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.
My wife and I awoke on Day Five in St. Paul a little grateful that our lodgers did not offer the sort of free continental morning snacks we’re used to seeing in our hotels every year. Being deprived of this standard money-saving amenity forced us to hunt for breakfast options in our surroundings, preferably on the imaginative side.
Enter: Mojo Monkey Donuts, a li’l specialty shop that was a few miles out of our way. Their site led me to fix my navigation and put it in our way.
Mojo Monkey isn’t a large eatery, so I wouldn’t recommend bringing thirty of your closest friends there for a foodie field trip until you first explain to them that everyone will have to line up single-file and wait their turn to enter. Whether they take turns peaceably or through combat trials is between you and them. Either way I’d say go for it. They also had a few outdoor tables, and their coffee is not the five-dollar artisanal kind, which is fine by my scorecard.
Upon the conclusion of this unhealthy A-plus experience, we took our leave of the Twin Cities for the time being and headed northwest toward our next state. I rarely mention our rest-stop leg-stretching interludes in these travelogs, but on westbound I-94 around mile marker 177, between Clearwater and St. Cloud we chanced upon a rest stop with a natural attraction larger than expected at the end of a grassy path out back.
Along the way: surprise chipmunk!
As of this evening Wikipedia claims Minnesota, the reputed “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, has exactly 11,842 lakes over ten acres. The 54-acre Fuller Lake happens to be the one behind the rest stop.
Most of our drive out of Minnesota was otherwise unremarkable. After Fuller Lake won that leg of our journey, second place for Best Thing Along I-94 went to this tall, smiling face. Last place went to deeply resented road construction.
Roughly four hours after we left those magical donuts, we crossed the Minnesota border at last. It wouldn’t be the last we’d see of the North Star State this week.
Next stop: North Dakota.
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!]