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Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 6: How Green Was My Giant

Giant + Anne!

Remember, kids: eat all your vegetables — especially the canned ones — and you can grow up big and strong like this vegan colossus.

Everybody loves advertising mascots! Granted, kids may not fully appreciate mascots trying to convince them to eat things they think are terrible. They’ll follow those characters’ extremely short cartoons, but stop short of paying attention to their endorsement. In that sense, the Jolly Green Giant is one of those heroic hucksters who may appeal more to nostalgic adults with broader palates than to kids who don’t understand why they never get to see him stomping on bank robbers. Sure, the Green Giant could use his powers for good rather than for capitalism, but then he’d be taking valuable jobs away from our hard-working police forces. Also, good luck trying to convince him to wear a body-cam.

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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 #20: Monkey Donuts and the Rest Stop Lake

Mojo Monkey!

Two of the four creations we sampled at Mojo Monkey Donuts in St. Paul: Hanna Banana and the Maple Bacon Bar. (Click to enlarge! That way you get even more donut!)

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.

Right this way for more donuts and Minnesota greenery!

2014 Road Trip Photos #15: Under the Dome

Minnesota Capitol Dome!

Day Four’s self-guided morning tour of the grounds of the Minnesota State Capitol would continue inside. We’ve photographed domes in other capitals — Harrisburg, Charleston, Denver, Madison, Hartford (barely), our own in Indianapolis, et al. — but we usually admire them from a distance, on the assumption that the interiors might resemble ordinary cubicles or BMV offices. No one wants to risk seeing that and ruining the patriotic mystique.

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2014 Road Trip Photos #10: The Enterprise Incident

Enterprise bridge!

We spent actual dollars having this souvenir photo taken just so we’d have visual evidence to share with friends. Unfortunately my color-correction skills aren’t up to the task of overriding the exhibit camera’s “Radioactive Circus” filter.

Captain’s Log, stardate 2114.198, Day Three of our trip. Our time frame, destination, and course were all charted months before our missions were chosen. During the itinerary process we discovered one optional assignment that was not indigenous to our target area, but had been established in the Twin Cities area a mere two months before our arrival. While surveying the metropolitan areas themselves was our primary objective, my First Officer and I agreed this might be the sole opportunity of our lifetime to take advantage — not only as a recreational side quest for the sake of our crew (both of us), but as a fact-finding investigation for our colleagues back at HQ.

So that’s why we returned to the Mall of America: not because we love shopping (meh), but because we figured such excellent timing obligated us to check out the traveling museum tour known as Star Trek: the Exhibition.

Right this way for our report!

2014 Road Trip Photos #9: Another Hick in the Mall, Part 2

Nickelodeon Universe!

Welcome to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America! Also, there are stores.

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.

Readers who followed along last summer with the remastered edition of our 2006 travelog may have been disappointed at the dearth of photos in the Mall of America chapter. The great and powerful Mall is an enormous structure with hundreds of places to visit and acquire stuff, but last time we just didn’t think to use our cameras much because shopping and photo ops are two activities that tend to be mutually exclusive activities in our minds.

Right this way for more mall pics than last time!

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