Archive for the ‘Day Trips’

Why Do We Travel?

Relax and travel… originally uploaded by Ferran Jordà

Guest post by reader Tearitup

I would bet that there are as many answers to that question as there are people in the security lines at the airport. Why do you travel? To get away, to experience new places and new people. To stretch your knowledge of the world we live in? All of those reasons and many more.

There is some travel that we do out of obligation. Business trips to far flung places, trips to visit family. But the trips that we take because we want to, because we can, because we need to, that’s a whole other story.

For me travel has to do with renewal. The chance to take ourselves out of the routine of our ordinary days. Places where all of the hustle and bustle has no bearing on me, where I can be anonymous and just take in the sights and sounds around me. How nice to be able to shrug off our day to day responsibilities and just go where our whim takes us.

There’s something relaxing, almost magical, about being in a place where I don’t understand the language. All of the voices become a background chorus. A back drop of the exotic that lets you know right away that like Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore.

There are many schools of thought on HOW to travel. There is the organized and agenda’d travelers who can tell you right where they’ll be on any given day of their trip. Planning makes sense but too much of a good thing can back fire. There has to be some forgiveness built into your schedule. If not any missed connection could be catastrophic. There has to be time for the spontaneous side trip. Time to eat lunch at a hidden gem of a restaurant that you’ve stumbled across. Time to just be.

I don’t travel nearly as much as I would like to. Life and work often find a way to limit my wanderlust. When I do travel it’s for relaxation, to recharge my batteries and take myself out of the routine obligations of life. Why do you travel? What one place or places do you secretly yearn to visit? What does your prefect trip look like? What was your favorite trip? Please share your thoughts. I’d love to hear you stories.

Where in Minnesota Must Transplants See?

Hi Lazy Lightning Readers! I’m Suzi from Apple Valley, but you might recognize me as “sm” in the comments. I am an avid reader of Lazy Lightning and have been for years. I found Bill’s site after doing a Google search on the neighborhood we had decided to build in and found a bunch of posts from this weirdo named Bill about his disdain for a proposed Super Target that was to be built in our soon-to-be neighborhood. I couldn’t figure out who the heck this guy was and why he cared so much about my cute little neighborhood-and besides, who doesn’t love Target?! Ha. Well, little did I know that I would be reading his blog faithfully for the next four years and really admiring his doggedness and downright devotion to the South of the River area. He’s hysterical and I would be happy to have him as a neighbor any day of the week. What’s even funnier about this is that Bill and I are from the same area–sort of. I’m from Ohio (GO BUCKEYES!) and Bill’s from Pennsylvania. And, we are both bloggers. I have a blog called, where I write about all sorts of weird things such as my never-ending work/parenting balance issues, struggles with getting fit, crazy pop culture addictions, my new gig as a Scentsy consultant, and other blog-worthy topics. Stop by and check out my blog sometime.

Last week, I asked Bill on Twitter (@suzi_MN) if I could guest post on his blog and he happily obliged. The reason I am hijacking Bill’s blog is this: I have a confession to make to all of you in high hopes that you can help me..

I’ve been living in Minnesota for over eleven years and haven’t been anywhere outside of the Twin Cities metro area.

For Real.

I’ve never been “up north” or to Duluth or to Rochester or to (fill in the blank). Haven’t been on Lake Minnetonka and haven’t even been to Minnehaha Falls! Here’s why: we’ve been so consumed with work, weekend projects, hockey, soccer, dance and mostly travelling back east to see our families that any thoughts of traveling around Minnesota gets pushed aside. I am completely ashamed and have vowed to take this summer and explore my not-so-new home state. I wrote a post called my Summer Bucket List and on that list is a smattering of fun things I want to do this summer and a lot of the items include exploring more of Minnesota. So, here is where you all fit in.

What are some of the great “must see or must do” hot spots in Minnesota?

If you had a weekend with no plans and a full tank of gas and plenty of Diet Coke (that’s a nod to you Mrs. Marcos! ha), where would YOU go? What would YOU do? I have travel companions to consider: my husband Jason and our two daughters-Kaitlyn (2nd grade) and Chloe (4). I want my girls to experience true Minnesota, so bring it on! What is a true Minnesotan summer? What do you do every year that makes your summer special?

I can’t wait to read your comments and I will be blogging about them on my blog too.I know you guys will provide me with a ton of ideas and I will be happily trying as many as I can. :) Ok, thanks Bill for this opportunity and I’ll jump back into the comments now…

Hormel Spam Museum: Austin, MN

Yesterday, continuing our staycation, we headed down to Austin, MN to visit the Spam Museum. My wife asked to go a long time ago and being that we really had nothing else to do, I agreed. She enjoys eating Spam when we’re camping but other than that we really don’t ever put it in our mouths and certainly don’t think about the history of it. Well, that all changed yesterday…

The Spam Museum opens at 10 AM so we left the house just after 8:30, ignored Google Maps’ suggestion that we should take I-35 to I-90 and did something a bit more scenic. We arrived at 10:15 and were greeted by the friendliest parking guy ever. He directed us to park nearby and then enter the museum through the double-doors. We followed his instructions and were in.

