Category Archives: Twin Cities Adventures

Turning a City Purple

It’s been several weeks now since the passing of Prince and many of the tributes are now over. Over the past several weeks I’ve talked to a number of people and listened to their stories regarding interactions with him. Some who’ve met him on a more personal level, others who’ve been to some of his more intimate shows in the area, and those who’ve gone to full scale concerts. Many in his home town of Minneapolis have been affected by Prince. How many people in the world have such an effect as to be able to turn symbols around the world purple? Very few that I can think of.

The setting sun behind Minneapolis

While I didn’t take in those paying tribute at his recording studio Paisley Park or the well known night club First Avenue, I wanted to photograph the city he grew up in at night and what better opportunity than while it was lit up in purple? After work one evening I heading out in search of a great place to capture it all. While I didn’t fully succeed in capturing it all, I think I got some interesting pictures of Minneapolis.

Purple lights becoming more visible in the darkening sky

The first goal was to photograph the city as the sun set behind it so I headed to a spot east and set up waiting for dark to begin falling. I was surprised to find I was not the only one taking advantage of this situation and specific location. In fact much of the night I came across others doing the same thing in the same places. Sure the opportunity for a unique picture was decreased but it was somewhat comforting to know others thought taking these night photos was a good idea also.

The rebuilt 35W bridge reflecting purple in the Mississippi River

As the sun continued its trek below the horizon, more and more purple lights became visible in the darkening sky. Blackness continued to fill the sky over this busy city making these colorful lights stand out in places I didn’t expect. There were stories of a few buildings in downtown, and the 35W bridge, being lit up in purple but many other buildings had joined in on this night bringing an even larger tribute to Prince’s place.

Minneapolis from the north side of the city

After photographing in this location for a couple of hours while the last light from the sun dipped below the city I decided to try a different perspective to see if more of these colored buildings could be spotted so I drove to the north side of Minneapolis. Not much time was spent here as I couldn’t find a composition that brought out these purple accented buildings in a way I wanted so after a few pictures it was off to the west side of the city. From there, more buildings lit up in Prince’s color appeared and provided some nice opportunities with the rising moon in the background. After photographing this night cityscape for over an hour from this location, I decided it was time to call it a night and head for home and a soft pillow.

Minneapolis with the moon rising behind it


The Car Rental Employee Encounter

What did we enjoy the most continued? (The most humorous portion of this board)

Enjoying the Freedom from the Parking Ramp

Back into the car with seat belts on we begin looking for the exit to the ramp. As we started driving around we ended up in the same circle we took before and there happened to be an employee who had seen us pass for the second time. The route we were on did not exit the ramp so we went around again searching for exit signs without finding one and ended up back by that employee for a third round a very short time later. He motioned for us to stop and we complied. I rolled down my window and he asked if we were lost. I’m not sure what the most obvious clue was but he was more than willing to help. This particular gentleman spoke with a foreign accent which prompted me to answer yes. Only yes came out as “sei” which apparently took him by surprise. It was obvious to me and everybody else in the car that he was not from a Spanish speaking country which may be why he had such a quizzical look on his face. Or maybe it was the fact that I don’t resemble a person who speaks Spanish in anyway. My German/Swedish heritage might be a good reason for that as well as the fact the I maybe know five words in Spanish. After this helpful man took a quick step back, I quickly relinquished with a ‘sorry, I mean yes!’

Trying to Escape the Parking Ramp

He quickly explained to us how to exit the ramp and watched us drive away. As I looked back I noticed everyone in the car had a smile and was trying desperately not to laugh while he could see us. We drove around the parking ramp one more time, taking a turn that this nice employee had suggested and found our way to the exit. FREEDOM! We made it out of the airport grounds and on to our next destination.  Talking or even thinking of this story continues to bring smiles to all of those in the car that day and gives us a memory that will bond us for life once again showing us why being Monopoly Travelers can be so much fun. Maybe you had to be there to really enjoy the humor.

The Best Parts of Exploring the Twin Cities Monopoly Board

What did we enjoy the most?

MT Twin Cities 012

I always enjoy exploring and experiencing new things so that is my favorite part of being a monopoly traveler. The Minnesota Zoo is a fun place to explore for the whole family. It was nice to see the new Minnesota Twins Stadium along with the new University of Minnesota Gopher Football Stadium. One of the highlights for the Children was the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden where there are sculptures on a grand scale so that the kids can climb on them and play around. We were fortunate to be able to take in a Vikings football game and see the legendary quarterback Brett Favre. Like him or not he still was and is an exciting quarterback to watch.

The New Gopher Football Stadium

One of the more memorable events of this trip was getting the picture of National Car Rental. The location we choose was at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in one of the parking ramps. Not that there was a big choice as the only other location in the Twin Cities is at another terminal of the airport although it may have been easier to access. While entering the airport grounds we followed the signs to the car rental businesses and found National Car Rental. Now keep in mind that at an airport car rental businesses are designed for travelers coming off of airplanes and not arriving by car so there really is no place to park if you are not in a rental car. Well, at least none that we found. Since this is the case we drove by the first time trying to figure out where we wanted to take the picture and drove out of that level of the parking ramp. We were able to drive around the ramp and back to the National Car location but this time we had to decide where to park to get out and take a picture.

