Abby and I took a trip to Las Vegas over fall break to see U2. I’m not a fan of the spectacle of Vegas, so we opted for the spectacle of nature. We stayed at an Airbnb with goats in the yard, which kind of set the vibe for this wacky Vegas trip.
Back in late September and early October I tried to hit up some state parks for another Parktober adventure. Hitting five state parks on this trip means I have only 13 of 66 Minnesota State Parks left to visit.
Cuyuna & Banning
I blew off work on a Friday in hopes of getting to Cuyuna Country Recreation Area for some incredible mountain biking. Unfortunately, the rain didn’t cooperate. Still a gorgeous place though.
With the weather, I gave up on biking and drove across the state to Banning State Park. Gorgeous leaves on the way, and Banning never disappoints:
Fergus Falls & State Parks
For my actual Parktober trip, I stayed at an Airbnb in downtown Fergus Falls and hit five state parks. Unfortunately, the fall weather didn’t cooperate with highs hitting 90. The leaves were pretty great, but that heat was gross.
Monson Lake State Park
Not much to see in Monson Lake.
Glacial Lakes State Park
Glacial Lakes had some unexpected topography, with lots of hills making for great views.
Maplewood State Park
Maybe the best park of the trip was Maplewood with just about perfect leaves and lots to do.
Glendalough State Park
Glendalough had some nice views, though it had an odd feel as a former retreat center (dog cemetery?). Seemed like a park that would work best doing some biking to the nearby town and back. I also hit the nearby Nyberg Park with weird metal sculptures by Ken Nyberg.
Lake Carlos State Park
Lake Carlos had pretty incredible leaves too. The best was perhaps the picnic ground blanketed with fall leaves for that satisfying crunch crunch crunch as you walk through the fallen leaves.
Some great art in the town of Fergus Falls and a burgeoning downtown with lots of funky places to eat. Unfortunately, they were all closed on Sunday, so not the best timing. Another great sight in Fergus Falls is the Broken Down Dam, something I saw back in 2021 and kind of forgot was in Fergus Falls.
And of course, I brought the mountain bike. I hit Kensington Runestone Park, which had a pretty good trail, but 90 degrees in the middle of the day is not fun. I did bike around Fergus Falls a bit and gave up any biking plans for day two.
Back in August, Lexi and I took a trip to Oberlin, Ohio for a college visit. It’s a long drive to Ohio, so we spent an extra day seeing what there was to see.
Touring Oberlin was interesting, though it’s not one of Lexi’s top choices. The sight seeing was more notable. On the way home, we took a detour through Milwaukee for Washington County Pride to see some family (ignored some religious bigot protestors and grabbed some gorgeous artwork by Rae Senarighi—check out their store).Continue reading Oberlin Visit: To Ohio!
I’m a bit behind in detailing our vacation exploits. Back in June we took a family vacation to Colorado, with a stop in Kansas to see family. With both kids teenagers with jobs, we had to scale things back this year and keep it simple.
We stayed at an Airbnb between Denver and Boulder and spent several days checking out the sights. We did some shopping (The Shop at Matter bookstore was a favorite), saw something like 50 deer at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal wildlife drive, and Lexi made some great restaurant choices.Continue reading 2023 Colorado Vacation
Milo and I recently took a six-day trip to Tennessee so he could compete in a national taekwondo tournament. Airfares were pretty pricey, so we ended up driving, spending some extra time in the mountains, and I brought my mountain bike for some extra biking time.Continue reading 2022 Tennessee Vacation
I took a solo vacation the second week of September for mountain biking, Colorado, a concert, and to visit my grandparents. I’d been wanting to get back to Colorado for a while and my new mountain biking obsession opened up a whole new world of stuff to do. My grandparents also moved into a senior living facility at the beginning of summer, so I wanted to see them. The rest of the family were busy and not super excited about this kind of trip, so I opted to do it myself.
I also hoped to see a bit of fall color, but going for the concert in early September meant it was way too early for much. That just means I’ll have to get back to Colorado for a bucket list fall color trip.Continue reading 2022 Mountain Bike Solo Trip
I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, so that was a major vacation destination for us. Especially when I learned how many National Parks are there. We hoped to go in 2020, but we kept putting off our planning as we heard worrying reports of a pesky virus. But we finally came back in 2022. And what a vacation—I’ll call it the summer vacation of snow and starfish.
2021 became the year of vacation with trips to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Madeline Island, Rocky Mountain National Park, and corners of Minnesota. So it’s fitting that Abby and I finished the year with a belated 20th anniversary trip to Acadia National Park in Maine.
There’s something magical about winter, and with our anniversary in December we wanted to go somewhere that still felt like winter—not an escapist trip to the tropics. We finally settled on Maine as somewhere we’d never been to before that we could feasibly get to for a short trip.
I took two weekends in October for solo trips to Minnesota State Parks, first venturing to the far northern edge of the state and then going to the southwest corner. With apologies to a friend with a family tradition of state park trips in October, we’ll dub this my Parktober experience.
I’m a big fan of the fall—the changing colors, the crisp air, the lack of bugs. It’s a wonderous time to get outside and explore. I also like checking out parks I haven’t been to, trying to find something new and different. So this year I booked two separate trips to places I haven’t been before. In the process I probably tried to cram in more parks than I should have, but it’s hard to pass one up when you’re so close and might never get back there.Continue reading Parktober: North & South Minnesota
The summer of vacation continued in August with a trip just me and the kids to Colorado. We met my parents for a few days in Estes Park, by way of South Dakota, then came home through Kansas for a couple days.
These family trips are always quicker than you want, but there were some great moments.Continue reading 2021 Rocky Mountain Vacation