usual cairn (rock stacking) contest, clearly Jordan's was the best! The ride down the mountain was similarly long but we saw quite a few deer and some marmot.

 

Next stop Cave of the Winds where Jordan did some gemstone mining and we took the 1 hour cave tour. Next time we are here we must take the longer lantern tour (advance reservations would be a good idea).

  

Then we drove through Garden of the Gods and stopped at Balancing Rock for photos. Got home pretty late so dined on frozen eggrolls and played Wii until bedtime.

 

Day 5 - Wednesday. Sherri has to work so Dad and Jordan go to Idaho Springs to visit the Phoenix Gold Mine. Fed the chipmunks and ground squirrels while waiting to start our one hour mine tour followed by panning for gold in the stream.

Next stop Adventureland with 3 complete18 hole mini-golf courses and a go-cart track. We played all three courses and Jordan drove the race carts.

 

Home to pick up Troy and Sherri. Made a quick stop at the dinosaur trail followed by a drive through Red Rock. A crowd was gathering for an evening concert so we couldn't go into the park - definately on the list for next time.

Ate dinner at the Red Rock Cafe where they had a jackalope named Spencer, a goat head named Sherri, and many more animal mounts. After dinner we drove through Golden and up to Lookout Mountain before heading home for a dip in the hot tub.

  

Day 6 - Thursday. Time to go - said our goodbyes and left Sherri's at 7:30 am (Mountain time). Finally saw one of the resident red fox on the way out of Genessee. Geocached our way east on I-80. Dropped off Deutschland TB along the way and picked up Monkey's Home travelbug and a mystery geocoin along the way. Stopped at Kearney for gas and Jordan's "son of a baconater" before finally checking into the AmericInn at Council Bluffs, Iowa around 7:30pm (central time). Some much needed pool time followed by dinner from the nearby HyVee of eggrolls, fried chicken and lemon ice.

Day 7 - Friday. Our hotel is only 1.22 miles from Dr. Barb Lee's vet clinic. We need to be home by dinnertime. Stopped at Barb's and got the tour, lots of dogs in the clinic today! Only stop on the way home was at Cabelas to pick up a stuffed buck (deer) - sorry no Marmots LOL. Arrived home at 4:00pm.

Stay tuned for our next trip in summer 2013!

B^)  &  Jordan


Jordan's Trip #2 - North Shore Lake Superior, July 24-29, 2011. The second annual Jordan & Daddy adventure took place while Derek was at Long Lake Conservation Camp in Palisade, MN. we dropped him off on Sunday 7/24/2011 and returned on Friday 7/29/11 to pick him up, our adventure filled the time in between quite nicely.

Day 1, Sunday afternoon. Arrived in Duluth late afternoon after dropping Derek off and attending the LLCC orientation meeting. Our first stop was at the Proctor rest area / overlook. Decided to take Skyline Parkway to Enger Tower. The reconstructed Enger Tower looks great! Stayed on Skyline past Twin Ponds all the way to UMD. Swung by my family's old house on Columbus Avenue then finished the 38 miles of Skyline going past Hawks Ridge and down 7 bridges road to Lester River. All the bridges have been reconstructed on 7 bridges road, very cool! Took old Highway 61 to Two Harbors and drove out to the harbor to take a few photos and see if any ore boats or ships might be coming in. (sadly - no ships today)

Checked into our hotel which came with a with a free round of Mini Golf! Jordan won at golf largely due to my really bad 18th hole (dad took a 32 on that hole alone...). Dinner at Culvers then spent the rest of the evening playing in the pool.

Day 2 - We had breakfast at the hotel then checked out. Went geocaching around Two Harbors and up the shoreline towards Betties Pies. Found 4 out of 6 caches and picked up 3 travel bugs to move. Skipped rocks and held rock stacking contest #1. Jordan took some pictures for her 4H project.

Toured the Two Harbors Lighthouse / B&B then headed north to Gooseberry Falls. Visited Upper, Middle and Lower falls then hiked to Gooseberry's agate beach. Found a few nice agates and Jordan surprised me with her driftwood artwork on the beach. Next stop Split Rock Lighthouse. Did our own tour / walk through and hiked down to the landing. Jordan took the photo below from the platform halfway back up the stairway, a really nice shot! Gotta enter that one in the 4H contest for sure.

  

Getting late so we drove to Silver Bay and checked in to the AmericInn (with Water Slide). The manager suggested we swing by the Palisade Head overlook, some beautiful views all the way up the shore to Canada on a clear day! Went into Silver Bay to find supper and got a picture of the town mascot, ordered ribeye steaks at the Northwoods Cafe. Back at the hotel Jordan manages to slide down the water slide 48 times earning her the 1 mile slide certificate! I bought her a t-shirt to commemorate this great achievement LOL.

