Okay, so there’s apparently more to Minnesota than liars, mono-cropping and bad smells. My time in Minneapolis has proven this.
In this town, there is humidity (came on immediately as I passed into the eastern half of the US accompanying a strange feeling that I was officially back in familiar territory, having grown up in the East), very friendly people (a wonderful trend in the midwest), tall blonde women (real or imagined remnants of the Scandinavian roots of this area), and lots of the oft advertised but until now hidden bodies of water.
After spending two days unwinding from the road (waiting for the moto-induced vibrations to leave my hands) and taking full advantage of the creature comforts (wonderful a/c, couches, mindless but glorious TV!) and hospitality of his home and roommates (thanks Geoff, Adam and Audrey), Chris returned and morphed into a tour guide. We spent an entire day touring around the city, first in his sweet new-to-him/old biodiesel-powered Mercedes and then by bicycle. We visited downtown (Target was started here, evidenced by the 100s of corporate employees milling around clad in identical red golf shirts and khakis), the Univ. of Minnesota and the very sad but nearly impossible to see remnants of the nearby bridge collapse.
We weaved in and out of the hundreds of fitness-crazed and sun-starved residents (short Summers here = take advantage of every free moment enjoying the glory of long warm days outdoors) as we rode around the many beautiful small lakes on the outskirts of town. Everywhere you look, there are runners, cyclists and rollerbladers. Rollerblading was invented here. Which reminds me of a joke that is, unfortunately, entirely too offensive to tell here. I can only remember 4 jokes and all are filthy. Does that make me a bad person?
Anyway, people there like to run around outside, blah blah. They also like to eat and drink beer. We spent the rest of the evening sampling some of the goodness on outdoor patios all over town. One of the most memorable parts of my stay in Minneapolis was the few hours we spent at the end of the night talking with Chris’s pals, Genna and Nick at the Bulldog. All wanderlusters, we whipped each other into a frenzy talking about where we were going, why we were doing it, why the rest of the US is crazy for not doing the same.. etc. Them’s good peops. Nick, thank you for the most bizarre but most appreciated gift I’ve received in a long time – a signed rookie Warren Moon trading card (former QB for the old Houston Oilers, among others). It will make its way around the world and just might, as you suggested, help me out of a jam. Everyone knows the Nepalese love Hall of Famers.