A Travellerspoint blog

Lutsen 99er

Handing out free beer!

Last year I applied to be an Ambassador for Athletic Brewing. They are a completely Non-alcoholic brewery based out of Connecticut (with a second location in San Diego, and they have just opened a third location in Connecticut). As an ambassador, I get discounts on beer and merch when I post on social media, share with friends, etc. So if you've looked at my facebook or IG stories, you usually see them mentioned a few times a week.

Athletic is also very involved in organized races as well as trail development. 2% of all of their profits are donated to local trail projects, and they sponsor a number of races, as well as get involved by handing out product at others.

The Lutsen 99er is one of those races. Ambassadors are able to help out at these events by handing out beer and sharing information about the product. Most of these events don't take place in the midwest, so when there was one that was actually in Minnesota, I jumped at the chance! Now, let's also just remember that Minnesota is a huge state... so Lutsen is actually over a 6 hour drive from my house. I can get to Chicago in the same amount of time it takes me to get to Lutsen. But, I digress.

The biggest bonus about Lutsen is that my friend competes in it every year, so I figured I could watch him as well. As it turned out, I actually rode to Lutsen with him, which worked great for both of us (I drove him so he could work during the drive, and he had a hotel I could crash in... perfect!).

So I needed to be there by about 1pm for set up. The booth was going to be open from 2-8pm. Owen had a meeting at noon and one at one, so we were trying to get to the race before his second meeting so he could get set up for it. So it was just before one that I arrived at the race. I got in contact with Nick, who was the ABC employee that was meeting me there, and turns out he was still on the road on the way there. No worries! So I just walked around and tried to find the contact there. Turns out the beer hadn't been delivered yet either. So it was a bit of a waiting game.

Not long after I arrived, Emily found me to tell me the beer had arrived. So we went to the parking lot the truck had come to.

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The almost unloaded pallet.
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All loaded and ready to go!
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Unloaded, stacked and waiting for a tent!

Nick showed up not too much after the beer was ready to go. I had put a number of cases on ice, so the beer was chilling and we just needed to get set up
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Set up and ready to go!
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Ready for all of my new friends to get free beer!
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We had 5 beers to hand out. This one, the Downwinder Gose was one I was always a bit leery to order and try. I didn't think I would like it. I'm not a huge sour drinker, and it sounded like it might have a bit of wheat flavor to it. Nick described it to me as a "margarita beer" so I had to try it. It was good! Not exactly a beergarita, but pretty darn close. Nice and refreshing and there is some salt in there that balances out the sour nicely. Definitely worth an order!
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So many things to hand out. The koozies went like crazy the next day. And the temporary tattoos took me about 3 weeks to actually fully remove haha!

We spent the afternoon handing out beer to people and just chatting with them. At the end of the night, Owen came to pick me up and we all decided to grab some food on the hill before heading down. Turns out, there was no where to eat cause there were so many people eating on the North Shore! So we ended up at a crazy expensive place on the lakefront.
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Great view. though.
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One of the best charcuterie boards I've ever had. Man it was so good. The blue cheese with the honeycomb was sooooo good and the pate was amazing! Owen ordered sturgeon which we all tried and I had a wild game burger. Nick got some salmon. All of the food was so good. One of the waiters was coming over and bringing Owen some whiskey samples too. It's fun when you're practically the only table in the restaurant cause it's the end of the night!

