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Nothing Still Rhymes With Minneapolis

We only had one full day in Minneapolis so we had to make it count. Getting around the Twin Cities is easy, even considering horribly confusing twin I35 highways. On any highway you will probably find yourself to be the fastest driver in the city – the rest of the population competes in out-slowing each other and driving under the speed limit without actually coming to a complete stop.

From the beautiful downtown Minneapolis…

…where swimming is not allowed, unless you really want to…

…it’s not that far to no less beautiful downtown St.Paul.

We went to St.Paul to visit the 1968 exhibit that opened the day before. Easily the best exhibit I’ve seen in a long time it was just as interesting to me (b.1969) as to my kid (b.1997). Many artifacts from that era were on display such as this old TV…

…Vietnam-era helicopter purchased as scrap and restored by Vietnam war veterans…

… teenager’s desk, looking all empty without a monitor…

…posters…

…stuff…

…and even a camera that took world-famous photographs of the dying Robert F.Kennedy.

Everything is interactive, from old TV’s playing the shows of the day to short videos explaining the major events of 1968. You can sit on a couch or a beanbag chair, switch the channels or vote for your candidate of choice. Although the year 1968 was before my time, many of the things on display were very familiar to me. Even more importantly, the events of 1968 are eerily similar to what’s going on in the country today – wars, protests, unrest, polarizing political figures; when they say that history tends to repeat itself, they are not lying.

Topless Minnesota State Capitol is visible from the History Center, where the exhibit is located.

Few more views of St.Paul concluded our sightseeing for the day.

On the way back we planned to visit Mason City, IA. Mason City has many claims to fame – from giving the world Meredith Willson to several buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. However, its main attraction – the “2nd in the nation King of the Tenderloin” (click to enlarge if you don’t believe me) is virtually unmarked on tourist maps.

Mason City’s number of Irish-Mexican restaurants…

…is only rivaled by the number of churches per square mile.

There are many interesting buildings in Mason City but due to our inability to follow a walking trail without getting out of the car and poor signage we ended up making multiple circles around downtown.

This sign puzzled me, so I am just showing it without a caption.

We left the mansions of Mason City behind.

300 miles of cornfields still separated us from home.