Saturday, September 23, 2023

Filling My Bucket

This was a big week of celebrating! 
  • Celebrating feeling better as the steroids calmed the inflammation in my joints;
  • Saying farewell to my friend Kristin as she begins a new chapter in her life; 
  • Celebrating my birthday; 
  • Welcoming the arrival of fall;
  • And celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary.
One of my young patients told his mom she was 'filling his bucket' when she did something for him. It was the perfect metaphor for this week--my bucket is full!

Weekly Rundown
Sunday: DNS trail run/started steroids
Monday: run 6.7 miles
Tuesday: Fluid running
Wednesday: Trail run 6.15 miles
Thursday: rest
Friday: run 5.2 miles, driving tour
Saturday: driving tour

On Sunday, I took a rest day while I waited for the steroids to kick in. I had to miss the Trail Sisters run on the Ice Age Trail in Whitewater, Wisconsin, but it was a rainy day, so I didn't have too much FOMO. On Monday, I felt much better and took my shoes to the bike path. I was happy to be joined by my fellow Trail Sisters Kristin and Ilisa for a nicely paced run. I never run with other runners on the bike path and it was fun to share my favorite local path with them. They loved it, so look for more group runs here in the upcoming months! After our run, we went out for breakfast and said a tearful goodbye to Kristin. The plan is for her to return to Chicago for marathon weekend and then it will be aloha as she returns to Hawaii.

I woke up to rain on Wednesday, but it looked like it would clear by about 8:30, so that is when I drove to the trails for a run. While it wasn't raining, it was wet, so I was glad I wore my GTX trail shoes. I had to go slow because it was muddy and slippery in spots, but that just gave me time to enjoy all the signs of impending fall. I did see some deer at the beginning of my run, but they weren't too happy to see me! The foliage lining the trails was wet and after brushing up against it for most of my run, so was I. 

I think it was the same mom with her twin fawns that I saw last week.

Up at the lake, I woke up Friday morning feeling pretty good! The hubs and I had big plans, but before we started our day, I laced up my Hyperions and ran along the lakeshore, a route I hadn't run since last winter. It was a pleasantly cool morning and my legs let me fly. No one else was out except for kids waiting for the school bus and some fishermen out on the lake. I saw a family of deer, too! This run made me so happy!

A Mini Vacation

The hubs and I took a couple days off at the lake to celebrate my birthday and our 35th anniversary. For the most part, the weather cooperated and we were able to soak in some of the area's best! Not long after we arrived, we went for a boat ride around the lake and soaked up the September sunshine. It was tempting to get behind the boat on my ski, but the water was cold!

We had plans to drive up to Wisconsin Dells for dinner at Ishnala, the iconic Wisconsin supper club. A few years ago, we tried to get a table but there was a 4 hour wait. This time, we arrived when they opened, at 3:30, and 'only' had to wait for 1 1/2 hours for our table. This, on a Thursday night in September! Still, it was worth it. We sipped on drinks at a table outside, chatting with another couple, who were visiting from Florida. Every table inside the rustic restaurant has a view of Mirror Lake and the sun made the water sparkle. The food was fantastic. What a wonderful evening!

After my run on Friday morning, we began the drive to Mineral Point, which is an old mining town in the driftless area of Wisconsin. Before arriving there, we had plans to make a couple of stops along the way. Our first stop was in Cross Plains to visit the headquarters of the Ice Age Trail! You can roll your eyes, lol. While there, I purchased the new edition of the trail guidebook. 

We stopped at 2 state parks that were on the way. Blue Mound State Park is the highest point in southern Wisconsin and there are 2 towers that we climbed up which gave us spectacular views of the surrounding area. Unfortunately, it was very hazy and cloudy, so we couldn't see as much as we had hoped. I can only imagine how this looks when the fall colors are at peak!

Just a few miles away, we also stopped at Governor Dodge State Park, which has been on my list for a while. The park has an extensive trail network, but since the weather was less than optimal, we decided to just check out the waterfall. We climbed down a rocky path to the grotto to see it. There wasn't a ton of water coming over it, but it was a pretty, peaceful spot and with the leaves starting to turn, it was very pretty. I want to come back here and do some trail exploring.

We were both hungry when we reached Mineral Point, so we stopped at the Midway Bar and Grill for lunch. This was a great choice, and we both had the Friday Fish Fry special, which was the best I've had in a while. With a glass of Spotted Cow, it couldn't have been better. We waddled around the cute little downtown, which has been well-preserved. There are lots of shops and galleries. It actually reminded me of Leadville, minus the elevation.

