Totally worth the priceOriginally published by DK on July 1, 2020 at 9:49 am
Fortune Bay Resort CasinoOriginally published by DK on June 29, 2020 at 10:14 pm
Interesting times in the NorthlandOriginally published by DK on June 29, 2020 at 10:08 pm
Walleye and steak, Ely SteakhouseOriginally published by DK on June 29, 2020 at 12:31 am
Great! Lakes Candy CompanyOriginally published by DK on June 29, 2020 at 12:26 am
Cross River, Schroeder, MinnesotaOriginally published by DK on June 29, 2020 at 12:21 am
Deluxe biscuits and gravy with eggsOriginally published by DK on June 28, 2020 at 1:31 pm
Last visit with Armon before the adventure beginsOriginally published by DK on June 24, 2020 at 7:31 pm
Lakeside BarOriginally published by DK on June 24, 2020 at 7:26 pm
Quick, fun stop at Grand CasinoOriginally published by DK on June 9, 2020 at 8:35 pm
Duluth Grill biscuits and gravy with fried chicken and eggsOriginally published by DK on June 9, 2020 at 8:27 pm
Devil’s Track River, MinnesotaOriginally published by DK on June 8, 2020 at 8:07 pm
Grand Marais mini golfOriginally published by DK on June 8, 2020 at 8:00 pm
The Beaver HouseOriginally published by DK on June 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm
Inside harbor walk, Grand Marais, MinnesotaOriginally published by DK on June 7, 2020 at 1:24 pm
First time seeing this complex – looks coolOriginally published by DK on June 7, 2020 at 1:20 pm
Just learned what “tombolo” means this trip tooOriginally published by DK on June 7, 2020 at 1:17 pm
Sven and Ole’s, Grand Marais, MinnesotaOriginally published by DK on June 6, 2020 at 7:23 pm
Well done, Grand Casino – more fun than Mystic right nowOriginally published by DK on June 5, 2020 at 10:05 pm
Pretty spot on the ski hill roadOriginally published by DK on June 5, 2020 at 9:59 pm
As solid as everOriginally published by DK on June 5, 2020 at 9:55 pm
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_3000sOriginally published by DK on May 24, 2020 at 10:17 pm
Dave’s Bar, San Francisco, CaliforniaOriginally published by DK on May 8, 2020 at 12:15 pm
Tom and Sarah Bricker’s excellent Disney Tourist Blog just published a post with their ranking of all 94 attractions at Walt Disney World. I’m really missing the Disney parks these days and haven’t seen any of the new Star Wars rides in California or Florida, so it was really fun reading this (and all of their posts, to be honest). Here are my personal top seven in Florida:
- Expedition Everest – Great theming throughout (and I love all things about the real Everest).
- Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – The original and still the best. Also has killer theming throughout.
- Test Track – I like Radiator Springs Racers in California better, but this OG made the other one possible.
- Avatar Flight of Passage – Not a huge fan of the movie and the wait times are usually crazy long, but it’s worth the wait.
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – One Florida ride that is equal to almost all the others in the world (with the exception of Paris).
- Pirates of the Caribbean – Disneyland will always have the best version in my opinion, but this one is strong too.
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster – the theming might not appeal to “the kids” these days, but I love the whole pre-show, loading area, soundtrack, coaster layout and finish. Long live rock ‘n’ roll!
I’m sure some of the new rides I’ve haven’t seen might impact this list. Looking forward to our next visit…Originally published by DK on May 4, 2020 at 3:24 pm
Disneyland Hotel postcard, circa 1983Originally published by DK on April 8, 2020 at 9:45 pm
Seriously, he was the only one being dropped off at Terminal 2Originally published by DK on April 6, 2020 at 12:26 pm
“Sleep at the Fairmont Banff Springs” has been item #34 on my bucket list for quite a long time. As we looked to conclude the year of milestone birthday trips, Marisa and I decided we would make ours a combined ski trip (and invite Colleen and Sasha to tag along). SkiBig3 had some good sales after Thanksgiving, so we picked the week between our two birthdays and made reservations. Airfare between MSP and Calgary wasn’t too terrible on the Delta nonstops and I reserved my normal Emerald Aisle rental with National.
