Thursday, January 12, 2017

Merry Christmas

Christmas was awesome this year. We had great snow, and all the kids were home. 
 Jon was home week before and Jake was able to come in time for the DL Invite held at Maplelag, Jens had his first day of Christmas break so everyone was able to watch Jack race.
 Christmas Eve all four boys and I made a stop at Soaring Eagle for our traditional Christmas Eve ski. Has been a while since all four boys did the ski. Jon had couple broken fingers as a result of getting slashed in a game the weekend before so he couldn't use poles so we all went no pole except Jens. Best ski of the year!
 Family photo before church.

 Jonell rocking the appetizers with brie lingonberry pastry. Yum.
Santa time. All the nephews and nieces together this year. Always good times and memories.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Hockey Hauling

As expected, blog posting came to a halt when winter came on full force and been non stop for six weeks. Still want to try and keep on track of happenings as it has been fun to go back and look a previous years. 
 Thanksgiving to mid December had plenty of hockey. Nephew Reagan in senior year at St Cloud Cathedral. Played in Fergus Falls midweek so Jonell and I snuck down to watch. Good game, just enjoy watching HS hockey. Reagan's team favorite in Section 6. Always interesting come playoff time and month of February the best for HS hockey as teams jockey for final seeding spots.
 The next weekend Jonell and I went down to see Jon for the first time this season for a home series in Austin. Fast paced hockey, split on the weekend and good to see Jon for a bit in between games.
 Jon with team mates Cole Lawerence and goalie Alex Schilling. Cole and Alex played against each other in the state AA final, with Alex and his Wayzata team beating Eden Prairie. Now team mates, Jon has forged good friendship and having a blast.
 Catching up at the billet house.
 Visit to Spam museum most interesting. Looks like I need to eat more Spam.
 Always fun to check out bike shops you've heard about but never been in to. Fun picking brains of the locals.
 Checking out backstreet local fare.
 Interior decor. Spot on with new Detroit Lakes Lakers hockey logo.
 Morning road ride in 12 degrees I think. Windy and raw. Latest road bike ever. Things would change overnight as rain turned to snow with 4" falling.
 Up at 4am to drive from Austin, MN to East Grand Forks, MN. Gave ourself an hour extra drive time and it was needed with icy and snowy roads. Made it with extra time to catch Jens game vs EGF. A close game going to OT with EGF getting the OT winner.
 When in EGF, traditional stop at the Blue Moose.
Quick bite to eat than back on road to get back for Jack's cc banquet in Detroit Lakes. All good.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

White Thanksgiving

Even though it was a very warm fall and most people will say how winter came late this year, I would put winter in the category of coming early, with 5" of snow falling at Maplelag on November 17th. However, the cold weather came later resulting in ground not freezing like it "normally" would. This would result in the snow that did come early not sticking around. Rain and warm temps didn't help either but we did have a nice week of early season skiing. 

Skiing with Jack on November 19th. Beautiful day, nice temps.

Many locals are reluctant to ski early season but always appreciate the ones that come out and leave notes like this. Even if one person shows up during the week to day ski, the grooming is worth it. But bottom line, most grooming sets the stage for better skiing later.

Family at Thanksgiving minus Jon who was in Janesville, WI playing hockey. We hosted family and friends again, giving thanks for all our blessings.
Cooking  duck for appetizers.
Pre-turkey carving.
Uncle Ryan caving. Bananas photo bombing.
Jack making Rømmegrøtt
Children and women first in that order I guess!

This years group. Bit smaller than other years, didn't seem as busy. No more diaper changing and kids  running around. Kids growing up!

Jonell asked me if we should do anything new or different but Thanksgiving dinner pretty much have to focus on the basics.
Craft time!
Money ball!

Pre Turkey day skiing with Jake and Jack.
Had a great fat bike ride with Jake during break.

Jens had a hockey tourney in Hopkins the rest of Thanksgiving break. Took him down Friday early afternoon. His team, Bantam A's finished third. Fun team to watch, nice group.
All his games were in the evening so I was able to sneak out for some chilly road rides. Legs and fork covered in frost/ice after morning. Probably the latest road bike ever for me.
Sunday Jon came up with his girlfriend Sophie and nephews Grant and Garret coming up to watch as well. Post game.
Before we went home, stopped at local eats Snuffy's for some malts, burgers and fries. Good stuff.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Spearfish/Red Lodge Fall 2016

Last week Jack and I took a quick trip out to Red Lodge, MT. We left after Jens' home game Sunday afternoon.