 

Day 3 - Along the highway north of Silver Bay we went after a geocache at Crystal Bay. Dad sprained his ankle going down the steep path to the secluded beach. It was then we discovered the cache was back up the hill closer to the car... What a cool beach though, sandwiched between two cliffs the beach was all smooth stones and perfect skipping rocks (1st photo north side, 2nd photo south side). We hiked back up the hill and found the geocache. Next stop was Lutsen. Jordan wanted to look for a geocache just beyond the Lutsen Mountain turn off, it was located near a gift shop and the Lutsen Post Office so we did some shopping and sent Mom a postcard. Dropped off one of the 3 travel bugs we had collected so far and headed for Lutsen Resort. Took the tram to the top of Moose Mountain where we had lunch. Dad had a beer and a sandwich, Jordan had wild rice soup and two scoops of ice cream. Beautiful view of a very calm lake Superior from the chalet at the top of the mountain. Jordan tried to feed a gull part of my sandwich before we took the tram back down.

Next we did the Lutsen Alpine slide! First time down Jordan was a bit tentative but the second time down she lost all fear. She decided two trips down the hill was enough though so we drove to Grand Marais. As we came into town we passed a nice looking mini golf course, Jordan made certain to point it out. After a quick drive through town we stopped at the Tourist information center and asked about lodging. Jordan wanted a pool of course so we checked into the Aspen Lodge in Grand Marais. Immediately after checking into the hotel we returned to the mini golf and played the course, this time dad won but only by one putt.

Walked out to the Grand Marais Breakwater, and out the breakwater to the Lighthouse. Followed the rocky shoreline back towards Artist Point. Jordan declared rock stacking contest #2 and then we wandered farther down the shore to a place where others had been building stone cairns. Cairn contest #3 was almost a disaster when Jordans "project" fell off the high rocks and completely wiped out the stacking job dad was building.

There were a lot of wildflowers sprouting from the rocky shore so we worked on some closeup photography  for Jordans 4H photography contest. Back down the shoreline to the beach where we skipped rocks and searched for agates. Thought the Beaver House (bait shop) warranted a photo with its famous walleye sculpture. Dinner at DQ (chicken strips and fries of course) and then back to the hotel to end the day playing in the pool.

Day 4 - Woke up to a soggy day, had breakfast at the hotel then went to the grocery store to buy hotdogs in case an opportunity for a shore lunch presented itself. Bought 8 hotdog buns, figured we only needed 4 so went to the point and fed the extras to the gulls in the light rain. They were really glad to see us! Found the geocache out on Artists Point and launched our new J&D 2011 travel bug made from a handmade copper pin purchased at the gift shop next to the Lutsen Post office. Sampled the fabulous donuts at Worlds Best Donuts in downtown Grand Marais. They truly have our vote for best donuts!

Drove north in the rain to Naniboujou Lodge. A very ornate and colorful lodge. Bought Bou the Bear in the gift shop and played a game of dominos waiting for lunch service. Jordan had macaroni and cheese, Dad had the famous wild rice vegetarian burger (it was incredible). Rain started to lighten up a bit so we headed back south towards Lutsen. Jordan's favorite part of the trip so far was the Alpine slide so we figured it was worth a revisit! Did the slide two more times, the last time we raced and Jordan easily won. Headed south to Tofte, stopped to see Father Baraga's Cross and looked for a place to stay. Figured on staying at the Blue Fin but the $79 special turned out to be $189 so we checked in to the AmericInn across the highway. The pool had so much chlorine in it Dad had foggy vision for several hours but we drove down the road a bit to the Coho Cafe for pasta dinner. Jordan had Fettucine Alfredo and Dad had an awesome shrimp asparagas tortellini. A now highly recommended dining spot!

 

Day 4 - Our last full day. Had breakfast at the Inn and headed south towards Duluth on the old scenic highway. Stopped at Crystal Bay again and hiked down the steep hill to our "private" beach to collect rounded stones for our future art projects and filled a bag full of skipping stones for Derek. Stopped in Two Harbors at the Pamida to buy the hard to find play ball for the pool and then travelled south on old highway 61 to Tom's Logging Camp. Took the logging camp tour and counted the red horse shoes. Jordan took a picture of every one she saw so she could keep an accurate count. She found 11 of the 15 horse shoes and won a lollipop prize. Enjoyed ice cream at Tom's Too and tracked down a few of the resident semi wild bunnies. The owner says they are refugees from the local pet shelter, Jordan was able to get close enough to one of them to pet it - very soft she claims! Headed further south to Brighton Beach where we noted the signs prohibiting beach campfires. Decided to do our shoreline weenie roast in one of the park's grills along the shore and skipped a few more stones along the rocky shoreline.

 

As we entered Duluth we saw the tours today sign was out at Glensheen Mansion. Jordan opted for the full mansion tour - all 39 rooms! Jordan decided she would like to live in a mansion some day! Next stop the Duluth Train Depot / Museum where I had volunteered back in the 70's. not much has changed, lots of really cool old trains including the Minnetonka and the Crooks wood burning steam engines. Took a jaunt down to Canal Park and visited the Maritime Museum near the lift bridge. Watched the bridge go up to admit a few successful lake trout fishermen into port and did some shopping. Stopped in at Grandmas Marathon headquarters but Scott was out on vacation this week so we missed seeing him. Found the chocolatiers shop and enjoyed a few truffles then found ourselves accross the street from the Adventure Zone! Went in and played a tie breaker round of mini golf (we tied of course) and played a few games earning Jordan a whoopee cusion (whoopee!). Made a mad dash back to the car before our parking time expired and headed out of town. decided to have dinner at Gordy's Hi Hat - famous burgers in Cloquet that we never seemed to have time to stop for when we go to Mark & John's cabin. Awesome burgers!