The next day was the race... and Owen didn't get to participate. Turns out when he packed his bike into the car the day before, he forgot his front tire. Oh no biggie, just buy a new one, right? Yep. Unless you have a mountain bike that only has one front fork and is super uncommon and specialized... so none of the bike people have a wheel with them that will work (cause why bring things no one will need or buy instead of bringing things that almost everyone could use?). So Owen and I went on a quick hike in the morning until we got eaten alive and turned around. So many bugs. So I drove up the hill and Owen decided he was going to run up a bit later. He's training for a full Ironman, so at least he could get some kind of training miles in.
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Ready for the day!
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Ryan, the owner of Fulton, stopped by our booth. They were also there and Nick had talked to him the year before. He stopped by and gave us one of their hop waters to try. So good! Definitely worth trying if you see them somewhere!
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The finish line.
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The crowds of riders and people cheering them on.
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I had put tattoos on my arms the day before, but since it was a bit cooler that day, I was wearing a long sleeve shirt under my ambassador shirt... so you couldn't see them! So I decided to put one on my cheek instead. Luckily that one came off later that weekend! The arm ones, however... they lasted!
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Nick had gone out of the booth with a flat of beer a couple times to hand it out. I decided to try it out myself. Ready to go!
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Nick had brought some of the Athletic hop seltzer with him. This was the Yuzu Guava flavor which I had at home, but hadn't tried yet. Really good! I love the Hibiscus Lemongrass flavor, but this was really good too. It's a light flavor that really lets the hops stand out, which is why I really like it.
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Get your free beer!

After the last riders came in, we cleared up the booth and decided to head down to the Fulton cart and chat with Ryan.
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We brought him a case of beer that was leftover, and he happily poured us a couple pints of Lonely Blonde. We had a great time chatting. Turns out Ryan is one of the few Americans (or even people in general) that has lived in Western Australia, so we had a lot to talk about! Us WA kids are few and far between.
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Owen had run up the hill and gotten the car, and then I let him know that we were finished and he headed our way. We all sat around and chatted a bit and then we decided to head into Grand Marais to Voyageurs Brewing to have some beers and food. Nick joined us as well.
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Gotta love sunset
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We finished eating and had been hearing live music, so we went on a journey to try to find it. We didn't succeed, but we managed to find the lake. Nick took his shoes off and went to test the water. Of course, it was freezing! After a short walk around, we decided to call it a night and head back.
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Back to Lutsen!

What a fun weekend! It was so much fun meeting Nick and getting to do something really fun for Athletic! Definitely looking in to when I might be able to get involved again!

Posted by rhwanderlust 14:50 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Arcadia Lodge

School's out for summer! Woohoo!

Some of our friends invited the Grand Canyon hiking group to join them at a cabin up north for a week. Why not? Time to decompress from school wouldn't be a bad thing, that's for sure!

Since I was driving up alone, I took Hayley along with me. She got to go to Costco and Aldi with me to get some things for the week for the group...

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And by request, we stopped at Olive Garden for lunch. Haha I haven't been to an OG in years!

The drive up north was about 6 hours, plus stopping to get groceries and lunch, so we made it by mid afternoon.
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The driveway to our cabin. See that standing, stagnant water? Yep, it's exactly what you think. Mosquito breeding grounds. They were horrible.

We got in, unloaded the car, found out that the mosquitoes were everywhere (even in the middle of the day, that's how you know they're bad!) and decided to take the golf cart to the lodge to check things out.
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Hayley's turn to drive! I've driven enough today!
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We went to the beach to see the floaty playground. Sooooo cool. Swings, trampolines, obstacle courses, slides... all included in the stay. Awesome!

The first night was pretty chill. Everyone was arriving and unpacking (and one family wasn't coming until the next day) so we just sat by the fire and chilled out.
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Campfire time!

The next morning, Hayley and I decided we should check out the floaty playground. Turns out that the lake had 2 feet of ice on it just a month before... so it was COLD. I mean, screaming on your way to the surface cold. But eventually (after about an hour) you get used to it... so it's just fun! We had a good time swimming from floaty to floaty and trying them all out. The volleyball trampoline one was one of my favorites, cause the black trampolines were a great way to warm up in the sun!

After freezing in the lake, it was time to head back, shower and get warm! I decided to walk up to the lodge to check things out.
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View from the lodge.

I wouldn't do that again... the mosquitoes ate me alive on the short walk up there. Only motorized transport from now on! Stupid mozzies.

So instead, when I got back, we decided to take the pontoon out for a cruise.
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I brought supplies. Athletic Brewing has some awesome non-alcoholic beers that are great for a day on the boat. All the flavor and none of the craziness that comes with drinking in the sun all day! Get 20% off with the link :)

So we went in the boat with Hayley's dad Brandon and her sister.
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Allie got to drive first.
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We are so cool.
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Yep, I'm wearing a sweatshirt on the boat in the middle of the afternoon. It was chilly!
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Hayley's turn to drive. She found a few shallow spots that were a little iffy haha but she figured it out!
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Lake views
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Brandon and Will fishing on the dock after we got back. They caught so many fish on the dock!

