Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mandy's trip to Minneapolis

so I know this is long over due, but better late than never...



I kept calling this trip Mandy's trip... we were visiting her aunt, her mom's friends, her grandmother, etc...

but really we both went on the trip, it was my march break too.  But it's always fun bugging Mandy this way.


Anyways, we set out on Monday after Mandy took her dog into the vet (she's losing her eyesight, poor dog).  My mom had given us some turkey so I made a bunch of sandwiches for our trip.  It was neat having it already made and we just drove.  We didn't stop at all... usually I make breaks in Grand Portage, or Two Harbors... but the gas was ok, and Mandy was so peacefully sleeping, I just drove on.  When we reached Duluth (and subsequently Mandy woke up) we gassed up, picked up the typical "manager's special" and then found highway 35 and drove on again.


It's funny, the road to Duluth is like 3.5 hours, and winding, and changing speeds alot... whereas to Minneapolis it's more like 2 hours, and 70mph all along the way.  But it's funny that the "what should be shorter" trip, seems the L O N G E ST part of the whole ordeal.  Maybe it's just the monotony.


But in 2 hours we were winding our way through 35W and eventually onto American BLVD to our hotel.  Gotta love the fact that mandy gets cheap hotel rates.  So we rested up quickly and then double checked our maps to find the way to Kathy and George's place.  That was pretty funny, we KNEW the way to go, but at the time to make some of the exits we missed 2 of them.  But we still made it there in time.


We had a good dinner with Kathy and George, and we brought them the next installments of Corner Gas (they're huge fans).  We also got to see Hans' pictures from China.  It was pretty neat!  What was even really especially cool was seeing George's tv, and how St. Paul had at least 15 HD channels OVER THE AIR!!!!  That was pretty cool.  (Here we only get 8 if you have the special box.)


The next morning we doubled checked Google Earth so we could figure out how to get to Mandy's aunt Kathy (or is she the Kathy with a C?).  We ahd several options, but we still made it ok... not a problem whatsoever.  I don't know why everybody seems so hesitant to drive in big cities.  Anyways, we had a delightful lunch with her and her son Michael.  Mandy picked up a book on quilting from her as well as a neat mini-quilt like scrapbooking thing.  Then Mandy gave her the Christmas gifts she meant to... (it was funny going over the border and saying we're leaving behind CHRISTMAS GIFTS ... "aren't you a little late for that?)


By then we had to head on to Mandy's grandmother's home.  IT's always so neat there.  And she invited Mandy's aunt & uncle:  Dick & Mary.  Dick's the one who was a war-time reporter for the Korean war.  He wrote a book about his interviews.  It was very interesting (felt horrible when we had to admit we didn't read it yet).  But it was a good visit.


After which, we had to rush to the Mall to pick up some bathing suits (I had forgot mine), so that we could enjoy some of the hot tub (driving 6 hours and more really makes one desire a good tubbing).  That was good, it was nice and hot, just perfect.


We decided after that we should go and tryout the White Castle ... such a let down.  I should write the people who made "Harold & Kumar" movie.  grr...


Then I made some plans to try to find out how to get to Farmington (where the Scottish Games will be held), so that meant some more Google Earth (what a cool program).


A quick jaunt into Farmington reveals a neat little place ... if we go to the games, it looks cool.  But then it's time to head back north.  We stop in Duluth to do a little more shopping.  I found another copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide for work and I found a new book on odd facts and stuff (I always like those kinds).  We decide against Hacienda Del Sol and march on through.  I'm still determined to stop in the Lake Superior Trading Post, but by the time we get there, it's closed.  But I didn't know that and walked in, where I found most of the staff saying "hey, we're closed."  Heh.


Then it was a pretty long wait to get through the border... and then we were home... ready for a good sleep.  Mandy slept most of the way (as per usual)... I kept awake by listening to podcasts.  The hotel room had internet so I was looking for stuff to do when I found that one of the programs I use actually has a type of podcast program.  So I downloaded some CBC radio 3, some Quirks and Quarks, some DNTO (yes, I'm old, I like listening to CBC), and even I found some OLD TIME Radio casts, as well as a PopSci podcast.  Pretty cool.  So I was entertained the whole way down.


Now... to go back to work and get ready for the Kilt Crasher...  don't forget to check the pictures.

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