When you walk in, a museum greeter meets you and directs you to look over the door at the huge wall of empty Spam cans. An impressive display to be sure, but I was really disappointed that they weren’t full. As my wife said that if the nuclear apocalypse ever came, at least we’d know where to go. Now we’d have to find a Twinkie factory instead! We were handed a Spam Museum tour booklet and had our picture taken with Spammy and we were off.

Our first stop was to watch a video about Spam. My wife was extremely excited to see that the next one was starting in less than two minutes so while she hung out, I walked over to check out a nearby display of long forgotten Spam products and some new varieties, currently sold, which I had never before seen! After demanding that my wife come see the Hot & Spicy Spam, we wandered into the theater.

The movie was an overview of Spam’s history and was not only interesting but it was so hysterically awesome that I laughed out loud several times–especially when watching the quartet of ladies, affectionately named the Spamettes, singing about their love for Spam. After the movie was complete my wife leaned over and said her life is now complete and that the day was already made by this single stop on our self-guided museum tour. I couldn’t have agreed more.

The rest of our time at the museum included dressing up like Hormel employees, learning about the evolution of Spam marketing, taking the Spam Exam (and losing to my wife), and eating free samples of Spam served on pretzel skewers! After that we ended up in the gift shop where we gladly paid for our free admission with the purchase of a Spam hat, a beer bottle coozie, and a magnet (something which we generally collect from everywhere we’ve been and then hope the dog doesn’t eat them).

Overall, the Spam Museum comes highly recommended by my wife and me. We had a blast in Austin yesterday and I honestly believe that we’ll go back again sometime in the future, just for fun. Maybe then we can check out the restaurant across the street that advertises Spam menu items. Mmm, mmm! Have you ever been to the Spam Museum in Austin? If so, what did you think? Do you have any plans to get down there to check it out? Do you actually eat Spam? Perhaps you have some favorite recipes you’d like to share if you do? Whatever you have to say about the Hormel Spam Museum in Austin, MN go ahead and comment on below!

Spam Museum
1101 N Main St
Austin, MN 55912

Monday – Saturday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Sunday: noon – 5 PM


See all the pictures from the Spam Museum on Flickr here.

Website Updates: July 24th, 2009

Next week I am off on a staycation and plan to get a ton of stuff done for myself and for the website. I have a lot of shit planned so here’s a quick rundown of what you should be seeing in the coming days:

1. Art, Josh and I have been in training (and here) for the upcoming Ghost Wing Challenge. We plan to “compete” in it this weekend and I should have something up on Sunday.

2. I have half of an interview with a local restaurant owner completed and plan on heading over there today for pictures to accompany the post. Once I get the last few questions answered I’m going to post that. So far it has been absolutely amazing. This guy knows his stuff.

3. My wife and I are heading down South next week to a couple places including the Spam Museum. She has wanted to see it for quite some time and being that we both eat it (camping only!) I thought it would be fun to write up and show everyone else. I have some other fun ideas with this one so stay tuned.

4. Also from Southern MN include a brewery tour and stop at one of our favorite bar/restaurants dating back to the 1800s. They have some great beer on tap and some decent fried appetizers. While I probably won’t be eating in the restaurant proper (we never have) I’ll be writing up the experience and sharing it with everyone.

5. We’re heading to The Strip Club for dinner one night. Everyone has been raving about it for a long time and we’re finally going to take the plunge and check it out. I look forward to seeing what all the fuss is about.

6. I plan to finally get the much delayed and much need webserver upgrade finished. I have it almost all setup but I’ve just been too lazy to do the last few things and get the switch flipped. Hopefully the database errors and poky behavior will stop when I throw some more horsepower behind this site.

7. We’re going to Sonic in Savage for lunch. My wife loves this hellhole and I have to go with her to appease her. Damn it. I won’t be reviewing it, sorry about that folks ;-)

While there are some other things, I forget what they are and no one really cares anyway I’m sure heh. As always, if you have suggestions on where we should go, what we should do, or post topics (especially polls!) please e-mail me and I’ll see what I can do to roll them into a future post.

What do you think about the lineup listed above? Are they interesting enough for you or would you like to see something different instead? Whatever you think (open thread even!) go ahead and comment on as I always love to hear people’s suggestions.