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Monthly Report – Outdoor Family Life – May 2015

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Welcome to the my May 2015 Outdoor Family Life Monthly Report!

This is the second month in a restart of my monthly reports.  I started doing monthly updates last year, but did not follow through.  I have started them back up and will see if I can refine them enough for it to make sense to keep them going.  As always, any feedback is greatly appreciated.  If there is something specific you would like to see or do not want to see in these monthly updates, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail through my Contact Me page.

My intention is to share quick highlights of any outdoor activities from the month.  Some months will be a little heavier than others.  This month is a bit on the lighter side of content.

Camping

We only headed out for one weekend of camping in the month of May.  We were on a bit of recovery from our busy month of April.

Nights Spent in the Camper:  2

Campgrounds Visited:  1

States Camped In:  1

Land of Memories – Mankato, Minnesota

We camped here for a weekend because it was near a mountain bike race that we had planned.  It is a really nice local park.  The kids enjoyed Saturday riding their bikes around the campground roads and playing on the small playground.

Link to my full Land of Memories Campground Review

Biking

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Biking is becoming more and more popular with my kids as they have watched me progress over the past 2 years with it.  I have been racing quite a bit this spring and the kids have enjoyed going to watch the races and even participated in a kids fun race.  They are also getting big enough to hit the trails with me a bit, which has allowed us to turn biking into a nice family activity.

Trail Systems Ridden:  4

States Ridden In:  2

Carver Lake – Woodbury, Minnesota

I went here by myself for a quick shakedown of my bike before the Mankato race.  Carver is a really fun trail.  I swear it feels like you are going down hill the entire time even though you end and start at the same place.  I wish I was able to take the kids with me, but it was a quick trip after work to get some kinks out of the bike.

Mt. Kato – Mankato, Minnesota

We went here for the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series Race #3.  I raced in the Comp Class and the kids raced in the Kids Fun Race.  We all had a great time and the kids are pumped about racing some more.  I finished 25th out of 65 in the Comp Class and I am improving each and every race.

Murphy Hanrahan – Savage, Minnesota

This was my first time riding Murphy and I really enjoyed it.  I went here with a friend after a Time Trial Road Bike Race.  We were in the area and figured we would bring the mountain bikes for a trail ride after the Time Trial.  I will go back to ride here again.  There are some trails here that the kids would be able to ride as well.

Woolly Mountain Bike Club Trails – St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin

Woolly is our go-to trail system and the kids are doing great on it.  I also did a Mountain Bike Race here mid month.  You can read my race report on my other website here.  The trails get better every time we go over there.  The Woolly Bike Club is constantly improving them.  I have helped worked on the trails a few different times and know that it is really hard work to keep them up.

Hiking

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I like getting the family out for a short hiking occasionally.  It mixes things up from biking and lets us see some other things.  We did not do much camping this month, but did go for a short hike one evening.

Trail Systems Hiked:  1

States Hiked In:  1

Interstate Park – Taylors Falls, MN

Glacial Potholes Trail

We hiked around here a couple of years ago when we moved to Minnesota.  It’s a nice little local place to hike with some great scenery.  You must be careful though, as there are plenty of rock ledges and cliffs.  This is a really neat area that was once covered by glaciers and water years ago, that formed all kinds of little potholes in the rocks.  The kids get a kick out of it and it is not a lot of work to cover the area.

Fishing

No fishing activity for us this month.  We will most likely get out on the canoe in June for some Blue Gill fishing.  The kids love it and we can usually catch our fair share of Blue Gills in a short time.

Cooking

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Lynn bought me an electric smoker for my birthday this year, so we have been trying our luck smoking a variety of meats.

Smoked Pork Shoulder

This was probably my favorite.  We ate off of this for a few days.  I didn’t quite smoke it long enough for pulled pork, but that was fixed the next day with a crock pot.

Smoked Whole Chicken

Pretty amazing how moist the chicken stayed in the smoker.  I used Cherry Wood chips and it turned out pretty darn good.  This is the best way to cook a whole chicken.  The second best is grilling it whole, which we do often.

Smoked Pork Loin

This was our first shot using the smoker and it turned out good.  Again, I probably could have let it go longer though.

Photography

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I always enjoyed taking pictures, but have never really had the time to concentrate on it.  I enjoy some of our short hikes as it gives me a chance to experiment a bit with the camera as I am a beginner.  Lynn caught a picture of me taking some pictures that I thought I would share.

Summary

May was a bit of a down month for us on the travel side of things, but we stayed busy regardless with biking activities and some general outdoor activities around the house.  We’ve had a fantastic spring this year and we are looking forward to getting the kids out on the canoe soon for some blue gill fishing.  We have a few trips that we plan to take in the month of June, so my June report should be full of information.

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