Twin Cities

With our Fargo half marathon performances fading into the mists of extremely thorough running history, Julie and I decided to round out our northern journey with a detour through the twin cities. In other words, on Sunday we drove to St. Paul, MN.

Tornadoes
Sunday was not a happy weather day in the Midwest. As we drove South-East from Fargo to St. Paul, a line of powerful storms drifted North across our road. I drove through a lot of rain, but we managed to stay South of the worst action. We rolled into Minneapolis about 45 minutes after a residential area in the Northern section of town got nailed by a tornado. At one point, I saw broken tree parts on the interstate, but I didn't know what had happened until we turned on the news in our hotel room. It is strange being in a city so large that serious tornado damage in one part of town isn't mandatory conversation in adjacent parts of town.

Then I saw news that Joplin, MO had been absolutely devastated by a tornado. Joplin is about two hours from where I grew up. I had my wisdom teeth taken out there. It is not an unfamiliar place. Seeing it shredded on the news was unpleasant. It was very similar to when I learned Greensburg had been destroyed by a tornado via a hotel TV - right after Julie just finished the Lincoln marathon.

All told, Sunday evening felt weird, vulnerable, and helpless. However, it's not like I was shivering in the corner. A few medicinal leftover cupcakes later, we were out in search of the river and supper.

The Foods
Before long we had found the river and gotten ourselves oriented. Our initial (lost) wanderings even turned up a little park near some railroad tracks that, from a distance, seemed very river-like.

Beautiful fountain. We had to rip off this shot quick because some little kids were rushing the fountain. If this was a panoramic picture, Julie's stoic ground-holding pose would look very brave.

Lower-center: Charlie. Upper-left: Julie.

With our bearings found, it was time for another feeding. Julie had looked up this really cool Italian cafeteria place before our walk and we swung by on the way back to the hotel.

This sandwich ROCKED. "Italian Beef" I ate the whole thing and I'd do it again. I wish I could do it again...

After that sandwich, well, I don't remember much else. I must have somehow gotten back to the hotel room. Maybe Julie carried me? I sure did like that sandwich...

Monday
Almost before the inception of the "a half marathon in Fargo, eh?" plan, Monday had been set aside as shopping and eating fun day in the twin cities. Our friend Elisa drove up to be our guide and spiritual leader for the day. It worked well. We shopped a lot and ate a bunch of super tasty food.

Picture time. Right now, we're at the Mall of the Americas.

Step 1: Get the ladies loaded up on chocolate. This was taken after we discovered anything could be covered in chocolate. Anything.

After lolling in a corduroy bean bag for a while, I asked the cashier, "Why are there other kinds of furniture?" She responded with only a knowing smile.

We did well at the mall. I learned more about the alpaca wool distribution chain for a certain backup plan I've got in the works, I bought some awesome new green tea, and I'm probably going to add bean furniture to our living room. Because it's awesome and not dumb. It's not! These things unzip and convert into beds. Beans are amazing!

The ladies probably did some shopping too. I remember buying Julie some pants. I think they had fun (the ladies that is, pants have fun just being pants, obviously).

After the mall, we went to a gourmet cupcake and lunch-making facility where I had a religious experience with a "Strawberries and Cream" cupcake. I don't even know how to talk about it. It was so much beyond what cupcakes are supposed to be I can't come up with a meaningful comparison. After adjusting my cupcake scale to put this thing at 10, I'm not sure if I've had any others that make it past 4/10. I'm ruined.

They also make lunch.

I got the quiche, Julie and Elisa ordered sandwiches. Everything was powerful tasty.

They also make cupcakes. The magical wonder muffin shown at the lower left is my second strawberries and cream. That oatmeal thing at the right was awesome too. I need more food describing words.

For supper, Julie and I opted out of famous nearby diner in favor of a calmer, more German food experience. This is where I had my first sauerbraten, and it was wonderful.

The dark stuff at the bottom is some of the best roast beef I've ever had. I think it was the sauce that did it. It was just a little bit...tangy and it really went well with the red cabbage which was also really good... Julie had a plate of really fancy macaroni and cheese.

That was Monday. We had a great day. Special giant thanks to Elisa for driving up and sharing her city with us.

Tomorrow, we're driving back to Kansas.

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