DAY 1Jul 28 2016
Newark Liberty International Airport
Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport
I knew we were supposed to get rain today but I thought we'd just nearly escape the storms. Not the case. Apparently there are delays from Houston, too. Womp.
Not getting a snack was a mistake. I should know better, I'm getting huuuungry and I won't see food for another 3 hours or so. Guy next to me just opened a giant Slim Jim and I am SO jealous.
Marie and Kellan picked me up and we met he rest of the fam at a burger joint. I was given. Hard time for not wanting a burger. I compromised by eating a patty melt (and cheese curds and a chocolate milkshake...what? I was hungry. Remember the slim jim??!)
Then the "kids" went in one car and the grandparents and baby went in the other car up the rest of the way to Duluth for the night. All our flights were delayed so we got a late start and didn't get into town until around 11. Marie, Trevor and Mark went to bed. I think Kellan and I also wanted to. But Sherokee and David said they were going out. Couldn't let them show us up! So we ventured down the empty street to what seemed like the only bar around and had a beer and caught up on things.
DAY 2Jul 29 2016
In the morning, we drove down to the waterfront which was a very nice area and spent a few minutes checking out Lake Superior and the famous Duluth Lift Bridge.
We drove another hour or so to visit with Grampa Kieth, Sherokee's dad. Kellan and I hadn't seen him since 2013, so it was overdue. It was a quick visit at his house but then we headed down the road for some brunch with some other Parks family members.
Sherokee's brother, Shawn, his wife Kathy, their son Ryan (his wife Mariah and three children), their daughter Katie (her son Eli) and Grandpa Keith all hung out. Eli is just a few months younger than Mark. It was nice catching up!
We had about a 4 hour drive back, which I did so Trevor could sleep and Kellan could work. 💪🏼
When we got all checked in, everyone wanted a nap. I was a little restless and didn't want a nap (almost never do!). Kellan got a quick one and then we went for a short jog around the neighborhood. By the time we were back and showered people we refreshed and ready for the evening. We decided to go to the Wayzata waterfront, near where Kellan grew up and on Lake Minnetonka.
We ate at the Muni Bar and Grill and had some more Parks visitors!
Sherokee's brother Shad, his wife Debbie and their daughter Ashley met us and we got to catch up with them too! They happened to be in the area so that worked out well.
After dinner we walked along the waterfront with ice cream and enjoyed the nice weather and sunset. I got attacked by misquotes. My new official fear of moving to Minnesota. On the plus side, Mark got to see a big freight train up close and personal!
Friday night was not rowdy. A bunch of us Ilses gathered in the hotel lobby and had a few beers before we all retired to bed. We did get to see Emily and meet Bo's parents quickly.
DAY 3Jul 30 2016
On Saturday morning Kellan and I went downtown to get the lay of the land. He'd never spent much time downtown and hasn't been out there really in more than 10 years. We decided to get brunch in the "North Loop" / "Warehouse" neighborhood (to be honest even after driving/walking around, we weren't sure where one began and where one ended). The neighborhoods are right next to each other and this general area is where Andy and Kellan are thinking of opening their office, and with Kellan's requirement of being no more than a "10 min walk" to work, we think we may end up living here too!
After brunch we walked to the addresses of two co-working spaces. We tried to get in but could not. One of the spaces has a go-go bar a block away called "The Vu"...Kellan thought that was conveniently located for working lunches... 😑
We didn't check out any apartments (I wanted to but Kellan thought premature). What's clear is that early mornings are not buzzing with activity, I think the fact that buildings, restaurants, bars, shops, etc are more spread out, not as condensed as in NYC.
We got back in the car and drove from one end of the city to the other and drove by another co-working space that is in the "downtown" neighborhood of he city. We parked the car and checked out the new USBank stadium where the Vikings will play, and which will host the Super Bowl the year we'll be living there! The stadium is pretty awesome looking. Can't wait to go to a game and get inside.
The nice thing about a small city is there are no subways. Yes, in my mind this is a plus. There are buses and a light rail that get you to pretty much anywhere you want to go.
We then walked down to the river (the Mississippi!) where we saw the Guthrie Theater, and where a small farmer's market was happening. The riverfront is pretty cool. It has at least 5 bridges crossing over to the east side of the city, which I think mostly consists of the University of Minnesota's main campus.
We walked a little and then needed to get back to the car to get back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding!