Our trip: the good, the bad and the bad tasting

STA, RJP, FWA and I just got back from our big summer trip. First we went up north–Duluth, the Porcupine Mountains, Copper Harbor, Houghton (where I was born), Crystal Falls/Amasa. Then, down through Wisconsin (Appleton). And finally ended up in suburban Chicago (Elgin). As the title of this entry indicates, we had some success in breaking old habits (the good), we reverted to bad habits (the bad), and we ate some food that no longer (or maybe never) tasted good (the bad tasting).

Because I am still trying to recover from the intensity of spending 24 hours a day with the kids for 10 days and of being in the car for 10 days straight and because I am trying to catch up on other work, I won’t write too much now. Instead, I will offer a few highlights, organized around my title. Tonight I will focus on some of the good:

The Good: For most of the trip we avoided fast food restaurants (that is, until we hit suburban USA). On our way out of Duluth, we shopped at a great food co-op called Whole Foods (no relation to that other chain, super-store of the same name). We bought some meat + cheese + pita + apples for our lunch for the week. Oh, and some awesome Maple-Almond butter. Surprisingly, we did eat most of the food for our many lunches.

Another good experience was revisiting all of the local restaurants that I have eaten at for over 30 years: the Hilltop for breakfast, the Hut Inn for lunch (the coolest decor EVER!), and the Library for dinner. Each of these places conjures up potent memories of childhood, my mom, and my UP (yooper) heritage. At a certain point on the trip I had one of those very obvious, yet still seemingly “deep,” revelations: You don’t make memories at a chain restaurant. Seriously, does anyone want to take a nostalgia trip back to the Applebees that they used to eat at when they were 5 (did Applebees even exist when I was 5?)? Okay, I just looked up the history of Applebees and no, it didn’t exist when I was 5. The first restaurant opened in the good ol’ ATL when I was 6 in 1980. Yes, I’m that old (or that young, I suppose).

As I will testify to in future entries, this trip was not completely successful; we failed more than a few times. But, I was impressed with the big shifts we made in our consuming habits on this trip–no McDonalds until we hit Elgin. No Pizza Hut. Picnic lunches almost every day. We must be doing something right on this blog.

Here’s a teaser for some possible future entries about our trip: 1. The bad…or that time when STA convinced me to get my own 10 beer sampler at the Library because he didn’t want to share his 10 (4 each) beer sampler with me, 2. the bad tasting…or witnessing the cinnamon roll frosting lake at the Hilltop, and 3. the French Dip Tour: Summer 2010 (because I like french dip that much).

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