Flew in to St P with Scarlett and James about 1pm. Not much excitement on the plane other than an elderly lady laying on the floor possibly having a heart attack and maybe an emergency landing. But all is well.

Remember the Habit-trail you could get for your hamster? That's how the St P airport is like. You get off the plain, walk along way, go down several escalators to the baggage, walk further, get in a train tube, get out of the tube, walk further to a dead end, then take elevators up a few levels. I kept looking for a giant wheel and a water battle hanging from the wall.

Had an hour and a half to kill till Duane came in, so lets get the rental and drove around aimlessly. Took 2 or 3 tries looping thru the rental area before we figured out how to get out. [ok forget the Habit-trail, this was a maze and we were the rats looking for the cheese].
So then "let's see where this road goes...hmm...Minneapolis. Crap. Look at all the traffic going the other way, maybe we ought to turn around". We turned around. "let's see where this road goes. Oo. A Russian 'store'".
Lots of tea sets, fish parts, Cyrillic writing and weird pastries. I got a chicken gyro. [note: don't expect much from a gyro that comes out of a Tupperware container] and a mariachi egg. James was working his mojo on the lil counter girl w/ his fluent Russian.

So back to the airport for a few more laps. Spent 10 minutes in the 'short term parking' then tried to get out of paying for it saying "oops. We took the wrong turn". Finally pull up for Duane. James leaves me and Scarlet in the back of the car as he goes searching for Duane in the airport...right next to the sign "no parking, no standing". Right when the irate cop starts yelling, Duane and James show up and head one more time to the rental place for Duane to sign stuff. Again leaving me and Scarlett in the back. This time our story was gonna be, if asked, "oh we're just testing out the space in the back seat. Go away!!" Now that we mastered the rental car maze, they took me to the hotel.

I went to a park near by w/ some really big bronze Peanuts characters. Snoopy & Charlie brown, Linus & Sally, Schroeder & Lucy. Got a dinner call and head to Figlio's for the first of many carbo loading. Yummy Italian food. James again working his mojo on the waitress wearing his ka-NAY-da shirt. The feta bread was good, but we all agreed the Moose Drool was much better than Sweaty Betty.

Driving back saw some really nice $1m houses. And on the corner a blinkie sign "Greek Fest". Our carbo destination for Saturday lunch. Yea baby!! Then back to the hotel. Christine came in later. Caught me all misty eyed ready Harry Potter #6. I blamed it on the Moose Drool. [That was some mighty fine beer.]

Now I've been accused of being a little high maintenance on trips. Having too much luggage. Compared to some other people's luggage, who will remain unnamed....CHRISTINE! But I like to travel in style. Hence the groovie jammies!! [...I'll meet you on the Dark Side of the mooooooon.....]


In search of breakfast. Head to the front desk.
"what's good around here for breakfast?"
"well sir, there's the Carousel Restaurant on the 22nd floor..."
"um...what else you got...."
"well...SIR...there's Mickey's Diner up the road".

On the way out ran into Charlie Brown. You'd think he'd be one of those really snooty celebrities, but he's really a nice guy. Offered me a cup of coffee. Christine grabbed some chocolate. You know how they say a sucker is born every minute? Well it's true. And it's kinda cool when it matches your shirt!!

Mickey's was a greasy spoon w/ only stools at the bar and packed. So went to Dun Bro's. a cross between Einstein Bros Bagels and Starbux. I give it two stars.

Then back to the bronze park. This time for picture taking. [left my camera at home!! Erg!! ]
We hung out Linus & Sally. Schroeder was giving a personal concert. Lucy seemed to enjoy it. As well as Christine. OK, so did I . Then we saw a boy and his dog. What a good doggie! Charlie Brown is SUCH a lady's man. Christine and Marcy readying Harry Potter #6. I played some football with Peppermint Patty.

We meandered a bit till got the call from Duane. Off to the Greek Fest!!! Lots of good stuff...gyros, spanikopita, baklava! Yea baby!!

