We were supposed to head to Indiana this weekend, but we were derailed by Shawn's bad back. (She re-injured herself helping with the air-conditioning. Ironically, I did ALL the heavy lifting, but last minute she decided to give the bed a tug... and that was all she wrote, as they say.)
Mason and I had been itching for a road trip, regardless, so we pulled out our handy guide to random Minnesota Road Trips, Oddball Minnesota: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places
.I picked something at random, an entry called: "Hitler's Handkerchief." Apparently, in the Military Museum at Camp Ripley, there is, on display, a handkerchief supposedly once belonging to Hitler that was brought back as a war souvenir by a Minnesota soldier after World War II.
Google maps led me to believe that Camp Ripley was only about an hour and a half or so out of town, so it sounded like a lark.
It took us FOREVER to get there.
Getting punchy, Mason took pictures out of the car window:
You can see, at least, that it's a beautiful day. Today, temps were up in the 70s F/ 21s C. We stopped in Coon Rapids (a Saint Paul suburb/exo-suburb) at a Panera Breads for a spot of brunch and extra caffeine fortification for me. Turns out? I'm kind of cranky without enough caffeine. WHO KNEW? This is where I think we lost time, honestly. I wouldn't have thought it took us that long to find the Panera, but we were driving up and down Main Street a LOT.
At any rate, it was almost 1:00 pm by the time we finally hit Camp Ripley. Camp Ripley is military base/training center and the museum was inside, so we had to drive through a checkpoint and show ID. Shawn had warned us of this before we left, so I actually grabbed our passports. It's really the only picture ID Mason has, but, it turns out they didn't really care THAT much. They just took my drivers license in and swiped it and waved Mason and I through.
We were issued a pass:
Not very official looking, but there it is. I also forgot to drop it into the box on the way out, so I guess I went rogue with this....
The guard told us to turn left at the tanks. For some reason, I wasn't entirely expecting THESE kinds of tanks:
The museum... well, was it worth the long drive? The hanky was there, so I guess there was THAT. I did take a picture of it, but I decided against posting it on Facebook because: Nazis, you know? I did take some pictures of the interior:
There were a lot of displays like this one of the Viking Division of the Minnesota National Guard, with uniforms and other memorabilia. It might have been more interesting if I had someone other than an Already-Bored-of-It teenager. Mason was far more amused by the sign we saw on the way to the museum which read:
"You Can't Beat Rickey's Meat"---ah, teenagers.
On the way back, we saw a sign for 'pick your own' pumpkins and a Corn Maze. Corn Mazes are such iconically Midwestern thing that we decided we HAD to stop. It was actually quite a lot of fun. I mean, really we just wandered around on dirt paths that had been trampled in the dry corn stalks, but... I dunno. It was a THING. Kind of made the whole ridiculous road trip worthwhile.
The funny part is that I *think* corn mazes are supposed to have the reputation of being scary. This one wasn't. I mean, it was BROAD daylight, so that was probably part of it. I suspect this could have been a little more spooky in the twilight, but also, as you can see from this picture--Mason is almost taller than the corn stalks. So, there was no real way we'd get lost. Also, we're not two, so I suspect that's a big part of it.
We also picked our own pumpkin.
Still, all and all, this was a fun trip. We didn't really do much except drive A LOT, but we always say: it's not the destination, it's the JOURNEY. Mason and I had a blast listening to crap country music, chatting, and giggling at various oddities along the road. Good times.
Though... I do think I will cross off "Hilter's Hanky" from my bucket list. I may also attempt a lot more research before randomly choosing another site from the Oddball book.