Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Map Dots Be Damned!

Back on Monday July 20th Kickass Cousin & I had the brilliant idea that we were going to take a random trip somewhere.  We wanted to leave our destination up to fate.  We discussed 3 different options on how we would decide where we were headed for our "spontaneous" day trip.

1. Throw a darts at a map

2. Throw a penny over our shoulders at a map

3. Take a coin & flip it heads or tails (right or left) at each intersection for a set time period

I didn't know where the darts were...

By flipping a coin we ran the risk of hitting the freeway (I only live 12 miles from one) & not hitting any intersections anymore.  We also ran the risk of ending up in the middle of nowhere because I live in the middle of nowhere central Minnesota.

Pennies it was!  The pennies were there own challenge.  We agreed that we would each throw a penny & then either pick between the 2 spots or draw a line & meet in the middle because MN is tall & we could have ended up in International Falls (4 hours away & on the Canadian border) or on the SD/IA border 5 hours away.

Kickass Cousin tossed first.  Canada, Canada, Canada, ALEXANDRIA! (Just over 2 hours away)

Next I went.  Canada.  Iowa.  Canada.  RENVILLE! (Just under 3 hours away)

We stared at each other.  We discussed.  We said, "MAP DOTS BE DAMNED" & we headed to the north shore instead.  The north shore is 3.5-4 hours in the opposite direction from the map dots... it's also only 1.5-2 hours from where I live & far more exciting & pretty than the map dots.

With our destination in mind we were on the road!

Duluth is the start of the north shore but we decided to just drive straight through it & keep going north.  Our first stop was a random pull off.  Luckily there weren't any cars behind me because it was a last minute decision.  I saw the parking lot & I pulled in!

After snapping some pictures, & one of us stepped barefoot in gum (the same one who stepped in Bourbon Street sewer water) we continued on our way.  I knew there was a cute little area in Two Harbors so we made that our next stop.

When we were driving down one of the side streets to find some lunch we noticed that there was sidewalk chalk art so we stopped to check that out as well.  Those people had some serious skills!  The fact that some of them were under the age of 12 was super impressive.

We were starting to get hungry & I wanted to check out Betty's Pies because it's fairly famous & neither of us had ever been there.  It was insanely busy.  We didn't even ask how long the wait was because the inside was full of people waiting & then there were quite a few people waiting outside as well.  We decided that if we kept going we'd find somewhere else to eat along the way.  We wound up at Rustic Inn Cafe.  The pie was delicious!  Kickass Cousin had summer berry (strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry) & I had berry berry (gooseberry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry)  The service & fish tacos however were shit.  Our waitress was never around & wasn't rude, but she wasn't friendly either.  She wasn't even around when we wanted to pay & the girl up front rolled her eyes at us when we wanted her to do it...ya know the girl at the damn cash register.  Doing your job is hard I know...

After a mediocre lunch with less than mediocre service we continued the journey north.  We headed to Split Rock Light House.  The place is pretty iconic, at least in MN anyway I couldn't tell you if anyone in the rest of the country knows about it.  If you've ever gotten a postcard from the north shore though there's a chance that that's where the picture on it is from.  We started up by the light house & then hiked down a wooded path to get down to the lake.  While down there Kickass Cousin tried to convince me of the awesomeness that would be a selfie stick.  (Yes, I'm aware that a lot of bloggers people are into selfie sticks.  I think they're's called arms, strangers, & friends people...)  While trying to tell her that we could just ask a stranger to take our picture she responds with "do you SEE any strangers around?!"  And on cue, 3 strangers walked around the corner.  Thank you Jesus for helping me prove my point.  So we had them take our picture & then proceeded to have a photo shoot of our own, complete with a recreation of a photo we took when we were little pretending that we were falling in the water...

Post photo shoot we hiked our butts up a very long, very steep staircase.  Y'all I'm pretty sure I died on the way up.  I could see myself walking straight into heaven.  Home girl is out of shape when it comes to incline.  Who am I kidding?  Home girl is just out of shape.  When we got back to the car we debated heading farther north & it was getting late so we decided by the time we got to anywhere of real significance it'd be getting dark out so we headed back south to spend some time in Duluth.  We walked around down by Lake Superior, tried skipping some rocks, watched a barge come through, people watched, & then ended the evening by eating bar food & drinking mojitos before heading back home.


  1. I love the idea of a spontaneous day trip. Looks like a great time was had. I also love the idea of hanging up a map and putting pushpins on the places you have visited.

  2. This sounds like such a blast. I'd only end up somewhere in redneckville if I tried to do that from Charleston. But, I'm headed to NC this weekend for my Tri, so I'm going to introduce Teh MD Adult Roomie to Old Salem and moravian cookies, so it will be new for her and that counts for something travel related, lol.

  3. That's a nice way to spend the day! Sans the crappy lunch service. It's nice to just get in the car and go sometimes.

  4. What a fun and spontaneous drive! The fun looks amazing too!

  5. I wish I'd had the notion to do this with my cousin...I need to the next time I'm visiting her in Texas. The sidewalk art is such a fun find!

  6. Love the idea of the map dots, such a great idea for spontaneous day trips :-D

  7. ok i love this concept of throwing caution to the wind and just winging it! how awesome! what a cool trip