Jens and line mate Dom moving the puck up. Waving the flag in Kent Freeman arena. 
 After Jens' game we went south instead of west to catch Jon's game in Brookings, SD. Jack next to Jon's team bus that was back in action after a month of repairs.

Jon on the faceoff. After the game and a too short visit with Jon, we drove to Spearfish and arrived middle of the night.

  The next morning we rollerskied up the Spearfish canyon on a beautiful day that saw temps in the mid 60's. The road had been recently resurfaced and a nice wide shoulder. No traffic to speak of and gorgeous weather made for really nice skiing. It isn't often I want to continue a rollerski session but the morning was one of those days you could keep on going.

Before we skied, I got up while still in a daze from driving the night before and hit up the Tinton trail for a quick spin. The last two times, in the summer, I got stormed on and it was muddy the other time. Hard to believe mid November it was bone dry, almost dusty in spots with loose pine needles and super fast conditions. Great ride.

Heading up Spearfish canyon.

Before we rolled out of town, we stopped at one of the best pizza places I have been to. Dough Trader pizza.
I had been here two summers ago with Jon and had to stop here with Jack. I talked it up pretty good and with Jake being a pizza maker expert, he approved.

Heading to Red Lodge from Spearfish required new roads to travel on which is always interesting. I was most looking forward to driving over the mountains from Dayton to Lovell, WY. We caught the afterglow on the east side and just missed catching the sunset on the west side once we topped out over 9000ft. Dayton was around 4000ft so a nice climb up and definitely want to get back on this road.

Passing through Lovell at night and the local drug store.

Arrived to the historic Yodeler in Red Lodge for basecamp.

Yodeler famous for its steam baths which always feel great after a day of play in the mountains.

The next morning we geared up for another rollerski up the Beartooth highway. We were hoping to ski on snow but no snow at the gate so we had the rolling kind.
It was a bummer not to be skiing but the experience of skiing on the Beartooth highway up to almost 9000ft was an awesome experience. When we took off it was relatively nice but you could see the much talked about and anticipated storm rolling in. Since it wouldn't take as much time to get down as getting up, we were ready to turn around if conditions got really bad. The worst part was the wind and near the end the snow started to fall.

There were shaded sections that were glazed/iced over that were interesting getting across and required double poling.

After climbing about 5 miles and 1600 ft of elevation gain and the road getting icier, we decided to turn around.
Going down was crazy at first. The tail wind was 20-30mph and was giving us too much push down. We had to do a lot of step turning to get down safely.
Taking it easy through the glazed sections.
Made it down safely and went straight to Mas Tacos for the first time and enjoyed some awesome Mexican food.
Great stuff!
The folks in town were definitely restless, hoping snow and cold temps would come to make their opening day. Since we left, 15" of snow fell and good to see they will open.
The next day the storm was bearing down and dropped a few inches in town with a bit more at the Nordic center.
When we were skiing Jack goes "dad what is that" I look up and it was a big black wolf cutting through 50 yards away. About 2 minutes before two nice mule deer bucks were in front. We crossed the tracks a few more times and could tell it had left the area.

The skiing wasn't the best but no such thing as bad skiing. Was definitely more relaxing after the rollerski descent the day before.
Breaking trail.
Any day on snow is a great day!
The evening before I checked out a hiking/mountain biking trail I found on Strava and local hiking guide that was open to mountain bikers. It criss crossed the willow creek which runs up to Red Lodge mountain. Sweet mountain bike trail, wasn't able to get to the top as it got too dark.

Look forward to getting back here some day to check it out all the way to the top. Again, hard to believe mid November in the mountains dry and tacky trail.

After we skied I thought I would sneak in one more quick spin before hitting up the Red Lodge cafe and journey home. Snow higher up cut the ride short but the crisp fresh air was perfect before the smooth ride home. Great quick trip, always awesome to be in the mountains!