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09/25/2010: Day 2: Cedar Rapids up to Minneapolis
We woke around 6:30 without any alarm. Actually, as our first night on the road, we didn't sleep well. A good night's sleep in strange rooms requires a little practice. We dressed and went for the Belgian Waffles. Karen mostly made them, as I checked email and such. I didn't spend time writing so we could get on the road and spend more time in Minneapolis.
Waffles as enticement to stay in a particular motel. Win.
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Snapshot from the car of the Cedar river that bisects Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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Twas a rainy morning drive from Cedar Rapids up to Minneapolis
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Iowa has discovered the economic advantages of wind.
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These signs give me gas
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Call this a winding road. Win-ding, not whine-ding.
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A cleverly designed sign through a rainy windshield
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Minnesota Welcomes Us. It's hard to take clear shots through wet windows at 75 mumphs.
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A more impressive "Welcome" sign. But I didn't see for what.
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We got gas and were on the road at 8. It was a rainy morning's drive. This made me feel better about my plan of going to the (begin deep voiced echo)Mall of America(end echo) for some water-tight shoes. Normally, if someone heard me suggest going to a mall, they'd wait for a "Bazinga!". But this is no ordinary mall.
We arrived at the mall just before 1, found the Walking Store, and I bought some shoes. This is a trial for me; I hate shopping. So why go to a mall on a dreary Saturday? Well, it's a good mall for people watching. Especially as they go upside down at a mile a minute. Really.

Parked near Bloomies at the Mall of America, just before 1:00 p.m.
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One of the entertainment corners at the mall
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Am I the only one who sees a Christmas card here?
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I finally close my gizmo to see my patient spouse
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We had coffee and WiFi at one of the many Caribou Coffee shops competing with the many other coffee shops here at the Mall of America. There are more Caribous than Starbucks here.
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Moose offering "Love From Minnesota" oversees one of the many ways to lose one's lunch at the mall. Doesn't Spongebob look hungry?
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But the noise level in the mall bugged me. We walked the new shoe box full of my old shoes back to the car, grabbed the laptop, and went to one of the many coffee shops to caffeinate and check mail. Then we sat in the car in the garage looking for a room. The garage deck heaved like that of a ship every few seconds as cars passed; I got a bit green. But we finally found a reasonable rate only a few miles away. A La Quinta off I-494 just west of the I-35W. A tall building far from easy access. One pays for the good rates. But the room had a view, and I wrote up yesterday as we rested up for dance.

We can see Autumn from up here
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I shot a couple of deer from my 17th floor room in Minneapolis
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Minnehaha Falls at dusk near downtown Minneapolis
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Walking down the steps to look up at the falls in damp dusk.
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Minnehaha Falls from below, at dusk. Still no tripod.
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And a view for going over the falls. Note the street lights? Still no tripod.
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Vehicle rental garage at Minnehaha Falls
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At 6:30, we up-and-at-them'd to dress for dance, and go see Hiawatha falls. We arrived at dusk, so my pictures are a bit grainy. But it is cool having such a feature essentially downtown. Then, with a bit of spousal acrimony in (mis)navigation, we went to the local contra dance. An whom to our wondering eyes did appear, but a third of StringDancer, David Kirchner! We'd forgotten that we knew someone in this town. We had a good time at the dance, that went to 11:30. It's nice coming in as a stranger, and leaving feeling a part of the group. After dance, I was sure I knew the way to the hotel. So I chose to drive, rather than navigate. Well, the accidental detour was only a mile or so out of the way, but we took about twice as long as we should have to get back. It was a late night.

The Eelpout Stringers played for the contra dance at the Tapestry Folk Dance Center this evening.
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Snapshot (frame grab) of Dan dancing
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Karen dances with long time friend and now local Minneapolis resident David
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Caller Beau Farmer kept us on our toes from 7:30 till 11:30. They have long dances here in the land of long nights.
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So I finally finished up this post in a couple of pre-dawn hours in a HoJo on Monday morning in Fargo, North Dakota (starting Day 4). No, we didn't have ground Buschemi for dinner last night. My mouse died, which makes it harder to process the pictures. It's apparently not the batteries.
Next: Day 3: Not so far to Fargo

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