Saturday, November 07, 2015

Visit to USA 2015 / Part 1

Up to Sydney for an overnighter at Rydges International Airport Hotel for a midday departure the next day to Sioux Falls, SD via San Francisco and Denver.
That evening we met up with the Daughter and the Nickster for an excellent meal at Sake in the Rocks for a late or maybe it was an early birthday celebration.
All flights to the mid west USA were uneventful and virtually on time. We picked up our little Hyundai Accent at our final destination for the hour's drive to our accommodation.
This is the first car I have driven without a spare tyre. Instead all they supply is a small 12V battery driven air compressor and sealant kit to deal with any punctures. Not to my liking but thankfully we never needed to test the system out.
Then, on very next day, we began the rounds, catching up with family and friends.

Our first Saturday was the family wine tasting tour on the Sioux Falls Trolley organised by Kay. The city's trolley transport system has quite a history and it was a fun ride in this motorised replica.
The Strawbale Winery at Renner is relatively small and was very crowded due to it being their harvest festival day. They make American grape wines from Frontenac, Kay Gray, Frontenac Gris, La Crescent and Valiant as well as fruit wines.

The next stop was the Little Cellar Wine Company. They have wine tasting stations where you insert a 'charge' card and select from 16 wines (4 sweet/fruity, 4 whites, 8 reds) you want to taste by the ounce (30mL), ½ pour (75mL) full pour (150mL). They even supply Riedel stemware for the tasting. We have bought wine here on previous visits and they usually have a great selection.
Then we went to The Market for a more traditional tasting experience.
We were 'taken through' five wines by a very knowledgeable sommelier. In between wines, he and I had an in depth discussion about wine in Australia and the various styles that predominate here. Again the tastings were in Riedel glasses and the snack food was excellent too.
Everyone wanted to kick on so we ended up in a downtown bar. Some stayed late. The jet lagged were home by 11pm.

Sunday was Gramcracker jam making day for the ladies so Mark and I went to Cubby's Sports Bar and Grill for lunch. Great burgers and nice cold Coors on tap as well as a bit of NFL football watching on the big screens.
Then in the afternoon we headed up to Lake Hendricks to Kevin and Lisa's new house. We had been there last year when they were moving in but it was a miserably freezing cold and snowy day so we didn't get to see much.
One of their friends picked us up on his pontoon boat and took us on a sunset cruise. It was beautiful before all of a sudden a huge gale hit us.
Totally unexpected and he couldn't get us back to shore on 'our' side of the lake so we went into the lee of the opposite shore to land and he had to drive us back after a few beers and an impromptu game of Hammerschlagen.

The weather incident wasn't too scary, it just put a bit of a damper a nice evening.
The next day the girls went shopping in Sioux Falls so Kevin and I went around to the boat guy's place to help get his dock and boat cradle out of the water. They have to do this early October as the lake can freeze over quickly after a cold snap. That took 3/4 of the day.

The following day was a chill out day. The wind eventually subsided so in the evening we dropped a line in from Kevin's dock.

I caught a very minute perch and a largish bullhead. I also 'lost' quite a big silver one, maybe a Walleye.
My excuse was that it was difficult fishing keeping one eye on my and Kevin's rod and float while he was BBQing and the other out for the game warden as I didn't have a license.

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