We were out the door early on Saturday for part 2 of our driving tour. We started out from our lake house, driving along Wisconsin 60, which parallels the Wisconsin River. We took this all the way to Prairie du Chein, where the river meets the mighty Mississippi River. This was such a gorgeous ride. If you are familiar with my Ice Age Trail photos, those bluffs and mounds multiply and grow as you head west. The fall colors are starting to pop--I can only imagine how pretty this would be in a couple of weeks. 

We stopped at Wyalusing State Park to see the point where the two rivers meet. You can also see the Iowa shoreline across the way. For history buffs, this is also the point where Fr Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet entered the Mississippi River in 1673.

The ride up the Mississippi was as beautiful as I remembered. The bluffs and hills lining the river road didn't disappoint. I didn't take a ton of pictures and the ones I did just don't do the scenery justice. We finished up in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, This is the halfway point and we already have agreed to do the northern half from LaCrosse to Minneapolis next year! In LaCrosse, we had a great lunch on the river at Huck Finn's. Of course I had the catfish! 

We finished our journey at the 608 brewery, which my youngest said we 'had' to visit. We were not disappointed. But I think Cocoa was!

If you've made it this far, thank you! Sometimes the trips closest to home are the best! Do you ever play tourist where you live? Did anything fill your bucket this week?

I'm linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Rundown. 


  1. Looks like a nice week of celebration for you. Glad you enjoyed. A friend of mine has an art studio in Mineral Point. I haven't been there in years. Glad the steroids have you feeling better!

  2. Oh Cocoa, what a cutie! Love that picture.

    Glad the steroids are helping. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    1. Thank you!! I'll have to get recommendations from you when we travel to Minn next year!

  3. Happy Birthday!!! And Happy Anniversary! What an great way to celebrate. I'm so glad you're feeling better, and I was thinking about you on my run today- how is your foot issue? You haven't mentioned it so I'm guessing it's all better?
    Your driving tour looks amazing- Wisconsin really is a beautiful state. And now I want beer : )

    1. My foot is almost better! I say almost because if I land funny on it, it reminds me that it's still not 100%. But I think the steroids might have helped that too. :p

  4. Happy birthday and happy anniversary! Glad you're feeling better. We play tourist in LA when people come to visit us, but rarely when it's just us.

  5. My bucket was kind of empty this week, except for that sushi. :) Way back in the Summer I started to plan a local waterfalls "tour". Looking ahead to next week maybe the weather will be good, but Bandit doesn't always want to walk anywhere except in the neighborhood. Anyway.

    Looks like an amazing celebration and glad you had such a good time!

  6. Glad to hear the steroids worked their magic, and enhanced your celebratory week ;-) Happy Anniversary and Happy Bday!

    1. I have so much energy from the steroids and that is such a great feeling!

  7. sounds like a perfect week of celebrations and fun. Happy birthday and happy anniversary! Glad you are feeling better

  8. Happy birthday and happy anniversary. So much to celebrate this week. And it sounds like you and your husband made the best of it with this mini vacation. Gorgeous pictures!

    1. He doesn't like to travel much anymore, so I'm always down for local travel!

  9. What a beautiful part of the world! Thank you for taking us through this amazing countryside! I really feel I want to do a road trip now.
    Congratulations on all fronts! I bet your husband never forgets your anniversary - so close to your birthday (or is it on the same day??), he will never forget it! :-)

  10. Very Impressive , You Celebrating Your 29th Birthday Having Been Married For 35 Big Ones - Well Done

    Enjoy Another Trip Around The Sun,

  11. What a fun way to celebrate your birthday and your wedding anniversary! There are so many places we should stop as we're driving across Virginia on our way to the farm, but we usually just plow on through.

  12. Happy birthday! And Happy Anniversary! I am so glad you are feeling better and that your bucket is full! It sounds like you had a lovely trip and that restaurant sounds delicious. Your photos are beautiful. I'm sure this was all so good for your soul. <3

  13. Happy birthday and happy anniversary! The trip through such beautiful places was a very good way to celebrate both the events!
    Yes, I like to play tourist where I live because I like to explore every corner of the ancient etruscan/medieval towns around here. I usually do it with a friend of mine former running friend.

  14. Happy anniversary and birthday! There is an audio tour for Toledo, and we will be doing that sometime soon. I'm a big fan of audio tours in the car!

  15. Wow, great pics. I need to climb up those towers at Blue Mound State Park someday!

  16. What a great way to celebrate. Happy birthday and anniversary!

    I spent a weekend with my friends and it included a race... That filled my bucket.