|Fred, Jackie and Sharon in Purgatory Park|
Again the time has flown by, we arrived in Minnetonka (a suburb of Minneapolis) to be warmly greeted by Fred (who we knew) and Sharon (who we’d never met) into another beautiful house. They did the opposite of most people and up-sized when they retired into a lovely house on a lovely estate – Knob Hill don’t you know? We met Fred, with Roger, when we were in Nepal about 4 years ago and have kept in touch intermittently since then. Fred was meant to be part of our small party just doing Mera Peak, but sadly had a fall and had to be helicoptered out on about day four. He's been rebuilding an MGA so sending Brian pictures periodically.
|A rare Monarch butterfly in Fred and Sharon's garden|
|Sharon, Fred and Jackie in Minneapolis|
Our first day we did their daily speed walk around Purgatory Park, so called because of the hideous amount of mosquitoes (otherwise known as the State bird of Minnesota) that plagued the early settlers, not that we saw any. We were then shown the mighty Mississippi on a historic river walk which was very interesting, before being driven round some very impressive lakeside real estate. Fred and Sharon then went away overnight as Fred's school class was having a 75th birthday party, and they've had three deaths in the last couple of months so he didn't think they'd better wait another couple of years till the next official class reunion!
|The falls in Minneapolis and the lock to bypass them|
|a mobile pedal pub. You pedal while you drink!|
So we looked after the 2 cats, Rosbud and Bud! We had our first real trip to a supermarket as we had our first opportunity to cook, and I said we'd cook for their return. It took a very long time, and none of the things I'd thought to cook were available, so it was all quite trying! Who thought smoked haddock (or equivalent) and belly pork would be so tricky?
|Fred and Jackie on the deck|
|Refilling the remote bird feeder, accessed by a long string|
The plan on their return was an early night before heading off to Lake Superior, so having driven 3 or 4 hours on Sunday and Monday, Fred then drove us 4 hours to Lake Superior! It was beautiful round the lake, but getting our heads round the fact that it was ‘only’ a lake and not the sea was really hard. The container ships didn’t help either!
|The squirrels are fairly intrepid in trying to get to the bird feeder...|
|This one getting as high the inverted cone|
|female Cardinal Bird|
|The aerial lift bridge at Duluth|
Having stopped at Duluth to look at the aerial lift bridge and have lunch we headed off towards Silver Bay stopping for short hikes at some lovely waterfalls, before getting to our accommodation in Beaver Bay. We had a lovely evening before bed, getting up on Brian’s birthday (his 59th) and going to the lighthouse at Split Rock and a few more short hikes. Our return to Minneapolis was easy (for us – again driven by Fred) though it did involve Sharon laughing so much she spat water all over herself. I’ve never actually seen anyone do that!
|Some fairly big ships go through it|
|The sand bank separating the lake from Duluth harbour|
|Brian, Jackie, Fred and Sharon|
Today was a ‘normal’ day, I went to yoga with Sharon (which I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed) while the boys took the MG for a brief appointment at the garage. We were slightly surprised that the boys weren’t back after we’d prepared dinner, and then gone for a walk round the neighbourhood, stopping only to talk to the two little fawns with mum in waiting for them in the garden. Sharon then had physical therapy, and still the boys weren’t back, turns out they were about to leave the garage about 12.00 when the car just stopped! So there they stayed for the rest of the day, back just before 18.00!
|Gooseberry Falls on the North Shore of Lake Superior|
|Sharon and Jackie deep in discussion|
|Lake Superior near Split Rock lighthouse|
|Split Rock lighthouse on the lake - it really doesn't look like a lake! It is considered the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world, being shared with Canada and the third largest by volume in the world|
|Don't know where this little chap came from though, he's been sitting on the deck outside for a couple of days now. He seems quite happy|
|At the specialist car repairers they had some fabulous cars. Look at this classic MG Magnette|
|Look at the original wood dashboard! I wonder if my brother Tony recognises this, he had one when he was a teenager|
|A final 'anorak' picture, a really old MG being restored. The chap who owns this came in to see how the restoration was going. No progress since his last visit, so it probably won't be on the road this year...|