Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Joey and Meg vs. The Porcupine Mountains - Part III --- Running into an old friend...

Destination 3 was very bittersweet for us.

Our main destination, the Porcupine Mountains, was difficult to find directions for.  Therefore, our first address that we had thought we were going to, lead us straight through Green Bay, WI on an 11 hour drive.  So we decided that we would just stop for a night in Green Bay not really expecting much from that particular city except for a good ole' small town atmosphere.  Then, we discovered back in St. Louis that the actual address to our campground in the Porkies was much closer to Minneapolis than we thought.  However, when we had originally thought we were passing through Green Bay, we stumbled upon perhaps the most exciting discovery ever in a city.  This discovery was one of the BIG highlights of this trip and perhaps the most emotional and poignant destination on our journey.  So we decided not to scrap Green Bay and that a few hours drive out of the way was definitely worth it to be able to visit an old friend that we never expected to see again... The Zippin' Pippin'.

Upon arriving into Green Bay, we immediately dropped off our things at our hotel and jumped back into the car to find Bay Beach and Memphis's most beloved rollercoaster.  After driving through the town and passing through industrial buildings, we began to doubt that we were following the right directions, but then, tucked far behind an industrial park, in the distance, we saw it...

I might be wrong, and I sincerely, down to the bottom of my heart hope that I am, but you know the daycare in Toy Story 3, where toys go to die?  Bay Beach Amusement Park kind of felt like a graveyard of unwanted, leftover amusement park rides.  Don't get me wrong, everyone there was extremely friendly and enjoying themselves, but as I walked through the park (free admission and rides are CHEAP!), I couldn't help but look at the rides fenced off behind flimsy chain-linked barriers and wondered what cities they came from and who all made memories riding on them.

After exploring the park for a bit, we immediately headed over to the nearest ticket booth to purchase a ticket and some time to spend with our dear old friend.  I'll go ahead and admit that at this point, I was having a terribly overwhelming moment of joy and loss all at the same time.  I couldn't WAIT to be terrified of the old rollercoaster falling apart underneath us and of that last KILLER right turn, but I also felt the weight of having lost something truly special... for myself and all of the other people who loved and celebrated that ride, and for the city of Memphis and its loss of such a unique and exciting gem.

After riding the Zippin' Pippin', Joey talked me into going on a Ferris Wheel with him; something that I normally do not do.  I *love* Rollercoasters, but there's something extremely eerie about Ferris Wheels for me.  Oh well, this one wasn't to bad, and if I closed my eyes, it was actually really relaxing, so here's to giving bad experiences a second chance!

Right next to Bay Beach is the actual bay of Green Bay, so we then hopped on over for a look at some beauty.  We appreciate a little beauty every now and then.

 I love birds.  I especially love Pelicans, and while we were hanging out at the beach of the bay, a flock of white pelicans swam by!  I've onlyever met Brown Pelicans before, so as you might suspect, it was quite a delight!

For dinner we headed "downtown" (Green Bay is pretty small) and chilled out on the dock of the bay and even grabbed some dinner at a restaurant right on the bay.  The food was good, but the weather, and being outside to enjoy it, was perfect.

Shots of the moon on a low shutter speed and whirled around for fun times:

The Bridge lifting up for a passing boat:

 Joey's such a badass...

Before we headed out to Destination 4, we stopped by Lambeau Field.  It's pretty big.  Also, I liked their statues.

So all in all, Green Bay was fantastic and we're so glad that we didn't decide to scrap it on our itinerary.  Thank you to Green Bay for being such a welcoming little town!  I hope that you enjoy our old friend as much as we do/did and that you're able to ride it forever!

Happy Trails to you !

Part V

Friday, July 26, 2013

Joey and Meg vs. the Porcupine Mountains - Part II

Destination 2... the "Mystery Water"...

...was the "Mighty Mississippi" in Minneapolis, MN!

