Doreen and I have collectively been sick for over a month now, and we're getting a little cranky and stir crazy. Summers are precious in Minnesota, and we hate spending so much of it in bed!
This weekend we were feeling a little bit better, so we decided to venture out on a Sunday drive. We took Dempsey to "one of the most beautiful scenic sights in the world."
How do we know this? Because there is a sign in Pepin, Wisconsin, that says that there is a sign in Paris, France, that says so:
I'm not sure why a sign in France would be more authoritative than a sign in Wisconsin; maybe it's a nod to the French contributions to semiotics.
At any rate, we made a lazy circumnavigation of Lake Pepin. Here's what we saw:
Red Wing: Apparently, we just missed the shoe parade and the grand opening of the shoe museum, which showcases the world's largest boot. According to "World's Largest Roadside Attractions," Minnesota is home to 35 of the world's largest somethings, not counting the boot. This beats Texas (23), which I used to think was the home of big. You learn something every day.
Frontenac: Frontenac is an old riverboat stop and resort on the Mississippi River that has a collection of quaint old houses. According to the Old Frontenac brochure, the Archbishop of St Paul, John Ireland, said in 1891 that Frontenac is "the loveliest place in the Northwest and in the whole country." This would make sense, as it is on the shores of Lake Pepin. Here's Dempsey enjoying the view of the loveliest place in the whole country:
Lake City: Lake City, Minnesota, is the birthplace of water skiing. We've seen videos of dogs water skiing, but Dempsey won't be doing that anytime soon; he has a serious case of aquaphobia. I tried encouraging him to enter the water, but he's unwilling to even for peanut butter, his favorite treat. Eventually, I got him to at least stop barking at the waves. Since he's training to be a service dog and not a bird dog, I think that's good enough for now.
Wabasha: Wabasha, we learned, is the setting for the movie "Grumpy Old Men." The town has a "Grumpy Old Men" festival every February, featuring "a grumpy breakfast, Bingo, raffles, minnow races, a hotdish luncheon, Frostbite Frisbee (after the pet pageant) and a spaghetti dinner. The ice fishing contest takes place from 11-2." We thought about entering Dempsey into the pet pageant, but he said he has no interest in competing for "Miss Grumpy."
Pepin: Pepin is most famous as the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Today, there's a recreation of the log cabin she was born in. Dempsey posed for some pictures by the log cabin, and then we spent a good ten minutes learning not to be scared of the water pump. We're not sure why he was so spooked by the pump; it didn't move or make noise, cause the vandals took the handle. We don't expect Dempsey will come across many water pumps in his work, but he's now prepared.
Isn't Dempsey growing up to be such a handsome dog?