Saturday, August 02, 2008

Running and road tripping in August

Wow, where is the summer going? It is hard to believe August is here already.

I was supposed to be running a race out in western Minnesota today, but on Tuesday of this week, I opted not to go. The weather forecast earlier at the time scared me off, as the National Weather Circus was calling for low 90's today with a high heat index. Didn't happen! It is still warm, but not quite as dire as predicted. Oh, well. No worries, there will always be other races!

That being said, I had a spectacular run this morning in my neighborhood. 16 1/2 miles in relatively mild, but somewhat humid, 60 degree temperatures. In fact, running through some of the foggy, swampy areas felt almost chilly. That is welcome relief considering some of my more recent afternoon runs.

Lots of wildlife again today; cardinals, catbirds, green heron, eagle, ducks, geese, and fourteen cottontail rabbits (that is a 0.85 BPM ratio for those of you keeping score at home), to name a few. But there were a couple of other nature highlights.

The morning was incredibly calm. When running by a bay on the lake, I saw a great blue heron flying very low over the surface of the water. He generated a perfect mirror-like reflection off the surface of the lake. Beautiful!

And, I also scared up a red fox! He was down by the shore of the lake, and when I ran by him he took off like a shot. A gorgeous specimen, with perfect fur and a very long, bushy tail. Wow, what a fast animal. He was really hauling! And, what a treat to see him.

Following my run, I went on a mini road trip of sorts. I hopped in The Silver Hornet and headed west to the town of Kimball. A trip to the Knaus Sausage House was in order. On my trip out there, I made a point to drive on nothing but sleepy county roads. It was a beautiful day of driving.

I am drawn to any place that has a giant bull for a sign!

I picked up some jerky, maple bacon, sirloin, and a jar of their homemade sweet horseradish pickles. It is hard for me not to smile when I visit places like this.

Taking a roundabout way home, I ended up in the town of Howard Lake where I stopped for lunch. I dined at Sunni's Grille, a cute little family-style restaurant right in the heart of town.

I had the "hot beef commercial," which is essentially an open-faced hot roast beef sandwich served with mashed potatoes and gravy over everything. In most places throughout the Midwest, it is simply known as a "hot beef sandwich." But there is a distinct pocket in south central and southwestern Minnesota where this is called a beef commercial. I have actually started what will likely be an ongoing research project to study this (What can I say? I am a geek, and stuff like this fascinates me!). More to come...

My lunch at Sunni's Grille

Anyhow, the sandwich was just fantastic! Fork-tender roast beef, homemade mashed potatoes, sourdough bread, and a flavorful gravy. What is not to like here? This is down home cooking at its finest.

Tonight's dinner was a little lighter by comparison. I made venison soft shell tacos with a homemade red chile salsa. My salsa contained a mix of dried guajillo, pasilla, and cascabel chiles, and this was perhaps my best batch ever; spicy, slightly smoky, complex, and rich.

South of the border

The salsa, along with some sliced, tequila-lime marinated venison steak, refried beans, farmer cheese, fresh cilantro, and diced raw onion, made for a darn good Saturday night meal. And a darn good Saturday, for that matter.

Until next time,

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