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USA Radio
April 24, 2014

Twin Cities: Diners, Bulldozers, & Museums


We started the day early but not bright, as it was pouring rain. For breakfast we found a local favorite called Mickey’s Diner. It was featured in the classic movie The Mighty Ducks and spurred a whirlwind of nostalgia, as well as a favorite movie conversation. There was a jukebox on the table, too, that was filled with classics and modern hits alike. The food was excellent and gave us the fuel we needed for the busy day ahead.

Bellies full, we hit the road. Our next stop was Extreme Sandbox, a heavy equipment adventure where we experienced first-hand what it’s like to operate heavy machinery. We immediately loved it! The owner, who was nice and really funny, told us the story behind his unique destination. He was driving by a construction zone when his son said, “That looks like my sandbox,” pointing at the trucks. A few beers with his brother later, the idea was born.

After a safety video, we got to drive an excavator and a bulldozer. We dug a huge hole and tried to hit a basketball into it with the arm of the machine. The owner calls it excavator golf. It really brought out the kid in all of us.

We were having so much fun we didn’t realize we were already late for our next stop. So we wrapped things up and rolled out, this time on the actual Great River Road. We spotted an eagle at the edge of the road, hunting prey. This seemed like a good omen since we were headed to the National Eagle Center.

While at this refuge for the USA’s national bird, which is an endangered species, we got a tour and watched eagles that have been rehabilitated from serious injury. The center even recreated an eagle’s nest that we got to stand inside. The tour guide said it was small, but we all agreed it was larger than some of our kitchens (we’re city people). Then they brought an actual eagle out and we were thrilled to snap some pictures with it.

Back on the road we ventured to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. The structure itself wasn’t big, but the paintings inside were beautiful. All the works revolved around water, which was woven into the pieces in really cool ways. Luckily, we came right before closing so we got to enjoy a room full of paintings by Monet, Picasso and Van Gogh all by ourselves.

In the late afternoon we made our way to our hotel, the Village House Inn, to check in. It was a huge space built in the late 1800s but restored just recently. With multiple sitting rooms and a lovely piano, we all agreed that it was too cool not to enjoy.

After an awesome dinner, we went downtown to the Mid West Music Fest, a three-day music festival hosted at venues all around town. We caught the tail end of an act at the Acoustic Café, where we sang along to A-ha’s “Take on Me.”

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for sunshine, so we’re all excited for a hike on the bluffs in Wisconsin. We can’t wait to be dry and enjoy some time outside!

Read more about this Road Trip
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