We planned to fly on Monday and Friday, with ski days on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The drive from the airport to downtown Banff only takes about 90 minutes and we purchased the required park passes ahead of time, so we didn’t have to stop at the park entrance. Sasha and Marisa brought their own skis with, so we had one large ski bag, four large suitcases and a bunch of carry-ons. Thankfully, National had a Mazda SUV for us that really held up all week with the extreme winter conditions (heated steering wheels are awesome).
Speaking of conditions, the Canadian equivalent of the National Weather Service warned: “Temperatures will plummet to values not seen in years.” Air temp was -30C (-22F) during the early part of the week, closing two of the three ski areas completely on Tuesday. That was the day Marisa and I got to experience the Canadian health system with a morning visit to Banff Mineral Springs Hospital. She had flu symptoms the night before and they did a great job helping get her back in shape for skiing the last two days. Everything was pre-pay for service, so we are now working with our regular insurance to get reimbursed for the hospital and doctor fees (which weren’t outrageous).
What can I say about the hotel? The Fairmont Banff Springs is one of the most iconic hotels in the world, built as part of the Canadian Pacific Railway network in 1888. The “Castle in the Rockies” was just perfect – historic, great amenities and flawless customer service. It’s not cheap, but in the overall scheme of world-class hotels, very competitive. Tipping was included for most services, so that was different (and convenient, since I didn’t exchange for any Canadian currency this time). The valet was wonderful all week – we’d just call down to the concierge (“How is the Kingsbury Family doing today?”) and they would pull our warmed up car to the front entrance. The bellmen were great – somehow loading up everything at the end of the trip back into the SUV. Maid service also went the extra mile to line up shoes, organize things on the desk and generally pick up after our daily mess.
The hotel has at least three known ghost stories. Our favorite was the Ghost Bride, who was commemorated with a postage stamp and coin by the Canadian government in 2014. Sasha and I spent one night searching for the staircase, where the hotel has a picture hanging (along with the stamp and coin). The ghost of Sam the Bellman and the alleged murder-suicide in room 873 are tales that added an extra element of suspense every time the lights by the elevator would flicker when the doors opened. There was a cool museum-style area off of the lobby that was loaded with historical pictures and artifacts. The old pictures of the golf course and visits from Queen Elizabeth and Marilyn Monroe were highlights for me.
We ate at two of the twelve hotel restaurants: Castello Italiana and the Swiss-themed Waldhaus Pub & Biergarten. Both were high quality with great service. I think the Waldhaus might have been the original golf course clubhouse, as it was set down a hill from the main hotel along the river (and near the current 15th hole). Colleen and Sasha both enjoyed time in the Willow Stream Spa, which included the semi-spooky indoor pool. There were also outdoor pools that amazingly had people in them, despite the extremely frigid temperatures (how exactly did they get out there?). The hotel also had several very nice stores, a free ski storage room (with overnight boot heaters) and a uniquely Canadian five pin bowling alley (which is really difficult to master).
The actual town of Banff is a short ride or walk from the hotel, across the Bow River. It was a wonderful little mountain town, full of shops and restaurants and surrounded by the most amazing mountain vistas. On our arrival on Monday, we picked up my rental skis at the SkiBig3 Adventure Hub and had lunch at Tommy’s Neighbourhood Pub. Other stops over the course of the week included a great dinner at the Maple Leaf Grill (with the bison tenderloin recommended by my friend Chuck), poutine at the local McDonald’s, shopping at Roots and Hudson’s Bay and a visit to the largest rock store I’ve ever seen in my life. I also wanted to try out the famous Beaver Tails, but they didn’t really have any indoor seating and it was just too cold to stand around outside for any length of time.
