Friday 11/4 /6
All seven of us piled into Amanda’s Explorer and make the 200+ mile trek to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. It was actually a fairly comfortable ride. We made a stop in Plover for lunch at Panera Bread and one other bathroom stop. We arrived at the Clear Lake Inn, where Dan had rented a cabin/lodge/condo thing for the weekend, just before 4:00 pm.
The cabin was breathtaking! Four bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, large open living room, dining room and kitchen with a whole wall of windows looking out over the lake. Plus it was furnished and all we needed to bring was paper towels, toilet paper and bath towels. Awesome!
We spent some time checking the place out and then went down to the lake to check things out there too. Before long it was time for us to head out for dinner.
We had a party of 15 meeting at the Al-Gen Supper Club. My oldest brother, John, sister Vicki and her husband and Vicki’s oldest daughter Tara with her family and then of course, the 7 of us! We took up three tables in the back corner, same place we sat the last time we were here with a group.
The majority of us had the all you can eat fish fry and it was as yummy as ever. It’s served with french fries, cole slaw, potato salad, tuna salad, bread and potato pancakes. It was a nice meal but hard to communicate with everyone at three different tables…even though they were all right next to each other.
We invited everyone to come back to ‘the cabin’ so that we could visit a bit more. John wasn’t feeling the best so he went home instead. We had a good visit hanging out in the living room…getting caught up and reminiscing about the past too.
The ‘cabin’ had an upstairs/downstairs and we had a thirteen month old with us…not necessarily a good situation…even if you barricade the stairway. Luckily, my niece, Tara is a childcare provider and had an extra baby gate that we picked up Saturday morning. She’d brought a pack and play to dinner the night before too! Both made life much easier!
There are certain places we have to eat at while we’re in Rhinelander…it’s just a must. The Northwestern Lounge is one of those places. It’s a bar that serves sandwiches but the sandwiches are out of this world yummy. The meat is piled high…like 2+ inches high! On top of that they’re extremely reasonable! Roughly $5.00 for this massive piece of goodness. You just can’t go wrong.
Anyway…we stopped at the Northwestern and picked up sandwiches to take home for lunch. We enjoyed our sandwiches while we played a game of Canasta while enjoying the gorgeous lake view. Doesn’t get much better.
As we were finishing our card game our first round of visitor’s arrived! Brother John, Sister Vicki, Niece Tara and her daughters Tori & Tia. We had such a nice visit sitting around the kitchen table. Alex and Ben kinda fell in love with Cousin Tara, I think. They kept having to go outside and get her more fall leaves and even a few stones and she LOVED it!
That evening we had a total of 19 for dinner at ‘the cabin’! My nieces Tracy and Karrie (my brother David’s oldest kids) and their crews brought dinner! How awesome is that!? Tracy made Ravioli Lasagna and Karrie made Chicken Tetrazzini. Both dishes were quite yummy and I’m waiting for the recipes for both. We provided a garden salad and garlic bread and we were set!
Karrie’s three kids celebrate birthday’s on November 5th, 9th and 14th so we enjoyed ice cream cake to celebrate the first of those birthdays. And birthday cake wouldn’t be complete without a rousing rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’…..and ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’…don’t ask!
We spent several hours catching up, laughing and watching the kids run around. Alex really enjoyed learning that he had SO many cousins….big and small!
John invited everyone to join him for breakfast at Papillon’s although Vicki and our group of 7 were the only ones that were able to make it. But that was actually kind of nice as it was much easier to carry on a conversation without having to shout over the din of chatter.
After parting ways with John and Vicki we headed north to the Woodruff area. Our first stop was Evergreen Cemetery to visit my mom, step dad and maternal grandparents who are all buried in the same plot. While there we always visit the graves of my other relatives too: My maternal great grandparents (both sides) along with several great aunts and uncles and cousins. It’s kind of an ‘All in the Family’ kind of cemetery!
The main goal in visiting the area was that we were headed to my cousins home and we arrived there about 1:15 pm. Jean, who is 91, and two of her daughters, Jeannine and Jalaine live on Whitefish Lake. Vicki and I normally visit them when I’m in town but Vicki couldn’t make it this time.
As always we had such a nice visit. Jean really enjoyed watching the babies play and even played a bit of a game of ‘I’m gonna get you’ with Alex. It was the most animated I’d seen Jean in quite a while and it was awesome!
We had a tasty lunch of sloppy joes, cole slaw, chips, deviled eggs, etc and enjoyed brownies for lunch. These ladies always know how to spoil their guests.
Jeannine is painter whose works are displayed at one of the gallery’s in Minocqua and there are quite a few of her works around the house. Dan and Amanda saw them and decided they’d like to own one so the ever gracious Jeannine showed them all of the work she had around the house and after a very tough decision they came home with a gorgeous water scene. Now they just need to find a frame for it.
As we were leaving Dan went to give hugs to our hosts and when it came time to hug Jean she wouldn’t let him go! Six foot tall Dan was hunched over and she had one heck of a grip on him. The girls kept telling her ‘Mama, you have to let him go’ and she just kept shaking her head ‘no’. When they finally asked her why she wouldn’t let him go she said, ‘Because, I like him!’. So sweet. The rest of us were already outside so I was able to get a couple of pictures through the window.
Check out was 10:00 am so we were up and moving fairly early. Amanda wanted to get some pictures down on the dock so we all headed down to the water once the car was packed and the ‘cabin’ got the once over. It was a beautiful morning for pictures…especially on the lake.
Our little Ben has quite the imagination and kept us entertained all weekend telling us stories about the ‘Big Bag Wolf’ being outside the cabin and that he was stuck way up in the tree and couldn’t get down. Poor wolf was still up in the tree when we left the cabin!
I got a message from my friend, Linda, who I worked with at Walmart for several years while we lived in Rhinelander. The note said that she knew we were busy but that we’d better not leave town without at least stopping at the store (she still works at Walmart after almost 25 years!) or I’d be on her ‘list’. Well….with that looming over my head what more could I do than to stop at the store to see her!?
When we arrived she was in a meeting but I got a page as soon as she got out of the meeting. We had a brief visit with promises to make it longer the next time we’re in the area.
We had one last family get together before leaving town. This time it was with my niece Nikki (Vicki’s youngest daughter). It seems that our go to meeting place is always Peking Chinese restaurant and this time was no different. We had another good visit and enjoyed some of the best Chinese food around. The only thing missing was Nikki’s husband, Joel, who had to work. Joel’s been one of my best friends since I was 8 or so…so having him marry my niece was a double blessing.
After lunch we hit the road south. After an uneventful trip we arrived back at Dan & Amanda’s home about 5:00 pm and Amanda immediately threw 2 Jack’s pizza’s (so so yummy!) on to cook while we all got things unpacked and put away. After dinner we sat down to watch the latest episode of the Walking Dead…the perfect way to end and already awesome weekend!