This part of the country is very familiar to us subconsciously and I believe this is because of the very similar rolling landscape and the abundance of fresh water. You can't go very far on any road in these parts without seeing a lake or river. We are staying in the Itasca Lake State Park which is where the headwaters of the Mississippi River begin. Having crossed the Mississippi several times during this trip, this was a great sentimental discovery. Its always nice to see the point where things begin and end, especially large rivers since they have so much spiritual and historical ties. I have yet to go to New Orleans, but I do believe I shall sometime soon. Mardi Gras anyone?
John Isaac and I spent the day at the beach today playing frisbee with some local kids followed by a serious game of "toss the little brother" where I fire him skywards for front and back flips back into the lake. We had a good time. I think the other feature of this area that reminds me of home is the way people talk. They have that quasi-Canadian accent that we have in Buffalo. Somewhat nasal in tone with similar expressive projections and volume. I've heard the occassional "eh" too, which is a dead giveaway that you are within a few hundred miles of Canuckville. They also greet each other with the very common, "How aaaare ya!!!" which of course is answered with "Goooood and you?" I know some of you are laughing right now, because it is totally true. Having spent lots of time away from Western NY, then coming back, these are the kinds of things I pick up on in the grocery stores and diners. Visit your local Tops or Wegman's supermarket and see how many times people do this. It's astounding!
Anyway, we are enjoying the stay and laughing a bit because my little brother knows that he's back in bear country so he's taking his normal psychological precautions at night. All of the sudden he needs his light on to do Wordsearch puzzles in bed and he doesn't dare go to the bathroom without an escort... even though we are parked right next to it. Such is the mind of an 8 year old! We bounce out of here tomorrow and head a few hundred miles east to the greatest lake of them all... Superior! I'm very excited about this part of the trip! More to come.... Jeremy