Monday, July 18, 2011

On the road again...

We've been on the road, traveling to some of our favorite places... (As far as posting goes, I think I'm going to be in intermission from the Four Corners posts for a while; I'm still figuring out how to process some of that trip!) (And for the robbers out there: a) there's not much in our house worth stealing, and b) we have house-sitters.)

Things we love about Minnesota and Minneapolis

Two of our favorite bookstores in the world live in Minneapolis--Birchbark Books and Wild Rumpus. We visited both this year. If you're there, you should go! Birchbark has a great selection, and it's a bookstore run by writers. Plus there's a cafe next door. Wild Rumpus has a great selection of books for kids and young adults, plus there are CHICKENS and other animals in the store as well as the traditional bookstore cats. For real.

Here's Dexter at the door to Wild Rumpus:

(There are two doors there--the grown-ups' one and the purple kids' door inside it...)

Would you believe, when we first started going there, that he fit through the little door? I always duck through it even though I'm too big, but this year the difference was that it embarrassed him. :( I think I redeemed myself, though, when I picked up one of the chickens and held her long enough for him to pet her.

We usually stay at an inexpensive hotel (relatively speaking) near the Mall of America; my favorite thing about that place is the amusement park rides in the middle. And this year Dexter and Patrick declared this one to be the best:

(whee! In the middle you go through a cave where Paul Bunyan tells you something... but we could never make out what the heck he was saying.)

We went on it several times just to be sure.

Another great thing about Minneapolis? REAL public transportation!

(Another one rides the bus...)

The tricky thing on this particular bus ride was that there was a guy in the back very loudly telling some, um, very colorful adult-situation-laced stories.... but hey, on the bright side, Dexter gained a little worldly knowledge, right? And what better place than public transportation to experience that, right? Right? (sigh)

In addition to hitting our usual favorite places, on this trip we explored a bit and went over to St. Paul, a great place for writers, like these two:

(Don't they look great together? Like they've just come back from lunch or something?)

And we went to the Science Museum of Minnesota, which we enjoyed thoroughly. On one of the decks outside, we were able to see the Mississippi River...

... and enjoy the view. This was one of my favorite pieces in the museum:

(Dang--I can't find where I wrote down the artist's name; I'll add it here later if I can find it!)

It's a mechanical creation where, as you push the button and make the gears go, the tiger types, the top of his head opens to reveal a fish swimming round inside, and the piece of paper emerges from his typewriter with the word "fish" repeated on it. I thought it expressed something true about writing...

As we drove toward South Dakota, we stopped and had a picnic lunch; look who joined us!

(Sadly, we did not have any peas or corn.)

And we stopped overnight in one of my favorite places on the planet, Pipestone National Monument.

(Prairie + creek + sacred stone = happy me)

We were able to walk on most of the trail the day we arrived, which turned out to be good because that night there was a thunderstorm with enough rain to flood the bridges and trails the next day.

It was hot as heck, and humid, and there were plenty of mosquitoes, so we didn't linger in any one place very long, but it was a really good evening walk.

Later that evening one of our party found something right near our hotel, on the courthouse square, that made him quite happy...

(That is one happy boy!)

He has been studying WWII and could tell us lots of things about this particular tank. It's a machine of war, so I was wary (as always), but it was nice to find something along the way that Dexter was so engaged in.

Well, the library is about to close, which means my wi-fi access is going bye-bye for the day. (There's no wi-fi at Grandma's house; heck, there's no microwave there, and there IS a rotary wall phone. It's like stepping back into 1972!) I'll post more soon about South Dakota and our continuing adventures on the plains.

Hope you are enjoying a good summer!

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