2014 Road Trip Photos #32: Outtakes, Minnesota

The Source!

Alternate closeup of “The Source” in Rice Park, a gift to the city from the erstwhile Women’s Institute of St. Paul. in Part 16 I posted a wider shot from the other side that captured the whole fountain and a few gratuitous, ubiquitous cranes.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

With each year’s travelogue we like to conclude with a second-chance review through the hundreds of photos we took to see which photos were unfairly cut from the final roster, which ones didn’t fit into the narrative but possess their own merit, and/or which ones slipped through the cracks for no valid reason…

In the penultimate chapter of our 33-part saga, we take a look back at scenes from Minnesota, mostly the Twin Cities, that were skipped the first time around for a variety of reasons. No photographer shares every shot they take, but sometimes a few keepers get unfairly lost in the shuffle.

Right this way for one final mini-tour through the North Star State!

2014 Road Trip Photos #27: The Lovely Minnehaha Shuddered

Minnehaha Falls!

A few hours’ drive southeast from Fargo/Moorhead brought us right back to the Twin Cities, where we did lunch and had two more sights to see before exiting Minnesota for the year.

Through no conscious intent, many of our to-do list stops for our seven-day vacation comprised man-made structures, companies, businesses, and other unnatural things — memorials, sculptures, State Capitol domes, foodstuffs, and so on. Nature was present in the background, but in a state containing a reputed 10,000+ lakes, we weren’t veering out of our way for specific natural wonders nearly often enough by the average traveler’s standards.

That brings us to Day Six and Minnehaha Falls.

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2014 Road Trip Photos #19: Twin City II: Minneapolis

Mary Tyler Moore!

Mary Tyler Moore takes a nothing day and suddenly makes it all seem worthwhile in front of the still-open Macy’s at 7th and Nicollet.

After spending the first several hours of Day Four walking around downtown St. Paul, we crashed at the hotel for a while. As someone who hates naps, that’s hard for me to admit, but it had to be done. We needed to recharge for the sake of our evening plans, for which we’d be driving into downtown Minneapolis to create a fun bookend effect for our day in the Twin Cities.

That evening we tried something we’ve never done before on vacation: a formal anniversary dinner.

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2014 Road Trip Photos #13: Parks & Ruination

Mill Ruins Park!

No, this image is not an exclusive sneak peek at the surely jaw-dropping graphics from the upcoming Uncharted 4. Along the west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, Mill Ruins Park is a quiet, disfigured little spot where foliage meets wreckage.

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2014 Road Trip Photos #12: Urban Serenity Along the Mississippi

St Anthony Falls!

St Anthony Falls, on the Mississippi River in north Minneapolis.

So far on Day Three of our road trip, we’d spent the early morning at the Mall of America and the early afternoon touring the stabilized ruins of a twice-gutted flour mill. For the late afternoon, we took a different direction and headed outdoors for a walk along the banks of the Mississippi River. Behind and around the Mill City Museum lies some refreshing spots of natural scenery and a chance for rather welcome serenity.

Gold Medal Park!

The singular hill in the center of Gold Medal Park, a couple blocks down from the Mill City Museum.

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2014 Road Trip Photos #11: The Flour That Blooms in Adversity

Giant Pancakes!

Someone needs to teach schoolkids the importance of flour to everyday American life. If parents won’t do it, the Mill City Museum will. Pictured above: giant educational pancakes.

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.

After we finished our business at the Mall of America, our Day Three proceeded from the south end of the Twin Cities to Minneapolis’ north side, where we discovered something completely different.

One of the advantages of traveling without children is that you can stop at historical attractions that they’d never agree to, that would make them think you’ve lost your mind and all your accumulated cool points. If you’d like, you can even check out places that other adults would never dream of investigating because they’re too busy looking for vacation destinations where they can drink or hike or tan or drink or relax or meditate or drink. It takes a special kind of couple to look at each other and think, “Let’s go see the ruins of a flour factory!”

The Mill City Museum is that kind of place, and we are that couple.

And now, a brief history lesson for all the bread geeks out there!

Our 2006 Road Trip, Part 10: We’re Gonna Make It After All

[The very special miniseries continues! See Part One for the official intro and context.]

MTM 2006!

Our nothing day suddenly seemed worthwhile!

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.

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