Monthly Archives: August 2014

The End Of The Road Adventure

Today we are up bright and early because house keeping came knocking at 8:15am, they had not been informed that any one had booked our room…so we headed for the continental breakfast our hotel offers. I had a feeling our small town hotel would not compare to our big city breakfast, and boy was I right, we had a vast selection of white bread, Cheerios, and those tiny white powdered doughnuts…at least it was free?

After breakfast, if you could call it that, we packed up the car, checked out, and headed towards Albertville; the city of outlet stores. Only the exit for Albertville was marked differently than the others and we completely missed it, by the time we found a place to turn around we decided we had had enough adventure what with the zombies and police officers that we didn’t feel the need to go shopping. Plus this would mean we could get home sooner. We found a gas station, filled up on inexpensive gasoline and headed North.

I had also planned a few stops at some other giant animal statues along the route home, a giant pelican and otter, though with the idea of getting home early we decided to skip these as well. Our weekend had just been packed full down to the minute with activities and what not that all we needed was our beds.

At Fargo we stopped for gas and coffee, a little while later we stopped in Grand Forks and hit up the Walmart again to pick up some things we didn’t have in Canada, mostly weird flavors of junk food.

At the boarder we picked up some duty free items and sat in line for 45 mins to cross the boarder back into Canada. I guess I learned my lesson: don’t cross the boarder on a Sunday night around dinner time. From there it was smooth sailing and by 7:30pm we were finally home.

I have to apologize for the lack of photos for this blog, I was too intent on getting home.

Our time line for the day:
8:30 Breakfast
9:20 Checkout
10:50 Pass by Albertville
11:00 Gas stop, 20mins
2:05 Fargo, stop for gas 10mins
3:20 Grand Forks, Walmart shopping and gas stop, 40mins
4:55 Duty free at Pembina
5:26 Arrive at Boarder, 45min wait
7:00 Arrive in Winnipeg
7:35 Arrive home

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Road Trippin – An Adventure With Zombies

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This morning started at 8:45, we headed over to the breakfast-room in our pj’s. The hotel had an amazing spread including a waffle maker, they also had some staples like bread, muffins, fruit, yogurt, and they had some hot items as well like eggs and bacon but they weren’t very appetizing. The room was very busy, I think it had some thing to do with being a Saturday morning, we couldn’t find a table so we asked an American couple if we could join them. It was definitely an interesting breakfast.

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After breakfast we packed up the room and checked out. Our next stop was courtesy of the Road Trippers app, the Wabasha Street Caves, a mere 20 min drive from Minneapolis to St. Paul. For $6/person (cash only) you can be apart of a 45 min tour of the caves. Our tour guide was a man named Ryan, he did an amazing job, I have never had a tour guide who was as enthusiastic and engaging, completely worth the drive and money.
The Wabasha caves are in all reality sandstone mines which were originally used as the first underground mushroom farm. During prohibition time it was used as a speak-easy (an establishment that illegally sells alcohol). It was rumored that the caves (back in the day called the Castle Royal Night Club) was a popular hangout for mob gangsters and a triple homicide was committed in the fireplace room where tourists can see bullet hole marks in the original brick of the fireplace. Today, you may recognize the products produced here as “Laymen Farms pickled mushrooms” and other pickled products. Terry and I thoroughly enjoyed this tour, if you are in the area this IS a must-see!

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The coffee shop next to the caves sells these weird troll/gnome things…very creepy.

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Terry had found a specialty shop online and wanted to check it out so after the tour we headed for the store and grabbed lunch at a nearby Subway, all of which which happened to be on the way to our next hotel.

Because the Zombie Run is at Spring Creek Motocross, about an hour and a half out side of Minneapolis, we booked a hotel in the small town of Zumbrota using Travelocity.ca (about 30 min from the run). The only thing was we couldn’t find the hotel because Google Maps instructed us to take a road which was inaccessible while traveling south. For the second time we had to ask locals for directions which actually made it easier to find.

The next set back was when our second hotel didn’t have our reservation…they told us we would need to contact the people at Travelocity and have them fax a copy to the hotel, I was about to breakdown because I couldn’t get hold of anyone when finally a different employee found the reservation on a ‘different system’. Because they had no idea about our reservation they had given our room away, instead they gave us an upgraded room. We also found out some thing interesting, online I paid about $75 for the room, but the hotel only received $55, the remaining balance going to Travelocity. In the future I may use Travelocity to locate a hotel but I will call the hotel directly to make the booking as it will probably save money.
Because it took so long to get the room reservation figured out we had to quickly grab our gear for the run and head out. Once we got to the site we got registered and picked up our swag bags.

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The course was 3 miles, with several obstacles, and lots of zombies! By the time our wave started it was excruciatingly hot, making a long distance run a lot more difficult. An interesting part of the run was that group-mentality kicked in when we encountered our first zombie on the course. We figured we had a better chance of surviving if there were more of us going in. This was one of the funnest things I have done in a long time, I am so glad that I took the time to put it all together and worth all the flak I took from work. After we completed the run we had some time to change and grab some food. After that it was time to head to makeup and wardrobe to start our zombie transformation.

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Being a Zombie was almost better than running the course, you got to scar people, make weird noises, and steal the runner’s health flags. I even had a bunch of runners come up to me after the run thanking me for the awesome job I did because it made it all the more real for them.

