The Wandering Dolphin crew is slowly adjusting to life back in the Great White North — Minnesota.
We’ve had a busy first month back, with a combination of seeing friends and family, attending a wedding, hosting a family reunion, and looking for jobs. A lot of Andy’s family came into town for the wedding weekend, and we were fortunate enough to spend time with most of them.
We even took a day trip to his cabin to visit for longer and spend some time on the water.
We also helped host a family reunion at my parents’ house, getting to see many family members that we haven’t seen in years! We feel so lucky that we’ve been able to see so many of our loved ones in such a short period of time.
In between everything, we’ve been busy working and enjoying life on the water.
Life on a lake is different from life near the ocean. Aside from the fact that we don’t have to share a beach (awesome), we notice the difference in the calming effects each offers. The ocean is in constant motion, from soothing waves to torrents of angry waters crashing ashore. In comparison, the subtle movement of water on the lake is much quieter. And we obviously see different wildlife.
Where before we may have watched seagulls and pelicans flying overhead and sea lions slicing through the waves, we now watch geese and loons gracefully swim across water that sometimes looks as smooth as glass — or great blue herons swooping low to land on the edge of a dock. Swirls of water rise to the surface from small fish traveling just below. It is its own kind of beauty. And though I may miss the salty sea breeze and enchanting power of the ocean, I must admit that the lake has me mesmerized each day.
We have coffee and breakfast by the water every chance we get.
Though we may not be able to watch the sun slip below the horizon on the ocean, the sunsets here are nothing short of amazing.
And now that the boat is in the water, we take to the water frequently, as well.
We watched fireworks from the water just before the Fourth of July, eating dinner in the middle of the lake. And on the Fourth of July, we spent a day in the water with a group of friends.
We’ve even taken some time to get the dogs wet. Little Teddy had his first freshwater swimming experience — and did I mention that he went on the tube? Adorable. He had a blast.
Just last weekend, we decided to take a trip up to northern Minnesota and Lake Superior — one of my favorite places in the world. My parents were kind enough to lend us their van so that we’d have some temperature control for the journey. This turned out to be a blessing since we used the back of it as our mini-motorhome.
We took a pitstop in Duluth for lunch and found an amazing deal on chapstick (I don’t think I’ll need to buy any more for two years!).
And on our way further north, we stopped for some smoked fish, fresh from the lake.
We finally made it to our destination in Tofte and ate our lunch down by the water.
Afterwards, we went for a hike up the Temperance River (no surprises there since it’s our favorite trail).
It seems as though Minnesota has been trying to make up for all the rain we missed in California. The water was high from the rain and moving fast. Still, we regretted not bringing our swimsuits and vowed to make another trip in August.
We visited on what would’ve been Fritz’s ninth birthday and stopped by the place that has become his place since we lost him.
The weather was perfect; the water was beautiful; and the hike was very cathartic.
And I took way too many pictures of wildflowers!
Almost too soon it was time to leave. We were unable to find an affordable camping spot, even though we’d tried to reserve a place the week before. Though we’d discussed the idea of spending the night at a rest stop, we wanted to get a little closer to home before we made the decision.
So, after a brief goodbye and see you soon to Lake Superior, we headed back toward Duluth. And to no one’s surprise, we found a brewery to visit for dinner.
After a tasty meal with some yummy beverages, we headed back toward home. It was a long day filled with a lot of driving, but we both had a blast. We look forward to heading up to the North Shore next month, as well.
For now, we’ll keep enjoying the lake, each other, and time with our friends and family. The best part about being in Minnesota is being able to spend time with the people that we love and getting to do the things that we would’ve missed out on if we were away.
Though we still have to work some to survive, we are determined to do things right in Minnesota this time around. We’ve learned from our Cali life that we need to maintain our work-life balance and make more time for fun and the people who matter. We want to take full advantage of our time back here, planning regular days to spend on the water and fun activities each week and month, exploring new things in Minnesota that we may not have explored before when we lived here.
Cheers to an adventurous life!