After that we all geared up for some skating. I mean you can't pass up a sunny day of 70 degrees and not skate!! Drove a bit and skated around a lake. Up there they do it right!! A separate trail for bikes and skaters! And you only go in one direction so you don't have to worry about "bike up" "skater up" "clueless jogger up". ;) 2 nice laps around the lake. We were the only one with helmets and paceline-ing. The folks seemed to like us. We people watched and accosted the occasional puppy dog. Then napped. And then of course more food (after all these trips are more about where to eat than where to skate!)

So we went to an Italian place. Lots of Deano and Sinatra pix and Tommy guns on the wall. So we had Duane, Steve (Duane's cousin who was hosting the TX Flyer's Luv Shack), Scarlett, James, Young Phil, Christine, Dennis and yours truly. The pasta was REALLY good, but I'm thinking now, after the fact and a few Advil, lots of red wine before a marathon isn't the smartest thing.
I'm sure we did something after. Who knows. I was sleepy.


5:30AM IS JUST TO @*#$&@#$ EARLY TO GET UP WHEN ON VACATION! That's all I gotta say. Esp when you're awakened rudely in the night getting your bed kicked and someone muttering "snoring!!"

Anyhoo, chowed on some bagels and nanners and peanut butter and made our way down to the start. Maybe a 1 to 2 mile walk, is a good stretch of the legs. Spotted the Flyers. Brenda and Tanya were there. And Mary M joined us. Lots of Red & Yellow TX Flyers jerseys! I wore my Pegasus, honest! The fast folk started first. Which gave a 30 min lag until us slow pokes went. This gave the speedsters a chance to blaze thru with out having to worry about coming up on slower folk. Pretty good idea.

The rest of us were in waves. I was in lucky wave 13. They said by 10:15 if you hadn't made it to mile marker 20 you have to get off the road and take the side walk to finish.
So I had 3 goals:
The fitness and rec group got spread out pretty quickly. Saw some "fairly mature" skaters (AARP card carriers I'm sure) and some younguns. Even a roller derby team came out on quads. Chatted with Sinderella and Trophy Wife for a lil bit. A majority of the route was flat, but at either end were some good hills. Which weren't too bad, thanks Margaret!! But it did spread the group out even more. There were a few miles of bone rattling-filling loosening-rough stuff, but usually on a hill so it was short lived. Then back to the smooth flat. That part rocked!!

It was two laps, then peal left to the finish into the city.

I was starting to feel the effects of downing a few water bottles and a camelback around mile 20. But something was WAAAAAAAAAY wrong!!!!! I was looking at my watch. What?!?!? I could finish this in 2 hrs 15 min?
so every port-o-potty I passed said "come on in".

Then the final push into town. Holy crap!! Even Margaret was no help!!
S T E E E E E P ! !

Now that's just mean, finishing on a hill like that. It's hard to look cool when you're arms are flailing, legs kicking out sideways and grunting. I'm hoping ESPN was filming something else by then.

So final time, 2 hours 14minutes. Shaved 20 mins off my best time. Woo dee hoo! Maybe lots of red wine IS the way to go!

All the other flyers were done by then of course ;) munching on chips and grapes and nut bars and such. I slumped my cramp riddled carcass in a chair and watched the awards.

Later we went to a Mexican restaurant where the chronically stunned worked. Took an hour to get the food. Even James' mojo-ing w/ the waitress didn't help. But we had no where to go, so there ya go. I had some "steak"...I think I could see where the jockey was hitting it w/ the riding crop. Dennis and Duane seemed to enjoy the margaritas.

Packed up and headed to the airport with Christine. We preambled around the concourse in search for some Snoopy junk, but none to be found. Tried to get a pic in font of "Famous Dave's BBQ", but Dave was replaced with a McD's. So we took a WTF pic instead. James, Scarlett, Dennis and Phil caught up with us at the airport. The flight back was uneventful except for the turbulence that seemed to be isolated to my chair. I'm sure Christine sitting behind me had nothing to do with it.

So what we learned:

And on a sad note. I was gonna post the route to prove you can drive 20 miles around the St. Paul airport and never actually LEAVE the airport. BUT...I didn't make it home with my GPS. So some lucky skater probably found a nice Garmin e-trex.