29 March 2006

Booty Call

28 March 2006:
First, let me say that we really like it here. Not just the north country, but Gunflint Lodge, too. That said, the lodge is a lot like the Catskills resort (which I believe wasn't actually in the Catskills) in Dirty Dancing. Kids, group activities, all the "family" stuff--but it's all rather endearing. If only we had a talent show! But it's much cooler here than in the Catskills (no pun intended). There's even a kind of hip, young staff. I imagine they go snowboarding on days off. Overheard them at breakfast talking about last night's activities. Those were the days... Nuff said.

On to the drama... (Which may or may not be as interesting as Dirty Dancing...) Unfortunately, our star is Jackson and his awful, recurring, gotta-be-painful sebaceous cysts. Looks like another one burst in his right, front paw (between toes), and it is very raw. Poor guy started limping last night and wasn't any better today. Suffice it to say he couldn't do any hiking. But a guy's gotta go, right? He's been having trouble in general with the crunchy snow (melts during the day, freezes at night), and it must be hard to pee or poop in comfort (and we all want that, don't we?). Long story short, drove into Grand Marais looking for booties. Got a set of black, XL fleecy ones with a rugged-ish sole. He adjusted to them pretty quickly and was soon all dapper on the frozen lakes. Tomorrow, however, the boy will rest.

In the meantime, the girl will work. Perhaps watching the sled dog team will inspire her. Even so, she dragged her human up a rather steep (and icy) trail today at Honeymoon Bluffs. Buko and Jacks watched the van. Who's got a better deal? More of a workout tomorrow!

Here's a preview of our Gunflint adventures.

Cabin Fever

27 March 2006:
Well, our agility trial came and went without incident. After the initial shock of being in a completely new place without one familiar face, we got down to it. Unfortunately, as my German buddy Bernard would say, we came up "dinks." In other words, double NQ. Been a while since that happened. But Narra garnered new fans as she's prone to do, and, as usual, she looked pretty amazing. Hey, you might as well look good, right?

Another new experience for us was that this trial had only one ring--so the day went very long. Lucky novice folks, we got to close the place down. The venue was pretty cool, though: Camp Bandy. Agility and obedience both indoors and out, plus herding. Wouldn't it be nice to own a place like that some day (in Wisconsin even!). Of course, it would just be for us--no sharing (even for money).

Anyway, despite the length of the day, we decided to drive on, to at least cut down some of the long drive to Grand Marais. There's never a good hotel when you need one, then lo and behold, you've driven six hours and made it north of Duluth to Two Harbors. Totally cut down the remaining drive north.

To make a long (uneventful) story short, we're here in our great little cabin at the Gunflint Lodge about an hour northwest of Grand Marais. Since we arrived in town fairly early, we had most of the day to explore the Gunflint Trail. Our weather karma has returned, it seems, as the day was amazingly beautiful. We had a great time in the cold--not too cold--and snow. Don't know what it is, but the Northwoods definitely owns a part of us. We walk out our door onto frozen Gunflint Lake, and the night sky has more stars than we've ever seen. We hear howling, too; the romantic wants to believe they're wolves, but it's probably just the sled dogs. How sad not to be able to tell the difference! Anyway, it's not so "rustic" a cabin, but it's a good place to think and make art. And, when all is said and done, isn't the wilderness much more fun with a sauna and whirlpool tub anyway? (Not to mention that Buko and Narra have appropriated the king bed.) At least we built a fire.:)

On the road again...

25 March 2006:
It looked like some kind of George W. Bush, post-apocalyptic wasteland... it was, in fact, Indiana. (We were driving around Roush lake in a cold, annoying spittle; our soundtrack: Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska.) Who would've ever thought we'd visit this state so much? We're talking four trips in four months. Crazy. Not so crazy: the van's done! (For the time being anyway.) Sportsmobile installed a house battery yesterday, complete with isolator and wiring for the ceiling fan and lights. We've got a little power now, can run 12-volt stuff without a problem. Really, we were just looking forward to the lights staying on, plus, more importantly, being able to run the ceiling fan without running the van.

Speaking of running, we're in Amherst, Wisconsin tonight because Narra is entered in the Wisconsin Rapids Kennel Club agility trial tomorrow. We're staying at the poetically named (but somewhat Bates-esque) Tomorrow River Motel, a small, family-run outfit looks like. They have a "supper club," too. Weather wasn't so bad today, temps in the low 40s. We probably could've camped tonight, but we opted for tv instead--so we could watch the Sweet Sixteen. Duly inspired by hoops heroics, Buko has decided his new nickname is now "Big Baby," to match his personality. But while we have sincere affection for the Bayou Bengals, true academic ties bind: GO BRUINS!

15 March 2006

Savannah Smiles

The new ride took us back to the south: Savannah and Jekyll Island. Van was full with dogs, parents, and gear, but it all fit just fine.We finally got to visit friends Scott, Natasha (left), and Annalycia (right). We like snow, but warm, sunny beaches aren't bad either.

(Thanks for the picture, Scott!)