Saturday, August 8, 2009

Day Whatever and 1,000 miles later -- but who's counting?

The traveling days just kept getting longer and longer and dragging myself to bed each night was an effort, let alone opening my computer. The last two days I have flew past more of the Twin Cities and southwestern Minnesota than I ever knew existed.

Wednesday was another day of drive-by shootings. Me driving and Karen shooting - pictures of store fronts, post offices, houses -- all the places that had any connection with a crime from our gangster past. The site I got the biggest kick out of was the Victorian home that the Hammes beer family once lived in. I doubt their heirs still occupy the residence, but in the front yard is a wooden carving of the Hammes bear. I was surprised Karen knew nothing about the bear that danced through all those beer commercials, but I guess it's a Minnesota thing.

Thursday we drove down to the Minnesota Viking's Training Camp in Mankato. The place was packed and I dropped Karen off while I found a place to park. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a sports fan. I wouldn't recognize a Viking linebacker from a Twins shortstop. So when I wandered up to a crowd of people standing by a gate, waiting for a player to notice them, I just started taking photos. Several very nice young athletes came along to sign autographs. I didn't recognize any of them, but some of them were pretty cute. So, while seeing a real live Viking up close gave me no special thrill, I enjoyed the eye-candy.

After the Vikings it was on to the Sioux Uprising of 1862. I'm embarrased to say I knew nothing about this segment of Minnesota history and, thanks to Pawlenty's budget cuts, I didn't learn a whole lot more (more on that in a later post). We visited historic Ft. Ridgely and the Lower Sioux Agency, both of which were closed, so we were only able to wander around and read the signage. We also stopped at various monuments commemorating the people that were killed during the uprising -- White settlers and Native Americans. While I had seen the bison statue across from the Mankato library many times I had no idea it honored the 38 Sioux who were hanged after the uprising.

The biggest glitch in our ride home was Delano. Avoid it like the plague. It is the worse or the worst example of Minnesota road construction season. We were driving in from the southwest, it was dark, and we saw the signs that the road into Delano would be closed. I assumed there would be a detour around the town. There wasn't. All roads leading into Delano were closed. I expected Rod Serling to step out from the darkness and explain that the whole town had been abducted by aliens. At that point, I wish I had been. We had to drive all the way back to Buffalo and catch a detour there. Not something I wanted to do after a day of driving. Arghhh.

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