Thursday, August 28, 2008


We slept very late in the cool, dark basement, even Mattea made no peep until 9:30! It was a slower start than planned, but we repacked and got going. We picked up Becky and headed to the Royal Canadian Mint in Winnipeg. We did a tour there and learned a few interesting things, like that particular mint makes coins for quite a few other countries (including Madagascar!) and that at any given point, about 40% of people around the world are carrying coins in their pockets made at the Winnipeg Mint. We all held a gold bar worth $500,000 and also learned that they don’t transport their coins in armoured cars, but random company semis like Safeway, McDonald’s etc. That made our semi-spotting a little more interesting along the drive since! Unfortunately, because we did the tour on a weekend, the machines weren’t running. That’s a note to self... go on a weekday.

We dropped Becky off and said our farewells, for much longer than 2 months this time. From there it was south to North Dakota… huh?

We had no trouble crossing at the border, which was a blessing as we were not keen to take everything out of the van! We made a quick pit stop and I discovered one of the smartest things I’ve seen in a long time! At one of the rest stop bathrooms, they had in the stall a pull down seat, made exactly lie those pull down change tables, (but small) with a harness so you could strap your child in and go to the bathroom!! What a novel idea!

We had lunch in the car (making sandwiches on the road is quite a task) and stopped for supper in Fargo. Almost immediately after that, we crossed into Minnesota.

In Minnesota we drove south/east through St Cloud and spent the night just on the outskirts of Minneapolis. We found a Hampton Inn and Suites and got a steal on a great room. It was quite a beautiful hotel with a pool and it included breakfast for all of us. We settled into our kushy beds for what we hoped would be a long, restoring sleep.

At 1:30 we were awoken with a clatter and Barton sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. Unfortunately, it was not an early surprise visit from ‘you-know-who’, but a mass of drunken idiots. Is that fair to say? Sure… so, after repeated bangs on our door, slamming of other doors, shouts and miscellaneous other ruckuses, we had to make a call… and then another. A take-charge kind of woman with a big mullet (I’m saying that only because it made her seem so much more serious and not the type you’d mess with…) came up and started yelling at them all to get to their rooms. It was the third warning and after that, apparently the cops get a call. At 3:30 am, I fell asleep hoping ‘this’ would be the time they don’t come back. We found out the next morning that there were TWO weddings in the hotel and we happened to be on the same floor as one. There were also many red-eyed patrons at the continental breakfast… the kind people at the desk covered the cost of our room and though we wouldn’t hesitate to try the same chain again (the beds were awesome!) we have learned our lesson now that even if it’s a Motel 6, we’ll be asking if they’ve got a wedding party staying the night!

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