i didn’t see any bears!

let’s go back in time for a moment.

We have arrived

jason has been playing poker almost every friday night for a while now, and he earned his way towards partipating in the state poker tournament that happened on may 5th. i decided to make the road trip to mahnomen, minnesota, with him for the weekend because (a) vacation (b) adventure (c) i like him a lot.

Perusing the gift shop

i also had an idea that maybe i’d get to take in the wayne newton show happening the friday evening while we were there, but didn’t actually get tickets. after we got settled into our room and set out to find some dinner or entertainment, though, we walked by the ballroom at just the right moment to see wayne newton singing danke schön through the door someone else had just opened. bucket list item: check! (and even though he was tiny because he was far away, he still looked really tall.)

Where I'm blowing my first (free) $5

i don’t typically gamble at casinos because i have no faith in my ability to win free money, but the casino gave me $5 to start with so i spent it, penny-by-penny, on the slot machines that had anything to do with cats. because that’s how i roll. once that free money was gone, though? well, i found adventure elsewhere for a few hours.

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the richwood winery was about a half hour from the casino, so i made the trek. i met a very nice gal from north dakota, learned that one of the staff helped to trademark all of the grapes produced by the university of minnesota, and the owner of the vineyard had recently been inducted into the country music hall of fame in north dakota.

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it was a small winery overlooking buffalo lake. very scenic. i probably could have hung out here all day if i had brought a book or something. but after taste testing and buying a couple bottles, i decided to try to find some wildlife.

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can’t go up north without getting a photo of a lake. this one in particular is from many point lake, as i wound my way around the tamarac national wildlife refuge. i never found an entrance into the refuge, so basically i was driving and driving and driving until i got back to the casino.

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i did find this angry little guy on the side of the road, though. and before i found him, a deer bounced off of the road in front of me and disappeared into the trees. okay, but where are all of the bears i was promised?

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this is what driving around aimlessly in northern/central minnesota looks like.

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i had plenty of time to kill on saturday, believe me.

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Cinco de Mayo Margarita, cha cha cha

i got back to the casino in time to watch the kentucky derby and get started on cinco de mayo. margaritas were my best friend that night, but the next morning? not so much. unfortunately, i told jason that we’d be taking a scenic detour on our way back home to see the headwaters of the mississippi.

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and there they were. on a chilly, grey day.

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i kissed my sweetie here. and then a bunch of teenage girls came screaming down the path and scared us back to our vehicle. (also, the weather. and the hangover.)

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(and my hair.)

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fiddleheads, right? i could totally forage for food if i really wanted to.

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i also can’t not take flower photos when armed with dslr.

then we drove and drove and drove so more back home, with just one pit stop in treasure city.

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i finally saw a bear except not the right kind.

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i almost got stuck in this thing.

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if you wanted a flamingo for your yard, you would’ve had to buy both of these. they come as a pair.

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surprisingly, my house is not full of creepy cat figurines. i only ever take photos of them.

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this was the saddest.

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and that was my adventure to mahnomen! you’re welcome (because i took the trip so you don’t have to.)