The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Month of Fundays: Day 14 – Road Trip To…Minnesota’s North Shore

Road trip day! Yes, I’m typing this up in a hotel room in Carlton, MN. The first leg of the journey left Chris and I near Duluth at the Black Bear Casino – super cheap, yet clean rooms about 18 miles outside of Duluth if you need that information. We meant to start extra early, but that’s the thing about road trips, it takes 4 hours to pack the car. I repacked my suitcase twice; it’s a 4 day mini-break and not a four week tour and yet I have enough baggage (personal and literal) in the car to run away for at least a month. I remember when a road trip meant piling in the car and just going. I’m not that girl anymore; this road trip had to be planned out and repacked. Of course, if your road trip is last minute and spontaneous – that’s great, and also, I’m a little jealous.

We made it out of the driveway by 9:30 and promptly pulled into the grocery store a block from the house to purchase things we’d forgotten and also for cash at the ATM. We really were on the road by 10:00 – actually pulling out of Bloomington and everything.

I asked what we were going to listen too. Actually I said, “Do we have anything voyage-like?”
Chris replied, “Journey”, and popped in a Journey CD.

Over the next two and a half hours:
- I got carsick
- I rolled the window all the way down for air and promptly got hit by a pebble from the highway.
- It was too hot then too cold and then too hot again.
- I spilled Chris’ soda in the back of the car.
- We had to listen to that stupid Journey CD three times in a row. As Trip Navigator, I was just too lazy to switch out the CD.
- I fell asleep; leaving Chris to fend for himself on the open road for at least 3/4 of the actual car trip. He woke me up around Cloquet. The car ride knocks me out every time.

We did Duluth-y things for the day.
We walked around downtown and by the lake trying to decide if we wanted to do anything touristy like the aquarium or Glensheen or the William A. Irving. Decided to sit down in Canal Park and watch the ships come in and the Aerial Lift Bridge move up and down. We also watched seagulls terrorize pedestrians, kids jumping off the big concrete block of mystery along the shore and counted how many of Crabby Bill’s mini-donuts made it into seagull beaks. I’d say at least 25%; seagulls are lazy harbingers of filth, but definitely not stupid.

Classic Bits of Americana Sightings:
- Bald eagle in flight
- Giant random stuffed buffalo sculpture along the road
- Frank Lloyd Wright service station in Cloquet, MN
- Corn stands every 10 yards along the freeway
- Scenic View pullover with no actual view of anything – scenic or otherwise
- Two giant turbine propellers coming down the highway each on their own flat bed trucks with police escorts and “wide load” flashing lights.

Things I Learned Today:
- The car windshield does not keep out the UV rays.
- Cloquet, MN is entirely peopled with hockey players.
- The Red-tailed Hawk likes to sit on the ground and the wild turkey can often be found in trees.
- Taco John’s & Steak Escape coexist as one franchise restaurant in Cloquet. This is my new favorite, ultimate American treat: A Hambrosia sandwich with Potato Oles! Awesome sprinkled with awesome next to a side of awesome.

Apparently today’s blog post is all about lists.

Picture: Anything you want to take a picture of along the way. I have many pictures of the dashboard I could share, and some of whizzing by trees and abstract construction workers (bits of blurry orange, yellow and gravel).

Song: I’ve decided I don’t like Journey very much so nothing by them. Two songs stuck in my head while traveling today: Lady Gaga’s “Americano” and The Proclaimers' “I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. No, that’s not at all stealing from How I met Your Mother they stole it from me…or anyone else going on college road trips in the 90s.

Tomorrow (or later today if I get it formatted into Blogger quickly): Go for Ice Cream

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