As far as skiing goes, there are three different resorts near Banff: Mount Norquay, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Ski Resort. Norquay is the closest to town, but we elected to skip that one when we found out we could only ski two days. We decided to go to Sunshine Village on Wednesday, as several people told us that Sunshine sometimes gets temperature inversions that make it warmer there compared to town. The other unique thing about Sunshine is that the base area is just a parking lot in front of a building with a gondola. A long ride takes you up to the actual resort (with one stop in the middle for Goat’s Eye Mountain). We didn’t have great visibility that day and had difficulty finding easier, groomed runs to ease back into skiing shape. Groomed runs don’t seem to be as big a thing in the Canadian Rockies as they are at home, so we were initially a little uncomfortable (and I was extra cautious this trip anyways, for obvious reasons). We did find a few runs off the Strawberry Express chair, which is marketed as their beginner chair (sigh). We also skied the Wawa lift, but that was about it. I would love to try it again with warmer temps, clear skies and more confidence in my skiing ability.
On Thursday, we went to Lake Louise. By the second day, we were more comfortable with the bus shuttle system: all three resorts have nice coach-style busses that pick up right in front of the hotel. Schedules varied, but there were usually 5-6 departures and returns each day to each one. The Fairmont was the first stop in the mornings and the last to drop off on the return, with 2-3 stops at various spots in town. Lake Louise is the farthest resort from Banff, but it took less than an hour to get there on the Trans-Canada Highway. The town of Lake Louise is a few minutes away from the ski resort and is home to a couple of other cool hotels, including the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and the Post Hotel. I thought about the hotel package that let you split your time between the castle and the chateau, but I’m glad we did what we did. It would’ve been cool (literally) to see the ice sculptures on the lake for their Ice Magic competition, but that just wasn’t in the cards this time.
We loved the skiing and atmosphere at Lake Louise. The bus dropped us off right in front of the Lodge of the Ten Peaks and one of the friendly information guides told us that the breakfast buffet at the Northface Bistro was the spot to go for pre-skiing food. After a great meal, we discovered there are only two choices from that spot: the Glacier Express chair and the Grizzly Express gondola. We started with the chair and took two great runs on nice intermediate cruisers that really tired us out. After another stop in the chalet (and a visit to the nice ski shop), we tried the gondola. It’s not the highest lift there, but I felt like I was on the top of the world when we exited (and honestly, a little frightened at how everything dropped off from that point). Lake Louise prides itself on having green, blue and black runs from every lift, but the cat track we took down from there was scary just for the fact that the runs that crossed it were very steep. But once we got down below the tree line, it turned into our favorite run of the trip.
One of the things that I still find magical about skiing in the big mountains are the moments of complete silence you sometimes find among the trees in the back country. Since our week was so cold, none of the locals really wanted to be out, so it was nice and uncrowded all over. I let the girls ski ahead of me on that long, green cruiser and at one point I just stopped and soaked in the silence. That trail crossed in front of another favorite thing of mine, the mid-mountain chalet with sun deck and greasy mountain cafeteria food. The Temple Lodge made me think of the great times I used to have with my Uncle Greg at the Outback Inn in Idaho. He would’ve loved this trip… ❤️
