Minnesota Road Trip

This past weekend we embarked on our first family road trip. Our trip was primarily spent driving the ridiculously straight highways connecting the small towns of northern Minnesota. This trip served as a practice-run of sorts for our upcoming summer road trip to the Badlands. Henry did really well in car–I’d go so far as to say that he did better than either of us were anticipating. I was glad that we seemed to be adequately prepared and that we didn’t find ourselves wishing we had remembered to pack certain items.


Adam needed to complete an interview for a special pass to speed-up the customs and border patrol process when he enters Canada. The interviews are primarily conducted at Canadian airports and U.S.-Canada border patrol stations. The nearest station for us was at the border in Pembina, North Dakota, and interviews were only offered Tuesday-Thursday. Since we already had plans to be out of town over the weekend, we decided to combine the two trips to make a 4 1/2-day road trip.

We left Minneapolis on Wednesday afternoon. I had spent the morning packing, and then loaded Henry and everything else into the car after lunch and just before Henry was ready to take his afternoon nap. We made a quick stop in downtown Minneapolis to pick Adam up from work and then embarked on our adventure. We took a few quick breaks in Little Falls and Detroit Lakes before stopping at our hotel in Thief River Falls. Henry did well in the car, but he started to get crabby after about 3 hours. We later learned ideal times to stop and start driving again that really cut-back on the amount of fussing Henry did.

On Thursday we drove to Pembina so Adam could do his interview with the U.S. and Canadian border patrol officers. His interview was quick; we were on the road back to Thief River Falls within 30 minutes. Henry did really well in the car both to and from Pembina. We got back to Thief River Falls just in time for Henry’s afternoon nap.

We also got the opportunity to tour Digi-Key and spend some time talking with a few of the people who Adam has worked with there on Thursday afternoon. The tour was very interesting, and completely mind-boggling. It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch orders get picked, packed, and shipped. Parts from all over the warehouse are gathered, placed on conveyor belts where they go zooming to a packing station to meet up with other parts from the same order. Henry was just as entranced as we were.

We had dinner at a cute coffee shop in Thief River Falls after the tour and then went back to the hotel.

Our drive on Friday was long, incredibly straight, and brought us to the other side of Minnesota. We stopped for lunch in Grand Rapids, where our waitress couldn’t believe that we didn’t want ranch or bleu cheese with our wings, and then continued on to Duluth. By the time we reached Hermantown, Henry was ready to be out of his car seat.

Once we had checked-in to our hotel, we went for a walk around Canal Park. The blowing in from Lake Superior was really cold. By the end of our walk, the side of our body that was facing the lake was rosy and cold, while the other side was comfortable toasty. Thankfully Henry had his Bundle Me sack and stroller visor to protect him from the wind.

We had dinner at an Asian bistro where we tried our favorite sushi roll yet, a sweet potato and tempura roll. Henry got lots of attention from the table sitting next to us as well.

We took Henry swimming in the hotel pool before we got him ready for bed. He was a little unsure at first, but I think that was because the water was chilly. By the end, he was having a lot of fun practicing standing on his own and floating on his back.


Over the weekend we got to spend time with Adam’s family. Adam’s grandma, mom, sister, and I all “competed” in a jigsaw puzzle tournament on Saturday. We completed a 500-piece puzzle in 1 hour 39 minutes, which ended up being 15th out of 27 teams.

Adam and Henry spent a lot of time in the whirlpool tub in our hotel room while I was away. Henry and his cousin Elliot also got to play together in the hotel pool later in the afternoon. They had fun splashing, standing, and “jumping” into the water.


We left Duluth on Sunday morning to head back home. The weather made for some dangerous driving for the first hour or so. Adam got to spend about 2 1/2 hours at home before he had to leave again for a work trip to Canada. When did our lives get so crazy and busy?

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