But, so for the rest. I went back to LaCrosse only for a day because my parents are in the process of moving their house and so didn't have a huge amount of time for our usual Labor Day visit. We stayed at an AmericInn, which was possibly okay--we had a kind of crappy room, right off the pool with a vending machine just outside our door (thus a high traffic area), PLUS we were the very first room off one of the entry doors, which meant when people went out for a smoke it was right outside our window. That sucked and felt deeply unfair, since thanks to our big Yellowstone trip, we're VIP AmericInn members. Probably we should have hassled the front desk for a better room, but we were only there for one night and didn't want to bother.
It took us forever to get to LaCrosse for some reason. We left right at the usual time (around 8:30), but didn't roll in until nearly 12:30. LaCrosse is not that far away. We did make an extended stop at Lark Toys to play a round of mini-golf, but I would not have thought that we were there THAT long (but apparently we were.) We went to Rudy's for lunch, which is another last-of-summer tradition, which was nice. Rudy's is one of those old-fashioned drive-ins and still has waitresses on roller skates to bring out your food. The food is decent, but it's an experience more than anything. From there we went antique shopping in the quaint section of the North Side called Old Towne North. There's not actually THAT many stores here, but the Sweet Shop (which really does have awesome ice-cream and a fountain soda dispenser) is there, too. It is a neat little part of town. My only disappointment is that they've never quite been able to keep a coffee shop going there, though it should be an ideal location.
Then we went to see my folk's new place and said good-bye to the old. Dinner was at the Pizza Hut that I swear has not changed since I was in high school (1980-1985.) I was pretty exhausted from the road, so I didn't even notice all the foot traffic in the hallway outside our hotel room and promptly crashed ridiculously early. At some point, when we visit LaCrosse again, I would actually like to experience some of its nightlife, of which there is a TON.
On Saturday morning we had breakfast at the Hungry Peddler. My folks joined us there. The Hungry Peddler is a big nostalgia trip for me, since my dad and I used to go there a lot when I was younger. Then my family and I attempted to do a tourist thing in LaCrosse and find the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I have linked to a blog of someone who had a wonderful time there. We did not. I kind of think that they could sense we were pagans trespassing, and so we only really saw the interpretative center and couldn't figure out how the heck to get up to the actual shrine. We left disappointed.
Then we drove back in record time. In fact, we zipped back to St. Paul so fast that I managed to miss seeing my friend Paul who was headed down to LaCrosse for a funeral. I did managed to catch up with Paul on Tuesday, which was nice. Paul is probably one of my oldest remaining friends... that I actually make time to see. I mean, I have a ton of old high school pals that I'm in touch with on Facebook and other social media, but Paul is someone I will actually seek out to hang out with in person.
We hung out with Rosemary and her mom on Sunday because Mason wasn't sure if he was going to end up with ANY classes with his BFF, but it turns out they have Foundations (Washington's answer to homeroom) and debate together. Mason came back from his first day of school absolutely bouncing.... literally. At one point I had to tell him to stop, I was afraid he was going to shake plates off the shelves in the kitchen. But, he LOVES high school--as I knew he would. Things start to get interesting and challenging now and he's been kind of waiting his whole life for classes like that. (Luckily, he's had a few, having been advanced into a couple of high school classes while he was in middle school.) He did not have to change school, which was nice, especially, as I said, he's already been doing some high school classes.
So, that's me. I'm sure I forgot some of the things we did, but I will try to be better about posting here.