USA 2006 part 3

November 2nd, 2006

Day 11, Thursday 2006-11-02 Minnesota

Got to Minneapolis late wed night and crashed at shayna’s friends house. They have a nice 2 story just southeast of downtown, in an interesting area with old brick apt buildings scattered among the houses. They live a couple blocks from MCAD (which is nice) but also near a suspected crack house (not so nice). Thursday morning we got to sleep in – it was sooo nice. I got to catch up on some laundry, email, and picture uploading. Then i went for a run, and then shayna and i went sightseeing, driving downtown and hitting a couple interesting stores – design collective and robot love. After that we met up with Shayna’s friend Becky for a beer at her local bar, CC something. Becky was cool – she used to go to wash u. with shayna. Once Becky’s boy David showed up, we decided to eat at NYE, a polish spot which was supposed to have a polka band. No luck, but they did have awesome 50s decor and a piano with 5 drunk middle age peeps singing songs. Classic.

Day 12, Friday 2006-11-03 Minnesota

Friday was also pretty chill. Carrie wasn’t working till 5, so the 3 of us had a leisurely morning, eating breakfast at Egg and I. Then Shayna and I went downtown along the river to St. Anthony’s Falls and Stone Arch Bridge, walking along the missippi and across the xxxx bridge. Minneapolis seemed very new and clean overall, but this section definitely was reminiscent of its industrial past. When we got back to the house, Anthony joined us and the 4 of us had some tasty homemade pizza. Next on the agenda was the Walker Museum, which everybody raves about. My favorite exhibit there was Hirschhorn’s Cavemanman exhibit. He actually made a cave with brown package tape, boards and boxes, with coke cans strewn across the floor, mannekins wrapped in foil and all wired together, posters of pop music culture, papers about moral and economic philosophy – basically questioning what society is and where we’re going. The rest of the night included some bar hopping, some food, and then a big fat nap. Hurray.

Day 13, Saturday 2006-11-04 Minnesota, Illinois

Got up and drove to chicago, thru wisconsin, stopping only for cheese. Of course you need to get cheese in wisconsin. Arrived in chicago around 9pm, and we went out to diner at this amazing vegie place called veggie dinner. We also checked out smart bar, a club where Mstrkrft was playing. It was fun, good sound (bass for da house), but we were kinda tired so weren’t there very long.

Day 14, Sunday 2006-11-05 Illinois

Our first full day in chicago started off slowly just north of downtown with breakfast, then off to see the Art Institute. We hung out downtown most of the day, walking around, making it up to sears tower right after sunset, yielding some cool pictures of endless chicago at night. For dinner, we went for some traditional chicago deep dish pizza. Both lonely planet and the concierge at the W recommended malrutti’s pizza. It was good, but not mind-blowing great. Both patxis and little star pizza in SF are better. After dinner we had a drink at this cool bar called the map room. As you may guess, they have maps all over the walls and a few map books, with tons of national geographics and tons of beers from all over to pick from.

Day 15, Monday 2006-11-06 Illinois, Iowa

Monday morning Lisa and Spiral joined us on a walk around the newly built Millenium Park with this really cool giant reflective jelly bean. Yes, this silver bean was super cool. After that shayna went to tour columbia university and i ended up just walking around. I really love all the cool architecture in chicago. And the river and lake augment the natural beauty that may otherwise seem a bit bleek from the flatness of the region. I met up with shayna at cosi, then we decided to get some tasty sushi at Oysy Sushi before driving to iowa. Yes, we drove to iowa, leaving chicago around 9, getting to iowa city around 1am. That was fun.

Day 16, Tuesday 2006-11-07 Iowa

Woke up and drove shayna to her appointments with University of Iowa in Iowa City. I just went to a coffeeshop and sorted thru pics for a couple hours, then went on a nice run along the river thru town. The university is quite lovely, but the section of the river by city park was really beautiful. Once shayna finished her iowa stuff, we headed for st. louis. Once again, we rolled in at 1am, exhausted, but this time we were staying in a hotel for 3 nights, so we could sleep in and not worry about anything. Hurray.

Day 17, Wednesday 2006-11-08 Missouri

Our first full day in St. Louis started off with lunch at a great vietnamese place (name?), followed by a tour of the budweiser factory. It is the largest beer factory in the country, one of five that budweiser opens for tours. The tour was about an hour, we saw a few of the famous clydesdale horses, the original beer factory building from 1870s, now part of whole factory complex. But the best was the ending, where we got to sample budweiser beer. They had about 8 varieties on tap, including a seasonal, a porter, and the original budweiser. I must say, even though i thoroughly enjoyed my bud, it wasn’t that much better than what you get in a bottle. I’ve been to many breweries, and usually the beer on tap at the brewery is much more delicious than the bottled vesion.. We also tried a wine cooler like drink called peels, as well as little beer augmentor called spykes. Not bad, but not great.

After budweiser we checked out the St. Louis Arch, aka the Gateway Arch, aka Jefferson National Expasion Memorial. The arch was built in the 60s, and the little pod we sat in to get to the top felt like something out of a 60s james bond movie. I’m 6 feet even, and i had to hunch my head over when sitting inside of it. The top was a bit claustrophobic as well, but the view was worth it. We were lucky enough to actually watch the sun set before our eyes. Beautiful. We went down and checked out the museum part, got a picture of me with Tatanka (native american for buffalo). For dinner we went to a spot on “the loop” where shayna worked during wash u. days – Brandts. It was tasteeeeee.

Day 18, Thursday 2006-11-09 Missouri

Our last day in da Lou started with breakfast at tiffany’s. Tiffany’s is a hole in the wall diner that shayna used to goto all the time in college. It had more character than your avg diner, but the food was about the same. I can still taste all the butter and grease used in my eggs in hashbrowns.

But maybe the coolest thing we did on our trip was the City Museum. It’s not so much a museum as a jungle gym times a million. The primary reason you go there is to go crawling and walking thru tunnels and passagesways spread over 4 floors and different themes – giant whale and water to caves and dinosaurs to planes and cranes on the outside. It was exciting for me, an adult (yes, technically i am) to go into some hole and not know where it will lead. But the way they created everything is amazing – its all art – iron creatively welded in cool patterns, creatures molded in the concrete in the caves, colors and patterns painted most everywhere. And because st. louis still has not fully bounced back from its industrial past, there are lots of abandoned buildings that provide interesting materials for this museum. Like, in one of the bigger rooms they just had a giant safe – a huge metal door and a wall made of security boxes. I could go on and on about this place, and prolly should, but you really need to go there for yourself.

After the the “museum”, i packed for my vegas trip back at the hotel, then we went back to the loop for dinner and a couple beers. This time we ate at a middle eastern spot enjoying hummus, lamb, and a veggie dish that reminded me of something i would eat in morocco. Once we finished eating, we went to the famous blueberry hill for a beer. Nobody famous was playing that night, but chuck berry plays there on a regular basis (still!) and most bands that do a medium size venue would hit that place. We also checked out a hip hop spot called 609 – it was packed, and shayna and i were the only white people there – i felt like i was in atlanta. Music was provide by DJ Needles – he played old school and nu skool hip hop, some with a reggae flare. His mixing was spot on, i was quite impressed.

Day 19, Friday 2006-11-10

Taking a break from the road trip and flying to vegas for bachelor weekend.

To be continued in part 4 .. Washington DC back to California