Monday, July 27, 2015

Minneapolis, MN: Target Field - Minnesota Twins vs Baltimore Orioles, 7/7/15

Once we'd enjoyed our dinner at Pizza Luce, it was time to head over to the baseball game. The Twins happened to be running a Tuesday night ticket promotion for a ticket, hot dog, and drink for $15 (tickets started at $14 anyway), so we picked up tickets at the gate (for events, we normally scour sites like StubHub as well as the team's ticket office to see what kind of deals we can get; I like when it works out that we can get "real" paper, fancy tickets for our memorabilia books!). Even though we had eaten dinner already, the drink part of this deal makes it totally worth buying (fountain drinks, even water, at the stadium run $4+), since none of the vendors will give you a cup to fill with water for free. 

We have no real rooting interest in either the Twins or Orioles (we did go to several Orioles games when we lived in Maryland, and the "OH!" during the National Anthem is forever stamped in my brain), but we have an interest in collecting baseball stadiums. You can see the list of where Eric has been here. I've been to all of those, all with him besides the Dodgers (which is funny because we met in LA), except for Wrigley, Busch, Riverfront/Cinergy (since it's been gone a while), and Jacob's/Progressive. These are all the next-closest stadiums to us, of course, so we'll get to them eventually!

We had a perfect night for baseball. It was sunny and started out warm. Our seats were high up in the outfield, so I brought a hoodie and did need to put it on due to the wind. The guys weren't very cold though.

For games that we attend where our primary purpose is to watch some baseball and check out a new stadium, we tend to wander around a lot. (When we go to Reds games or I want to keep score, we pretty much stay put. I brought my scorebook but quickly abandoned it to socialize...and when I didn't know almost any players' names! Too hard.) Target Field has a giant Target dog on the side of a building.

We were hoping there would be a giant target painted somewhere in the outfield for home runs but didn't see anything. Seems like a missed opportunity!

I couldn't help but do a double take when we walked by this vendor. I am 100% sure we were in Minnesota, which is in the United States, which spells favorite without a u.

We found some various statues, but no piggy bank.

We noticed a couple a few rows down from us playing Twingo, like Bingo but with baseball scoring. Awesome.

The Twins have racing mascots. The only thing recognizable is the Target dog (which unfortunately did not win this race). The mascots' faces are kind of terrifying and you can see some better photos thanks to Google if you'd like.

The coolest thing at Target Field is this neon board where two players, Minnie (for Minneapolis) and Paul (for St Paul) shake hands across a river. When a Twins player hits a home run, their hands light up and go up and down. It also happens when the Twins win, like they did on this night, 8-3.

We had a great night of watching baseball and hanging out with Petro. I'm glad he was able to join us! Target Field is a nice stadium and if you're into baseball is worth going to see. (I will reiterate my warning from yesterday, though, about the surrounding area being filled with adult-themed entertainment businesses. Just so you know!)

We went from here to the best hotel deal of the trip. We used the Hotwire app and wound up getting a huge suite at a really nice Marriott about 15 minutes outside downtown Minneapolis...for one of the cheapest prices we paid all trip. It was a great way to continue a great start to the trip!

We're Back!

We are back from our 3 week, 6100+ mile trip out to Montana and back. Eric posted a nice basic breakdown of what we did each day on his blog. (We are standing freezing in a lake full of icebergs in that photo.) I will have write-ups about all the excursions for weeks! We did almost everything we had planned to do in Theodore Roosevelt, Glacier, and Yellowstone National Parks. We will need to go back to the Grand Tetons and the Black Hills of South Dakota -- we were a little too tired to get to most of those things. But we had a really great trip! We saw all kinds of animals (bears, moose, mountain goats, big horn sheep) and all kinds of nature (mountains, badlands, geysers, lakes, waterfalls).

I'm especially glad we went to Glacier when we did. We left Montana on July 20th and the eastern half of the park caught on fire on the 21st. Over 3000 acres of that side of the park look nothing like they did when we were there just a week ago. In my Glacier posts, I will make a note of what was probably affected if you are using those posts as references.

