Day 32: Last Round of Minnesota

Finally, and just barely, I finished up Minnesota today.  Somehow my estimates were off — and I’m now a day behind schedule.  I guess I’m not going to get to the northern Illinois stuff.  Which makes me pout like a spoiled child.  Next year’s trips probably won’t take me up this way (Spring: Florida & Summer: SoCal).  It really hurts to have organized this chunk of stuff and not be able to get to it til 2014.  I’m not giving up just yet — but the Wisconsin stuff yet-to-do looks like two days worth.

More sunshine all day today.  But much of it spent sitting in the driver’s seat between one-stop towns.  The dogs made the usual demands — and I had to indulge them.  When a trip starts winding down, I start making more and more stops for them.  It just really makes me happy to see them happy.  Here’s a typical and frequent excerpt from my day of driving.  Sorry that the video is sideways — taken while driving and just sort of randomly shot.  I don’t see a function at YouTube to rotate the video.  Much of the day I had these sound effects since we were along the Upper Mississippi for a good bit of time.  Nik is whining, the high-pitched squealing is Grem, the deep barking is Fixie (at them), and Grip must be in there somewhere.

But let’s start the photos back where the day began — in Austin.  I’m guessing there was a nicer facade here which has since been removed:

On to Lanesboro — for the Spud Boy Diner.  I’m too wiped out to give you the whole history of this place.  And it’s already been done  better than I could do at Larry’s blog:
http://dinerhotline.wordpress.com/2009/06/28/gordon-tindalls-spud-boy-diner-gets-nice-write-up-and-it-is-almost-a-year-away-from-opening/

and Spencer’s blog:
http://dinerhunter.com/2012/04/15/gordon-tindalls-spud-boy-lunch/

Let’s just say, it’s one of those happy ending stories thanks to people who stepped in to save this place.  Like Mike and Gordon.

Timing is everything and it just so happened that Mike Engle from Upstate New York was in town and stuck around to meet me.  He’s the guy in the middle of this photo.  And he’s the one to thank for saving the diner.  He’s also written a couple of books about diners and been obsessed with them for decades.

So, it was Mike that hooked up Gordon Tindall with this diner.   Gordon had previously restored and operated the Red Rose Diner in Towanda, PA:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/agilitynut/1474485764/

I didn’t get a chance to talk to him since the place was jammed with people.  A tiny town on a Tuesday morning.  Good to see it’s doing well!  Here’s Gordon making REAL home fries with a grater over the grill:

Another long view of the very small diner.  Gordon’s the only one cooking.  While his wife, Val, just visible over his shoulder, takes the orders.  It’s a wonderful little place and I wish I’d gotten a chance to actually eat there.  Beautiful little town, too.  Add to your list.

Back on the road.   Here’s one from Rochester —  the Recreation Lanes:

A nice mid-century design from Winona:

Also Winona — I’ve included Louis Sullivan buildings in posts before.  I figured you might be tired of them — but this one’s a knock-out.  This one was designed by Purcell & Elmslie.  Elmslie was Sullivan’s chief draftsman.  I only wish I’d been there a half hour earlier when the place was open.  The murals and other details inside partially visible through the windows looked incredible.

And this is how most of my day’s end here on the road.  Too late to shoot — light enough for one last run & sniff for the dogs.  This big grassy area was between a school and a cemetery.  There’s still a lot of vaguely owned, golf-course-green areas out there in America up for 20 minute grabs.  I don’t know if that will be the case 10 years from now.

One I shot in the dark just to see if it was worth going back sometime to shoot this statue in the light.  I thought you might like it since it’s rather eerie from the flash.  This was at the Ashley Furniture factory in Whitehall, WI:

OK — on to La Crosse and Sparta first thing in the morning.  I know I should get you some food shots — and I still haven’t come up with a self-portrait yet.  Working on it.

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12 Responses to “Day 32: Last Round of Minnesota”

  1. paper doll Says:

    There’s still a lot of vaguely owned, golf-course-green areas out there in America up for 20 minute grabs. I don’t know if that will be the case 10 years from now.

    Interesting observation

    The Sullivan build photos were great…and yes food shots! lol! I like to see photos of other thing occasionally because it underscores how good a photographer you are generally .

    • …….. I’m still with you and enjoying the trip

      • Thanks — it’s nice to hear from folks. I have no idea how many people follow my blog. There are about 300 clicks per day — but no way to know if there are 300 followers – or 20 people just clicking impatiently waiting for the next post. Probably somewhere in between. And then there are folks that might just check in once a week. One person even wrote that they like to wait til the trip is OVER and then read it from the beginning.

    • Yes, I’ve noticed smaller cities quadrupled with development of chain stores & fast food places in all directions. It doesn’t bode well for the older stores inside the circle that can’t compete with the lower prices of the chains. My dogs definitely benefit from all the grass and dirt from ground clearing for development and closed business parks due to a crappy economy. America is just HUGE and I’m glad there will always be green available for my dogs at least in my and their lifetime.

      Thanks for the compliment about my photography skills. I don’t really consider myself a photog though. Just a documenter since all I do 95% of the time is push a button. The only skills are in PhotoShop which is very minimal since I don’t believe in effects for what I do. A tiny bit of contrast, a tiny tweaking of light, and cropping. Maybe too much cropping in some people’s minds. But I try to make each of my subjects more heroic rather than contextual with its setting. That barely makes sense but I hope you understand what I’m saying. More coffee needed.

      • paper doll Says:

        lol You made alot of sense

        But I try to make each of my subjects more heroic rather than contextual with its setting.

        Exactly what makes the photos great….but however you think of yourself , imo you are a photographer and a very good one! The photos of the signs put one in a hypnotic state ( that’s a compliment) …but the photos of other things wake one up and realize how good you are . I think food shots especially , because the kids help out in thier photos by being adorable…but with the food ones, it’s 90% you! lol!

      • Well. Thanks! I’ll have to shoot some food tomorrow. Although I’ve been living off of mixed nuts, cheese, peanut butter, and croissants lately. Not the most exciting subject matter! Supposed to be hotter tomorrow — maybe I’ll break my sugar-fast and get some ice cream — just for you!

      • paper doll Says:

        Why thanks! I enjoyed the coffee photo…setting it on that X was a great idea

      • I was looking for something colorful since the coffee was pretty boring — but if anything deserved heroic treatment, it was that cup. I was completely thrashed driving before that. They seem to have very colorful gas tank covers here. The red must mean somethin’.

  2. It sounds like you had a good day and met some interesting people.

    • I’ve known Mike for years — though we’re not close personal friends. Gordon I hadn’t met — and he was too busy keeping up with customers yesterday morning to chat. No breaks when you are head cook and bottle washer. Luckily, Mike was there pitching in with dishes.

  3. galechicago Says:

    I don’t know how you resisted those home fries at the diner! I’d have to have a waffle and some scrambled eggs, too.

    • And I was watching Val (Gordon’s wife) stirring up that pancake batter. But potatoes — yes — I really should have. Regretting it now. I coulda had him do it the Waffle House way: scattered, smothered & covered (you must know what I mean).

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