United States: Minneapolis, MN

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, United States

It was pouring rain today, so we didn’t go out for a run.  Instead, we slept in and hung out until it was time to go to Joanna’s for lunch.  We ran out in the rain and jumped into the car, getting only partially soaked.  Then we drove to Jo’s and hung out with her for a while.  We’d originally planned to go into town and do some walking around, but we didn’t think that Paige would appreciate being dragged around in the rain.  So we decided instead to play with Paige and to go into St Paul for lunch.

Jon Building Towers for Paige

Lunch was at a cafeteria-style Italian restaurant where we ordered different dishes and carried them upstairs to eat.  Paige at first didn’t like her noodles but she perked up once we added chicken to it.  After a delicious and enjoyable lunch, we went to Blockbuster for a movie and ended up getting the third season of “Sex In The City”.  Back at Jane and Ed’s, Jo put Paige down for a nap and the three of us watched the movie.  Then Paige woke up and it was time for more baby-bonding time.

Paige and Heidi

Dinner at Chino Latino

Later in the evening, we drove into Minneapolis with Zack to a trendy restaurant called Chino Latino.  But before we met everyone for dinner, we went to a nearby bar for drinks with Joanna and Kyle and Zack.  Then we met Ed, Jane, and their other son John, at Chino Latino.

Dinner With The Gosses (L to R): Zack, John, Kyle, Heidi, Joanna, Jane, Ed, Jon

Chino Latino is a funky looking multi-level restaurant that serves family-style dishes.  The decor reminded us of a colorful Asia de Cuba, and featured some of the same types of food.  For example, we ordered fried rice with guacamole.  Very fusion!  The food was great, and we had a great time together.

The Cousins: Zack, Jon, Heidi, Joanna

After dinner, Zack, John, Kyle, Joanna, Jon and I went to a nearby blues/jazz restaurant/bar that was decorated like the underneath of a Chicago El stop.  There were tons of beers to choose from and we enjoyed listening to the blues band (from Brooklyn, by the way) and hanging out.  We stayed for a few hours and then drove home with Jo and Kyle.

United States: Minneapolis, MN

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, United States

Running Path

We went for a run through a path Uncle Ed told us about.  It went behind some of the neighborhood houses and near some lovely ponds.  There were a bunch of kids assembling some steps and little bridges over a pond while we ran through.  And a very nice run – although muddy!

Another Day of Rest

We spent the rest of the day hanging out in Ed and Jane’s very cool TV room, with the curtains drawn and the DVD player going.  We watched Ocean’s Eleven, which is a very entertaining movie.  At one point, Joanna walked into the house to see us and we were more than a little embarrassed to be lounging around on such a beautiful day.  But then again, we’re really tired of sight-seeing and doing stuff.  And we really wanted to see Ocean’s Eleven.

So we hung out with Jo for a little while and made plans with her tomorrow.  We also decided that we were going to make Phad Thai for Jane and Ed for dinner.  And Jo – because she was playing a late round of golf – asked us to save some for her and she’d drop by later.

After the movie, we went into town to a Thai Grocer that Jo told us about. We found everything we needed except for Tamarind Juice, which we can’t seem to find anywhere at all.  But we’ll be all right without it.  Then we visited a fancy grocery store called “Kowalski’s” to get some other stuff, including ice cream.

And back at Jane and Ed’s, we got down to business.

Phad Thai

I don’t know what it is about this dish, but we always make the BIGGEST mess when we make Phad Thai.  It’s probably because of all the stirring of sticky noodles.  Regardless, we just can’t seem to cook this without much of it ending up on the stove and surrounding countertops.

Phad Thai in Jane and Ed’s Kitchen

Despite the mess, dinner was good.  Jo stopped by with her friend Beth after their golf game, and they finished up whatever was left in the wok.  Then Jane’s “vine” arrived.  This was a much-anticipated delivery for the household.  There’s an area above the kitchen where the “vine” used to live before Jane sent it out to be redecorated, and she was excited that it would be filled again.  Her boys (Ed and my cousin Zack) were recruited to re-hang it above the kitchen – a process that required two ladders, good balance, and a solid sense of humor.

The Hanging of the Vine

Jon and I – because there was nothing else we could do – stretched out on the floor and supervised.

United States: Minneapolis, MN

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, United States

Tour at Harley Davidson Powertrain

Jon “The Schedule Nazi” made us wake up bright and early so we could make it to Harley Davidson in time for the 9:30 tour.  Of course, we ended up getting their about an hour ahead of time but I’m not complaining.  Oooooh no.  

This is Harley Davidson Powertrain Assembly Plant.  Here they build new and remanufactured engines for Harley Davidson motorcycles.  As we pulled into the parking lot, one can’t help but notice the abundance of Harleys parked out front in the special “motorcycle” parking spaces.  Those of us mortals who drive cars had to hike a bit further from the car parking lot.

Harley Davidson Powertrain Factory

The sign out front said that all tours had to wear protective goggles and closed shoes, so we – the perpetual sandal wearers – had to go back to the car to change shoes.  No problems.  Inside, we had a short wait for the next tour to start, and were fully entertained by the motorcycles on display in the lobby of the building.

Don’t We Look Good on This New V-Rod?

We couldn’t take pictures during the tour of the production plant because Harley is pretty uptight about their practices.  And a competitor isn’t going to get enough information out of the 45-minute tour.  But we thought it was cool.  We had safety goggles and some ear-pieces-speakers that picked up the tour guide’s microphone.  So despite the loud racket of the production line, we could hear everything the guide had to say.  At some points during the tour, he hooked up the microphone to a television and a video played about the particular process on the line.  I, of course, had no idea what each process was doing or why.  But it was still a cool experience.

And Jon loved every part of it.  Despite the fact that they don’t assemble the bikes here (that occurs in York, Pennsylvania), Jon really enjoyed the tour.  Before we left, we bought a little “Born To Ride” jumper for my cousin’s daughter, Paige.  Then we hit the road and drove four-five hours to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Aunt Jane and Uncle Ed’s

When I was in St Louis, I talked briefly to my Aunt Jane (my father’s sister) and found out that Minneapolis is only six to seven hours away from Chicago.  And since we were going to Chicago, we were going to be right in their neighborhood!  So we decided to swing by on our way back to Virginia.

We arrived at my Aunt Jane (my Father’s sister) and Uncle Ed’s house.  There, we hung out with my cousin Joanna, her husband Kyle and their adorable daughter Paige.  Uncle Ed made a wonderful dinner of grilled chicken and Cesar Salad.  But don’t ask him what the recipe is for his dressing, because he just “throws things together” so it’s a big mystery – even to the immediate family. 

Heidi, Paige (in her new Harley outfit), and Joanna