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Explore Minnesota

Posted on 31st May, 2005 at 11:33pm by joel


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headline image for “Explore Minnesota”Lovely evening for a campfire, no?

I just had an amazing Memorial Day weekend traveling about the Great State of the North. Here it is, presented in convenient list form.


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Agenda for the Weekend

Yes, this is terribly off-topic and has nothing to do with the web or design or anything remotely artistic. However, after five days of traveling all across the southern half of Minnesota, something has to be said.

Without further ado, here’s a short collection of things that had to happen this weekend in more or less random order:

  • See Chris and Amanda who’d flown from Germany for…
  • …Matt and Laura’s wedding, in which I was a groomsman
  • Deliver approximately 4000 stuffed envelopes to the mail house for a client’s mailing
  • Go to Grandma and Grandpa’s farm with my brother for the holiday
  • Stay out of trouble

Thursday: St. Cloud, Minneapolis, St. Paul

journey map 1Thursday’s journey

  • I need to leave by 7:30pm to make it to Minneapolis by 9pm
  • After much hand-wringing over whether or not the envelopes would be stuffed and ready for me to take with me that evening, the crew gets them done…
  • …but I am without a vehicle for transport. My Jetta simply cannot hold ~4000 envelopes neatly arranged in mail trays
  • The rental car search proves fruitless. The envelopes are loaded in my boss’s wife’s Subaru (note: “not my car” #1)
  • Driving said Subaru for the first time, I arrive in Minneapolis just on time and we have some quality socializing with Chris, who I haven’t seen since August and who spent three months in Iraq keeping the peace and not getting killed.
  • Crashing happens on Mark’s futon in St. Paul

Friday: St. Paul, Arden Hills, Maple Grove, Shakopee, Wabasso, Marshall, Redwood Falls, Wabasso, Redwood Falls

journey map 2Friday’s journey

  • 7:30am arrives far too early these days
  • St. Paul to Arden Hills proves to be a much swifter trip than it should have been in the heart of the morning rush
  • Dropping off the envelopes goes faster than I thought possible
  • Arden Hills to Maple Grove proves to be a much swifter trip than it should have been in the heart of the morning rush
  • Chris’s mother makes a killer breakfast. Surely it, alone, was worth the trip from Germany
  • Maple Grove to Shakopee proves to be a much swifter trip than it should have been��� never mind, the rush was over by this point
  • We leave the Subaru in Shakopee and Brendan drives from there (note: “not my car” #2)
  • Shakopee to Wabasso proves to be a much swifter trip than it appears on the map. We even found Laura’s family’s farm on the first try
  • Wabasso to Marshall (the “tux run”) in Nick’s Explorer (note: “not my car” #3) proves to be a much longer trip than the advertised 30 miles. Is this why people complain about my home state of ND?
  • Marshall to Redwood Falls takes forever as well
  • Note to everyone: E-85 is NOT gasoline. Also, Wal-Mart’s siphon kit does no good in solving this problem
  • Additional note to everyone: According to Ford, running E-85 through one’s engine is an acceptable means of discharge
  • E-85 doesn’t help four tardy groomsmen get to the rehearsal on time
  • I was promised I would get to pick my own cow for the BBQ. The neatly shaped frozen beef patties lead me to believe I was tricked
  • Midnight trips to Wal-Mart to acquire “supplies” for a “reenactment” of a particular “lip-sync contest” from our “junior year of college” are generally a good time

Saturday: Redwood Falls, Wabasso, Redwood Falls

journey map 3Saturday’s journey

  • There’s something to be said about putting on a tuxedo to participate in the biggest day in the life of one of your best friends
  • There’s also something to be said about watching his eyes light up the first time he sees his bride in her dress
  • Just when the uneducated viewer would think that Laura’s family of 5 siblings made for a full photograph, Matt’s family of 12 siblings makes one grin in amazement
  • There’s something frustratingly uncomfortable about being the only Lutheran in the wedding party for a Catholic wedding, but that debate is reserved for Matt’s site. I’m far enough off-topic already
  • Call me sappy, but I do enjoy seeing the thrill and utter excitement following a wedding
  • The limo ride (note: definitely “not my car” #4) includes a stop at the Redwood Falls “zoo”. ‘Twas wonderfully “un-wedding-like” and an absolute pleasure
  • I (heart) wedding receptions. I am such a softie
  • “Reenacting” the “lip-sync contest” from our “junior year of college” only proves to what lengths I am willing to go for my friends. I will not share details with the general public. You’re going to have to find the photos yourself ;)
  • “Bohemian Rhapsody” is almost the best “sing as loudly as you possibly can” song of all time…
  • …only because “Piano Man” and the Johnnie-Bennie tradition it carries beats it out by a whisker
  • Wedding receptions can be hazardous to one’s voice and ability to sleep

