How was your 4th of July weekend? Instead of packing up the SUV and heading up north to the cabin my wife's family owns in Willow River this past weekend, we decided to stay close to home here in Rochester and still take in a few recreational things we've been wanting to do, but just hadn't yet found time to do.

Navigating the waters of the Zumbro River

To get the weekend started, we were big spenders at Canterbury Park in Shakopee Thursday night, where we won a combined total of about $12!  We never spend more than $2 a race, but it's still a good time to see how your horse finishes-- and the perfect weather made it a great evening to sit outside at the track.

On the 4th of July, we rented a canoe from Boulder Dam Canoe and Kayak in Oronoco and paddled the 8-miles back downstream to just south of Lake Zumbro. It was another perfect day to be on the water-- although toward the end, we were wondering if we'd missed the turn to Sandy Point and were going to end up back in Rochester! When we got back home, our arms somewhat tired from paddling, we fired up the grill and tossed on some steaks and finished the evening with a fire in our fire pit.

Chance, heading out on his favorite summer activity

On Saturday, we took our dog, Chance, down to a pond near our house so he could do his favorite summer activity: chasing and retrieving a tennis ball out of the water.  He's 10 years old, but he's a baller from way back and LOVES chasing his ball in the water-- and, man, was he tired later that night!  We rounded out the day with a bean bag toss 'tournament,' with some friends in our backyard, and fired up the grill for some good, 'ol American hot dogs.

Finally, yesterday, we busted out the bikes and went for a nice 10-mile ride along the Cascade Lake Trail in northwest Rochester.  It was a little hot, but it still felt good to take advantage of the great trail system we have here-- and we got back just before a few scattered showers moved through.

Overall, even though we didn't head up north, we still enjoyed the nearly perfect weather outdoors!