Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Minneapolis

Worked on the blog until 3:00 p.m. Broke away and went out to Walker Art Center (the one the couple at the Black Hills campground talked of.) Unfortunately, it was only open for 50 minutes longer. Decided to see the museum tomorrow and instead walked through the sculpture garden.

I asked at the museum where I might find a good coffee shop. They suggested "Uncommon Grounds." In an old Victorian, I suspect this is not the most inviting shop for some - a little too formal, upscale. Tried the coffee and a cake, sitting outside on their front patio. A girl started up a conversation, saying her father is out traveling on the same bike as mine. Off with his "girlfriend."

"We're experiencing mid-life crisis," I told her.

Driving away later, an oncoming motorcycle "dumped" as he approached. I quickly pulled over to assist, but he had it back up and took off with his friend. In Minneapolis, being a consummate (or is it compulsive?) shopper, a visit to "Mall of America" is mandatory. With hundreds of stores and its own theme park ("Camp Snoopy") all enclosed under one roof, it is America's largest shopping mall.

Entering through Macy's, I was immediately struck with a sense that the mall is showing its age, a bit worn around the edges. And sadly, with Minneapolis' relatively fresh, clean air, people choose to spend their leisure time in this complex where the air smells old and stale.

Drove downtown and found an attractive riverfront area on the east bank of the Mississippi River. This was a mob scene July Fourth night when I arrived, as the fireworks display was launched from an island in the river. Learned this is the St. Anthony-Main district. From a number of restaurants lining the street, chose “Vic’s”; they have an interesting wine list and incredible wine prices ($10 over their cost!)(For wine fans: Hanna 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon at $27 per bottle, 2001 Pine Ridge Rutherford Cabernet $36, 2002 Hess Estate Cabernet $20! 2002 Matanzas Creek Merlot $19! 2001 Arrowood Reserve Speciale Chardonnay $27.)

Ordered the Hanna Cabernet to accompany a tenderloin and "stuffed" baked potato. I knew I couldn't finish the wine, but was told they would cork it to go. A nice dining patio, elevated above the street, looks out across a promenade to the river, and beyond, downtown. Attractive people promenading, seeing and being seen.

Apparently, Minneapolis is known as the “Mill City”. Pillsbury's towering flour mill is right down the street. Another complex of huge grain elevators is across the river, near the city center.

Changed my mind about taking the wine with me. Before leaving, gave the half-bottle to the manager. He was sure he'd find staff members to appreciate it.

Riding through downtown, on my way back to the hotel, my top box (which I had emptied out) was rattling around. I have heard stories of other riders losing theirs (one had lost two or three). Apparently, there is a weakness in the latching mechanism design. This is not good, coming so early in the journey, and with many more bad roads ahead!

Called Jessica – sounds like she had a wonderful birthday.

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