Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On the Road

Minnehaha ParkThe desk clerk gave me some directions to the nearest I35 on-ramp, and said I should just follow the detour signs from there. I stopped just across from the I94 on-ramp, and snapped some pictures of the Minneapolis skyline.

When I got to the freeway, there were no detour signs for the I35W, just signs that said it was closed and a sign that said to take Hiawatha to get to the Airport. Since I figured that was as good as I’d get, that’s what I did. I went to school here for a few years, so I had a rough idea how to get to the airport. I guess they figure that if you're going to be hanging around Minneapolis in the fall, you better know where you're going or else...

Traffic was hell and I got really lost. Plus, I had a really bad cramp in my left leg. That’s fine for an automatic, but since I’m driving a stick in traffic, I had to stretch before I crashed the car. I stopped at Minnehaha Falls Park to snap some pictures, and asked for directions. I stopped in Albert Lea for lunch and to catch some college football. No need to break out the camera here, nothing to see as far as I could tell. No offense Albert Lea

Minnehaha Park and River

The Plan

windmills for alternative energy source

Before I go too much further, I should post the original plan. I wrote this the morning of October 24th from my hotel room:

The Plan
Well, there is none, really, since this is a game-time decision… Before I leave, I’m going to have a quick look online and see what Starwood hotels I can use points for my journey. Looks like I have some choices in KC and Oklahoma City, or I can go through Denver. I’m a bit worried about the weather in Colorado. I’d seen lightning from the Denver airport on my earlier layover on the way out from LA. I figure I can get down to Oklahoma City and catch the 40 from there. That will give me the chance to do some side trips exploring The Mother Road. The budget is small. I have a few hundred dollars and some credit cards that I don’t want to use for meals. I’ll pay cash for meals, points for hotels, and credit for gas. Gas is $1.00 - $1.50 less here than it was in LA when I left!
The trick is to see if I can break the trip up into reasonable stretches. I want to drive 5-10 hours per day, including stops. I want to stop where I can stay for points (or cash and points), which means I’ll have to stay in larger cities. Since I don’t know these cities, I’ll have to check online and see where I’m going to stay each night. I’ll print up directions to each night’s hotel (or first choice at any rate) so that I have a destination. Worst case, I can get to one Starwood hotel and book a room and get directions for another. A quick check on the Starwood site proves that there are no Starwood hotels between Albuquerque and LA. In my mind, anyplace closer than Needles doesn’t count, since I can’t justify spending money or points on a place so close to home. Oh, and I'll travelog the whole thing.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 26, 2009

Minneapolis, MN

Night 1 - Westin Minneapolis

I went out for a steak with my buddy Bill, and then we went to a place called “Nye’s” for live music. The ‘live’ music at Nye’s consists of a piano bar with bad Karaoke. On the way back to the hotel, I decide to head back out west instead of driving back to Madison. I share this with Bill, who encourages me to make the drive.

When Bill drops me off at the hotel he casually mentions that I35W is closed until Monday. Since this is the main road out of town, I'm tempted to call the whole thing off, and head back to Madison. Nah, I figure I can ask for directions at the desk when I checkout.
Posted by Picasa
Creative Commons License
All content by E. Russell McGregor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.