Luggie wants highlights, so here goes...
I don't think I want to drive that many miles in two days each way with a 9 year boy and and two dogs again. But it was fun. Ray was remarkable. i only heard, "Are we there yet?" once in the two days up there and then again once on the way back. We had brought plenty of things for him to do...toys, snacks, a portable DVD player so he could watch movies, and of course plenty of rest stops.
On the second day, Shilow (our 12 year old border collie) started whining, and I figured that he needed to go pee, so I started looking for a rest stop. Ray was asleep in the back of the minivan under a blanket when Shilow had had enough waiting and went and pooped on top of the blanket. Well, that sure woke Ray up. LOL
Entering North Dakota, I saw black smoke rising to my right. I thought it was Luggie sending smoke signals as he said and thought it must have been him as the radio said it was an auto repair shop that had caught on fire. But Mi was too far away.
The room at the casino in Minnesota was HUGE with a fireplace and balcony. Ray, of course, had to pick his bed first off right next to the balcony. Once there, Ray met his cousin (my 9 year old grandson :D ) and they hit it off. It took my daughter and I half an hour to drag them out of the water park in the hotel.
The wedding was held outdoors at the bride's parents farm. Of course I followed my brothers directions on how to find the farm and was 30 min late so we missed the ceremony. But everyone was there only for the typical huge party afterwards, so we didn't miss much. Ray hasn't been on a farm before and was fascinated. He and his cousin, along with 4 or 5 other boys, eventually found the paths through the woods behind the house leading to the plowed fields where they scrounged wood, hey and brush to build a fort in the trees and brush at the edge of the field. Ray was so proud that he sought me out to bring me there to show it to me.
The nest day (Sunday) I took Ray (along with my daughter and grandson) to my brother's other daughter's farm. She married a guy who's father was killed in a car accident about 4 years ago and they inherited their 5,000 + acre farm. First Ray and Joseph) (my grandson :D ) went to the hay barn and climbed hay bales stacked up to the rafters. Since it's a farm, one of the kids there (10 y/0) took the gang of kids on a 4 wheel tour of the farm. Ray got in the cab of a huge combine and got to sit in the drivers seat. Later on we took him to the horse barn where he got to feed hay to the horses in their stalls. I have videos of his excitement.
Now this is something that I disagree with but must follow their rules. CFP here in New Mexico won't let me show you pics or videos of Ray for confidentiality reasons.
Anyway, we didn't have time to go fishing on Lake Of The Woods, but my brother fired up his pontoon boat and we took Ray fishing on the Thief River that runs through town. Ray was the only one that got a strike, but it was gone by the time he reeled in his line. My brother put Ray in the drivers seat and showed him how to steer the boat for awhile. What a determined look he had on his face driving that boat down the river at 9 years old. We even stopped to watch 5 turtles sunning themselves on a tree branch on the bank of the river.
We left the next morning (Monday) and headed for the Black Hills of South Dakota. After we checked into the motel outside of Sioux Falls, Ray and I went to the market to get snacks for the night. When we returned we found that our 7 month old puppy (Teddy) had pooped on the carpet. Oh well, it wasn't soupy so easy to clean up.
When Ray saw the 4 president's faces on the mountain for the first time, he stopped, starred at them and his only word was, "Awesome." We took the audio tour of the park with a hand held virtual tour guide.
We drove the whole way from the Black Hills to Las Cruces, NM the next day. Needless to say, we slept immediately upon returning.
It was a wonderful trip. Blame Luggie if this turned into a long post. :D