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Poll

What are the top three priorities you would like to see (or do) at the Twin Cities meet?

Stillwater Bridge (MN 36/WI 64) construction
Completion of the MN 610 freeway
I-35E HO/T Lanes and the Cayuga Bridge
I-35W HO/T Lanes and the Crosstown Commons (MN 62)
MN 100 upgrade completion
Minneapolis "Chain of Lakes" Parkway system tour
Bridges of the Mississippi River
Bridges of the Minnesota River
County clinching (please specify desired counties in the comments)
Route clinching (please specify desired routes in the comments)
Other (please specify in the comments)

Author Topic: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet  (Read 1920 times)

froggie

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Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« on: May 22, 2017, 03:19:27 PM »

Lack of any Twin Cities meets, plus plenty of major project construction over the past 5 years, means there's plenty to potentially see in the Twin Cities area...enough to where it might be worth having another meet in a year or two (the river bridges alone would probably be worth their own meet).  Now that we're about 2.5 months out, I'd like to start planning and narrowing down details for those who are traveling a longer distance to attend.

As part of that, I'd like those who are either committed to attending or are seriously considering (and are likely) attending to take this poll.  What I'm looking for are the top things that you all would like to see or do at the meet.  You can vote for up to three options...given the range of possibilities and the available time, I think I can make 3 major items/stops work.  If we have time, I'll squeeze more in.

For some of the above options, if that is your priority and you have specific requests (i.e. county/route clinching or seeing something not on the poll), please specify in a comment.

I'll be using your answers to put the meet together, with the options with the most votes receiving top priority.  This will also dictate where we meet up for the tour.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2017, 03:47:04 PM »

I will have to consult a map of the area before I cast my vote, but my preference is something that can be worked into as small a geographical area and as short of a timeframe as possible. I personally am not a fan of these four-, five- and six-hour meet tours that seem to be getting more popular. To me, a Gilligan's Island tour (three hours) is perfect.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2017, 05:44:50 PM »

Quote
...as small a geographical area and as short of a timeframe as possible.

Apologies, but this won't really work in a busy, sprawly metropolitan area such as the Twin Cities.  Not unless I drop that "3 things to see" down to only 1 or 2.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2017, 08:54:01 PM »

I will have to consult a map of the area before I cast my vote, but my preference is something that can be worked into as small a geographical area and as short of a timeframe as possible. I personally am not a fan of these four-, five- and six-hour meet tours that seem to be getting more popular. To me, a Gilligan's Island tour (three hours) is perfect.
If they're more popular, then popularity would dictate that's what will be done.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 11:53:19 PM »

Being from NY/CT I am always inherently curious whenever I see the word "Parkway" in other parts of the country as to what exactly that means to them.


I have noticed there was once seemingly an unspoken rule that a road meet tour was supposed to wrap up at 5 PM, with anything after that being optional "post-meet" activities. In recent years it seems this setup has been largely abandoned in favor of a longer meet tour with no post-meet. I don't really mind either way.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2017, 12:27:08 AM »

I will have to consult a map of the area before I cast my vote, but my preference is something that can be worked into as small a geographical area and as short of a timeframe as possible. I personally am not a fan of these four-, five- and six-hour meet tours that seem to be getting more popular. To me, a Gilligan's Island tour (three hours) is perfect.

I don't mean for this question to sound rude, but why do you want to drive 15 hours for an event and yet emphasize how much you want the event be over as quickly as possible once you arrive? I'm not saying a meet needs to be 10 hours, but it sounds odd to me that someone would want to come from far away and not want to do things.

I'm not going to cast a vote because I can do any of the options whenever I please, but the Chain of Lakes is an area I haven't explored much of in the past so I like that idea personally. To those unfamiliar with the area, I also personally find the Minnesota River bridges generally aren't as interesting as the Mississippi River ones, but don't take my word for it.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 12:39:15 AM by TheHighwayMan394 »
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2017, 10:21:17 AM »

Being from NY/CT I am always inherently curious whenever I see the word "Parkway" in other parts of the country as to what exactly that means to them.


I have noticed there was once seemingly an unspoken rule that a road meet tour was supposed to wrap up at 5 PM, with anything after that being optional "post-meet" activities. In recent years it seems this setup has been largely abandoned in favor of a longer meet tour with no post-meet. I don't really mind either way.
I've done the entire parkway system. Trust me, you'll be bored. Very little of road interest.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2017, 12:26:15 PM »

I will have to consult a map of the area before I cast my vote, but my preference is something that can be worked into as small a geographical area and as short of a timeframe as possible. I personally am not a fan of these four-, five- and six-hour meet tours that seem to be getting more popular. To me, a Gilligan's Island tour (three hours) is perfect.

