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Friday 18th April, 2008

After a very pleasant 3 days with our friends Eileen and Phil we decided to head west to Kansas City, cross into the state of Kansas and then head north for Minneapolis where we will meet up with Eileen and Phils' daughter Nichole. 

We drove around 330 miles today, we drove through Kansas City and into the state of Kansas before doubling back and taking the I34 towards Minneapolis.  We made it as far as Cameron in Missouri, still 389 miles from Minneapolis.

Tomorrow we hope to visit the birthplace of John Wayne in Winterset, Iowa and then revisit Clear Lake where Buddy Holly played his last concert before we finish the day in Minneapolis.

Saturday 19th April, 2008

Buddy Holly Memorial - Clear Lake, Iowa
Clear Lake, Iowa

Early start and on the I35 heading north. 
We were soon into Iowa and took a side trip to Winterset, the birthplace of John Wayne.  We went to the house where he was born and checked things out including the gift shop.

Then onto Clear Lake where we once agin checked out the Buddy Holly crash site, we were here 2 years ago and went many miles out of our way to do it.  This time it was on the way and it seemed silly not to check it out once again so we did.  This time the field where the place crashed was mostly mud and our shoes were caked in the stuff by the time we got back.  We also went into the town site and checked out the lake, very impressive and also the Surf Ballroom where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper played their last concert back in February 1959.

On the road again and we arrived in Minneapolis around 5:30m.  It was nice to see Nichole again, the last time was in Perth when she was a student back in 2002.  We also met her fiance Jonny.

We grilled out for dinner - very nice and chatted a lot.

We watched our first NHL hockey game - it was game 6 in the playoff game between the local team the Wild and the Colorado Avalanche.  The Wild needed to win to tie the series and go to a 7th game.  Sadly they lost 2-1.  The season is over for the Minneapolis Wild.

Sunday 20th April, 2008

Gary, Rayls and Nichole and Minnehaha Falls
Minnehaha Falls

A really good day with Nichole and Jonny day.

After a great breakfast we were on on our way around 11am.  Firstly a Joanne's fabric store in Apple Valley for Rayls and Nichole.  Gary checked out a nearby Wal-Mart.

Then it was on to the Mall of America - actually Gary was dropped off at the airport so he could scout the trip from there to the Mall for his friend Glen who will be doing the trip in October.  Gary started out by catching the tram and then the Light Rail, he asked a security type lady for advice - she promptly reported to the police the fact that Gary was filming the journey between airport and Mall.  The police came to the Light Rail terminal and spoke with Gary, asked for ID and asked why he was filming.  They were happy with his response and he was on his way.  

At the Mall he met up with Rayls, Nichole and Jonny and they spent a few hours checking out the shops and the rather impressive theme park in the centre.  They even played mini golf with Australia being soundly beaten by the USA.

Gary even got to check out some cheese curds!!!  Cheese that is chewy like rubber.

Then it was on to the town of Stillwater, right on the very beautiful (and flooded) St Croix River.  The river is the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin.  After a very pleasant walk and checking out the shops we had dinner at the Dock cafe right on the river - magnificent.

Then we drove back into downtown St Paul, saw the Xcel Center where the Minnesota Wild play their home games - quite a crowd arriving for a concert tonight - Santana.  We drove through down town, lots of Peanuts chararacter statues.

We crossed the Mississippi River to an uphill area where we could look back across the river to the St Paul downtown area - very impressive.

It was getting late but we managed a quick trip to Minneapolis and the Minnehaha Falls, very scenic.  Today was the first sunny day of the spring and people were out walking and enjoying the sun.  It was a great day.

We chatted when we got home - we did spend some time trying to teach Jonny the great game of cricket.