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The walls have come down

Pic posted March 30, 2024

Hawthorne/Ramp A lobby construction is nearing completion

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A little frosty this morning ⛄️

Pic posted February 22, 2024

Warmed up nicely later, though

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Purchase and install ski racks ✅

Pic posted February 16, 2024

Just like olden times ⛷️

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MINI Cooper S Electric ⚡️

Pic posted February 16, 2024

My loaner today is 100% electric – drives very differently

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Pic posted February 8, 2024

Except me, apparently

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Posted February 5, 2024

This morning I planned to hit all the errands I didn’t get to do last week before heading to the office. Went 0-for-3: the Cottage Grove DMV wouldn’t sell me a state parks license plate, a ski shop the Descente website sent me to in Long Long didn’t actually have any jackets (neither did Hoigaard’s or Joe’s) and Rack Attack had no realistic options for Oliver.

Onward to other plans…

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Pic posted February 2, 2024

Curing the film in the sun

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…in the city it’s a pity ’cause we just can’t hide. Tinted windows don’t mean nothin’, they know who’s inside…

— It’s Tricky

Quote posted January 30, 2024

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Pic posted January 29, 2024

Haven’t been in Coffman in a million years. Bucky up next…

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Pic posted January 27, 2024

Thought Lat 14 was closed, but I was thinking of Lemon Grass

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Pic posted January 27, 2024

Took delivery today in Golden Valley 🏁

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Pic posted January 19, 2024

It’s pretty much required that I spend a least a part of all remaining birthdays in a casino – drove to Grand Casino Hinckley and visited my orchid friends (400x progressive!), got all the usuals at Tobies and filled up at Love’s for $2.49/gallon

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Posted January 7, 2024

I read someone on Mastodon talking about a goal of visiting all 88 Texas state parks in the next few years and thought that would be fun to do in Minnesota with Oliver (and the Minnesota State Parks custom license plate).

Minnesota has 66 state parks, plus nine state recreation areas, nine state waysides and 23 state trails. I’ve been to a bunch of these already, but I could revisit the eight on the North Shore alone every week and be happy.

Quest set:

Afton • Banning • Bear Head • Beaver Creek Valley • Big Stone Lake • Blue Mounds • Buffalo River • Camden • Carley • Cascade River • Charles A. Lindbergh • Crow Wing • Father Hennepin • Flandrau • Forestville/Mystery Cave • Fort Ridgely • Fort Snelling • Franz Jevne • Frontenac • George H. Crosby Manitou • Glacial Lakes • Glendalough • Gooseberry Falls • Grand Portage • Great River Bluffs • Hayes Lake • Hill-Annex Mine • Interstate • Itasca • Jay Cooke • John A. Latsch • Judge C.R. Magney • Kilen Woods • Lac qui Parle • Lake Bemidji • Lake Bronson • Lake Carlos • Lake Louise • Lake Maria • Lake Shetek • Lake Vermilion • Maplewood • McCarthy Beach • Mille Lacs Kathio • Minneopa • Monson Lake • Moose Lake • Myre-Big Island • Nerstrand-Big Woods • Old Mill • Rice Lake • St. Croix • Sakatah Lake • Savanna Portage • Scenic • Schoolcraft • Sibley • Soudan Underground Mine • Split Rock Creek • Split Rock Lighthouse • Temperance River • Tettegouche • Whitewater • Wild River • William O’Brien • Zippel Bay

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Posted December 30, 2023

As I wait for Oliver to make it across the Atlantic, I realized as I was driving home this week that next month with mark forty years since I got my learner’s permit to drive. A few observations:

  • Mr. Toad isn’t the only one with a mania for motor cars
  • Only two moving violations – one in Florida and one in Wisconsin
  • My first used car was a Dodge Colt
  • Other makes we’ve owned: Oldsmobile, Toyota, Honda (many times) & BMW/Mini
  • My parents loved Volkswagens, but I’ve never purchased one
  • The new Mini will likely be my last gas engine, manual transmission car
  • It’s really a miracle that so many drivers get so many places daily without more accidents

Be safe and motor on…

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Posted November 27, 2023

With Oliver* now scheduled for production in England, I’ve been thinking about what I want for a license plate. Minnesota offers a ton of special plate options, along with the original personalized option. You can’t combine the two, though, which is probably what I would do if I could (i.e. – a loon design with a custom name). The costs vary a lot too – a standard personalized plate is $100, while the various “contribution” plate styles range from $10 to $60 annually (plus fees).

Growing up, I always thought personalized plates were pretty cool (and expensive). The state says there are almost 82,000 of these currently in use and I’ve seen quite a few clever ones over the years. I wish there was an online site where you could check to see if your desired name is available, but right now it’s just a paper form with spots for your top three choices. Don’t really want to gamble $100 unless I know I will get the one I want, so that option is out.

My mom always had the loon plates, which I also had on my first Mini in 2005. I was thinking about another loon, but then heard about the Minnesota State Parks & Trails option (pictured above). It’s $60 annually, but also grants you access to all of the state parks without an additional permit. I see that one a lot on the road (almost 25,000 issued) and it seems like a win-win. Here are a few other plate stats I find interesting:

  • U of M Twin Cities ($25) – 2,839
  • U of M Duluth ($25) – 412
  • Critical Habitat: Loon ($30) – 60,462
  • Critical Habitat: Pollinator ($30) – 9,088
  • Minnesota Golf ($30) – 5,440
  • Veteran: World War II ($15.50) – 170 ❤️
  • Veteran: Pearl Harbor Survivor ($15.50) – 1 ❤️❤️

Oliver is scheduled to roll off the assembly line in Oxford on December 12, followed by a boat ride across the pond. Should be in Minnesota just in time for a big red bow on Christmas morning…

* proposed name for our 2024 Mini Cooper S Hardtop

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Pic posted November 19, 2023

Many, many cars successfully smashed

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Pic posted November 2, 2023

Decisions, decisions

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Pic posted August 14, 2023

Eye doctor, lunch with DGS, oil change, dinner at Barbette with Keri and Scott (pictured), Grand Old Creamery with MK

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Pic posted July 10, 2023

I know they say this extends the life of the road, blah, blah, blah…

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Pic posted April 15, 2023

Post-round stop at the Bloomington Zantigo – no ‘Tigo fries there either

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Pic posted April 1, 2023

Never seen that before – won’t last long in the sun

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Pic posted March 2, 2023

No offense, Toyota, but this is no X3

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Pic posted November 14, 2022

Winter has arrived

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Pic posted October 27, 2022

Sorry, White Castle

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Pic posted September 28, 2022

First one of the 2022 fall season

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