Road Tripping in May

John and I had some more wedding business to attend to. We headed down to Bloomington in the time between finals and my area exam (which I passed! Woo! Subject for a separate post). In order to break up the drive, we decided to spend the night in Marshall, MI* and eat an enormous meal at Dark Horse Brewery. We've stopped there before and I wanted to come back when I knew we didn't have to get back on the road after eating. So we spent something like 3 hours at Dark Horse, trying various beers and pizzas.

For my first beer, I ordered the Amber, expecting it to be kind of run of the mill, like a lot of ambers. But it was so nice! Very smooth, and slightly sweet, almost like a Belgian. I ended up giving it to John because he ordered an IPA with a strong grapefruit taste that he didn't really care for. That IPA was perfect for me since it was less bitter than the average IPA. Either would be great for summer. 
Next, I ordered the Black Ale, which I've had before. It's very chocolatey and kind of thick for a black ale, and I wished I had waited for dessert to order it. John had something called the Arctic (IPA), which he described as hoppy, bitter, and full-bodied. We also kind of shared the Sapient Trip Ale, a triple (trip-ale, get it?), and John was smitten with it. I wrote down his reaction: "Do I like this beer? I LOVE this beer!" He also said it was better than Fin du Monde. It's fun to see what Dark Horse has on tap, since it's often beer that they don't distribute. 

All of Dark Horse's beers are fairly boozy, so we wanted to stick around and have some dessert before going the mile or so back to the Comfort Inn (...woo). We ordered an elephant ear for dessert. While it wasn't exactly the funnel-cake style elephant ear of my childhood, it was delicious. They basically make a sweet version of their pizza dough and spread cinnamon-sugar icing all over it. Yes, we ate the whole thing. 

Our plan for the next day was to work off all those beer and dough calories with what we thought would be a relaxing run at Pokagon State Park. The park is about 40 miles south of Marshall, MI, and about 40 miles north of Fort Wayne, and it's famous for its toboggan run during the winter months. I told John that the trails looked fairly wide and even on the website, and that it was northeast Indiana! How hilly could it be?! 

Famous last words. You can see where this is going.

It was one of the hilliest runs I've ever done. I got tons of practice swinging my arms for momentum on the uphills, and we were both pooped by the end. Most of the trails are described as moderate and the longest one is only 2-2.5 miles. We figured we would do 2-3 of the 2 mile routes and make sure we got enough mileage in. Turns out, it took us about 51 minutes to run just over 4.5 miles. There were a few flat spots, like this one that reminded me of a cabbage patch.

In general, the park is lovely. I hear the trails nearer the lake are less hilly, and all the trails we took were well maintained and pretty wide. We were able to enter without paying a vehicle fee for some mysterious reason, and the Potawatomi Inn has plenty of bathrooms and water in the gift shop. It's also really conveniently located off I-69, so we will probably try something like this on a future trip down to Bloomington.

Somehow, even on this very overcast day, John's white chest is just blinding.

We were in Bloomington over graduation weekend at IU, and my cousin Jeff graduated from the business school. The festivities started off with sushi, where Jeff, his mom, Aunt Becky, and John all did sake bombs.

John and I helped put the graduation party together while my mom went with Becky and my cousin Halley and her husband to the graduation ceremony. Mom ordered this cake from BluBoy** but wasn't sure what sentiment to add. So she went with this very apt message:

The weather cooperated and we were able to host Jeff and his roommates out on my parents' deck.

Aside from meeting with a florist, meeting with our venue coordinator, and a dress fitting, we did a few non-wedding related things. For instance, Mom worked on her ability to read Molly's mind.

The run at Pokagon was the first in a week of very hilly runs, including some speed work in the rain at Olcott Park.

I also had my trial appointment for my wedding make up. Afterward, I tried with moderate success to persuade Toby to sit for a photo.

We have about 6 weeks to go until the wedding, and even less before we leave for Bloomington to do all the final tweaks to our plans. In the mean time, I have food from the Rick Bayless cookbook to show you, and I'd like to do a little post summarizing my dissertation progress thus far, including the area exam.

I hope the weather where you are is appropriate for May - it sleeted in Southwestern Ontario today! Happy Spring!

*If you're curious, we stayed at the Comfort Inn. It was cheap and well located, but nothing to write home about. I will say that when hot air started coming out of the air conditioner, the staff immediately moved us to a better room with no trouble at all. If you happen to be looking for a room in Marshall, MI, I would recommend staying there. Just know, it's cheaper than the Hampton for a reason - but it's nice enough for one night.
**Not shown: for me and Halley, vegan peanut butter-chocolate rice crispy treat, and vegan cupcakes (salted caramel and sugar n' spice) from The Owlery, one of my new Bloomington favorites.

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