I’m back from Minneapolis. The trip was too far away in too short a time frame which makes it sort of joke as I didn’t get to truly enjoy and experience the city. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time…just needed more time to let the mid-west soak in.
When the flight landed at MSP, we were about 10 minutes early. The pilot came on the PA system and said “We’re a bit early so the next time United is late, keep this trip in mind”. Remember that.
Saturday night, I got to catch up with a great friend from JWU. I hadn’t seen Camille in nearly 15 years. She brought one of her ‘sisters’ with her and at first I didn’t remember Rachel but as we talked, I was vaguely remembering her. Camille still looks great and it was awesome to catch up with her even if it was while I was downing a blackened chicken sandwich at 10pm.
Sunday morning, I was up and out at 5:30 and walked 4 blocks in each direction from the hotel. Here’s some of what I saw…things I liked, things that interested me, things that made me think a bit
This is where the Timberwolves play. Target Field, home of the Twins was right next door. Minneapolis is doing a lot to ‘better’ their city. They highlight the projects in huge posters like this one.From what I can tell, there is quite an extensive transit system. There are signs that tell you that “the next bus will arrive in X minutes”. There are also push buttons like these where you can get information.They also have a pretty interesting transit station and somehow made the front door look like the front of a bus. What do you architectural buffs call this facade?
Like Saratoga, they use ‘relevant’ art to decorate their streets. Instead of oddly decorated ceramic horses, Minneapolis has oddly decorated ceramic baseball figures. This bothered me a little. Saratoga is small and rightly defines itself by the race track. Minneapolis is so much larger but yet seems to define itself by their baseball team. I’m all for supporting the local team and am a HUGE baseball guru but there has to be something more than baseball….there has to be, right?Minneapolis has also recently been awarded the title of “most bicycle friendly city”. This is just awesome. They have implemented a bike share program where you can pay a nominal daily or monthly fee and check a bike out whenever you’d like. Just pay at one of theseand then pick a bike from the rack and off you go.I had some flash issues but think this next photo is pretty cool (same as above but a bit different)As I was walking away, a young couple was actually checking out a pair of bikes. I didn’t dare get any closer as I was afraid they might start wondering who the weird guy was with a camera at 5:30. Interestingly enough, there is not a helmet law in MN for either cyclists or motorcycles…not one that is adhered to anyway.
Along with the shared bike program, Minneapolis has ‘regular’ bike racks everywhere and even at 5:30am, the were in use.They have good signage tooAs I was engrossed in the bike stuff, I started to wonder why there weren’t any pedestrians around (besides for the time). Then I realized that each and every building had at least one covered walkway on the second floor that connected to the building across the street. I’m not sure if this is good because it does get cold in MN or if it is bad and making it so that people don’t have to interact on the streets.So after several hours of conference type stuff, I hustled via cab back to the airport on Sunday evening. The flight out of MSP kept getting delayed by 10 more minutes. We finally were ready to go about an hour after our scheduled departure. It was going to be VERY close to make my connection in Chicago. Well, as we were taxing on the runway, the plane’s engines suddenly shut down. The pilot came on and said we weren’t cleared for take off and would have to sit on the tarmac for a bit. “A bit’ turned into almost 45 minutes….definitely missed my connection. When we land in Chicago, we’re told that we didn’t have a gate and would have to sit on the tarmac again…this time about 20 minutes.
I had been checking the flight schedules on my phone (sitting on the tarmac does not require ‘all portable electronic devices to be stowed and in the off position’) and when I entered the terminal I confirmed that my connection to Albany had been delayed until 11:30pm. This ended up getting me home, in our driveway, at 3am today. SO United pilot that wanted us to “remember this trip”, I think the 100 or so passengers still have something built up in the bank and are not indebted to the company for those 10 minutes the day before.
I wish I had more time to explore but it definitely feels good to be home sleeping in my own bed.