Monday August 3, 2015

Erin and I are feeling a little like Dan this week, going from town to town, staying in different places before we return home.

Last night and tonight, we are in Ramsey, MN so that Erin and her teammates can play in the Minnesota Golf Association Jr. State Team Tournament. I've been organizing this team this summer and this state event is something they've been waiting for. They had a practice round yesterday, and I walked along and offered my two cents about where to hit it and things to avoid. I'm sure Erin loves having me around as the "coach"!  The first round of the tournament is today and then they will play again tomorrow. Should be fun.

Our trip started last Thursday when we left for a bridal shower in Minneapolis. Erin's cousin Kallie is getting married this month and all the O'Hara women gathered to throw her a shower. Great food, great fun for all of us.

We stayed in the cities Thursday night and Dan joined us so we could head out first thing Friday morning. We spent the weekend with my family on Madeline Island. It's a bit of an effort to get there, but well worth it...

Grandma and Papa Harkins rented a cabin for the weekend and my brother and his family were there as well. We joke that any time we all get together, we have horrible weather. I kid you not, as we were caravanning to the cabin in our separate vehicles, it began to sprinkle... then rain... then pour! Luckily, it was short lived and within two hours, the sun was shining and we were off to the beach.

Madeline Island is a special place in my family. My mom was born in Ashland, WI and she and her 8 younger brothers spent their summers going to the island. My brother and I visited there many times as kids.

We hit the beach three times, made a trip into town for pizza, ice cream... and wifi! Yes, the cabin was in a location with no cell service, no TV, no connection to the outside world. We all struggled to not be able to text or check twitter. It was a good reality check on how much we use our technology.

Funny story - as we were sitting around the cabin on Friday night, reading actual books and doing a puzzle, my brother Eric heard a phone buzz. All of a sudden, he said "I got a text - I've got one bar if I stand right here in the corner of the bedroom!" Well, it didn't take us long to all grab our phones and huddle in the corner, searching for a signal. My dad told us we were pathetic. He was right...

The signal didn't last long, and for the rest of the weekend we were disconnected. We cooked and played games around the cabin.

On of the traditions in my family is to jump off the rock at Big Bay State Park. I, of course, won't do it. I am averse to risk and not a thrill seeker. Erin was all in...

After climbing over the railing and assessing the situation, Dan was the first one to go. Jumping from 30 feet above the water where the lake is so clear you can see the boulders 20 feet below the surface. When it was Erin's turn - she just went for it.

It was so exhilarating, she did it three times. So did cousin Jack, Uncle Eric and Dan. While I had no interest in joining them, it was fun to watch!

Yes, our dynamic has changed a bit without Shannon, but her name came up often this weekend, and that was really nice. We had beautiful weather and hung out together on the beach every chance we got.  It was hot enough than even I got into Lake Superior to cool off.

We spent our last night together, hiking a trail down to the west-facing side of the island so we could watch the sun set. DanO had found this gem of a spot on his morning run. 

We were sitting together on the peer, taking photos of our families as the sun went down. And then it happened.

Just before sunset, a bald eagle swooped down, right over our heads. First and last one we saw all weekend. All nine of us got a look. Just one pass, and she was gone. So glad Shannon stopped by to say hello...