I’m going to be honest, the only stuff that I really knew about the Mall of America, and Minnesota in general, was what I learned from Drop Dead Gorgeous. I’m not sure if thats something I should actually admit publicly or not, but there it is. I’m from the west coast, I’ve only ever met a handful of people from Minnesota before I moved and they didn’t do much to dissuade my impressions. Just sayin’…
Anyway, the great part of this trip is that I wasn’t solo. Ernie trekked all the way out from California and hung out with me for a week. Pretty standard that we hit the road anytime we travel and soak in the local culture, and that we did. Due to the large amount of beer and brats in Milwaukee, we decided that it was kind of on the way, so that was our first stop. Plus, how could you NOT be so close to where Happy Days was set and not visit the city. Ok, also another confession, I’ve never seen an episode of Happy Days, I’m just too young, it’s the truth. However, due to its redic cult status, I still know about it. So of course after having some amazing brats and watching Fox News, FourSquare tipped us off that there was a Fonz statue. When in Rome right?
Meanwhile, after the cute little riverwalk, Ernie and I hit the road. We passed bogs (where they grow cranberries, thank you Ocean Spray, otherwise, never would have figured that one out) and a lot of…well, I’m not really sure. It was like driving through the Blair Witch Movie with the occasional indoor water park resort, yeah…that was new. Know what else was new? Stopping in the middle of nowhere for dinner at gas. Thats right, in Royce and Ernie tradition, we pulled into Osseo, Wisconsin for some good old home cooking from the old country…for someone.
Know what I’m guessing they didn’t have in the old country? Diabetes and Asians. How do I know? Cause they served pie like the above (1 slice), but in 72 different flavors and they had a needles/sharps box in the bathroom, you know, just in case your insulin gets out of whack while you’re having gravy and pie. Guessing by the way people stared and Ernie and I, who were sat in the middle of the restaurant, they don’t see many gays, asians or people with iPhones in the middle of Wisconsin. It was like being on the other side of the zoo cage. I really don’t understand the staring that goes on. I swear staring is something people are taught not to do in grade school, but I’m thinking they skipped that subject.
Anyway, we did make it to Minneapolis without incident where we discovered…the mall. Four stories of shops, restaurants, ski resort displays and booths (apparently, lot of people from Minnesota go to Wyoming for skiing). We did a round on each floor then hit stores we thought needed some attention (including the rollercoasters and aquarium).
Anyway, after our mall excursion we hit the road and headed home. Luckily we made it to a place that serves butter burgers and frozen custard before my dear old Maxwell broke down. Thats right, speeding along at 65mph with the rest of traffic and my car sputtered and died. Conveniently, next to road kill and outside a town where everything is closed on Sundays except for fast food restaurants and one gas station.
Thanks to 100 mile AAA towing, we ended up in Madison, Wisconsin, just moments before it started to rain, our tow truck driver fled in a rush and we got to walk to our hotel in the rain…which turned into a thunderstorm, which led us to order pizza and hit the indoor hot tub. Ahh, relaxation. Many people would freak out about breaking down in the middle of no where or being stranded for an unknown amount of time, but I am no stranger to breakdowns. My dad would often finish working on our car before heading out on a road trip. Time and time again I’ve been on the side of the road on I-5 en route to Fresno or Oregon and I since my parents never panicked, I never did either. The only thing that does make me a panic a little bit is selling my car and not being able to get to Milwaukee for brats again…or the mall for, well, shopping. Even though, I didn’t buy anything but food and coffee. Yeah…I’m going to have to work on that for next time. Also for next time, try and blend in a little more, maybe wear a clown suit so people won’t stare? Only one way to find out.