Two more nights in a hotel (including tonight) and we should be home. Today we began our drive in Minnesota, traveled through Wisconsin and are spending the night not too far from Chicago, Illinois. I have still so much to share about our trip, but will probably set those up when we get home until I run out of photos. That could be a long time.
I am actually sharing what we did today, September 12th, 2013 (Thursday). We have now traveled 7,818 miles.
We left our hotel in Austen, Minnesota, at 10.08 a.m. Later than usual but we did laundry before we left. We were too tired last night to even contemplate it.
This is one of the streets in Austin. It is a very pretty town.
We are off to the Spam Museum. Huh? From the Grand Canyon to the Spam Museum? Yes, I know! No, 3 on the traveler's code came to mind when he told me we were going there this morning, but Gregg was on a mission and I saw he was determined that we would see it. (Look at this post if you want to read the traveler's code.) He has an app on his phone that lets you know about any interesting places to see in the area we are visiting, and it told him this museum promised we will leave smiling and that is good enough for him and good enough for me.
We had the dickens of a time finding it. The GPS took us to the wrong place. We asked a real nice man on a bicycle for directions and he gave us a wry smile. As Gregg shouts over to the man, I'm saying, "What are you doing? He's going to fall off his bicycle!" He didn't and pointed down a side street where he stopped to answer Gregg's question. "No. 3", I told the bicycle man but I didn't explain the travelers code so he didn't really understand.
We still got lost. Gregg ended up going into a gas station. He must really want to visit this museum I thought because let's be honest, men do not like to ask for directions, am I right ladies? A man at the gas station drew him a map, to the wrong place as it turned out - more on that later. But still, good intentions and Midwest hospitality is alive and well here.
We followed the map and went to what we thought was the museum parking lot.
There was a huge can of Spam in front of the building, and a pig. We have arrived, or so I thought and walked off to take photos of the sculptures. I merrily marched over with camera in hand and started taking photos. First a steel sculpture......
and then the pig.....
and then onto the Can of Spam and as I was about to lift my camera up for the shot, what's that I hear?
I was so focused on the task in hand but finally Gregg's voice got through to me and I looked over to see a security guard standing next to him. I suddenly felt as guilty as if I had been found with my hand in the cookie jar after I had been to a Weight Watcher's meeting. I got told off (in a polite fashion) for taking the pictures of the Spam and Pig and the arrow thingy. Huh? The guard was real nice about it. Gregg told the guard, "And she's a policeman's daughter too!" Gregg actually twinkled when he came up with that one. I think I may have given him a look. I asked the Guard couldn't I take just one more photo? I'm sure he must have recognized the COD thing going on because he solemnly shook his head, and I was kicking myself for not taking a photo of the Can of Spam first but I got it in the end, even if it was from the other side of the fence as I was driving away.
Later Gregg said it was a good job we didn't tell him we lived in the same state where they have the Smithfield Ham Processing Plant. We might have still been there.
Long story short what we thought was the museum - and remember the gas station man's map sent us here - was actually the meat processing plant. Answer me this, if you don't want anyone to take pictures, why would you put a big sculpture of a Can of Spam right in front of your building, and a pig?
It still wasn't the museum but that very nice guard whom we did not tell we came from the Smithfield Ham Plant State, gave us directions. I was ready to give up but Gregg was dogged. He would not be denied his trip to the Spam Museum, and he tells me I am stubborn!
Well, we finally reached our goal and as we walked through the door and saw a wall of Spam made up of 3,390 cans, we knew we were in the right place. Gregg had finally found his museum. The first thing I did was to ask the two nice ladies behind the desk at the reception area if I could take photos and was told, "Yes Dear, you can take as many as you like!" Eureka! I wanted to hug them and adopt them on the spot. And one of the ladies took a photo of the both of us with a Can of Spam, not the one I wanted, but close enough.
Another nice lady, seeing that we enjoyed ourselves immensely, told us there was also a Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin. She didn't see me shaking my head furiously, No. 3, No. 3! She didn't understand either. Well, we didn't get to the Mustard Museum but Mister says we will have to go on the next road trip. By the way, I don't like mustard. Gregg, however, does. American mustard is just too vinegary for my taste and please don't throw me out of the country for saying so, because Gregg makes up for it as he lathers it on his hot dogs like shaving cream.
Two hours later we were back in the car and on our way, and wow, what a surprise! That museum was so much fun! We had a great time looking around, so all joking aside, good on ya Gregg, you do find the neatest places.
Here are some of the photos we took there.
Through these doors we watch a movie of Hormel's history.
I loved the old pictures on the wall.
This is a computer station for the kids and the egg yolk is the mouse.
Gregg on the line.
All the time we were walking around there was a conveyor belt above our heads carrying cans of spam.
Showing all the places Spam is shipped to....
including the UK.
There is even a television showing a comedy skit from Monty Python and Michael Palin all about about Spam. Not sure how the Viking figures into this but this is a nod to Gregg's part Norwegian heritage.
And of course we end up in the gift shop.
This is one of the nice ladies we met.
And finally another Can of Spam, not the one I wanted originally but close enough.
Leaving museum at 12. 56 a.m. I don't think we will be getting to Chicago today but, if we get lost, we won't starve. We bought four different varieties of spam from the gift shop.
For more info on the museum you can go here.
At 6.20 p.m. we stopped for the night at our hotel.