Chicago to Fargo ND – October 16/17

We were up early on Tuesday, as we knew it would be a long drive to Minneapolis and traffic in Chicago would be a challenge. The valet service took a long time to bring our vehicle, saying it was due to the construction on the street by the parkade. Later we noticed that our clock had been reset, our temperature displays had changed to Fahrenheit and our radio didn’t work. It made us wonder what had happened to our car while it was parked. We’ll have to take it into a Hyundai dealer to figure out how to fix the radio,

We got back on the interstate with no trouble but traffic immediately ground to a halt. We were delayed in Chicago, just because of heavy traffic volume, for over a half hour. When we finally got out of the Chicago area, we were delayed another half hour due to road construction. Note to self, fly to Chicago next time, don’t drive!

We were on a toll highway to the border of Illinois with Wisconsin. This time tolls cost us about $10.00. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we could really enjoy the remaining fall colours. There were more and more leaves on the ground as we progressed north and there was less variety of colour. Most trees with leaves left looked brown or dark orange. We spotted some interesting rock formations near the roadside, in the area near Wisconsin Dells. As we moved through the eastern half of Minnesota, we were into low hills with lots of trees but not as well forested as the east coast.

At Minneapolis, we took the southern perimeter route as we were staying at a Best Western across the street from Mall of America. I thought it would be fun to walk through the mall to see how it compares to West Edmonton Mall. I had booked the hotel on points, so it was another free night. As soon as we were settled into the hotel, we walked across to the mall.

Mall of America is designed in the shape of a square, with an amusement park in the middle. Stores line both sides of the concourse that goes around the outside of the amusement park but there are lots of wide open entrances to get in or to watch the rides in progress. The anchor stores are Macy’s, Nordstroms and Sears. A fourth store is unoccupied, perhaps a casualty of the downturn. There are two full levels of stores, a third level that has stores and entertainment and a fourth level that looks like it is only  entertainment. Restaurants can be found on all levels. There are 520 retail stores, about 300 less than WEM. One of the other big differences we noticed was the lack of fountains on the main floor, allowing more room for walking. There were also seating areas, for less enthusiastic shoppers or those who simply need a break.

We both managed to spend a little but were quite happy to walk back to the hotel without exploring all four levels of the mall. We had dinner in the hotel and called it a night.

Wednesday morning was cloudy but not overly cool at 19C. Unfortunately we could see that the weather was deteriorating as we drove towards Fargo, on the border between Minnesota and North Dakota. The wind was quite strong and the rain was fairly steady for the last half of the drive.  It was looking very dismal outside – very few trees with leaves, flat landscape, long distances between towns. The temperature fell to 10C. Murray was quick to change out of his shorts when we got to the hotel in Fargo.

Neither of us felt like venturing out in the rain to find a restaurant so we had dinner in the hotel and hung out in our room.


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