And where, exactly, did this thrilling toilet ride take me? Our destination for the holiday weekend was the twin cities of Minnesota. Dylan scored us a reservation at The Hotel Minneapolis, right in downtown. We got settled in on Friday just in time to grab a couple beers on happy hour down the street, and then we had a fancy pizza dinner at Zelo on Nicollet Mall.
|Happy hour at 8th Street Grille, downtown Minneapolis|
On Saturday, Dylan had to fly the unfriendly skies to Wisconsin for the day. I decided to wait out the storm in our room, then ventured out on a self-guided walking tour of downtown. This took me past the crowds of Twins fans rushing into Target Field for the game, then down to Loring Park, and back up to the hotel for a pit stop before walking the riverfront and then doing some shopping on Nicollet Mall. Then it was back to our comfy room to hang out...and I even fit in a late afternoon nap, something that I'm physically incapable of doing at home. When Dylan returned, we ended the night with a late dinner at Masu, an excellent sushi restaurant just over the bridge.
|The new public library.|
|Mary Tyler Moore on Nicollet Mall|
We were up and at 'em bright and early on Sunday morning to head up north to one of my most favorite places on Earth...Blackduck. Oh, you've never heard of Blackduck, population 785? It's waaaay up in Paul Bunyan country, and it's the town where my dad was born and raised. We made yearly trips to Blackduck when I was a kid, and even into college, and I have some fantastic memories of temporarily and sporadically living the small town, simple life there. But I hadn't been back in years, and I wanted Dylan to see it so badly. So we hooked up with our good friends, the Liens, for some burgers and brats, and then toured the town. We had to load up and head back down in the afternoon for our next visit on the Minnesota Lulu Grand Tour.
|The gate to the Liens' hunting shack.|
|The outhouse at the hunting shack.|
We arrived my aunt and uncle's cabin near Brainerd that evening, and they greeted us with drinks of our choosing. After seven hours on the road, we gladly accepted, and then hopped on the boat for a cruise around the lake in the most perfect early evening weather. We had a grand feast and then just hung out, indulged in some libations, and had a fantastic time catching up with the Palmer side of my family, who I do not see nearly often enough.
|Cruising Sylvan Lake.|
We hit the road Monday afternoon, sat in some holiday traffic, ran an errand at The Mall of America, and then checked into the airport Fairfield. We met up with my cousin, Kyle, and his wife, Sarah, again that night for dinner in their neighborhood. He took us to Chino Latino, and the food was top notch. I hadn't spent much time with Kyle in sooooo long, and it was so cool to see my little cousin turned into a successful businessman with a baby due in two weeks. Sarah was such a trooper with her full-term belly. I told her multiple times that she's my pregnant lady idol...looks great, feels great, fingers and ankles normal sized, etc, etc. We had so much fun, and can't wait to see pictures of baby girl when she gets here!
|Kyle and Sarah live in the coolest part of Minneapolis, in my opinion.|
The jet took off for Turks & Caicos this morning, and unfortunately I had to get back home so I had to forego another lift in the lav. I hitched a ride home with our friends at American, and they even found space for me in the first class cabin for my flight into Chicago where, I learned, they serve you that little glass full of assorted nuts even at 6am. Does anybody actually have a craving for a salty almond before they're even really awake? (But thanks for the gesture, AA.) I was graced with a window seat into Phoenix, and so I will chalk this up as possibly my greatest non-rev success of all time. Especially because I connected through O'Hare and was in and out of there in under two hours.
Success all around, actually. I am exhausted, but it was a mighty fantastic trip and so very worth it. I'll post some real pictures soon. Even though I could only pack in an over-sized purse and a backpack, I still managed to lug my big heavy camera along.
I hope your Memorial Day was full of fun, laughter, hot dogs, and bathing suits...or something else equally as awesome.