Taking in the Sights on my Road trip to Minnesota

Welcome to Minnesota sign
Minnesota state line

The most wonderful thing about living an RV Life is that you can go whenever you want. My daughter had asked me if I could pick her up in Minnesota after a visit with her fiance. I was thrilled. I had never been to Minnesota and it was late in the season, but I would most certainly do that. It would be a great road trip and on the way back I got to spend some quality time with my baby girl.

The First Leg of the Tour

I have friends in Illinois that if I am going through I have to stop and see them. Dave is a wonderful friend and his two girls Molly and Maggie are a joy to be around. I love exploring with them as they add a whole new fun to the experience.

I spent a wonderful week with Dave, Molly and Maggie. We decided to venture to Chicago’s waterfront and explore the Adler Planetarium. The night sky is so beautiful and it was interesting to see all of the twinkling you see explained in an easy and fun experience. The Adler Planetarium was so much fun, even if the wind tried to blow us into Lake Michigan. I thought little Maggie was a goner!

Adler Planetarium in Chicago

The downtown Chicago Skyline was something to see. I was amazed at the different shapes of the high rises. One was shaped like a fidget spinner with three wings. You have to wonder how they do not topple in the wind. After all, it is the windy city. This building has a wind tunnel built in so that does not happen. Still I wonder if the top does not sway with the wind?

Buildings on Chicago waterfront
Building with built in wind tunnel

Spending Time with Good Friends

I also got to have lunch with my good friend Lynn at Panera Bread. It was so nice to get together with her. We do not see each other often but when we do it is a lot of laughs and twice as many hugs. She is such a warm caring person who loves to laugh. A friend for the ages.

My friend Lynn and I at Panera Bread
Myself and my friend Lynn

Off to Minnesota

With many hugs for Dave and the girls and a promise I will be back I headed off to Minnesota to pick up my daughter Katelyn who was visiting her fiancé. Up through Illinois and into Wisconson. I have been to Wisconson a couple of times and each time immensely enjoyed it. It is a beautiful state even in the late fall. I happened to stop at Wisconsin Dells. I do not think I have seen that many water parks in one area before. It looked like a children’s playground everywhere.

On through Wisconson into Minnesota. What a pretty state. With highways lined with trees and then miles of farmland it was a beautiful drive.

Driving down the highway in Minnesota
Beautiful Minnesota Highway

One of the best things about traveling the highway and biways is the different landscapes you come across. Driving along the highway as I was enjoying the trees and the open land, every once in a while there would appear out of nowhere a large rock formation. Like a tree it looked like it just grew there. Getting closer to Winona Minnesota I started to notice something on the mountain ahead. A large home or a castle maybe. It seemed to jut up from the top through the trees. What is that??

A large rock on top of a mountain in Winona Minnesota
Strange formation

As I got closer there happened to be a Walmart close by so I pulled in to get a better look at what that was. It was a large rock formation like the ones I had seen on the side of the road. Wow it was huge. Strange how it looked as if the mountain had popped its top so to speak and a large rock just protruded up the middle.

Large rock closer
Is that a rock??
Large rock formation in Minnesota
Large rock formation

As I headed north the weather had started to turn. The wind a little colder and then the rains came. I stopped in the town of Hastings and stayed the night at the Walmart there. What a wonderful town with a beautiful old courthouse. Interestingly there is also a attraction there called Extreme Sandbox. There you can play in a large sandbox with actual digging equipment. Can you imagine building a sand castle with a life sized excavator? A definite have to do on my next trip to Minnesota.

I loved this bridge as I was leaving town.

Bridge in Hastings Minnesota
Bridge in Hastings

Winding my way north in Minnesota on Hwy 14 then on Highway 61, I was following a large river. As I crossed a bridge, I read on a sign that I was crossing the mighty Mississippi River. What? Really? Wow! I never knew the Mississippi River was this far north. Looking a little deeper into the Mississippi River it actually starts as a small creek out of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and travels 2,348 miles (3779 km) until it pours into the Gulf of Mexico. Incredible! I knew I was beside the Mississippi River when I came across a Riverboat. Unfortunately they were closed for the season. I could have gone on a Riverboat Fantasy! Lol.

Riverboat on the Mississippi river in Minnesota
Mississippi Riverboat

The Mall of America

With a quick stop where my daughter was staying to tell her I am going sightseeing, I headed off to The Mall of America in Minneapolis. I had been told that the mall was huge. When I looked on Google Maps it looked like it took up many blocks. Driving up to it I was indeed impressed with its size. When I saw the large levelled parking structure I was concerned I would not be able to park anywhere near the mall. I lucked out in finding a parking lot just to the side of the parking structure, I could fit my Roadtrek in and wandered inside.

Looking for parking at the Mall of America in Minnesota
Entrance to the Mall of America

Walking in the door you are greeted with a Sea Life Aquarium. How cool. Looking from above you could see Sting Ray swimming around. and the light reflecting off the beauty of the coral in the tanks. The aquarium was below the mall and I did not go in. There were many more pieces of the mall to explore.

Sealife entrance at the Mall of America
Sealife at the Mall of America

The size of the mall itself was vast. Four floors of store shopping with an amusement park in the middle. As I entered the amusement park area there is a two story M & M store. M & M’s of every size and shape could be found there. I immediately thought of my friends Ganice and Hugh who have a custom van all done in a M & M theme. They would love this place.

M&M store
M & M Store
My friends custom van
Ganice and Hugh’s M & M van

The amusement park part of the mall had everything you would expect in an amusement park. Rides including a ferris wheel, a merry-go-round, and a flying bat ride. As you stood and looked around a rollercoaster rode on the rails above you. With carnival games, bouncy houses and cotton candy stands you almost forgot you were inside a shopping mall. This mall gives a new meaning when you tell your kids “let’s go to the mall.”

Pictures of attractions at the Mall of America
Amusement park

As I walked out into the shopping portion of the mall I could not help but stop and admire the beauty of the Christmas decor. It certainly added an ambience to the shopping experience.

Strings of lights in the Mall of America
Christmas decorations at the mall

Time to head back to Ontario

Off to pick up my daughter, Katelyn and head across Michigan’s U.P. ( Upper Penninsula) back to Ontario. I have been to the “U.P.” many times. It is a scenic area at anytime of year. Across the Mackinac Bridge is a majestic trip every time.

Mackinac Bridge in Michigan
Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

Even though I have been to Michigan many times I had never been to Frankenmuth and Bronner’s, The Worlds Largest Christmas Store. I talked to my daughter Katelyn and we both decided to make a stop.

Frankenmuth Michigan welcome sign
Entering Frankenmuth, Michigan

Bronner’s is a Christmas wonderland. You can find everything Christmas in this huge store. Walking into the store you are transported to the north pole. Sparkling lights, tree toppers and ornaments galore. What a fun wander through a Christmas wonderland. To my surprise they do not just have Christmas items. They also had a beautiful Halloween display as well as some Thanksgiving items. A very remarkable store that can only be experienced by going in.

Santa at Bronner's Christmas Store
Santa at the entrance to Bronner’s
Some of the items in the store
The beauty of Bronner’s

What a great adventure with my friends and some wonderful sights along the way. What a wonderful roadtrip and a great adventure with my daughter Katelyn. It is awesome when you get to share the adventure with your kids.

I cannot wait to go back to Minnesota and play in a sandbox and enjoy the beauty that the state has to offer.

See you next week!


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