Tom’s fantastic time with his kids at the cabin…Last evening with Tom’s family at Billy’s Bar & Grill…

Tom, Tammy, and TJ had a great time at the cabin for two days, enjoying evening bonfires.

I didn’t go up north with Tom, Tammy, and TJ, knowing it was important for Tom to spend quality time with his two adult children at TJ’s cabin in northern Minnesota. They had an excellent two days and nights together in the rustic cabin on a lake, dining at local pubs and restaurants and enjoying the special time together.

They were there to catch up and relax. With cold weather rolling in, they didn’t spend much time on TJ’s pontoon, instead hunkering down by the bonfire during the evening hours and laughing and chatting throughout the day. All had a good time.

With our planned final attendance at Billy’s Bar and Grill in Anoka at 3:30 pm yesterday, I had to find a way to get there since TJ was dropping Tom off at Billy’s on their way back, all of which is in the northern suburbs, there was nothing I could do to get Tom than to drive the 45 minutes to Billy’s in Anoka from our hotel in Eden Prairie. I hadn’t driven a car in about two years.

Tom’s son TJ’s lake cabin in northern Minnesota.

My reflexes aren’t as good as they were years ago, so I questioned my ability to drive safely for such a distance, especially on a busy Friday afternoon with lots of traffic. We couldn’t expect any family members to drive Tom back to the hotel, resulting in a 90-minute or more round trip when everyone lives in the northern suburbs.

There were no other options than for me to make the drive. As suggested by Greg, it was better to leave early and wait for Tom and everyone else to arrive at Billy’s than for me to be stuck in slow-moving traffic. It was a great plan to leave the hotel at 2:15, even if I had to wait for awhile at the restaurant.

As it turned out, when I arrived around 3:00 pm, Tom was waiting for me in front of the restaurant. He didn’t call to tell me he’d arrived early to avoid me being distracted by a phone call during the drive. Well, driving is like “riding a bike”. You don’t forget how to do it. I was on extra alert.

Most of the drive was on the freeway, which I preferred over busy city streets. I did fine, mostly driving in the fast lane and staying up with traffic. It wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. Does this mean I will drive more in the future? Not necessarily. When we are in countries where driving is on the opposite side of the road from what we’re used to, and having to use a stick shift with my left hand, which is entirely useless, I will continue to let Tom do the driving.

Lake cabins are highly desired in Minnesota, with over 14,000 lakes. Often, they are this size on varying-sized lots. TJ has over two acres of land.

Also, in many countries, it’s an extra daily rate, up to $10 a day, for a spouse to drive a rental vehicle. That’s not worth it to us. Generally, a couple can each drive the car in the US without additional fees, but prices on rental cars are much higher in the US than in many other countries.

Again, we had a great time at Billy’s with the family. It was wonderful to see Tom’s adult niece, Kari. Also, next to me on the other side was another of Tom’s nieces, Jerri Lee, whom we hadn’t seen in years, along with several other nieces at the table. It was wonderful chatting with them and the others.

By about 6:30, we were back on the road to the hotel and had a quiet evening streaming a few shows. We’d finished binge-watching Formula 1 and had to search for something new. By 10:30, I was off to bed, but Tom, as usual, stayed up later.

Today is a quiet day. We have no plans other than deciding what to do for dinner tonight. I checked out GrubHub, for which I have a few coupons, but I found nothing we like. Also, we cringe at paying more for delivery food than if we went out to dinner. We shall see what the day brings.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, October 7, 2013:

This is one of our favorite photos with the lion with the remnants of his zebra lunch in the background, taken in the Maasaii Mara in Kenya on our first safari experience. Up close and personal! We were in a Toyota Land Cruiser with open sides, 25 feet from this lion. To our surprise, we never felt frightened or at risk at close range to any of these big animals, including this massive male lion who gave us a great show. For more photos, please click here.