Somewhere in Minnesota I turned 50. It was a really big surprise to me, not the birthday, but the event it became. I am not easily fooled, and my “curiousity” generally uproots any surprises or tricks that folks have in mind. But this one got me good!
As my birthday drew near, I urged Mike that we should get moving and make miles towards our next stop. I was in a hurry to meet up with some friends in Brandon, South Dakota. But for reasons unknown to me, Mike wanted to stay a little longer in Saint Cloud. He decided we would rent a hotel room and go out for a nice dinner for my birthday. Okay, that seemed reasonable, and then we would get on the road the next day.
Driving to dinner was the first clue that something fishy was going on. We were way out of town, and then suddenly at the airport. I realized then that we were about to take on a passenger and Van-life was about to change. But still, no idea who was going to be on that airplane for the birthday surprise.
Surprised I was!! My wonderful mother and my terrific sister both stepped into the lobby and I was overcome with tears. I could not believe that this group had successfully orchestrated such a great surprise for me.
My birthday fun started in the hotel, as Mike had prepared the room with balloons, gifts and a hilarious, custom birthday cake. I was so excited to see these two that I barely slept at all. The presents were wonderful and useful. But truly the best gift of all was the opportunity to spend some time with my sister, Jessica.
The plan was to spend 4 days in the Twin Cities as tourists. And we did just that! We found elf doors in city parks! We walked along the Mississippi River and watched the lock systems at work. We briefly toured the art museum and of course, we went to the Mall of America. And solved a CSI crime at the mall.
Other fun in the twin cities included the tour of the caves, where Mom danced with Snoopy and a ride on the “danger=ferris wheel” at Betty Danger’s Country Club We also toured the beautiful Saint Paul Cathedral which is modeled after the Cistine Chapel.
The days were hot and muggy, but the visit was fantastic. I was so thrilled to spend time with my family as they helped me celebrate this birthday. Time flew by and we had to send them packing back to Arizona. But the time, effort and energy they spent to make my 50th birthday special will be with me forever!
Thanks Mike, Mom and Jess- you rocked that surprise party!