Phew….that was a busy weekend. After the peace and solitude of Minnesota’s north shore, followed by a few quiet days at Sandy Lake, our four day sojourn in the Twin Cities area was almost a shock to the system. It all started on Friday night when we went to see a Twins game at Target Field in downtown Minneapolis along with ~40,000 other people. That’s quite a change from the beginning of the week when we went on a 7 mile hike and only saw a handful of people along the way. For me this is a big part of the appeal to our nomadic lifestyle. I love spending a few days in the city, doing all those things that civilized folks do, and then bamm, the next week we’re back out in the wild. It provides a nice balance.
Without going into a lot of detail about the game (translation: I know nothing about baseball) I will just say that the Minnesota Twins crushed the Cleveland Indians, the crowd’s energy was invigorating, we ate fried food, Tim drank a $7 Bud Light, and there was an awesome display of fireworks after the game.
Saturday we started the day off at the Minneapolis Farmers Market. This is without a doubt the biggest farmer’s market I’ve ever been to. It’s open everyday, but if you’re looking for the best selection, live music and cooking demonstrations, then Saturday is the day to go.
We walked through almost the entire market before making any purchases. I wanted to buy EVERYTHING, but since we’re only two people who live in a tiny space, I had to stay somewhat under control. Maybe not as in control as I thought because when we got home and unpacked I realized that I bought two bags of cucumbers! Good thing they’re one of our favorite veggies. Here I am with all of our purchases. Note the huge bouquet of fresh flowers that only cost a measly $5!
Next we made a quick run through Ikea where we picked up a new door mat to replace the old one that fell apart, a set of LED lights for the kitchen, and another lamp shade for Tim’s dining room chandelier project. At some point I’ll have to convince Tim to write a post about all his lighting projects, but for now I’ll just tell you that we have cool new under counter lighting in our kitchen – yay! Next stop after Ikea was the Mall of America. That’s right, we braved the largest mall in America…on a Saturday.
I didn’t want to go there, I really didn’t. But since we were in the market for a new computer, and the closest Apple store was in the mall, we had to go. Wow, what a place that is. Did you know that the entire center of the mall is a huge amusement park with roller coasters, water rides and every other thing a kid could possibly want to do? I bet you did, because most people know these things, but I was kind of shocked by the whole thing. I also kept thinking that it must be hard to take your kid shopping at this mall because the whole time they’re probably begging to go on the rides. No pictures for your enjoyment because I didn’t bring a camera in, and I even forgot my phone in the truck. But if you imagine an indoor Nickelodeon themed amusement park teaming with kids, strollers and frazzled parents then you pretty much get the idea.
We made it out of there unscathed, and off to the apple store we went. The new computer is the same as Tim’s old (not really so old) computer so there were no decisions to make regarding models and features, and we were in and out in a flash. Next stop was my beloved Trader Joe’s where we purchased everything we couldn’t get at the farmer’s market, and then it was back to the campground to unpack and stow all our purchases. I had to be a bit creative, but I managed to fit all the food in the fridge and cupboards.
The pepper picture has nothing to do with the last paragraph, but I just had to share this spicy little guy with you. This was a pepper plant gifted to us at at the start of our journey. After 6 weeks of hot, sunny weather is it ripe for the picking and we enjoyed it in some delicious chicken fajitas! Thanks Jon and Deb :)
Sunday was concert in the zoo day. This was the original reason why we came to the area, but as you can see we turned one concert into an entire weekend of fun. Our tickets got us into the zoo at 4 and the concert didn’t start until 7 so we spent a few hours roaming around, dodging massive double strollers with kids hanging out at every angle and checking out the animals (I have nothing against strollers really, but lots of them in small spaces can be hazardous to us pedestrians). Zoos always bring on mixed feelings. On one hand, I love animals and since I’m not likely to see a leopard in the wild anytime soon it’s pretty cool that a zoo gives me this opportunity. On the other hand, all the fake rocks, trees and enclosed spaces make me feel sad for the animals, and guilty that they live this way purely for my enjoyment.
We couldn’t bring the big camera into the concert so we were stuck with the tiny no zoom one at the zoo and not able to get many good pictures. My favorite is of a camel cooling off in the swamp. All you can see are his humps and head.
One more fuzzy pic for you. This is not a monkey but I can’t remember what he was called. He gave us a show swinging around on his fake trees for a bit.
The zoo was cool, but lots of the animals in the outdoor exhibits were no where to be found. I suspect they were hiding somewhere in the shade because as usual, it was hot out!
The concert was incredible. The venue was a small outdoor amphitheater with only around 1,400 seats. This gave the show an intimate feel and the slopping layout meant that even short people like me had a great view.
There were two musical acts: JJ Grey and Mofro along with Robert Randolf and Family Band. Even though they were just the openers we were there to see JJ Grey and Mofro. Tim stumbled upon their music a few years ago and we have been wanting to see them in concert ever since. If you’ve never heard of them I suggest you check out this video. They are a southern rock band out of Florida with a killer horn section and haunting vocals.
At one point the dude with the sax played his way out into the crowd and everyone went wild. You gotta have some serious lung power to play like that!
Robert Randolf and the Family Band were good too, but we both agreed that JJ Grey and Mofro kind of blew them away. The night ended with a surprise VIP ride back to the campground with zoo security. After consulting with the women at the front desk at our campground we decided to walk to the zoo since it was less than a mile away if you took the back way through a school parking lot. The walk there was fine and we even hid a flashlight by the gate for the return journey. Unfortunately, the east gate that we entered through was closed by the time the show ended. Tim asked a very nice event staff person how we would get over to the gate. She was pretty surprised that we walked so far and after consulting a security guard announced that he would take us back in his golf cart! We had to wait about 10 minutes for everyone else to leave and in the meantime chatted with her about where we were from and where we were going. She was pretty excited about our journey and gave us the name of a “locals only” campground in the Black Hills of SD. It really is true what they say about people in the Midwest. They are some of the nicest folks ever.
We thought at first he would just drive us over to the gate, but nope he kept going through the school parking lot and across the road into our campground. We told him he could drop us at the entrance but he wouldn’t hear of it and ended up driving us all the way to our site! An awesome end to an awesome day. It’s been a great 2 weeks in Minnesota and we add yet another state to our list of places we must come back and visit again.
Next stop – South Dakota!