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 Minnesotas most refreshing destinations.  

Minneapolis Newest...

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...

The Keys to Successful Omicron Vacation Planning

For many Minnesotans, the first snow fall of December cause an instinctual, almost automatic response. We grab the nearest smartphone or tablet and open Kayak or Google Flights to plan a trip — and get the heck out of here. And just when we thought COVID-19 concerns were behind us, we are broadsided by the worries of the Omicron variant! Is it really going to be another horrible winter of boring walks around the neighborhood? I have two domestic trips and one international trip planned and I am damn sure not staying home. Here are some of the ways I am going to maneuver through the upcoming travel...

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...

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’...

Five Craft Beer Adventures Over Land and Sea


This may not have been a great idea after all. My legs are trembling and I’m grabbing the handle bars of my Lyft scooter for dear life. The scooter is careening violently from side to side as I rattle over the historic cobblestones leading to Indeed Brewing.

I got the idea while sipping beers with colleagues from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines in Amsterdam. Every ten minutes or so, another troupe of cyclists clad in skin-tight club uniforms would peddle by, many stopping at our pub for refreshments. Sure, many of the cyclists were cut more like Kevin James than Lance Armstrong, but their message was...

Grand Theft Airline

Airline veteran Tony Randgaard takes you behind the curtain for two airline armored car heists that rocked the world’s largest airlines.

On any given day, there are dozens of secured cargo shipments containing millions of dollars in cash crisscrossing the U.S. The shipments weigh hundreds of pounds and move in the cargo holds of the nation’s major airlines. With a staggering 32 billion pieces of currency in circulation, the Federal Reserve and the nation’s financial institutions face the daunting task of retiring and replenishing those cash reserves. A global security...

Traveling in Portugal -- The $2 City Bus Ride to Oz

It’s nearly impossible to find a travel bucket list ranking that doesn’t contain Porto or Lisbon, Portugal. From spectacular rivers and beaches to pristine medieval architectural wonders, the country is a glowing media darling. Is it all that it is cracked up to be? Let’s follow one bewildered Minnesotan on his excursion from the downtown Porto McDonald’s.   

Something just doesn’t seem right here. My legs are still burning after traversing the 225 steps of Porto’s Clerigos cathedral tower (see photo) and now I am rejuvenating with a “Coca Cola Sem” (Coke Zero) at the nearby McDonald’s. Maybe a McDonald’s from an alternate...

United Airlines Embargo Grounds Pets Around The World

Imagine if Amazon announced that they were halting all deliveries for six weeks and would let us know later if they were ever going to come back into the business. That is the hidden impact of the three recent, astonishing United Airlines pet travel mishaps.

United sent a Kansas City-bound dog to Japan; fatally stowed a snub nose dog in the overhead bin; and was forced to make an unplanned landing in Akron to get another dog to its correct destination. When those incidents occur over three days, something is bound to hit the fan and their Board of Directors quickly met to quell the media carnage.