Lifestyle

The Shape of Water: Five Surprising Minnesota Side Trips 

During the pandemic, Americans stayed home in historic numbers. Car insurers sent us refunds because we cut our driving miles in half, a cataclysmic shift that Bob Pishue of the INRIX analytics company stated had not been seen since the onset of travel reporting.

I was no different. Whether it was shopping, exercise or getting out into nature, my orbit was close to home. And as I began to venture out into the great outdoors again, I found that much had changed during my COVID hibernation. In fact, I stumbled onto five exciting adventures to some of Minnesota’s most refreshing destinations.  

Minneapolis’ Newest...

Looming Sharkcano and Minnesota’s Best Shark Week Experiences

Shark Ray Alley off the coast of Belize offers some of the world’s best snorkeling. In warm crystal-clear water I experienced a kaleidoscope of psychedelic queen angelfish, fluorescent orange and yellow hogfish, silver trumpetfish and pastel triggerfish. A large black grouper lumbered by me and then a gnarly-toothed barracuda caused me to gasp for breath. On our second stop the crew tossed pails of bloody chum into the water, inviting us to jump into a swarm of tiger sand sharks. My mind raced to Shark Week and Sharknado: The sharks are in the streets and falling from the skies! I quickly opted out and then worried...

New Rail Service Twin Cities-Chicago and the Ghosts of the 100 MPH Hiawatha Trains

In June 1947, the Milwaukee Road Railroad introduced the streamlined, herculean Olympian Hiawatha train on the Twin Cities-Chicago route. Adam Burns of American Rails reported that the new “trains became instantly successful and regularly cruised over 100 mph with nary a bump or shudder during the ride.” He added that the “trains could make the jaunt between the two cities in roughly six hours.”

The 1952 afternoon Hiawatha from Chicago to St. Paul was scheduled at 6 hours and 15 minutes. In the pursuit of safety, Milwaukee Road installed “Reduce to 90” (miles-per-hour) signs along...

Brainerd Lakes Fall Color Bonanza

Breezy Point Resort celebrates its 150th anniversary this year and you can join the fun with their all-inclusive golf package that is second to none. The four day, three night package drops to $449 until season close, getting you unlimited golf, 4-star dining at the Marina and Antlers restaurants, drinks and double-occupancy lodging. Drinks include beer, wine and 2nd-to- top-shelf cocktails (whoa caution) and I will admit I have never been able to use all my complimentary meal and appetizer coupons - which...

How Spooked Should We Be by the UK Delta Variant COVID-19 Surge?

 

Our April 12th Minnesota COVID-19 forecast model was the first to predict Minnesota crushing COVID cases by June 1. Our May 20th herd immunity analysis used custom reports from the Minnesota Department of Health to reveal that the State’s herd immunity percentages are already exceeding World Health Organization goals. And this week we turn our attention to a troubling surge in COVID Delta Variant...

Are Minnesota’s Herd Immunity Goals Already in the Rear View Mirror? 

On March 9th, the California Medical Association presented survey results of 79,000 residents displaying that 38% carried COVID-19 immunity antibodies. The findings were gathered from blood banks and clinics across the state. The fascinating part of that study was the timing. It was conducted through February 20th when barely 5 percent of Californians were fully vaccinated, and only 11 percent had received their first shot (according to USA Facts). That left an intriguing gap of 27-33 percent of the population that had been infected and still carried protection.

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Minnesota’s Light at End COVID Tunnel: Is It the Runaway Fourth Wave Train?

Meet the Press last Sunday, noted University of Minnesota Epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm called the current rising wave of COVID-19 cases “category five hurricane status.” He warned that a fourth wave of infections is imminent. Meanwhile, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky echoed that same sense of doom in an interview with CNN. Is the sky falling? Rather than strapping on my second mask, I decided to dive into the numbers and again tap the analytic expertise of Rich Heichert, retired Ecolab V.P and...

Gangsters, Gable and Gatsby- Four Historic and Fun Minnesota Side Trips

Looking for some great diversions while the vaccines rollout? Follow me as we track the haunts of gangsters and Gable; and the writing domains of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Sinclair Lewis.  Here are four side trips that will immerse you in history without forgetting the food and fun.  

Breezy Point’s 100th Anniversary- Hideaway of the Stars

Few destinations capture the confluence of past and present better than Breezy Point Resort near Nisswa. Its founder Billy Fawcett built the lodge as a hobby to provide a getaway for his Hollywood celebrity chums and “The...

Five Minneapolis Flights That Changed History

The Aviator

Northwest Airline’s executives went to bed downtrodden on July 14, 1938. Their plans to meet and refuel Howard Hughes’ twin engine monoplane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport had been dashed when his crew wired that they would land in Winnipeg instead. And this wasn’t just any old pit stop — this was the last stop on Hughes record-shattering round-the-world speed race. His previous stop was Fairbanks and Hughes was streaking more than 3 days ahead of Wiley Post’s previous world record.  

To make matters worse, both of Hughes’ radio...