I have made a promise to myself that I will explore more of this gigantic state of Minnesota in which I currently reside. I live in the Twin Cities area, and if you look on a map, Minneapolis, St. Paul and the surrounding metro is just a teensy-tiny little pinprick on the state map.
I’ve been in Minnesota since 1997, and I’ve lived in Winona, Rochester, Roseville and south Minneapolis. That’s quite a run, and I’ll probably be here for a few more years, so I figure I should explore this fine state while I have the chance.
So – onto exploring Minnesota. I’ve seen quite a bit of SE MN thanks to school and college roadtrip hijinks. The best parts of that area are the bluffs and banks along the Mississippi river.
I’ve taken a couple of road trips to the Black Hills, and so have driven through the farmlands and small towns of south central and SW MN. I’ve been to Crookston for a state wide community theater competition, have visited Crosby/Brainerd, and have friends in Bemidji, so I’ve seen parts of NW MN.
The one area that I haven’t gotten to is NE MN along Lake Superior. My goal this summer is to take the motorcycle Up North (I believe that phrase is capitalized by many of us in the lower half of the state) on various trips to see Grand Marais, Two Harbors and the Boundary Waters area. In central MN, I want to visit Lake Itasca, the origin of the Mississippi River, and Mille Lacs, as I hear it is a beautiful wilderness area (as long as one stays away from the casinos).
Last summer, the Hubby and I started our “Explore MN” venture with a trip to Detroit Lakes, a popular outdoor sporting and party town in West Central Minnesota. It was a nice weekend trip; we stayed in a hoity-toity resort with our own balcony and a private beach for resort guests. We went into downtown and layed on the public beach for a few hours, and then had lunch at an outdoor beachfront bar and watched the motorcycles vroom up and down the main strip. We drove around town and went into some of the local shops, and that evening we went to a nice supper club with a glass wall facing the lake. We had dinner while we watched the sun set in various shades of yellows, oranges, reds, purples and blues.
Our next Explore MN trip was a bit closer to home, and I’ll write about that later today or tomorrow.
And, just because it was fun, I went to wikipedia and found a list of all cities in Minnesota. I’ve listed my “Minnesota City Roll Call” – cities I have visited or driven through during my time here.
Albert Lea, Albertville, Anoka, Apple Valley, Battle Lake, Bimidji, Blaine, Bloomington, Brainerd, Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Burnsville, Cannon Falls, Chanhassen, Chaska, Chatfield, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Crookston, Crosby, Crystal, Deephaven, Detroit Lakes, Dodge Center, Duluth, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Edina, Excelsior, Fairmount, Falcon Heights, Faribault, Farmington, Fertile, Forest Lake, Fridley, Golden Valley, Hastings, Hinkley, Hopkins, Inver Grove Heights, Jordan, Kasson, Kenyon, La Crescent, Lake City, Lake Elmo, Lakeville, Lanesboro, Lauderdale, La Sueur, Lewiston, Lino Lakes, Little Canada, Madison, Mahtomedi, Mankato, Mantorville, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Medina, Minneapolis, Minnesota City, Minnetonka, Moorhead, Mound, Mounds View, New Brighton, New Hope, New Ulm, Norcross, Northfield, North Mankato, North St. Paul, Orono, Oronoco, Osseo, Ottertail, Owatonna, Pine Island, Plainville, Plymouth, Preston, Red Wing, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Rochester, Rosemount, St. Anthony Village, St. Bonifacius, St. Charles, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul, Savage, Scandia, Shakopee, Shoreview, Shorewood, Sleepy Eye, South Saint Paul, Spring Valley, Stillwater, Taylors Falls, Utica, Vadnais Heights, Waconia, Wanamingo, Waseca, Watertown, Wayzata, West Saint Paul, Whalan, White Bear Lake, Windom, Woodbury, Zumbrota, Zumbro Falls.