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Ashley with her catch.
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Hanging on the boat while everyone is fishing. I like the boat part, not the fishing part haha. Give me a rod and I'll cast a hook into your lip!
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My first loon! I'd never seen a loon in the wild (I don't think so anyway. If I did, it was a long time ago and it obviously didn't really resonate with me cause I don't remember...). This guy was pretty good at giving us a show though.
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And the kids found a tiny turtle. They came to show us and then we had them put it back so it wouldn't die. "No, you're not going to keep it as a pet. Put it back." (Every parent in the room hahahahah)
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Sunset at the campfire. This was when we found out that we would have to be inside from sunset until about 1030pm because of the clouds of mosquitoes. Actual clouds.
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So instead I convinced people to take the boat out and get away from them!
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The floaty playground from the other side.
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Sunset on the lake.

After a couple days off, it was time to try out the floaty playground again.
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Kayaks and paddleboards are everywhere... I just swam but a lot of people were using those.
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Getting some sun and drinking some Daypack to stay hydrated.

The lake seemed slightly warmer. It was still super cold, but it felt like I got used to it a lot sooner than I did on Monday. They also had a new floaty they had installed, a trapeze. Way more fun than I thought it would be! Hayley and I went on it multiple times.
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And then there was a sand castle competition. Hayley and Max went against Lucy and Allie (and a few other people from the lodge). The grand prize was a $10 gift card to the gift shop and a scoop of ice cream. The kids judging the contest gave the gift cards to both sets of kids, and everyone got ice cream for trying. So I think all in all, it was a worthwhile 30 minutes!

That evening, we decided to take an adult sunset pontoon cruise. Time to get away from all 9 kids!
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We were out on the water for quite awhile.
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Sunset selfies
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Oh cool, an island! Let's go check it out!
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Oh wait, this is another breeding ground for mosquitoes? Get away! Get away!
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Smile! I missed getting Maggie in the photo as she was in front of me. Ashley had stayed back at the cabin with the kids as she gets motion sickness and wasn't feeling good anyway.
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I played hair stylist when we got back. Hayley wanted me to do something cool with her hair, so I decided to weave it. It's my Katness Everdeen hairstyle!
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And giant campfire night. The wood they brought us that day was huge and super wet so it didn't last very long. Luke was fanning the fire with a frisbee for ages and it never really took off. So early night for everyone.

We decided to check out some hiking nearby the next day to change it up a bit. We found a hiking trail a few minutes away and headed there.
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After covering ourselves in bug spray, we were off!
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Hayley had a friend hitch a ride for a little bit.
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We found a lake. Such a pretty end to the hike.
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We found a trail a bit deeper in the woods that circled back to our endpoint, so we decided to take that instead of just doing an out and back.
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Lots of big trees.
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Hidden views everywhere. This is also about where the mosquitoes got bad (there's a surprise!)
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Walking back. Definitely had to do some tick checks after getting to the car!

When we got back, we rounded everyone up to go to the lodge for a group photo. Maggie had made shirts for the group, so we were all decked out and ready to take a photo.
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Waiting for someone from the lodge to come help us.
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I brought up some Athletic for the adults and we all got to have a cold beer while we were waiting.
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The whole group!
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The kids
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Nick couldn't make it so he was still there with us hahah.
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We took a pontoon group photo on the way back.
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After getting back, the guys decided that they were going to try to make fire without a lighter. They had a flint (that was easy) but decided to spend hours trying to use a stick and spinning it to get fire. They didn't succeed.
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My last campfire. It was Friday night and everyone was staying until Sunday, but leaving right away in the morning. I decided I'd rather just have breakfast and head out after that and not have a rushed morning. So that's what I did. Thanks for an awesome week Arcadia Lodge! Next time I visit, I'll try to do it when there haven't been crazy cold temps for most of May followed by record flooding...!

Posted by rhwanderlust 12:30 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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