Road Trip Report: Day 5, July 16

I woke up early today, because I wanted to get a ticket for the first Lambeau Field tour at 9:30am. Quick checkout from the Tundra Lodge, and a quick drive down the street to the stadium, where parking is free. Admission for the tour and hall of fame was $19, and well worth it.

One of the cool things about the Packers is that they’re the only publicly operated franchise in the four major sports, with shares held by thousands of individuals around the world. Whenever they need more funds to renovate or expand, they sell more shares in the team. There are no dividends, but it would be fun to say that you’re a co-owner of the Packers.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t get you access to the games, because there’s a waiting list for season tickets that numbers something like 113,000. Also, people can transfer their tickets to family members…or even their spots on the waiting list.

The tour took about an hour, and I have a neat video going through the entrance tunnel to the stadium, which I’ll try to remember to post when my trip is over. After that, I checked out the Hall of Fame and went through the gift store, where I resisted the urge to buy a Packers cheesehead hat (though I did buy a Packers jersey). Then, lunch in the stadium’s restaurant, where I had a Packer’s Pride dog, a ridiculous combination of a foot-long hot dog in a sausage, wrapped in bacon. I think the best way to describe it is that it was exactly what you’d expect. I don’t know how else to put it.

And then I was back on the road, headed for Minnesota on a scorching-hot afternoon. Having noticed the night before that my left arm (the one that hangs out the window) was a little red, I started out with the top up and the air conditioning on. However, that still left my arm a bit exposed, so I had to tuck my ballcap in between my shoulder and my seatbelt to protect it.

In fact, that’s what today’s drive was about: pain management. While the mesh back support is keeping me a bit cooler, I can’t tell if it’s helping or hurting my lower back. I think I’m going to go without it tomorrow to see how that feels.

The trip from Green Bay to Minneapolis was pretty boring, right up until I hit the start of rush hour in Minneapolis and discovered that Minnesota drivers like to change lanes without warning. I don’t mean to generalize, but when it’s more than 50% of the people doing it, I feel comfortable putting that out there.

I found the hotel, which is right in the middle of the downtown area, but quickly discovered that they only offer valet parking for $30. After settling in my room, I wandered around the downtown core a bit, but didn’t find much going on. That’s not to say that there’s nothing of interest here…it’s just that nothing is happening today. Seriously, I found an interactive display with an event calendar, and Tuesdays are pretty much blank. Wasn’t even a baseball game, since the All-Star Game was played tonight in New York.

Actually, from what I saw, Minneapolis does a pretty good job telling people what’s going on. In addition to lots of information boards, they have “downtown ambassadors” in bright yellow shirts who serve as friendly faces and make you feel more welcome. They also supplement the many, many police officers patrolling the area.

Now, to the hotel. It’s the “W Minneapolis” in The Foshay, a historic building in the centre of the city. The room is really nice, and I got it for $100 (down from over $300), but the overall experience isn’t for me. The lobby is super trendy/upscale and not very inviting (I preferred the Tundra Lodge), the Internet isn’t free, and I can’t get to my car without calling for it. I already had to do that, as I forgot my tablet in it.

Oh yeah, and the toiletries they provide have a lemon and sage theme, which is really weird. Honestly, it felt like I was washing my hair with lemons.

The lesson here is that in bigger cities, I don’t want downtown hotels.

Tomorrow, I’m thinking I’ll visit the giant Mall of America, and maybe hang out there for the afternoon. Then I’m going to change things up and hit the road later in the day, driving until I get tired and stopping in some random place. At this point I’m really heading for Denver, but there’s no direct way to get there. Odds are that I’ll go as far as Des Moines, which is about four hours.

And that’s all I’ve got say. Pretty straightforward update, because I didn’t get into any deep philosophical thinking today. C’est la vie.