THE SECOND DAY
The first great encounter of this trip happened last night after I arrived at the City Center Hotel in Mankato, Minnesota. Upon checking in, I asked the lady at the desk where I might find a good dinner, having dined at McDonald’s for two consecutive meals (not counting the continental breakfast at the Hyatt Place in Topeka). Lindsey was appropriately disgusted that I had McDonald’s twice in the last 24 hours and offered several fantastic suggestions. We also chatted briefly about Minnesotans complaining that 75-degree weather was getting a bit balmy. She is from Illinois, but went to school in Tampa. I stopped back at the desk before heading out to dinner and she said she would have directions and suggestions ready for me after dinner. Sure enough, she had printed out directions to Vikings camp, but then we had a discussion about how the directions she found were unnecessarily complicated. From there we launched into topics ranging from the iconography of LeBron James, the wintertime climate of the UK, responsible social drinking, the relative vibes of Dallas and Austin, the relative merits of bacon, the unexpected greatness of the movie The Internship, the real location of the Green Bay Packers training camp, the exact geographical location of Mt. Rushmore and whether or not I had the time and stamina to go see Jason Isbell play in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Tuesday night (I do if I don’t value sleep, but it’s not worth jeopardizing my work). Finally, after about an hour, another guest arrived to check in and I headed for the bar The Loose Moose about a half block away. I had been advised that The Loose Moose had a good selection of beers on tap, but to make sure not to go into Mettler’s, which is a strip club. I have to write about this as it is the craziest urban setup I have ever seen. Outside of this 3-star, conference-friendly hotel there is a lane between Mankato’s convention center and two side-by-side bars, which are owned by the same person, Lindsey said. One is a strip club called Mettler’s and the other is called The Loose Moose. If there are any Midwesterners reading this, please tell me if this kind of arrangement is common or if I’m correct to be completely baffled. Also, both were closed on a Sunday night, saving me from a tough decision. When I went back to the hotel, Lindsey was not at the desk, though she did email a while later (she and her brother are going to Scotland in December, so I obviously offered my travel agenting skills).
By the way, these blogs will be like this. One big block paragraph and then an expository paragraph to follow. That’s all for now. BIG interview today at Vikings camp. Also, the photo is from the McDonald’s in Osceola, Iowa, which is a retro McDonald’s. I assume it’s retro because McDonald’s hasn’t gotten around to updating its store in Osceola.