[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]Day 3: Monday, July 24th (continued)
After plowing through several more small towns and self-described villages on the Great River Byway, some of which had smaller populations than my son’s elementary school, we eventually passed through a downpour and over the border into Minnesota, where our hotel awaited us in Bloomington, a suburb/town/city/city-state on Minneapolis’ south side. Rather than soak ourselves even more thoroughly in a potentially vain search for local cuisine, we grabbed dinner at the Outback Steakhouse conveniently attached to our hotel. Their shared roadsign gives the Outback top billing over the hotel, suggesting that their symbiosis suffers from a peculiar imbalance. We had to dip into other monetary reserves to supplement the food budget that Crabby’s so thuggishly devastated the night before, but we appreciated the immediate faux-Aussie relief.
Once the rain abated, we made one last jaunt out to downtown Minneapolis, which I fully lapped twice (pausing only for an unfair giggle at the expense of St. Olaf Catholic Church — blame The Golden Girls) before I got the gist of the layout and parked in a garage that offered a cheap fare if we were in and out in less than thirty minutes. From our space we sprinted toward the eastern end of Nicollet Mall along 7th Avenue to photograph one of Anne’s must-see stops: the statue of Mary Tyler Moore. TV Land had it installed four years ago, one of several fictional historic landmarks they’ve commissioned across America.
With twenty-five minutes left on the garage shot-clock, I took us to the west end of the same block and into what must’ve been the arts-‘n’-music section of Minneapolis, their answer to Indianapolis’ own Broad Ripple community. We walked past a club called First Avenue where a crowd had lined up to see Beth Orton in concert. Down the street were other clubs whose marquees promised upcoming shows from the likes of Daniel Powter, Gnarls Barkley, and assorted older acts whose fame faded the minute MTV canceled 120 Minutes. Southwest from our entry point, we lucked into a combination drugstore, magazine stand, and full-service comic shop. I spent a few minutes grabbing the new issues of Shadowpact and DMZ while my wife and son tried to find reasons not to be bored.
We made it back to the garage with five minutes to spare, then returned for the night to the hotel, which was much more crowded than we’d hoped. It was a mile down the road from the Mall of America, so we shouldn’t have been surprised at its popularity. We were anyway. Soon we would see the Mall of America for ourselves, and soon we would understand the fuss.
To be continued!
1. I had to Google “Shadowpact” just now to remember what that was. I forgot DC Comics had a previous magic-heroes team like their current Justice League Dark. It’s sad to know I’ve forgotten some of the comics I own.
2. Since 2006 we’ve seen three other TV Land statues, two of which we’ve shared previously on MCC: Bob Newhart from The Bob Newhart Show at Chicago’s Navy Pier; Samantha from Bewitched in Salem, Massachusetts; and, found on our 2011 road trip to Manhattan, Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden in front of the Port Authority, shared here for the first time on MCC.
3. When my wife and I returned to Minneapolis for our 2014 road trip, Anne insisted on a retake with the Mary Tyler Moore statue because she disliked how dark our first attempt came out. Taking a photo right around sundown will do that. As a sneak peek at future MCC entries, and because I’d forgotten that this section of the travelog contained next to nothing, here’s an eight-years-later reunion between her and the immobile Ms. Moore, who remains to this day on the same corner at 7th and Nicollet.]
MCC BONUS PUZZLE TIME: how many differences can you spot between the two MTM photos? If you find more than ten, you’re a Mighty Minneapolis Magnate!
4. Bonus YouTube track, just because I feel like it: here’s a link to a cover of the Mary Tyler Moore theme by Minneapolis legends Hüsker Dü. YouTube also has several fan recordings of old Hüsker Dü gigs at the aforementioned First Avenue. As a huge fan, I still need to check those out myself…]
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]