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Terry ended up getting pretty beaten up as a zombie because some of the runners got really aggressive, they stressed the importance of no contact but as the zombies made it more difficult to pass, the runners got more aggressive. Even with a few scrapes this was a fantastic event, I am for sure doing this again next year!

On our way back to the hotel it started raining and was super dark, right as we got off the highway we got pulled over by the state police…still wearing our zombie makeup and blood. They said we were driving below the speed limit and thought we might have been drinking. This came as a surprise to us since driving conditions were poor we didn’t feel comfortable speeding around on a road we were unfamiliar with. The officers were really friendly though and chatted us up about the run, apparently they competed in it last year, they even gave us better directions back to our hotel. It would be just our luck though that we would get pulled over while looking like we had just murdered some one.

Back at the hotel we had to clean off before we could go to bed, and again I needed to plan our itinerary for the next day.

Our daily time line today was as follows:
10:30 Check out
11:00 Wabasha Cave tour
12:15 Depart for specialty store and lunch
1:00 Depart St.Paul
2:05 Arrive in Zumbrota, check into hotel
2:40 Depart for Zombie Run
3:10 Arrive at Spring Creek Motocross
4:00 Begin Zombie run
7:00 Zombie makeovers
9:00 Second Zombie run starts
11:30 Head back to hotel


Road Trippin’

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Terry and I set out at 9am this morning to begin our road adventure from Winnipeg to Minneapolis.

We are headed to Minneapolis because last year I found a 5km obstacle course that is zombie themed, I promised myself that I would be apart of this run, and now here we are, one day away!!

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Besides the obvious clothing and toiletries we also packed a first aid kit, a car emergency bag (jumper cables, flashlight etc), a cooler with bottled water and some snacks. Because we are crossing the boarder we only brought per-packaged foods.

I planned most of our trip using Google maps and an app called “Road Trippers”. Google maps was great for plotting the general route and providing directions with detailed steps.
I used the Road Trippers app to accentuate the road trip with neat little stops along the route that I had no idea were there, museums, walking tours, restaurants etc.

Even with all the construction on just about every road we made really good time…most likely because its difficult to gauge miles/hour on a Canadian vehicle, sooo we may have been going a little fast…

When we got to the boarder point there was a massive line to get into the USA, thankfully it only took 15 mins, surprisingly they let us through hassle free. Those of you who have heard of my previous trips to the states know what I’m talking about.

An hour past the boarder we stopped at Grand Forks to buy some fruits and veggies, we also picked up lunch at the Subway that was INSIDE the Walmart… weird American Walmart’s also have hair salons AND nail salons….next time I will have to allot more time to get my nails done hahaha.
Another hour and a bit out we stopped at Fargo to gas up the car.

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Our first road trip side adventure was to visit Rothsay’s giant “Booming” Prairie Chicken. I had printed directions to the statue but some how both the driver (Terry) and the navigator (myself) didn’t see the massive chicken RIGHT BESIDE the highway and ended up getting lost in the very small town of Rothsay. Honestly, google, Siri and maps could not hold a candle to the effectiveness of asking a local for directions.

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Our next stop was the Rune Stone Museum in the city of Alexandria. Admission was $8.00/person. We were a little disappointed to find that the Rune stone museum which boasts about its tablet of stone featuring carvings of Norse runes was one of two displays about Vikings. The second display was a 3/4 replica of an original Viking merchant longboat. From the webpage I believed the museum to be about Vikings and Viking culture, the rest of the museum , however, was filled with heritage displays of the first fort to be built by settlers in Alexandria. The displays were what you would expect from a small town museum, I appreciated the history behind the displays but I was expecting a lot more about the Vikings. It certainly was nice to get out of the car for 45mins but I’m not sure I would recommend this as a “must-see”.

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Once in Minneapolis we headed straight for our hotel, we had an online booking at the Best Western Plus right across from the Mall of America. However, when we tried to check in the hotel had not received our reservation, after a few minutes of detective work one of the employees managed to find it. Initially we were concerned about this, especially since we had pre-paid for the room and didn’t want to lose any money. In the end it all worked out, I had a copy of the reservation as a back up, and it came in handy.

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The last two times I was in Minneapolis my traveling party and I dined at Famous Dave’s in the Mall of America, as per tradition this is where we headed for dinner. Terry got to see the mall for the first time, though we didn’t have a lot of time to wander all of it in its enormity, I think you would need at least two full days to see every thing. I think my favorite part of dinner was ordering a cocktail after a long day of driving, I had ‘Big Mama’s Sweet Punch’.
Some thing Terry and I noticed was that a lot of the food we encountered in the states was overly sugary or overly salty. I had picked up one of those carrot and ranch dip packs for lunch bags, but the ranch dip was so sweet you could hardly identify it as ranch. The flavored coffee’s we had purchased at a gas station were so sweet I couldn’t even finish mine, which is saying something.

When we finally got back to the hotel for the night we were exhausted but before we could rest I prepared a time line for the next days activities.

We made really good time through out the trip so I thought I would post a time line of the day:
9:15 Depart Winnipeg
10:45 Arrive at the boarder, 15 min wait
12:00 Arrive in Grand Forks, 50 min stop to buy gas and lunch
2:00 Arrive in Fargo
2:45 Arrive in Rothsay, 15 mins getting lost and finding the prairie chicken statue
3:55 Arrive in Alexandria, 1 hour for the museum and buy gas
7:15 Arrive in Minneapolis