National Car Rental at the MSP Airport

Finally we found a spot between a yellow line and a barrier and quickly got out of the car heading towards a National Car Rental sign. I’m quite sure this was not a designated parking spot but we only needed a few minutes so hoped this would work and we would be back in our car before we got a ticket, or worse – had the car towed. On the way to the sign a helpful employee asked if we needed help. We responded a quick no and kept briskly walking towards the sign that was half way across the parking ramp from us. The pictures were quickly taken while other customers and staff gave us wondrous looks and we were off back to the car. Fortunately the customers that were waiting appeared to be weary travelers so didn’t really give us a second thought. Ahh success! We took care of the picture taking and the car was still were we left it without a ticket. Now that in itself was memorable but it gets even better.

The Employee Encounter….

Twin Cities Adventure Continues….

Board Surprises Continued….

The Old First Team Sports Location

The most challenging location to travel to was Ultra Wheels by First Team Sports. Apparently this company has been out of business for a few years now and I was finding very little information. After researching for a little while I came across a blog which explained that the company was no longer active. A small plug for blogs. I was able to find the old address and this became our picture spot to fulfill our traveling adventure in the twin cities. As you can see, GRACO now occupies this building.

Visiting a Nearby Raddison

There were a few other surprises that provided some challenges. The first was the Radisson Hotel St. Paul. Apparently this has now become a Crown Plaza Hotel. This required us to make a decision as to how to handle this type of situation. Do we take the picture in front of the Crown Plaza Hotel which use to be the Radisson Hotel St. Paul or do we find another Radisson Hotel (the closest one to that location)? It was determined that we would rather have the Radisson name for that board property instead of the location and since this is a business with a lot of locations another location would be possible. That was basically the same logic in deciding to use Target Corp instead of the Macy’s Minneapolis landmark store. This decision made it easier to decide what to do for another property on the board – National Car Rental. National Car Rental use to have regional office space in the twin cities which it no longer uses. In keeping with the rules we decided upon, we found another location still in use which turned out to be at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport and probably one of the most memorable locations for us to get a picture of on this edition.

Discovering the Sculpture Gardens

Traveling the Twin Cities Edition of Monopoly would have been a great experience without all of these situations to adapt to. It is these decisions that make being a Monopoly Traveler an adventure. In addition to being an adventure, choosing to be a Monopoly Traveler in the twin cities provided some unrivaled family time that we can always look back on and share our memories of. By using a monopoly board to determine our destinations we have found some locations that we have not been to and will definitely return to. One in particular is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. I have never been there and neither have our children but we enjoyed the time we spent together there and will return another time to take in a beautiful Minneapolis day.

Enjoying One of the Sculptures at the Sculpture Garden

People may look at us a little strangely when we tell them we are monopoly travelers but once you begin explaining why they usually begin to understand – Family togetherness, new experiences, adventures, and many memories to share!

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Twin Cities Edition of Monopoly

Discovering a new board

This edition of Monopoly has been completed and provided a fun and interesting adventure. There are many memories with a number of discoveries to last us a lifetime confirming why we are Monopoly Travelers.

Twin Cities Monopoly Board

Why did we choose the Twin Cities Edition of Monopoly?

The twin cities is an area that we are somewhat familiar with as we have been in that area several times. We wanted to experience how difficult or easy it is to be a monopoly traveler in an area that we are familiar with and let us know how familiar we actually were with this area. Another reason for traveling the Twin Cities Edition was to help us find out what is required to travel other editions of monopoly in areas that we are not familiar with.

While I knew of virtually every location on the board, I have not been to many of these destinations and this provided an opportunity for us to experience places that were new to us. We had a great time exploring these areas along with revisiting places that we have not been to in awhile such as the Minnesota Zoo, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the new Twins Stadium, and the new Guthrie Theater.

Visiting Delta Airlines

Board Surprises

The Twin Cities Edition of Monopoly is obviously a promotional tool used to highlight some of the better known local businesses at least for 1997 when this edition was created. It was amazing to discover how many changes there have been in the Twin Cities since 1997. There were six properties that have changed names due to mergers or acquisitions and one property that has since gone out of business. These are the situations were research is essential in order to complete a board. In my opinion, deciding to skip a property because of a name change for some reason or other is not an option when traveling a board. Figuring out what happened and adapting to these changes are what makes being a Monopoly Traveler more of an adventure.

Daytons which is now Target Headquaters

Some of the name changes were relatively easy to figure out such as Northwest Airlines and the Pillsbury Company. There have been numerous news stories highlighting Northwest’s merger with Delta Airlines and the Pillsbury Company being purchased by General Mills. Even finding out where to go for Dayton’s was not very difficult but deciding among a few different options took a few minutes. Dayton’s Corporation has become Target Corporation and the Dayton’s brand was ultimately changed to Macy’s so we had to decide if we wanted to find Target Corporation or Macy’s. As it turns out we visited both but took our picture in front of Target Corp’s Minneapolis headquarters since it is a Minnesota based business and the traveling adventure we were on was highlighting the twin cities. We walked by the old Dayton’s Minneapolis landmark retail store which is now a Macy’s landmark retail store.

National City Bank now M & I  Bank

Minnegasco has now become Center Point Energy and U.S. West is now Qwest and again these were not terribly difficult to research but without looking up these board properties, we would have not been able to complete this edition of Monopoly. The last business to change names was National City Bank. M& I Banks acquired National City Bank in Minneapolis which provided a little more of a challenge because upon first discovering National City was no longer in business I found PNC Banks had acquired National City Bank late in 2009. PNC Bank has no current presence in the twin cities so further research was needed. After looking a little harder I found that M & I Bank had acquired the Minneapolis location providing an opportunity to seek out that board property.

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