I don't mean for this question to sound rude, but why do you want to drive 15 hours for an event and yet emphasize how much you want the event be over as quickly as possible once you arrive? I'm not saying a meet needs to be 10 hours, but it sounds odd to me that someone would want to come from far away and not want to do things.

A couple of reasons. One, I guess my attention span is not as long as it used to be, and I get fidgety as the meets wind down. I start getting impatient and want to get it over with. Two, I usually have a room reserved at some location on my route home after the meet, and prefer to drive that route between the meet and where I'm spending the night in daylight, and to give myself some time to get my room, get something to eat, and get settled in. If the meet isn't over until 6 and I've reserved a room three hours away, I'm not going to get there until 9 and that's going to put me getting settled in too late for my comfort. For instance, on the Saturday night of this meet, I'd ideally like to stay at Wausau, which is 150-plus miles from the Twin Cities area.

I have noticed there was once seemingly an unspoken rule that a road meet tour was supposed to wrap up at 5 PM, with anything after that being optional "post-meet" activities. In recent years it seems this setup has been largely abandoned in favor of a longer meet tour with no post-meet. I don't really mind either way.

In the early days of meets, most of the tours were around two hours, gradually expanding to "Gilligan's Island" length. Lunch was usually designated at two hours to give everyone time to eat and socialize. If the meet started at noon, then that would generally translate into being over at 5. The post-meet thing seems to be a more recent phenomenon (last 5 to 6 years).

I noticed at the Jackson meet, there was a group dinner Friday night and also another one on Saturday night. Typically, I'm staying a couple of hours out on Friday night -- I stayed at Elkhart, Ind. for the Battle Creek, Mich. meet, and then two to three hours away on Saturday night, so I'm not at those events.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2017, 12:38:51 PM »

I noticed at the Jackson meet, there was a group dinner Friday night and also another one on Saturday night. Typically, I'm staying a couple of hours out on Friday night -- I stayed at Elkhart, Ind. for the Battle Creek, Mich. meet, and then two to three hours away on Saturday night, so I'm not at those events.

That Friday night in Jackson was more of an impromptu event.  It was just a few of us who got down there by Friday evening.  Saturday night was just an after meet thing that anyone who wanted could come along and go.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2017, 12:52:34 PM »

I am not voting since (1) I went to the Twin Cities, seeing many of the options listed, in May 2016, and (2) I am hesitant to specify preferences for a meeting that I may not attend.  That said, the Mississippi River bridges, the "Chain of Lakes" parkway system, and the Minnesota River bridges (listed in descending order) all sound intriguing to me, and I suspect they would maximize leverage of local knowledge.

In regard to H.B.'s stated preference for three-hour meets, I think that has much to do with wanting one's time to be one's own again.  The Wichita meet in 2013 (for which I helped develop the driving tour) was that approximate length and many of those who came stayed in the area for a few hours after the formal conclusion of the meet, doing their own sightseeing, county-collecting, route clinching, etc.

Speaking as someone who has ridden instead of driving at other meets, I feel pressed to take the back seat at least part of the time so as not to hog the prime shotgun position and to be courteous to people who want to take through-the-windshield shots of signs etc.  I was raised to be polite, so I take the back seat without complaint, but the fact is, the views are bad and I am conversationally becalmed since I can't hear and writing is awkward in a moving car.  The last meet I attended was Colorado in 2015 and I ended up accepting a spur-of-the-moment invitation to ride with someone else instead of being among those driving.  In retrospect I probably should not have done so, since after six hours my patience was wearing thin.

This said, I agree a three-hour limit is impractical in the Twin Cities.  I did my own freeway tour (TH 100, US 169 including Shakopee bypass, US 212 Eden Prairie-Chaska, I-394) over four hours the Sunday morning I was there, and it took another three hours or so in the evening to knock off other recently built freeways (TH 610, US 10, TH 101).  This was with en-route viewings of the Stillwater Bridge and the Crosstown Commons on other days.

I would like to go back to the Twin Cities since I had to skip a few things I had hoped to visit the last time, such as the Minnesota capitol building (closed for remodeling), the cathedral in St. Paul (closed by the time I got to it, after a drive down Summit Avenue following Saturday closing at the Minnesota Center for the Arts and dinner), St. Paul City Hall (AAA rates it as a star/diamond attraction largely on the basis of its wood panelling), and Fort Snelling (simply didn't fit given that I wanted to do Stillwater/St. Croix Falls on one of the days I was there).  I also didn't see Ayd Mill Road, which I learned about only after I returned, and also sounds intriguing.  If I went in coordination with a road meet, one day would be reserved for the meet and others would be budgeted for sightseeing.

