I needed to get myself and my car from Charlottesville, Va., to Minneapolis, Minn., in time to start my summer internship this week. Somehow I conned my boyfriend into taking the 20-hour drive halfway across the country with me.
I’d love to say we had a wild and deeply insightful, Jack Kerouac-type of experience as we road down America’s highways. But it was a pretty quick and easy trip through lots of very flat fields. That said, there’s a few cool sites we snapped along the way.
We stopped for lunch in Huntington, WVa., the country’s fattest city and the site of Jamie Oliver’s recent TV show Food Revolution. I’m obsessed with the show (sign his petition to improve U.S. cafeteria food here) and it was staged around a downtown space that Jamie turned into Huntington’s Kitchen.
And we went right by it!
I also spent a little time in states and cities I’ve never set foot in. Like the home of the wooden baseball bat:
And the Hoosier (and apparently Hooter) state:
Indiana was actually a bit of a snooze. Lots of farmland, straight roads and not much else. But I did see one sight that took my breath away: a wind farm. Acres of wind mills standing like sentinels as far as I could see, all of them spinning at the same steady pace. I was awed by the ingenuity it took to create the wind farm and by the potential future it represents. And I was creeped out by the sight of all those tall, man-made structures in the middle of the vast emptiness.
Finally, we stopped in Beau Claire, Wisconsin, for lunch at Randy’s Family Restaurant, which had a 96 percent approval rating on Urban Spoon and allegedly had the best service in Wisconsin. I believe it. Our waitress was so genuinely nice and friendly, I wanted to pack her up and take her with us. And the pie was incredible.
Once we got to Minneapolis …
we did what every good American would: we went to Mall of America. It was underwhelming. Other than the huge Lego display (check out Woody!) and the rollercoasters in center court, it was a mall like any other mall with stores like the stores you see everywhere else. Oh well.
Luckily Minneapolis as a whole has been anything but underwhelming. My first week here it was 75 degrees and sunny everyday. Happy hour is always hopping. I can walk from my apartment to an array of trendy bars, delicious restaurants and nice shops right in downtown.
And in the morning I can run along the Mississippi River.
I think it’s going to be a good summer.