  

Our plan for our final night was to stay at Black Bear Casino and play in the pool but the entrance smelled like cigarette smoke so Jordan balked. Headed back to Cloquet to look for a room. The Super 8 had no pool - next door the AmericInn had only a smoking room available.... back to Black Bear but they were full up! So was the AmericInn at Carlton. On the road back towards Duluth, we stopped at Americas Best at Spirit Mountain - Baseball tournament - they were full up too! The desk said there might be a room available at the AmericInn in Proctor so off we went, they did have a room open - a king suite.... it was getting late so we checked in and enjoyed the pool and our room with not one but two plasma TV's and a living room to boot! Pool time with our new ball and some new friends until 9:30. Enjoyed one last AmericInn breakfast the next morning and left to pick up Derek and Wyatt in Palisade.

Stay tuned for our next trip in summer 2012!

B^)  &  Jordan


Jordan's trip #1 - Black Hills, SD May 19-23, 2010. click on images to view full size photos.

 

1st stop Tuesday night - Ivanhoe, MN and a visit with Jordan's cousins.  Departed at 5:00am on Wednesday headed towards South Dakota


Crossed the South Dakota border at  5:30am, first stop was the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. Breakfast of bacon and chocolate chip pancakes at Perkins, then on to Wall Drug of course! Bought a cool new cowboy hat and ate lunch at the Cactus Cafe. Mailed some postcards before heading west.

Onward to Sundance, WY and a visit to Devil's Tower and the adjacent prairie dog town.

Our first night spent at Sundance Mountain Hideaway where we stayed in a small log cabin, climbed the mountain, stalked deer and stacked rocks. Dinner in cabin was a variety of microwavable delights from the Sundance "grocery store".

Next Day - first stop Bear Country just south of Rapid City, SD. Springtime means lots of baby bears!

 

Then we ducked over to the nearby Reptile Gardens............

Lunch at the Keystone DQ (just opened) Followed by a visit to the Rushmore Borglum Museum in Keystone. Jordan standing next to a model of the Mt. Rushmore Washington's eye, a very large and unique design.

 

Next our first Mount Rushmore visit (note the crew working next to Lincoln nose).

  

Returning to Keystone for an impulsive round of mini golf at Holy Terror, refreshments at the Executive Grill and deciding to stay in Keystone at the Super 8 (just across the street). After checking into room 212 and swimming in the pool we had a great meal at the Powder House Lodge (Jordan went for the bacon wrapped filet, I had the short ribs of buffalo). Then we capped off the day with a return to Mount Rushmore for the evening lighting ceremony.

 

Friday - After an early morning return trip to Sundance, WY to retrieve our laptop (oops - I swear I checked that cabin three times) we returned to the Black Hills through Spearfish, SD (Note - the McDonalds in Spearfish does not serve chicken nuggets at 9:30am). Stopped at Kmart for a couple new DVDs and took a scenic drive through the beautiful Spearfish Canyon. We then took the highway from there to Deadwood / Lead and stopped by the Lodge at Deadwood casino / conference center. (We quickly discovered that Deadwood does not have it's special wild west entertainment prior to Memorial day).

  

Next stop Hill City where we did a little shopping and visited the Black Hills Institute Museum (really cool T Rex's) where Jordan agreed to be a model for a promotional video ad for the Institute receiving a small gift in return (she selected a big red stuffed snake from the gift shop)! Lunch at the Route 16 Diner near the southern edge of town (worlds largest foot long hotdog I swear) complete with an old fashioned malted.

 

Geocaching near Needles Highway (released Homing Harry TB) then a quick run to Jewel Cave only to discover we had missed the last tour of the day (the drawback of pre-season travel and not calling in advance). Then a quick stop at Crazy Horse monument.

Given her choice on what to do next Jordan opted for a return to Keystone for a visit to the wax museum and a second nights stay at the Keystone Super 8. We swam in the pool which subsequently had to be closed due to lots of lightning and heavy rainstorms,  feasted on a variety of snacks and watched Men in Black (from middle of movie to middle - oops - nightmare city..)

Early Saturday morning we drove to Hot Springs, SD for a 10am - noon tour of the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

 

Last stops - the Hot Springs Mammoth site and lunch at the DQ.

Following lunch we decided to begin the return trip to home. We drove for about 5 hours to reach Chamberlain, SD and found both a McDonalds and a Super 8 with a pool! We watched the storms approach from the west followed by Tornado warnings that evening which were as close as Winner, SD!

Sunday Morning left Chamberlain for a 6 hour drive back home - all in all a wonderfull trip! Total miles driven 1,889.

 


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