P.S. (after seeing Brandon's and H.B.'s most recent posts):  dinner at a pizza place in Golden following the 2015 Colorado meet was also an impromptu event.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2017, 01:40:00 PM »

I feel like the increasing tour length and rise of post-meet activities correlates with the larger group sizes and larger percentage of people driving long-distance to attend the meets, especially since many people stay in the area where the meet is.  The last meet where I tried to stay somewhere other than the meet area was Québec City, and in hindsight, I probably shouldn't have; I didn't get back to my hotel until midnight that night thanks to a post-meet tour of downtown (honestly, I really should go back there just to explore the area more).
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2017, 02:41:56 PM »

I would really like to see the Mall of America while I'm in the area, after my wife was there a few years ago, but I fear that won't be possible given my ambitious plans for this trip (trying to get from somewhere in eastern Iowa or southeastern Minnesota out to North Dakota and back to the Twin Cities area on Friday, and trying to get a head start on the trip home after the meet is over.

As for the meets themselves, I try to get as much ancillary activity (county collecting or route clinching) as possible on the trip to and from the meet. Hence my plans to fill a few holes in my Iowa map, clinch US 150 and I-380, and possibly finish off US 52 in iowa, on the way there, and clinch I-39 on the way home.



After looking at a map of the area, I voted for the I-35W/MN 62, MN 100 and Minnesota River bridges options. Those all look to be the mostly closely grouped.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 02:48:09 PM by hbelkins »
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 02:51:07 PM »

I would really like to see the Mall of America while I'm in the area, after my wife was there a few years ago, but I fear that won't be possible given my ambitious plans for this trip (trying to get from somewhere in eastern Iowa or southeastern Minnesota out to North Dakota and back to the Twin Cities area on Friday, and trying to get a head start on the trip home after the meet is over.

I'd say Mall of America is a pretty quick visit.  I stopped by there when I was in the Twin Cities, and didn't really find much to keep me there for more than thirty minutes to an hour.  The Lego display is interesting, but the large space at the center of the mall is clearly oriented to visitors under age 10, and aside from that it is a pretty conventional multi-story enclosed shopping mall like Towne East in Wichita.  It was identified as a star/diamond attraction in the AAA TourBook I had with me, but that is at least 15 years out of date, and with all the problems bricks-and-mortar retail has had in the last few years, I wonder if it still has that rating in the current TourBook.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2017, 03:10:08 PM »

I would really like to see the Mall of America while I'm in the area, after my wife was there a few years ago, but I fear that won't be possible given my ambitious plans for this trip (trying to get from somewhere in eastern Iowa or southeastern Minnesota out to North Dakota and back to the Twin Cities area on Friday, and trying to get a head start on the trip home after the meet is over.

I'd say Mall of America is a pretty quick visit.  I stopped by there when I was in the Twin Cities, and didn't really find much to keep me there for more than thirty minutes to an hour.  The Lego display is interesting, but the large space at the center of the mall is clearly oriented to visitors under age 10, and aside from that it is a pretty conventional multi-story enclosed shopping mall like Towne East in Wichita.  It was identified as a star/diamond attraction in the AAA TourBook I had with me, but that is at least 15 years out of date, and with all the problems bricks-and-mortar retail has had in the last few years, I wonder if it still has that rating in the current TourBook.

The mall has steadily moved more toward niche retail and dining which probably has kept intrigue in their current output, and are pursuing further expansion of the mall's footprint. They seem to have escaped many of the issues other malls have run into (including other local ones such as Southdale, Brookdale, and Knollwood).

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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2017, 04:57:00 PM »

Quote from: Alps
I've done the entire parkway system. Trust me, you'll be bored. Very little of road interest.

Who says it all has to be about roads? (look at JN's comments)  Likewise, what may be boring to you may not be so to others.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2017, 05:19:08 PM »

Honestly, I'm up for anything. Whatever big stuff we don't get on the meet will be gotten by me the day after the meet  :-D .

But I second the parkway thing. I love seeing what other places think a "parkway" is, as all I know are the downstate/Hudson Valley, CT and NJ parkways.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2017, 06:12:25 PM »

Quote from: Alps
I've done the entire parkway system. Trust me, you'll be bored. Very little of road interest.

Who says it all has to be about roads? (look at JN's comments)  Likewise, what may be boring to you may not be so to others.
It's pretty for a mile or two, but you wouldn't do the entire system unless you're being anal about clinching.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2017, 08:03:03 PM »

The bridges piqued my interest, but I'm flexible.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2017, 08:12:38 PM »

Adam - thank you for creating the poll and for allowing those of us who are planning to attend to vote on options of things you can feature on the tour. This is awesome. It was hard to choose just three, but I was able to narrow my favorites down to the top three. My thought is that anything related to freeway construction or new freeways themselves might better left for folks to see on their own before or after the meet. There's so many interesting things to see around the Twin Cities! Freeways (or freeway construction) can be seen anywhere. Maybe we can focus on the things that make the Twin Cities unique?

