Part 1: Hannibal, Missouri, and mud volleyball
Hannibal's main claim to fame is being the boyhood home of Mark Twain. There are several places around town that figured into his books (including Injun Joe's cave), as well as a Mark Twain Museum. Despite the fact that I've been going to Hannibal every year now for about 13 years, I've never actually been in the museum. The mud volleyball tournament is held every year in conjunction with Tom Sawyer days. It's a pretty big tourist weekend with other competitions as well: fence painting, frog jumping, a Tom and Becky pageant, and a 5K/10K.
|Jeff, me, J, and D. Just missing N, who was in Minneapolis for volleyball.|
J. gets into the act helping clean sunglasses on the sidelines, so it's a whole family effort.
That's pretty much how it went this year, too. We won our first match easily, and then the second match wasn't until noon on Saturday. Usually we have to be up super early (you know, like 7 :D) for our Saturday match, so this was a treat. I had semi-planned to run the Hannibal Cannibal 5K, but I was still running a fever and opted to sleep in instead. We showed up for our noon match, but our competition didn't. Turns out they'd misread the bracket and thought they played at 2. We lost our 4:30 match badly (and looked bad doing it...think Keystone Cops in mud) and then lost a close match at 7:30 or so to end our tournament.
Part 2: Wisconsin
J ended up staying back with Jeff because he was complaining of not feeling well and I was staying with friends who had three little girls. Nothing like repaying your hosts' hospitality by getting their kids sick, right? I was both disappointed to miss out on an adventure with my little boy and excited to get some time to myself.
I had a great drive and got to spend some time with my brother. I mentioned being disappointed that I was going to get off track on my weight lifting program, so he took me to the gym at Ft. McCoy so we could work out. I felt a little conspicuous in my normal workout clothes, since pretty much everyone else was in their PT clothes, but oh well. We had a nice dinner on the way back and then I went to bed early because I had to leave for Minneapolis at 4 a.m. the next day.
Part 3: Minneapolis
|Minneapolis convention center|
|N. is #9|
The dismal volleyball didn't stop me from enjoying the city, though. What a cool place!
They have a neat bikeshare program downtown. You use a credit card and pay $5 for access to a bike for 24 hours. You can use the bike for as many trips less than 30 minutes for no additional charge. Trips over 30 minutes incur an additional charge depending on how much extra time you use. This keeps the bikes in circulation.
I saw these bikes in use a lot downtown, and even more of other bikes. People were riding and walking everywhere! It was very cool. It seems like Minneapolis has a great bike culture. If you look at the picture below, just look at all the bikes lined up in that picture. And that was just on one random corner. It really inspired me to use my bike more for getting around. (That said, I haven't actually done so yet.)
Another things some friends and I noticed while walking around downtown was the dearth of fast food. I don't remember seeing a single McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, etc. That was nice for me, but it would've been a real pain with J along. I ate once at a BBQ place that reminded me a little of Memphis
and once at Chipotle.
|Perfect spot to read|
|Runners and walkers take the inner path. Bikers and rollerbladers take an outer trail.|
|Isn't this bandshell gorgeous? Who wouldn't want to listen to music here?|
|View from the trail looking back to where I first started.|
|Heading back on the Minnehaha Trail|
Part 4: Wisconsin (Reprise)
Once the boys were out, I picked up some souveniers and headed back to my brother's house. We had a great dinner at a local Italian restaurant (deep dish pizza...mmm), the next day I spent several hours mountain biking, and then I headed home.