Our original plan was to head from St. Louis to Milwaukee, WI.  Neither Joey nor I have ever been in that area of the country, so we wanted to check it out.  A few weeks prior to our trip, I was talking with an old friend who was telling me all about the "Twin Cities" and how great Minneapolis is; not only because it's a cool city, but because of it's independent film and theater scene.  So, we did a little last minute research, decided that Minneapolis would indeed be a cool place to visit, and tweaked our plans a bit and drove to the start of the Mississippi River.

This building reminded us of a more modern version of the building in Ghostbusters.

First thing we did on the morning after we arrived was to walk across the bridge to "Old Minneapolis", where we found beautiful bricked streets, riverside trails lined with lush green trees and flowers, and sweet little cafes peppered about the street.  Brunch was definitely in our future, so we chose the cafe, Wilde Roast, an Oscar Wilde themed restaurant...

Both the food and the drinks were delicious!  Personally, Bloody Mary's really help to roll a brunch from good to fantastic for me, and this Bloody Mary was Goooooood... the best part though... in Minneapolis, they serve their Bloody Mary's with a chaser of locally brewed (delicious) beer.  WIN!!!

After brunch, we walked around, checking out the river and scenery...

Everyone in Minneapolis seemed to be out bicycling, running, walking... and everyone seemed SO extremely fit!  I was impressed by how many bikers and pedestrians I saw so naturally flowing with city life and city traffic.  Memphis will get there someday :)

Our walk took us to a train stop where we hopped aboard to go check out the Mall of America.  

Colorful buildings along the ride...

And, if you were wondering, the Mall of America is, in fact, HUGE.  I kept wondering where they kept all of the lost children--if kids would even recognize that they were lost or if they would simply confuse the situation simply to "this must be heaven, here I am"-- and, then, when are the Mighty Ducks going to come skating through!?!

 We ran into some friends...

Airbender all the way.

 Lego Collaborative!

We were pretty "malled out" after a while... it was cool, but there were a LOT of people, and there was a lot more stuff for us to do as well.  Regardless, I had this song stuck in my head for the rest of the day...

The rest of the day/night we spent walking and exploring the city.  We drove over to Uptown to check out the "Chain of Lakes" and to a fabulous walk around the "smallest" lake, "Lake of the Isles".  This was SUCH a great part of our time spent in Minneapolis, but by that time my camera battery had run out, so no pics of the lakes :(.  The trip to see the lakes was totally worth it, though, and I wish we could have spent more time (with better shoes and more appropriate clothing--i.e. swimsuits + a picnic) hanging out there.

Pics from around town:

 Evidence of the MANY bachelorette parties we ran into our first night on Saturday.

For dinner, we went back into "Old Minneapolis" for dinner at another cafe with a perfect patio.  Live music seeping from the restaurant, cafe lights strung about the trees,  and delicious local beers and delicious food made for excellent atmosphere and even better conversation.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of this cafe, it's beer, or it's food... we just simply soaked it in uninhibitedly.  Afterwards, we did some night walking, which was so refreshing and allowed me to play with night lighting, something I haven't done in forever.  In fact, as far as "getting behind the camera" goes, this trip was a complete dose of rejuvenation.  My camera has been neglected and misused for too long... it's time to reignite our relationship again.

Here are some of the night shots.  I didn't have my tripod with me which I kick myself for, but I did the best I could...

The next morning we checked out of our hotel and headed to our last "to do" in Minneapolis, Wild Rumpus.  THIS.PLACE.WAS.AWESOME.  Children + Books + Imagination + Animals = Wild Rumpus.

 Appropriately sized doors for both children and adults.

A newt named "Spike".

Their "spooky" section.

Under the glass floorboard you found their pet rats!

Their tarantula, Thomas Jefferson.

It was sad indeed to leave Wild Rumpus, but alas, we had to move on to Destination 3.

I was going to include Destination 3 in this post, however, I have worn myself out with uploading for the time being, and I'm sure you're a bit overwhelmed by the enormous amount of pictures that I'm capable of.  It's a problem.

Anyway, Destination 3 tomorrow!  My flight to NY leaves this Tuesday, so I need to hurry up and catch up so that I'm not behind.

Hope you guys are enjoying the adventure!

Happy Friday!

Part I
Part III
Part IV
Part V