The toffee is good tooOriginally published by DK on January 17, 2020 at 9:08 pm
Hanging near the five pin bowling alleyOriginally published by DK on January 17, 2020 at 6:35 pm
“Boy with Apple” is used as the concierge of the year award at the Fairmont Banff Springs HotelOriginally published by DK on January 17, 2020 at 6:33 pm
Spoil ’em? Just a little…Originally published by DK on January 16, 2020 at 10:02 pm
He would’ve totally loved this tripOriginally published by DK on January 16, 2020 at 6:44 pm
Pop > SodaOriginally published by DK on January 15, 2020 at 10:49 pm
This town is really somethingOriginally published by DK on January 15, 2020 at 8:54 pm
Off with his head!Originally published by DK on January 14, 2020 at 10:47 pm
The Ghost Bride @ Fairmont Banff SpringsOriginally published by DK on January 14, 2020 at 10:17 pm
Old shot of the Banff Springs courseOriginally published by DK on January 13, 2020 at 8:27 pm
Feels colder in C vs. FOriginally published by DK on January 13, 2020 at 3:47 pm
MSP-YYCOriginally published by DK on January 13, 2020 at 8:41 am
Temperatures will plummet to values not seen in years…Originally published by DK on January 11, 2020 at 7:46 pm
The Bean still rocks, thoughOriginally published by DK on December 6, 2019 at 1:58 pm
Thanks, AFOriginally published by DK on November 13, 2019 at 10:04 am
We had a great time on Maui last week, despite the record high temps (and crazy dew points). We had lots of great food recommendations from people, but Mama’s Fish House took home the prize for most memorable experience. Located on the central north shore of Maui just outside Paia, Mama’s was a 2018 James Beard semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant. Open Table says Mama’s is the second most popular restaurant in the United States, Trip Advisor has them listed as a Top 10 U.S. Fine Dining Restaurant, while ZAGAT has them number one for food on Maui. Everyone we talked to said Mama’s was expensive, but also a can’t miss.
Needless to say, expectations were high…
Floyd and Doris Christenson have an awesome backstory. The location, atmosphere and general setting of Mama’s is probably the most Hawaiian thing I’ve ever seen in my life. You turn off the Hana Highway at the fishing boat and enter a lot that offers complimentary valet. Once checked in, you get to roam around their own private beach, which we were told often has sea turtles playing in the water. The day we visited had a high surf warning, so the turtles were (hopefully) playing elsewhere. After checking in at a second host stand, we were escorted into the open-air dining room and seated near the bar.
Our server Lacey was wonderful. We started with fancy tropical drinks: Colleen had a Mama’s Margarita, while I had a Pink Hibiscus (hibiscus, elderflower liqueur, lime, cranberry and Maui PAU vodka). We shared an appetizer of seared island venison with honey lime sauce, which was extremely tender for venison. We both had autumn salads, with Waipoli greens, Kula persimmons, spiced pecans, goat cheese and Tahitian vanilla vinaigrette dressing. For the fish main course, I choose “kanpachi from ocean waters off Hawaii Island,” while Colleen had “onaga caught bottom fishing off Keanae by Joe Hobson.” We both loved that they customized the menu daily with who caught the fish (and where). I was super-excited to order the Polynesian Black Pearl for dessert: lilikoi (passion fruit) chocolate mousse in a pastry seashell (with a beautiful plate presentation – pics after the jump).
When we looked at the menu before we went, I didn’t think the prices were crazy-high. Afterwards, we found out it just all adds up, turning in to the most we’ve probably ever spent on lunch. That’s also part of the trick – there is no discount for having lunch over dinner. We heard one of the servers say they average about 1,000 covers a day, so I think they can price however they want. I’m glad we went, though, and would highly recommend it at least once in your life. Mahalo, Mama.
