Minnesota!

Friday we drove to Minnesota!
There were three things that came to mind to see in Minnesota.  Lakes being the first, the Mall of America and Vikings!
 Decorah is only a little over an hour away from Rochester where the main Mayo Clinic campus, or as we like to call it, the mothership is located.
 Brothers Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie Mayo started what is one of the best hospitals in the world.  They are a fascinating pair that have led to an empire of health care professionals who do medicine differently, the Mayo way.  Their values of teamwork and respect for other's talents to provide the most comprehensive care from all fields continues today and is what sets Mayo apart from the rest.
With Mayo being so close to Decorah, it was fun imagining the possibility of Max's Great Grandfather Carsten consulting with the Mayo brothers or taking education classes they offered.  We are grateful to be part of the Mayo family and Max strives to deliver the absolute best to his patients.  If I didn't know better, I would think he is from the Mayo line. :)
Max's grandmother Marie died in the hotel across the street from Mayo Clinic.  She had flown there to seek their expertise and was getting ready for her first appointment when she unexpectedly passed away.  She died from liver disease, which is Max's speciality.  I contemplated the threads of medicine, location and sequence of life through Max's family a lot while visiting Mayo Clinic.  The chain of events that leads to our own destiny is mindbogglingly.
Pops and Nana took their departure from our journey after visiting Mayo Clinic.  It was great fun to have them along for our wild ride.  I hope they will join us again next year!
 Our destination for the day would be Minneapolis.  We drove to Lake Harriet to walk around the lake.  It was rather breezy and delightful.  A young boy on the doc was fishing and was eager to share his vast fishing expertise with us. :)
We found a playground for the kids to play on while Max and I enjoyed a Leinenkugels.
After checking into our hotel we were off to the Mall of America!!  Karlie could hardly contain herself!
Here are a few of the statistics for just how massive it is:
.57 miles walking distance on each level
8 acres of skylights
4 out of 10 visitors are tourist
7 Yankee Stadiums could fit in the Mall
25 rides in Nickelodeon Universe
86 hours is the length of time it would take to visit every store if you only spent 10 minutes in each one
170,000 Legos have been lost in the Lego play zone
4.2 million square feet of gross building area
40 million visitors annually which is more than the combined populations of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa... and Canada!

 Needless to say in 2 hours we didn't see it all. But we DID ride the Ferris Wheel.
I pouted when we were in Decorah because Max wouldn't let us go to the county fair.  I have a thing for funnel cakes and Ferris Wheels.  But you can only pack so much into one day.  I tend to push everyone to their limit while on vacation.  So the fair was a no go and I was grumpy.  Max made sure I got my Ferris Wheel ride the second time around.  I don't know why they make me cry but they do.  We all got to sit in one basket and he kissed me at the top.  I was happy, happy, happy.
Hank was happy, happy, happy in the Lego store!  We closed down the mall and headed back to the hotel.  I had a date with the fold out couch and the springs fondness for my ribs.
 The next morning we were on a mission to capture North Dakota!  Along the way we stopped in Alexandria, MN to see the largest Viking in America and go to the Runestone Museum.
The Kensington Runestone was discovered in 1898 in the roots of tree that Olof Ohman was clearing for his farm.  Since its discovery there has been much debate about its authenticity and, if real, how it got there.
The stone reads:
8 GOTHS AND 22 NORWEGIANS ON 
THIS DISCOVERY VOYAGE FROM 
VINLAND OVER THE WEST WE 
HAD CAMP BY 2 SKERRIES ONE 
DAY'S JOURNEY NORTH FROM THIS STONE
WE WERE AND FISHED ONE DAY AFTER 
WE CAME HOME FOUND 10 MEN RED 
FROM BLOOD AND DEAD AVE VIRGO MARIA
SAVE FROM EVIL
HAVE 10 MEN BY THE SEA TO SEE 
AFTER OUR SHIP 14 DAYS JOURNEYS
 FROM THIS LAND YEAR 1362

The most compelling reason that I think it is real is because Olof only had 36 weeks of formal education and was a farmer with 9 children.  Hardly the type to have time, the genius, or reason to create a fake that renowned scholars could not agree on.  The stone went on to ruin his family name and destroy the lives of his children.  As more artifacts have been found, it is becoming clear that this is authentic.  I guess history will have to be rewritten yet again.
Lake... Check!
Mall of America... Check!
Vikings... Real and Fake... Check!
Time to get out of town! 

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