We had a great evening with our grandson Vincent, 17, when we picked him up in Crystal and drove to a skeet shooting range in Blaine, about 30 minutes from his house. Watching him shoot and see the range was interesting when only Tom had ever participated in this activity. Without guns, we could only watch him, but that was fine with us. We’d done this to be with him.
We took some photos, as shown here today, and when the skeet shooting session ended, we headed back toward his home in Crystal, where he lives with his parents, Tammy (Tom’s daughter), and her partner Tracy. We asked Vincent where he wanted to go for dinner, and he chose a very casual bar in Crystal, Steve O’s, where they “have excellent boneless chicken wings,” which Vincent longed to have once again.
Steve O’s was one of the most casual bars/diners we’d been to in a long time, more like those found up north where fishing and hunting are popular. As it turned out, they had decent food, and none of us were disappointed. I ordered a grilled chicken salad, Tom had a Reuben sandwich, and Vincent had the wings he loves.
After dinner, we drove back to his home to find Tracy there and Tammy shortly after she returned from the dog park. We all sat outside on their deck and chatted for a few hours, and by 8:30 pm, we were back on our way to our hotel to stream a few more episodes of Formula 1 on Netflix and head to bed for another good night’s sleep.
This morning, we had the included breakfast in the hotel restaurant: coffee, eggs, and sausage, and now we’re back in our room as I prepare today’s post and work on adding plans to our calendar while we’re here. It’s filling up fast, and we look forward to seeing more friends and family members.
I am glad we have a living room in our hotel room. This way, it’s not so confining to be in the room working on things we must accomplish while here. It has a sectional sofa with a large ottoman, a side table, a large desk, and a tiny kitchen with a sink, teapot, and hotel refrigerator. We have plenty of plugins for our equipment. The only unusual thing is there is housekeeping only every other day, so we make the bed on alternate days. Fortunately, we get enough towels to last for the two days.
Perhaps, with staffing issues, this is how hotels manage operations, keeping services to a minimum. We still see many “help wanted” signs at shops, restaurants, and other businesses. We’ve noticed the service is slower at many restaurants and even checking out at the grocery store when we stop in for a few items. There are fewer cashiers than ever.
The pandemic significantly affected businesses in the US and other countries. Seeing so many familiar restaurants and shops closed permanently as we drive through the cities is sad.
Yesterday afternoon, we went through the extra suitcase we’d shipped to this hotel a few months ago. When we left South Africa, we had to pack everything we owned except some household goods we’d accumulated, spices, and miscellaneous long-lasting food products. Louise stored those items for us. But, we had started to accumulate too many clothing items when we purchased new items that arrived over the years in shipments we had sent to us.
After going through everything, we made a new pile for Goodwill and then packed and organized our luggage with what we were keeping. Once we get ready to leave here, we’ll still have three checked bags, each with clothes and the third with supplies. I carefully went through the supplies bag to see if we could consolidate, but it didn’t appear possible. I can’t imagine getting down to two checked bags at any time shortly.
Many travelers return to their homes to unpack. Without a home, we’re like turtles…we carry the equivalent of “our home” on our backs. That’s the way it is, and we’ve accepted the reality.
Today, our plans are up in the air. We’ll decide later and let you know what transpired tomorrow.
Photo from ten years ago today, September 18, 2023: