After we left Niagara Falls we went back to Buffalo for the concert. When that was over we crossed into Ontario and camped for the night at a park and ride lot in the outskirts of Toronto. The next morning as we approached Toronto we stopped at a park along the lakeshore where we played on the equipment a little …
We then drove through Ontario to Sault Ste Marie, where we crossed back into the US, at the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We stopped at Seney National Wildlife Refuge, where we got to see the trumpeter swans there. We also saw lots of other interesting birds but most of the pictures didn’t turn out. I guess we’ll just have to go back.
Also in Michigan we stopped at the Seul Choix Point Light House, which is over 100 years old. Unfortunately it was closed for the night so we couldn’t take a tour but I took some exterior shots.
We then drove into Wisconsin. As we drove through we stopped to take a few scenic shots. One of the zillions of farms we passed was an ostrich/emu farm, and we stopped to take a few snaps:
We saw this deer in a park somewhere, and took this shot of the sunset as we were approaching Chippewa Falls. We camped for the night in a National Forest.
We stopped at the Cray headquarters in Chippewa Falls, WI to visit Sandi Barsamian, who is the head of Payroll for the Cray division of Silicon Graphics. I had been working on an online timecard project at SGI, and had worked closely with Sandi on the design and rollout of the electronic timecards at Cray. We found that she discovered a use for the old paper timecards….
We then proceeded to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota. I stopped to photograph the Capitol Building in St Paul, and we proceeded immediately to the Mall of America, the Consumer Mecca of the USA. It is the second largest shopping mall in the world (the West Edmonton Mall in Canada is bigger), and the largest one in the US. It was built on the site of an old sports complex when the Minnesota Vikings built a new one.
The Mall of America is basically square in shape, with fairly conventional three-story shopping malls forming the four sides. In the center is Camp Snoopy, an indoor amusement park, with roller coaster, log ride, carousel, and all the usual rides.
When Holly was a child she was never allowed to ride any of the carousel horses that go up and down – always she would be tricked into riding the stationary ones. Finally she got a chance to ride one that moved up and down – and here it is, captured on film.
The picture of Bill is a self-portrait, taken through one of the mirrors in the “hub” of the carousel.
Also at the mall is the Lego Imagination Center, where they have Legos for sale, giant Lego sculptures, and free Lego tables where kids can build stuff. It was heaven. If I lived in Minneapolis I’d apply for a job there, if only for the employee discount… :-)
In North Dakota, we stopped at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The prairies there are just incredibly scenic, and the park is home to several prairie dog towns. Prairie dogs are the most incredibly cute rodents in the world.
When Holly was a kid she was taken to the Washington National Zoo in DC. When they got to the prairie dog exhibit, she just stood there and refused to move on. No amount of pleading would get her to see any other animals – she just wanted to look at the prairie dogs. We found the same phenomenon here at the Theodore Roosevelt Park…. Finally though we moved on.