Sunday, May 23, 2010

I managed to throw together a quick screen door this week and get some other things in order before I went on a trip with the 6th grade class as a chaperon, to the Environmental Learning Center in Finland, (Minnesota).
Here's the screen door. I have to build a lot of these since decent wood screen doors are just so hard to come by:


The 6th grade trip to the ELC has been something they have been doing in our school for many years. I last went with one of my other son's class about nine years ago. This will most likely be my last time going, since I don't anticipate having any more children. The ELC trip is pretty fun once you get past all the "sharing" and "touchy/feely" stuff the instructors are forced to throw in there just to kill time I think. My son's reaction this time to all of it was the same as my other son last time I went. He just thought, for all the talk about how fun it is, for the most part, it was pretty boring and he could have been using his time more productively doing something else, (in this case, playing baseball...).
But here are always the highlights. The rock climbing is the big one. They have a couple great inside rock climbing walls and the kids really like this. I enjoyed it too, but only climbed one section:

The other big highlight is the ropes course:
My job was to man the station at the end where we clipped into the "zip line". I made sure the kids were clipped in and then sent them off. Of course, at the end, I had to clip myself in and go down too:




But mostly I just liked the hiking. There were some beautiful over-looks with views of Lake Superior in the distance, and because we were so close to the North Shore, the bugs were minimal. The weather was perfect. It was a good trip. We had some great instructors.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A week ago we drove a car out to Phoenix for my son who is living there. We took a ton of pictures, but here are just a few:
We started off in the afternoon about 4:30 PM from Ely. We took two cars from to the cities and left one there by the airport so we would have it when we flew back. We continued on through the night taking turns driving. Iowa was passed in the night, but there was almost a full moon so we could see the landscape.
Iowa seemed to have the best rest stops:

We stopped for an hour or so and tried to get a bit of sleep in the car, but ended up just pushing on.
Kansas had cows:

We made it though Albuquerque, and the sun was setting over the mountains to the west. We realized we were not young anymore and so stopped in Gallup NM for the night. This proved to be a good thing, because coming down into Arizona was very picturesque and actually would have been probably dangerous in our sleep deprived state.
We stayed there a few days with our son in Scottsdale. Took lots of pictures, but they are probably boring to anyone else. The last day we were there, we climbed Camelback Mountain. We didn't know what we were in for, but we couldn't turn back half way...had to keep going to the top:
From the top you could see the whole city spread out:
We decided we would go down the other side instead of the way we come up. This was apparently the more popular side, there were lots more people here:
Quite a trip...very relaxing. First time we had done anything together without any kids in about 23 years.