Sunday, December 12, 2010

M is for Marvelous and Miraculous

It was a marvelous weekend and a miraculous return home.

On Friday morning nine of my best friends who volunteer as costumers at Dress Me Up Costumes gathered in my driveway to depart for the annual Galena Girls weekend.  This eclectic group of unlikely friends gathers annually (for 10 or more years) to escape our daily routine for a weekend in early December. We retreat to my childhood hometown of Galena, Illinois, where we rent a home at The Territory through Almost Heaven Rentals. We engage in all of the best aspects of a road trip as we wend our way down the Mighty Mississippi River on the Great River Road. Once in residence in Jo Daviess County we indulge in eating, drinking, shopping, hot-tubbing, and games (not in any particular order).

This year we diverged from an established route down US Highway 61 to LaCrosse and south on Wisconsin 35 to the Dickeyville Grotto. Instead we cruised down US Highway 52 on the Minnesota side and made pit stops in Harmony, Minnesota, to look at the Amish furniture, and in Decorah, Iowa, to try and extract my BlackBerry car charger from my son's car at Luther College. Joren was a little disoriented about his mother and her nine friends interrupting his midday nap at the end of the term, but he handled it politely, remembering to give his godmother and mother hugs.

We stopped at the newly opened Potosi Brewing Company and brewing museum while en route. It's a pretty amazing place where we acquired a "growler" of beer for later consumption. After meeting with Eric, who faithfully leads us to our home for the weekend, Harmony House, we headed back into town for supper at Canova's. YUM.

Saturday morning brought rain that morphed into beautiful snow as the day drew on. We shopped with our Holiday Head-gear on full display. I purchased a new holiday headpiece to replace my destroyed Whoville Mistletoe. I call my new look "Blitzed."

We had a lovely home-cooked dinner (group effort) with my father at our rented domicile and took full advantage of all the amenities before we headed for bed on Saturday night. We slept during the blizzard and woke to a truly bleak midwinter.

Driving home to Hastings, which should take approximately five hours by most standards, took just over nine hours. This marks the first time that we have taken longer to return home than to drive to Galena. I believe that it was about seven hours of wheels rolling time. But Galena to Cabela's in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, was a treacherous road. I, in my trusty Ford F150 with four-wheel-drive, drift-busted for my compatriot, Beth, in her Toyota Highlander. It was a little dicey in some one-lane S-curves east of Fennimore, but we made it. I suspect our average speed for the entire drive today was close to 40 mpr.

Mostly, I am so deeply thankful for this group of women. I am blessed to call them friends. This year we even welcomed one of our youngest to the fold. Katie held her own with the grown-ups and proved herself mature, responsible, and full of fun in spite of a nagging cough. Welcome to the Galena Girls, Katie! We hope you'll stick with us.

Until next trip . . . . .


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