As far as H.B.'s concerns are regarding the length that some road meet tours have evolved into over the years, I completely understand where he is coming from. Like him, I sometimes don't have the patience for tours that last beyond, say, 3 or 4 hours. It all depends on the size of the group, how tired I am, my mood, and so on. I love attending road meets (and sometimes the pre- and post-meet social activities) because it gives me an opportunity to hang out with a great group of people that I don't get to see very often. However, as an introvert, it does wear on me after a while and I need my alone time. I pretty much always stay overnight in the same area where the meet takes place... just to prevent situations where I have to drive a few hours before being able to settle into a hotel. I like down time in the evenings and being able to chill out (either alone or with a very small group) after the tour. It doesn't always happen that way, but I make it work.

Having said all of that, it is very likely that the Twin Cities meet will cover a lot of territory and the tour will be on the longer side. I am psyching myself up for that because I'm very excited about exploring this area. Sam Scholtens and I will be arriving Friday evening and staying through probably sometime midday Sunday.

H.B. - if you're able to make it to the Mall of America, I'd highly recommend it. It is quite intriguing. (I was there in September 2015 with my partner for a few hours on our way home from Fargo ND - as part of a longer trip to South Dakota.) Someone above was saying that all the attractions in the middle of the mall (rides, etc.) are primarily for kids under the age of 10. Yes... there are attractions that are best suited for kids. However, there are also roller coasters and other fun rides that adults can enjoy too. In fact, I want to go back to Mall of America someday and spend a day there. That won't happen on this trip though.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2017, 10:55:56 AM »

My wife was there for awhile a few years ago. She said there seemed to be every sort of specialty store around. She was intrigued by the Peeps store (I'm thinking Froggie isn't a fan of that establishment, given his Facebook post yesterday of a cart full of clearance Easter Peeps.).

I'm not into roller coasters or other rides, so that wouldn't interest me at all. I did see that Adam Moss had visited it in the last few days.

If I had an extra day to spare, I might budget a day to go visit it just to say I've been there. But I am trying to build my inventory of annual days back up after having to use them all up because of my recent illness, and I need a few prior to August to either attend the Adirondacks meet or go do the West Virginia route clinching that I'd planned to do before the NRG meet that I wasn't able to attend.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2017, 11:49:16 PM »

I'm not voting since I live in the area, but a few thoughts:

* To me the Stillwater Bridge and the old Lift Bridge are the marquee roadgeek attractions right now, but they are rather isolated on the extreme east side of the metro.

* The only bridges of note over the Minnesota are the Mendota Bridge, the Old Cedar and New Cedar Bridges, and the Holmes Street Bridge in Shakopee. The Holmes Street bridge is beutifully restored as a bike / ped bridge but is again isolated from other roadgeek stuff. The Old Cedar Bridge will very likely be closed as crews finish trail construction and street reconstruction in the area.

* Favorite bridges of mine over the Misssissippi are the Lowry, Hastings, and Wakota (new) and The Stone Arch, Robert Street, Ford, 3rd Ave, and Franklin Ave (old)

* There's also that spot where everyone takes a picture of I-35W heading towards downtown. I'd be a bit leery of going there alone at night (the neighborhood isn't as bad as it used to be but it is in the city) but it's OK in the day or in a group.

* If anyone does do roller coasters and wants to spend and extra day or part day I'll hang with them at Valleyfair.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2017, 04:04:49 PM »

How does the new Stillwater Bridge only have 2 votes so far...  :eyebrow: :poke:
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2017, 04:34:15 PM »

To be honest, I'd rather save the Stillwater Bridge for a follow-on 2018 meet, as it will be open to traffic by then.  The voting thus far suggests that other spots will be preferred this year.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #23 on: May 25, 2017, 07:01:09 PM »

2018 the new bridge will be open, but the old lift bridge may still be closed for restoration. The latest I heard was the opening will by "August" so it's not outside of the realm of possibility it may be open, but not likely. If anyone wants to see it outside of the road meet we can either make a side trip or I can just give you the list of good viewing spots.
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Re: Top things to see/do at the Twin Cities (MN) meet
« Reply #24 on: May 25, 2017, 08:18:54 PM »

How does the new Stillwater Bridge only have 2 votes so far...  :eyebrow: :poke:
It seems rather far away and limiting to what else can be seen on the tour. The new 610 is much more interesting in my book.
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