Minnesota & North Dakota

It’s been a long time since I last blogged, and a long time since I was actually on this road trip, so I’m writing this entry purely from memory, ticket stubs and poorly taken photos from my iPhone! I went on this road trip with my mom, boyfriend, mom’s best friend, and mom’s best friends 9 year old son.

Johnny did all the driving… What a trooper. We were initially supposed to rent a van, but it was going to cost us almost $1000.00 so we took my brothers pickup truck instead. We left on the morning of July 26th, 2014 and started our four hour drive towards Fargo, North Dakota. There, we stopped at West Acres Mall, and had lunch. I had Taco John’s for the first time which was like any other Mexican, fast food place. Surprise, surprise. After lunch we drove another three-ish hours to Albertville, Minnesota to shop at the Albertville Premium Outlets. I’m almost positive that I only bought a black tulip skirt, and a white cotton and lace cardigan from a store called Pebble Boutique. We shopped until the outlet was closed and then drove just under an hour to our hotel, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Northwood Inn & Suites. This hotel was cheap to stay in, but everything about the hotel was less than great. We would ask for clean towels or extra toilet paper and a lot of the time, the hotel staff would say that they didn’t have any or that they were “running low” so it always seemed like a huge issue asking for things. Also, the hotel says they provide “complimentary breakfast” but it’s really only pre-packaged, over sugared, danishes, coffee, tea, and juice. Our sheets were only changed once, during our five night stay with them, and they never vacuumed the carpet. One of the only plus sides of staying at this hotel, was that we were less than five minutes from the Mall Of America.

On our first full day in Minneapolis, Johnny and I went to watch our first MLB game! We watched the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox! We got two amazing seats for just over $120.00. Johnny and I wanted the full American, baseball experience so we bought beer, other drinks, and all the kiosk food that we could eat. I also got a “meal in a cup” which is a caesar, plus your choice of either a mini burger or bratwurst! Also, any time I’ve ordered a caesar while in the United States, they always give me a beer! Which I guess is supposed to complement the caesar somehow, which is amazing, because it’s like getting a free drink. In Winnipeg, if you order a caesar, you only get a caesar, and you might get a good stick of celery, if you’re lucky.

The next day, we went to the Minnesota Zoo, which took us a total of five hours to get through. Lots of walking, bathroom breaks, and stops for ice cream and snacks. I also RODE A CAMEL! It was $6.00 for a ride that lasted two minutes tops, but it was so fun! The zoo in general was beautiful and had so many different things to see and do. One of my favourite parts was the butterfly garden. After walking all day at the zoo, we went to the mall and had dinner at the Cadillac Ranch. I ordered a steak, and these fries called “loaded fries” that I can’t stop thinking about. They were perfectly cooked, and had bacon, cheese and green onions on them.

On the day of July 29th, Johnny took me to see the “Barbie –  The Dreamhouse Experience” exhibit that was happening at the mall. It was extremely exciting, and extremely pink. I was the only girl in the exhibit that was over the age twelve, that was not accompanying someone under the age of twelve. And Johnny, being the best boyfriend ever, was the only boy in the exhibit who wasn’t there with his younger sister or daughter. Barbie’s house was everything I expected and more. That girl has it made. We shopped after seeing Barbie’s house and then went to the “Beatles Exhibit“. Unlike the Barbie exhibit, we weren’t allowed to take very many pictures, because of all the rare photos and items that were featured in the exhibit. One of the coolest things they had was the actual jacket worn by Ringo Starr, in the Abbey Road photo. Not like a replica, or the same jacket, it was the one that Ringo Starr wore… it touched his flesh, and they had it in a glass case at this exhibit. There were a lot of authentic audio clips that were of news reporters on scene of The Beatles arriving in a city to do a concert, or of The Beatles doing interviews. The exhibit also had a lot of rare, up close photos of the band, taken by their manager, who was also a professional photographer. After the exhibit, we ate at a restaurant called Crave. Their menu was huge and featured everything from burgers to sushi. It’s a bit pricier, but beyond worth it. The restaurant is dimly lit, and has a really intimate vibe. The food is presented so beautifully, and you can actually taste the quality and time put into their meals.

Our last night in Minneapolis, Johnny and I ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp for the first time. The food and service were amazing. We got a free Bubba Gump Shrimp cocktail mixer because we spent a certain amount, or because we got two alcoholic beverages, I can’t remember. The mixer was a cute touch, and a nice souvenir.

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– E