Monday, July 09, 2007

A great past week...

Wow, life has kept me busy the past few weeks. Last week was a ton of fun, especially the 4th and 5th of July.

For the 4th, my wife and some friends and I hopped into our car and headed North. We spent the afternoon hiking around Gooseberry Falls and the surrounding park. Very nice falls, and only a 3 minute walk from the welcome center! The draw back to having them this accessible is that they were very crowded. I suspect any normal Wednesday afternoon and you'd have the place mostly to yourself, but on the 4th of July it was packed. Cool nonetheless, and I got some neat pictures. that I've added to my Flickr account.

We stopped and had dinner at the Black Woods Restaurant in Two Harbors, MN. We had eaten previously at this Black Woods and were impressed with their food. This time did not disappoint either! I had an excellent BBQ'ed Prime Rib with a delightful sweet potato. If you are passing through town, this is a place well worth stopping, and it is conveniently located right on the main road through town.

We made our way back down to Duluth via the scenic section of Hwy 61. It's not really that scenic (if you as me) but my wife wanted to take that route since our two passengers had never been in that area before.

Duluth was the real reason we headed North for the day. We linked up with a company called Midnight Sun Adventure Company for a kayaking adventure. We squeezed into some wet suits and drug some two person sea kayaks down to the beach. After a brief period of instruction we got into the boats and made our way out into the harbor to position ourselves for the fireworks. We actually ended up watching the fireworks from two different places. We started on the Northwest side of the shipping channel (the Fitger's side), but as we watched the fireworks behind the lift bridge (spectacular view!) we kept drifting toward the mouth of the shipping channel. Rather than continuing to fight the drift, we paddled across the large expanse of the channel and watched the rest of the fireworks there where we didn't have to worry about drifting into the large boat area. We unfortunately chose to not take a camera with us in the kayaks, so no photos from that great time. The view of the fireworks was as good as it gets without being in a powered boat in the harbor where they were shooting the fireworks. We didn't want to go over there, as sea kayaks are no match for hundreds of bigger power boats powered by people who drank who knows how much. After the fireworks we paddled back toward the beach and then up to the Fitger's area to use up the rest of our water time. We did also take some sparklers with us, and we stopped by the "Ice House" located just off the beach to lite them while in our kayaks. Our guides said we were the first to ever attempt such a thing in their boats.

On Thursday July 5th we attended Disney's High School Musical at the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis (Star Tribune Review). This is one of my wife's all time favorite anythings! She has now seen it 3 times in two different stages at the Theatre, and she also watched the DVD a good half dozen times when it came out. There is a good reason for this, as it is a great story. Beyond that though, the production of it at the Children's Theatre Company is absolutely FANTASTIC! If you live in the Twin Cities region and you don't do whatever it takes to get a ticket to this, you will be missing out on one of the greatest shows of your life. Incredible energy, spot-on costuming, fantastic singing, outstanding dance and choreography. One of the two best shows I have ever seen at CTC. The play was originally in their smaller theater, but it proved to be so popular that CTC made the unprecedented move to bring the show back, and put it on the main stage.

Following the show we grabbed a bite to eat with my great friend Ryan in Uptown at Chiang Mai Thai in Calhoun Square. While they claim to be the best Thai food in town, I would strongly disagree. Pad Thai Grand Cafe on Grand Ave. in St. Paul is far better in my opinion. Worse, our service was completely substandard. Our waitress was indifferent and inattentive. Maybe that is the Uptown way, but it's not the way I like to be served. Good ambiance though, and a neat location, so it wasn't all bad.

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