If you asked where I could go if I could go anywhere, anytime between 20 years and two months ago, I would say the giant redwood trees in Northern California.
We finally made it.
There are actually ancient redwood trees growing in many places throughout Northern California. You don’t have to drive the Avenue of the Giants to see them, but it’s a good place to start.
“Do you feel like you’re in a Bob Ross painting?” I asked Jake as he steered our vehicle up and down steep mountains thick with towering trees. “I feel like I’m trapped in a Bob Ross painting on drugs,” he replied, gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles. “I bet the woods are full of bears, too,” he added as we passed a Rock Slide Area sign followed by another featuring a truck tumbling off the side of a mountain.
Some things don’t seem to change and sometimes that’s a good thing.
Technology, fashion trends, seasons, seasonal latte flavors, these are all things that can change. But my favorite Chinese buffet? I don’t mind so much if this stays the same.
In high school, the Highland Park area of St. Paul was the place to meet, at least for our groups of friends. Jake and I didn’t go to the same grade schools and wouldn’t meet for many years to come, but we both gathered at the Highland Park Perkins, Caribou, Jimmy John’s, and Cleveland Wok back in the day.
Finals week and that break between the ending of a school day were special times where we piled into someone’s car and headed to Highland Park. We like to imagine that we crossed paths at some point.
The waters of Lake Tahoe are crystal clear and the sun beats over the mountains like a flaming, angry saucer.
Early in the morning, the sun rises over Lake Tahoe; it seems to rise much earlier than it does in the Midwest. Before seven a.m., the lake radiated so fiercely with white light that I had to look away.
For two Midwestern kids, the drive to Lake Tahoe felt nerve-wracking. We’re used to driving long, flat distances through corn fields on auto-drive, only pausing it to pass semis. You can’t do that here. The highway winds up through the mountains and around sharp curves hugging drop-offs that make your palms sweat.
Our state fair is better than your state fair.
I haven’t been to many state fairs, but I just know Minnesota’s is the best. That includes you, Texas. Sorry.
This year, we went with Jake’s family. They served as excellent hand models. Roaming the fair as a group is more challenging in terms of efficiency and coordinating potty breaks, but ideal for sharing food. Everyone pitches in and everyone gets to try a bite.
The Minnesota State Fair really is the great Minnesota get together: Lingonberries, lefse, Prince blasting from every corner, all blessed by a purple sunset. It felt like the perfect homecoming.
Here’s what we enjoyed this year: