My Summer Vacation
Posted: July 15, 2011
I very rarely write about my summer vacation because it is usually uneventful. However, for the first time in a number of years, this year's 10-day early July break provided some memorable moments. I shared the time off with my girlfriend, her two teenagers and our three dogs as we roamed throughout the northern third of Wisconsin.
During my summer sabbatical, I did two things I've never done before: I went down a water slide and I picked strawberries.
As a kid growing up on a lake, my family never visited Wisconsin Dells or the other attractions that featured a water park. As a result, I had never been down a water slide. To be honest, it was somewhat exhilarating. But I was later informed that my bruised elbows could have been avoided if I rode down the slide the proper way.
I always dodged the annual summer family trip to pick berries. I made a point of finding something else to do rather than get down on my hands and knees to pick strawberries. Although the endeavor was rewarding, I will try to evade next year's trip to the berry patch if possible.
I also witnessed something that I have never seen before.
It's not uncommon to see stray dogs ambling down rural highways during the summer - especially during residential fireworks displays. While driving last weekend, I saw what appeared to be a small dog or cat running down the road straight at my vehicle. As I got closer, it was evident that the owner was chasing his pet who ran away. He yelled the pet's name in an effort to get her to come back. I can honestly say it's the first time I had seen a pet monkey on the loose. In my rearview mirror, I saw the owner recapture his monkey. True story.
Two cities really impressed me with their hospitality last week.
Menomonie's Freedom Fest, now in its eighth year, was a super event. After an afternoon at Wakanda Park, the fireworks show was top-notch along the lakefront. The one-day festival was well-organized, affordable and clean.
The City of Ashland, which I last visited more than 15 years ago, has really spruced up its central business district. Although we didn't take part in the walking historial mural tour, it's evident that Ashland officials have spent a considerable amount of time and money to make their city along Lake Superior a destination point. I look forward to going back again next year, although I'm not sure I'll be doing the water slide again. One thing is for sure: I know I won't see a monkey wandering down the highway.