Thanks for following along -- there is plenty to come!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Minneapolis, MN: Pizza Luce

After checking out the Mall of America, we headed to downtown Minneapolis for dinner and a baseball game with one of Eric's good friends, Mike Petro. 

Before the trip (and really before almost any trip we take), I scouted out my friends and asked for their recommendations on places I know they've been to or lived in. For this trip, multiple people independently recommended us to try Pizza Luce while in Minneapolis. This is what Petro suggested for dinner as well, so we headed there before the Twins game on Tuesday, July 7th.

We were seated quickly despite a lot of people there. We ordered a 16 inch Wrangler for the three of us, which has barbeque chicken, red onion, mushrooms, banana peppers (Eric ate mine), and cheese on barbeque sauce. We almost always get pizza with bbq sauce instead of marinara at this point. It was really good! We also had some local beers and finished well in time to go get tickets for the game.

They set the pizzas up on the table using heavy, unopened cans of roasted peppers. I thought it was a nice touch.

By chance a couple of my friends from Bloomington (a guy I used to work with at IU and his fiance) were downtown at the same time (they're interning at Target this summer) and they stopped by to say hello during dinner. They had just been to a game a few days prior so didn't come to the game with us, but they did stay to eat dinner at their favorite pizza place in Minneapolis.

I can see why so many people wanted us to try this place. If you are looking for a bite to eat before the game, this would be a good place to try out.

This is a big PS: Just so you know, this area of Minneapolis gave us quite a shock. It is right downtown, right next to Target Field, in Minnesota of all places, and yet this whole area is literally surrounded by various adult-themed businesses. If you don't park at the stadium, be prepared to walk by quite a few of these businesses and their flashy signs on the way in from your car. We had no idea. Just wanted to warn you.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Bloomington, MN: The Mall of America

From our overnight in Mayville, we headed west over to Minnesota.

We had plans to meet up with one of Eric's friends, Mike, for dinner and a Twins baseball game, so we figured we could do something else around Minneapolis in the afternoon beforehand.

Feel free to have this song playing on repeat while you scroll through this post. You're welcome!

The Mall of America is insane. It is just as big as you think it is, or bigger if you have low estimates. I didn't really know what to expect except that it was big and there was a roller coaster inside. Well, there is a whole entire huge amusement park inside. If you lived near here, you could ride a roller coaster every day of the year.

We opted not to ride anything but we did wander around for a long time watching other people ride. Some of the rides looked really cool, and some of them didn't make sense until we saw them running, like this flying ride below (there were joysticks to control the wings for each person, so you could spin yourself upside down while the machine spun you around).

Besides rides, of course, there are stores. Right next to the amusement park section on one side is a giant Peeps store. It was psychedelic. So I took photos.

The mall is huge. We did not even make it around a full loop, let alone go to all the levels. We did stop in a few stores and found an awesome-looking game called Anti-Monopoly* (we haven't played it yet). Both Eric and my favorite game is Monopoly, so we're looking forward to trying it out.

There was an Apple store across from a Microsoft store. I wanted to find out if they wage battles throughout the day but didn't ask...

If you need to kill some time, or just want to check out a crazy big mall with basically every store imaginable, it was great for both of those things. I am happy we checked it out even if it was totally overwhelming!

* Amazon Affiliate link - thanks!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Mayville, WI: The Audubon Inn

After leaving the Milwaukee Brewers baseball game Monday night, we headed to our first hotel of the trip. I downloaded a bunch of apps like Hotel Tonight, Hotwire, and Priceline to get us some nice last minute deals on hotels throughout the trip (we normally don't know exactly where we'll be - see the Brewers post for evidence of that!), and it worked out really well in our favor. We used Hotel Tonight to get a great deal on The Audubon Inn in Mayville, Wisconsin, about an hour or so from Milwaukee.

We got in late but could already tell the place was really lovely.

We stayed in the Falcon Room! The keys are real keys on a big wooden handle like the places I've stayed in Europe.

We were greeted with pralines on the bed and a water carafe on the night table.

And all the rooms have big jacuzzi tubs. Ours was very nice and relaxing.

There is also a restaurant in the inn, but we didn't go to it based on time constraints. Our room was very nice though, and it was a great place to stay the night.