Monday, July 20, 2015

Adventure Redifined

You're probably wondering how things are going in Duluth.  Well, I don't even know!

I've been west of Duluth a couple times this summer to see my sweet man, but I haven't really been in Duluth - the city.  But the times I've been to that area have been interesting and adventurous.

"Why haven't you been living in Duluth, Amanda?"  That's a fair question.  See, when you bank on the life of a contractor, you bank on chance and waiting.  We waited (and are still waiting) for some of those chances, so I am staying nearby at Aaron's parents' house for the month of July.  Then Braeden and I can book it the 100 miles each week to be a family -- in a house with a bunch of trail working dudes.

Here are some of the interesting and adventurous parts of Duluth, or, west of Duluth.

The flowers are quite similar to those of the Keweenaw.  I suppose you would assume that, but there some differences that I have noticed because for some strange reason that is what the essence of my being gravitates toward.  
  • They have lots of dewberries (which are delicious).  I have only found a few of those in da Harbor.
  • Like this western part of Wisconsin, where I currently reside, they have lots of water hemlock.  Cicuta douglasii.  Do you know what that means???  It means that it's a good thing that I don't hate anyone.  I know where the hemlock is, and I know how to use it.  But don't worry.  I won't.  That would be wrong, and besides, I just said this in my blog, so that's evidence.
  • Their shinleaf is not as scarce.
  • They have thimbleberry plants, and they may not even know it.  I have not seen a single flower or berry, but the plants are rampant in thimble-loving areas.
  • I saw my first Michigan lilies bouncing in the breeze.
  • I saw my first bloodroot leaves, but the flowers already dropped.
  • Virginia creeper is common.
Wow, I am a nerd.  But most people fill their mind with useless information of some kind.  Some people have sports.  Some have Hollywood.  I have wildflowers.  Thank goodness for diversity on this planet.

Also, west of Duluth, I have hiked part if not all of the original Seven Bridges West trail.  I can recount most of those bridges though many of them have been crumbled by floods.

Then one day the president of Rock Solid Trail Contracting LLC. (aka my husband) asked if Braeden and I would like to go on an adventure ride in the side-by-side.  He was hauling lumber from the road to their new trail via an old ATV trail.  Well, what else did we have to do?  We went.

We buckled the little man in nice and tight.  I would have done this anyway, but the fact that Aaron did too should have set me off for what he meant by "adventure."  My definition of adventure is setting off into new or old places where one can always learn something new and expect the unexpected.  Aaron's definition includes something along the lines of hopefully not dying.

So we went on Aaron's "adventure."

Early in the trip, as we rounded a corner and I thought we might slide off and sink into the muddy clay, I said, "Whew.  That was an adventure right there."  Aaron laughed and said, "The adventure has just begun."  Still no red flags went off in my mind.  And I have been with this man for over 10 years.  Have I learned nothing???

A few branches whipped and ripped beside my head.  That didn't bug me, though.  I knew parameters were tight.  Some flesh-stinging wounds were just part of the ride.  But then he took us on some turns where I thought that maxly packed machine was going to tumble down the hill.  I tried not to envision us rolling down the hill, but I did.  And we didn't.  But the adventure wasn't over.

Have you ever been to Six Flags Great America?  They have this roller coaster ride called Raging Bull.  I've included a video that I found on youtube of some people riding this beast in the front seat to help illustrate how I felt.

Did you watch it?  Okay.  Now remember the first part as they chug-chug-chug up and up that first hill, but add the element of Oh-my-God-are-we-going-to-make-it-up-this-hill?  Even Aaron wasn't sure.  We were on one of his test runs.  After making it up one, I asked, "Was that the worst one?"  He shook his head.  I kept wondering why he would take his wife and  infant son (who was fast asleep) on such a ride.  That's Aaron for you.  Never a dull moment.

Then remember the part where they go straight down and you can hear the woman say, "I can't see anything!"  What she means is that you can't see what's in front of you because it is so straight down that it's out of sight.  I remember being on this roller coaster ride at Six Flags.  I thought that exact same thing.  Then I shrieked the whole way down.

And that is the experience that flashed through my mind when Aaron took us down the hill.  Again, I envisioned us tumbling down bumper over lumber.  But we didn't tumble.  And Aaron had to keep up his speed at the bottom in order to make it up the next hill... the worst one.

But I am here to write about it, so you know we didn't die.  We all stayed quite buckled in, actually, so I give that Kubuta 4x4 a lot of durability and safety credit.  Aaron ran that trip multiple times.  It was just a day in his work life, but a day that I thought might end mine.

Aaron's definition of adventure is forever ingrained in my brain.

You know what I miss?  I miss the cool Lake Superior breezes.  I forgot how hot Wisconsin summers can be, and my veins are no longer use to this.  I can't even lay out for a suntan because I feel like a slice of bacon ready to crisp up in a cast iron pan.  But a slice of bacon does sound good right about now.  Mmm, bacon.

The only picture I have that applies to this blog is the one I took of the Copper Harbor bell buoy just a few days before I left for Wisconsin.  Here it is as the sun set behind it.

Ye old buoy up close

Ding da ding ding!  Man, I miss that sound.