We ordered donuts and coffee/OJ and sat down to eat. The kids seemed to be particularly ornery this morning (or maybe they weren’t…I guess I don’t know how they normally are). Steven explained to us that this donut shop was the spot where all the old folks in town to sit and drink coffee and gossip all morning. When these people were done at the donut shop apparently they took their shenanigans across the street to the diner and sat there for the rest of the day. This reminded me of 4 corners in Hamilton, where the “town council” meets on a daily basis to gripe about politics and the happenings in town.
After breakfast, Beth took the kids to story time at the library and Steven took us to the Moose Lake Depot and Fires of 1918 Museum. Steve volunteers at the museum and recently started a project that involves him visiting all the properties that survived the fire. We spent an hour or two at the museum learning about the fires as well as general history of the area. The fires started because of a combination of the two year drought that had been plaguing the area, lots of waste from the lumber mills, and sparks from trains passing through. The fires spread at speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour! It was a firestorm! The fires destroyed 250, 000 acres of land, killed 450 people and injured thousands. The towns affected by the fires include Kettle River, Moose Lake, Lawler, Autobay, and Cloquet. There were several other displays in the museum including the Soo Line Railroad, Nemadji pottery, Moose Lake Hospital, and Agates (the state mineral).
After exploring the museum and filling our heads with Moose Lake history we needed to fill our bellies with food! We stopped at a grocery store and got the fixin's for a picnic then headed to a pleasant park located on Moose Lake. We ate and conversed while the kids entertained themselves on the playground. The lake was very calm and we thought a canoe trip would be fun, so next we went to the DNR office to try to get canoe registrations, but all the DNR officers seemed to be out. So, we decided to go to Soo pit and pick agates instead.
Soo pit is part of the Soo Line Trail which is a popular ATV recreational area. We walked on the trail for about a fourth of a mile to the pit. Julian was quite the agate spotter and specialist. He found the most agates and was quick to tell us wether what we had found was or wasn’t an agate. We searched the pit for about half an hour and found a number of agates and cool rocks. We were all pretty exhausted and it was very hot, about 80 degrees, so we decided to call it a day and head home. The ride home was a bit unnerving with 3 very tired and fussy boys. We kept them out all day without a nap. I could have used a nap too!
Dinner was burgers and brats on the grill with red cabbage salad and potatoes. We settled down with a couple of beers from Steven’s keg while the kids continued to be wound up. I helped Beth make some apple crisp for desert while Steven, Eric and the Kids listened to bawdy sea shanties (all of which are very questionable in their appropriateness for children) Dessert was served and the kids were put to bed with the help of a good story read by mom. Eric got his laptop out and we showed Steven some of the videos we made in college. He seemed very impressed.