Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Spam Museum, The Mall of America........... and Indian Princess Owatonna

If I don't write it down, I can't remember tomorrow what it is that I did today.  That's why I write this!

The funniest thing happened to us today.  We left La Crosse and told Thelma to take us to Bloomington, Minnesota. We'd decided to go see the Mall of America.  Why not?  It's on the way west!
We got to listening to our audio book and talking a bit, and I told Thelma to just shut up for awhile. (Thelma is our GPS in case you don't know that. I would never tell anyone to shut up, except Thelma.)  We listened to the story some more, and after awhile Randy asked me when was it that we were supposed to head straight north.  I had forgotten to let Thelma speak, and she must have been frantically trying to tell us we had missed our turn for quite awhile. (Actually, there was a book over her, a rag stuffed in her mouth, and duct tape on her cord.............)

We weren't going to get upset about this. It could be fixed.  We let Thelma recalculate, and found out we'd overshot our turnoff by about twenty miles.  We had inadvertently gone to Austin, Minnesota.

Just the I saw a sign by the side of the highway that said "Spam Museum," and there was an arrow pointing to the very next exit ramp.  We got off immediately and followed several signs back to the home offices of the Hormel Corporation and The Spam Museum!  An unplanned, serendipity moment had occurred.  I do not believe in coincidences, and I have my own theory of how this happened to us............but that's another story.

For the next hour we learned more than we'd ever wanted to know about Spam.  Just see the photos and you can tell that they covered this topic completely.

We were met at the door by a "Spambassador" who told us how to give ourselves the self-guided tour.

We saw old cans, new cans, movies, advertisements, and every other product that Hormel produces. We had a wonderful time!

The gift shop was fun, too. I bought some Spam tattoos. I know you will all be envious when I wear them.  I bought a gift can of Spam for someone and a Spam can bank for someone who needs to save money. Randy and I each bought a small bag of a single serving of Lite Spam and decided we would have that for lunch right out in front of the museum.

There are over 3,000 cans of Spam in this "Wall of Spam" over the front entrance of the museum. If you can enlarge it, you can see that's what those little things are!

Randy and I made Spam sandwiches with bread and mustard that we always carry along, and sat at a picnic table and ate Spam for the first time in many, many years. (I only had half a slice.......)

We have to put ourselves into these pictures, otherwise they will get tossed out some day. Who can throw out a picture with us in it? This was taken by the "Spambassador" who told us that she is on her way next week to visit the Mustard Museum that we saw yesterday. We learned from her that you can google "food museums" and come up with all kinds of interesting places to visit!

We left our serendipitous experience and got onto whatever route we were traveling north towards Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  Somewhere along the way, the AAA book noted an interesting building in a small town named Owatonna.  We got off the highway to see the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Owatonna, because it was designed by a man who actually mentored for Frank Lloyd Wright! His name was Louis H. Sullivan.  The building has an enormous glass window in the front, stained glass windows, marble, wrought iron and leaded glass.  I hope you can see how pretty the glass in the window is. The style is called Prairie architecture, which seems appropriate.
The town of Owatonna is named for an Indian maiden who fell very sick.  Her father, Chief Wabena, took her to the mineral springs in this area, and when she drank from the spring, she was healed.  A statue of Owatonna is in Mineral Springs Park outside of the town, and a large fountain welcomes visitors to sip the mineral water, perhaps for a healing of their own.  We did just that.

Sad to say, someone has smudged a moustache over Owatanna's mouth on her statue, so she looks a bit strange.  (I wanted you to know you were not imagining the moustache.) Too bad I didn't have a moustache along on the trip so we could look alike.

It was not far to Bloomington, Minnesota, home of the Mall of America. When we arrived, we simply drove into the parking lot of a huge Country Inn and Suites directly across the street from a mall entrance, and signed in.  We have a lovely suite on the first floor tonight.

The Mall of America has over 520 stores, more than 50 restaurants, an amusement park, Lego Land, an aquarium underneath the mall, and, (get this...) a wedding chapel.   Which just goes to show ya that there is nothing that you cannot buy at this mall!
Randy and I walked the entire first floor.  It was like any other mall except for all those extras, I guess. 
Randy really liked this girl and her dog made
entirely out of Legos.  There is also a huge
Transformer, wild animals, and several other
large figures all made of Legos.
 We then went up to the third floor and enjoyed dinner at Bubba Gump's Shrimp Company.
A swim for Randy and a relaxing sit in the hot tub for me has finished this day.  In the morning we will go back to the Mall of America and see what's on the second floor.  We didn't buy anything yet!
Copyright: KP Gillenwater 2013