Fun stop on the way to the airportOriginally published by DK on November 1, 2019 at 10:12 pm
Not Ohana-friendly (per the lifeguards)Originally published by DK on November 1, 2019 at 9:54 pm
He gets to live here all the timeOriginally published by DK on November 1, 2019 at 9:50 pm
Thank you, Kaanapali Beach HotelOriginally published by DK on October 31, 2019 at 10:54 pm
Still pretty fun, thoughOriginally published by DK on October 31, 2019 at 2:31 am
Lifeguard @ D.T. Fleming Beach ParkOriginally published by DK on October 30, 2019 at 9:59 pm
Kapalua Plantation – closed for remodelingOriginally published by DK on October 30, 2019 at 9:55 pm
RC Burger ShackOriginally published by DK on October 30, 2019 at 6:28 pm
Haleakala National ParkOriginally published by DK on October 29, 2019 at 2:42 am
CK @ Mama’s Fish House BeachOriginally published by DK on October 29, 2019 at 2:39 am
Cows too on the road to the summitOriginally published by DK on October 29, 2019 at 2:28 am
The silversword of HaleakalaOriginally published by DK on October 29, 2019 at 2:25 am
Sounds like a lost Wilbury songOriginally published by DK on October 27, 2019 at 10:06 pm
As seen on Diners, Drive In’s and DivesOriginally published by DK on October 27, 2019 at 10:01 pm
My new golf gloveOriginally published by DK on October 27, 2019 at 7:18 pm
Kaanapali Beach Hotel – older, but pretty decent overallOriginally published by DK on October 27, 2019 at 7:15 pm
Only one on the islandOriginally published by DK on October 26, 2019 at 10:19 pm
Chicken and pancakes @ Roy’sOriginally published by DK on October 26, 2019 at 4:52 pm
Day one on the beachOriginally published by DK on October 26, 2019 at 2:07 pm
The Milaca MegaMallOriginally published by DK on October 19, 2019 at 12:12 pm
Oktoberfest in MilwaukeeOriginally published by DK on October 16, 2019 at 10:24 pm
Sweargen, you cock-suckaOriginally published by DK on October 16, 2019 at 12:56 am
Still love the British phrasing, thoughOriginally published by DK on October 9, 2019 at 7:09 am
It was a year ago today when a blood vessel in my head decided it had enough, resulting in a ruptured aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhaging on the train platform outside U.S. Bank Stadium. It was a humbling experience to see the outpouring of love and support from my family and friends throughout my recovery and I will be forever thankful to the good Samaritan in the pickup truck, the first responders that treated me on the platform and the entire staff at Hennepin Healthcare for extending my time on this little planet we call home.
Health-wise, things are almost back to normal. I’m still wearing glasses with a 3M Prism lens on the left side to correct the remaining double vision. The strength of the lens has dropped from +30 to +8 during the past 11 months and the hope is still that I eventually won’t need them at all. I can read most screens without glasses, but the “bilateral 6th nerve palsy” and resulting diplopia at further distances is really the only major remaining issue from October 8, 2018. I’ve been off all of the additional medications from my time in the ICU for a while now and have returned to most physical activities with no issues. In fact, my bike mileage in 2019 sits at 1,058 miles and I’ve played 21 rounds of golf (both of which are a little more challenging with glasses).
I won’t lie, walking past that spot nearly every day is unsettling. It can feel frustrating to not be 100% yet with my vision. And all that weight I lost in the hospital came back with a vengeance. But I am so thankful for having access to high-quality healthcare that didn’t bankrupt our family. This full year of bonus time had some amazing memories: an extra special Thanksgiving with family, the NCAA Final Four, MK’s graduation, Las Vegas with SK, lake visits to Vermilion and Superior, Rib Fest, Summer X Games, another epic State Fair, a quick day trip to Los Angeles, the Saints championship season, more Vikings football and lots of concerts and restaurants. Life at fifty has been good.
So where to from here? I’ll be seeing my eye doctor again soon and I need to get back to my “regular” doctor to start all of the normal old guy things that need to be tested and monitored. Colleen and I head to Maui later this month to check off the second milestone birthday trip that was postponed due to the incident. Hopefully we’ll get the third and final trip scheduled for January. This week I’ll find out about the 2020 London Marathon ballot, which would immediately kick-start a return to running. Quick trip next week to Milwaukee to visit the Buck’s new arena. After the Vikings-Eagles game this weekend, the football season will already be half over. And you know what Steve Miller said about flying eagles…Originally published by DK on October 8, 2019 at 8:20 am
Is it, punk?Originally published by DK on August 16, 2019 at 10:57 am
Mississippi National with the boysOriginally published by DK on August 14, 2019 at 10:50 pm
Really didn’t know that is so close to Staples CenterOriginally published by DK on July 27, 2019 at 1:26 am