Time at Toppers

A new Toppers Pizza franchise opened in Kenosha at 10 a.m. this morning, which is a bit surprising considering how many pizza places there are in town.  Anyway, the first 50 customers in line got “free food for a year” in the form of 52 dated coupons for a large pizza or similarly-priced item.  I arrived and pitched a tent shortly after 5 p.m. last night.  I ended up being #42, which was closer to the cutoff that I thought I would be.  My friend Rich joined the fun, and though he was just outside the first 50 customers, he managed to win the same prize via a drawing.  Nice.

Outside Toppers the morning of its grand openingI owe a HUGE thank you to my friend and frequent running buddy, Mark, who provided the tent for us.  The tent survived the snow that fell overnight!  Thanks also go to Jenelle, Maryke (Rich’s wife), and church friend Mike, all of whom visited us during our stay.

To answer your obvious question — Yes, of course, I will be sharing my free food with friends and family.  Only in Kenosha could a pizza franchiser see an already-crowded pizza market and cry out, “Me too!”

Exacta Exacta

Congratulations to my grandpa, who won over $100 at Arlington race track yesterday. I don’t know how he did it, but on two consecutive races, he got both his exacta bet and his winning horse. Amazing. He was nice enough to buy me two fried doughs at the Roma Lodge Italian Festival, which starts today. What a guy!

Adventures Up North, Part 2

From June 26-30, we ventured north to the family cottage for the second time in a month! This time, we were joined by three other couples — Mark & Heather, Rich & Maryke, and Jamie & Janet.

The photo album covers most of the stuff we did.

We went kayaking on Clear Lake on Saturday afternoon. Rich & Maryke came along. We did just fine alternating who was paddling and who was relaxing on shore. It makes me wish we had another two-person kayak. Hmmm….

Miniature golf was the big activity on Saturday night. In a match play format (four singles matches), the gentlemen managed a 3-1 victory over the ladies. It was great fun, as we had pretty much the entire course to ourselves.

On Sunday morning, Janet, Jamie, Mark, and I (Ben) ran the Freedom 5K in St. Germain. I set a new personal best, finishing in 21:12. Mark wasn’t far behind. Jamie & Janet each finished their first ever 5K, so congrats are in order for them as well. We celebrated by going to Paul Bunyan’s for breakfast after the run.

One thing that’s not in the photo album — we went back to St. Germain that night for fireworks. It was an amazingly impressive show. They seemed as good as (if not better than) the fireworks we saw in Racine on July 4.

We tried a new pizza place on Monday for dinner – the Minocqua Pizza Co., which is outside of town (south of the bridge). Not bad.

The weather was a bit cool for late June. On Monday night, before heading out for one last fishing trip on Little Muskie Lake, Jamie and I bundled up in some old clothes we found in a closet in the cottage (there is a picture of it in the album). We didn’t catch that many fish, but we still had fun.

I’m not sure if we’re heading back up to the cottage again this summer, but if we do, I know it’ll be a blast.

Hilton Head: May 16-23

Now available are pictures from our trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. There were tons of things that made this vacation so great.

Big Family Fun
Eight of us went on this trip. Dad, Mom, Andrew, Holly, Ella, Lily, Benj, Jenelle. I put together a document in advance so that we could track everyone’s flights and keep tabs on everyone en route. We all arrived without difficulty, got two rental vehicles (one car, one van), and made the one-hour drive from the Savannah (Georgia) airport to Hilton Head. Instead of staying at a hotel, we rented a five-bedroom house in Palmetto Dunes. Any fears that we’d be cramped for space quickly disappeared when we first toured the house. Lots of space for everyone. We also enjoyed the movie theater in the basement.

The Beach
There were only two significant beach visits on our trip, but they were both wonderful. The first time out, I rented a boogie board to relive the surfing lessons I took in Hawaii a couple of years ago. Both Jenelle and I tried it out with mixed results. The waves weren’t quite as big as we needed, and the board was obviously smaller than a surfboard. Still, we had fun. It was also fun to hang out and play with Ella and Lily along the shoreline.

Tons of food. Pizza two or three times. Panera. Outback. Chick Fil-A. Top-notch breakfasts made by Dad. I had to run every other day just to maintain my weight. 🙂

I haven’t played golf in quite a while. Thanks to some rental clubs, I played two rounds of golf. I don’t recall what my exact scores were, but I know I did much better at the Arthur Hills course on Wednesday than I did at the Robert Jones course on Monday. One memorable event was a shot of mine that landed on a pile of sod with a thud — there’s a picture of it in the album. On Friday, I didn’t play, but Andrew shot an amazing 75 at the Fazio course.

Jenelle and I played tennis for an hour — I think it was on Thursday. Neither of us had hit a ball in a while. The tennis balls we bought make great souvenirs, as they have the Palmetto Dunes logo on them.

The weather kept us from kayaking as much as we wanted, but Jenelle and I did manage to get out once on Friday. For a change of pace, we each rented our own kayaks instead of paddling in one together. We were out on the water for over an hour, enjoying every moment.

Mom, Jenelle, Holly, and the girls went to a store at a nearby mall that lets you paint/glaze a variety of clay objects. You can check out the finished designs at the end of the photo album. I think all of their projects turned out great!

If I think of more great stuff about our trip, you’ll probably see another post about it. Also, Andrew & Holly took tons of photos as well, so I’ll let you know when their site has been updated.