Week 12 – Cotton, MN

20160726_175850We’re getting this out early this week as we’re heading out at 6am tomorrow morning to canoe and camp in the boundary waters between Canada and Minnesota for the next 4­-5 days. It’s actually funny to be writing this while a large portion of our readership is in the other room…

As a refresher, we have been spending this week with Jim’s family at their cabin up in Cotton, MN. It’s been a truly wonderful and relaxing week and we may actually condense this edition because the days somewhat blend together (also, we still have to finish packing for tomorrow morning!).

IMG_20160726_183121The weather has been just about perfect since we’ve been here, making it just glorious for lake swims and hammock naps. The cabin is right on the lake and his family has a pontoon boat, an outdoor sauna, all kinds of off-roading toys, a canoe, and an 18 hole lawn golf course!

We started the week (and by we, that means Jim and his dad) by getting some long overdue maintenance done on Bertha. Jim Sr fixed the broken door handle and our ghetto-rigged ladder and the two of them spent many hours trying to diagnose the transmission problem. Sadly, the transmission is still a mystery so we’ve had to schedule an appointment to take her to a specialist after the canoe trip.

20160727_193038For the first couple of days here, it was just Jim’s folks and us so it was pretty quiet around the house. Jim and his dad flew the quadcopter around in the evenings getting shots of the cabin, the sunsets, and even a bald eagle! Jim Sr has a remote pontoon plane he’s been trying to get off the ground so the two of them have spent hours in the garage and on the water trying to get it going. In the evenings, we take the pontoon out with the dog and a couple of beers to do a lap around the lake before dinner (Sheila makes the best food, we’ve each gained at least 5 pounds this week!). Luckily we’ve been able to get some training in with long runs down the dirt road and an afternoon with the bikes set up on the enclosed and bug free porch.20160727_184943

After dinner, a battle to the death tournament of marbles began (it’s officially called Joker’s Pursuit). Jim Sr and Sheila were on a team and Jim Jr and Heather were on the other…this tournament lasted over 3 nights, many bottles of scotch, and hours of aggressive table talking. The juniors took the home the win on Tuesday night, the seniors on Wednesday, and the tie was broken on Thursday when the seniors earned bragging rights for the week!

On Friday afternoon, sister Farren and brother­-in-­law Wolfgang arrived from CT with adorable baby niece Elliot, who’s 14 months old. We spent the day with them while they got settled in from their long day of travelling with a baby. We ended Friday evening with a late night sauna and lake swim with Jim’s dad before we decided to fall asleep in the hammock under the stars. Shortly after we got settled in around 1am, we heard rustling in the woods nearby as something was slowly approaching us. It was pitch dark (making the star gazing just unbelievable) and we couldn’t see anything around us. We sat there dead still and silent while waiting to see if we were about to be eaten by a bear…only to discover it was Jake the dog. Yes, that was an anticlimactic story, but at the time it was absolutely terrifying in the moment!

20160730_203943The rest of the family arrived on Saturday for the upcoming trip -­ sister Jamey from Guatemala and cousins John and Jerry from MN. It was a really fun day of catching up, eating, drinking, canoeing, and a sunset cruise on the pontoon. Sunday was some of the same but with a lot of prepping for tomorrow’s journey. We had to prep meals (which sister Farren just did an incredible job of organizing) and get all the camping gear packed and waterproofed. Once most of the work was done, 5 of us took off for a couple of hours to do some off-roading on the local trails with the quads and dirt bikes before a huge dinner of pork loins and mashed potatoes.IMG_20160731_184947

We’ll be back next week with stories from our camping adventure! Off-­grid here we come…

 Total RV Trip Miles: 5,701

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