Staying in a hotel two blocks away from the Minnesota State Capitol made the first half of Day Four easy to plan. We got up, had breakfast, walked across the street, and did tourism. Charles Lindbergh peeking at us over a radiant flowerbed was just the start of our half-day walking tour of St. Paul.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:
Each year from 2003 to 2013 my wife, my son, and your humble writer headed out on a long road trip to anywhere but here. Our 2014 road trip represented a milestone of sorts: our first vacation in over a decade without my son tagging along for the ride. At my wife’s prodding, I examined our vacation options and decided we ought to make this year a milestone in another way — our first sequel vacation. This year’s objective, then: a return to Wisconsin and Minnesota. In my mind, our 2006 road trip was a good start, but in some ways a surface-skimming of what each state has to offer. I wanted a do-over.
Before all the exercise began, we drove a mile or so out to a business-class breakfast spot called The Egg & I. Nothing particularly fancy or peculiar about it — our hotel had no notable breakfast offerings, so morning foraging was our excuse for brief field trips around the vicinity.
Their exterior was so nondescript, and rush-hour traffic so interfering, that it took us three laps around the block before we could spot it and reach a parking spot without threats of towing. The menu was standard fare, but their Mexican omelet burned me like no Mexican omelet back home had ever burned me before.
Then we returned to the hotel, abandoned the car, and hit the pavement. Among the many works of art surrounding the Minnesota State Capitol was “The Boy and the Man”, a tribute to the lad who would become famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. (He spent part of his childhood in the city of Little Falls, MN.)
Sample Lindbergh quote inscribed upon the statue:
“The accumulation of knowledge, the discoveries of science, the products of technology, our ideas, our art, our social structures, all the achievements of mankind have value only to the extent that they preserve and improve the quality of life.”
“Spirals of Justice” honors the life of Roy Wilkins, a civil rights activist and prominent NAACP officer who grew up in St. Paul.
Hubert Humphrey was Vice President under Lyndon B. Johnson, an occasional Presidential candidate, a Senator, and an integral contributor to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When Humphrey wasn’t on the world stage, much of his career was spent in Minnesota in a variety of influential capacities until his passing in 1978. He’s kind of a big deal ’round these parts.
At first I thought this was Prometheus, but “Earthbound” is meant to honor those who fought for America in wartime. It’s one of several such memorials around the Capitol grounds.
The Peace Officers Memorial stands for Minnesota policemen killed in the line of duty. Note the “thin blue line” for emphasis.
John Johnson was the first Minnesota governor born in Minnesota. The four sculptures hanging out below him symbolize Minnesota’s first four major industries: “iron mining, agriculture, manufacturing and lumbering.”
Past the greenery and the art lay the Capitol itself. Longtime MCC readers have seen pics of capitol domes we’ve posted from other states, but with Minnesota we decided to try something completely different: this time, for once, we meant to go step inside. Ooh, daring, I know.
To be continued!
[Link enclosed here to handy checklist for previous and future chapters, and for our complete road trip history to date. Thanks for reading!]