Sunday: Redwood Falls, Jackson, Albert Lea

journey map 4Sunday’s journey

  • There’s something to be said about free breakfast and make-your-own waffles
  • Determining which tuxedo parts belong to which tuxedo is always a challenge���unless one collects all of his the night before. Score!
  • Determining the whereabouts of one’s voice, however, is far more difficult
  • Brother and I collect all our stuff and head for Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, hoping to arrive in time for food. We’re going to miss church. I hate missing church
  • The Beast (note: “not my car” [anymore] #5) still runs well. I’m impressed. The seats still kill my back. I’m uncomfortable
  • Note to everyone: when needing to call ahead to the farm to confirm our arrival time for food, don’t lose the phone number
  • The Dairy Queen in Jackson is the Best. DQ. Ever. My brother knows why
  • Thankfully, Grandma saves us enough food, despite our hour-past-mealtime arrival. Unfortunately, after a liter each of orange juice and water in the car, my voice still hasn’t been located
  • The couch is still as comfy and nap-worthy as ever
  • At dinner, our cousin tells us about his “potato gun”. After dinner, he “demonstrates”. Suddenly, I feel much younger than I actually am
  • There’s no such thing as time at Grandma’s without Rook…hours and hours of Rook…
  • The couch is still as comfy and crash-worthy as ever

Monday: Albert Lea, Shakopee, St. Cloud

journey map 5Monday’s journey

  • Our youngest cousin is in the marching band. We hopped into Grandma’s car (note: “not my car” #6) to go watch, hoping we wouldn’t be too late
  • The Albert Lea Memorial Day Parade is roughly two blocks long and takes all of 10 minutes to pass. No smartass joke needed
  • Picnics at Edgewater Park always involve a fire pit, hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, and a few other miscellaneous foods. I see no reason to change this. Ever
  • For a few months, I was convinced that Minnesota had forgotten what 75�? and sunny was like. Thankfully, the state remembered. Never has sunburn felt so good
  • I’ve not swung a baseball bat in a while, nor have I hit softballs or baseballs that far or that solidly. I’d almost forgotten how fun this is. I need to join a league
  • Note to everyone: attempting to climb trees with bare forearms and slippery shoes results in lost skin. It’s still worth it
  • I’ve never been good at shooting a basketball. Why do I continue to embarrass myself when rebounding and defense is a suitably respectable endeavor?
  • While feeding myself is technically “home cooking,” I’ve got a long way to go before I’m eating as well as I do at Grandma’s. Yum!
  • Three of us pile into Uncle Greg’s car (note: “not my car” #7) for the trek up to the Twin Cities
  • I pick up the Subaru in Shakopee and head back to St. Cloud, arriving home tired, hungry, sunburned, still [mostly] voiceless, sore-throated, and absolutely happy at 11pm
  • I’m greeted by 35 emails, 2 voice mails, and 187 RSS feed updates. And people wonder why I don’t unplug very often
  • It can all wait until tomor���

Filed under: ramblings

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2 Responses to “Explore Minnesota”

  1. 1dyk sayeth:

    7th June, 2005 at 3:20pm


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    What fun. Seems like it was only a week and a half ago…

    I would like to point out, however, that you neglected to include as one of your highlights the definitely inappropriate amount of attention upon you from a certain Novak sibling. Not to say you are unworthy of the attentions of noble young ladies - far from it - it’s just that this particular one was, well, as you might put it: So. Not. Legal.

  2. 2joel sayeth:

    8th June, 2005 at 12:34am


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    You’re right, I did neglect to mention that disproportionate amount of attention from said Novak sibling. However, in an effort to retain my sanity and whatever shred of decency I had left after the “lip-sync reenactment”, I decided to leave that detail out of the post. Had I included it, I would have had to also include Gavin’s pity dance, and that just would have been downright mean to him (as if that’s ever stopped me before).

    I will give her props for this, however:
    “Listen to yourselves! How do you not fall asleep during your own conversations?”