St. Paul, MN +/- 15 Hours -- Looking for Ideas
Hey all... thought I'd throw something up on here, since I'm in need of a little advice. A few of my friends and I are getting stir crazy from finals week, so we've started kicking around the idea of a road trip.
Problem is, we have no clue where to go.
We're starting out in St. Paul, MN, and looking for anything around 12-15 hours or under. The plan is for around five days between Dec. 27-Jan 7.
Any suggestions on a destination??
Also, we've been considering Canada since Minnesota's so close... what's the deal with crossing the border now? I've heard everything from passports to just a valid ID, but what's the real story?
How about Dubuque, Iowa?
I know that sounds like an oxymoron -- but the Mississippi River musuem is kinda cool.
Are you looking for scenery, bars, women or all three?
> Are <BR>
> you looking for scenery, bars, women or all <BR>
> three? <BR>
Who needs scenery when you've got bars and women?
Oddly enough, mostly the first one. I mean, it'd be the other two if it weren't for the fact that the group is predominantly underage and one of us is dating someone and I'm engaged. Sooooo that kinda takes care of the last two :P Really we're just looking for something fun and out of the ordinary. Doesn't necessarily need to be anything extraordinary at the destination, we just need someplace to give a reason for driving :)
RoadTrip to the Dakotas
I would bet that a little snow won't faze you much -- so perhaps a cruise to see the current progress of the Crazy Horse Memorial or Mt Rushmore, Wall Drug and the Badlands would appeal.
If you go, when you approach the badlands area, turn on your AM stations and pick up a local Navajo radio station and see how much you can understand.
Canada -- best bet is a birth certificate, failing that would be a passport and/or other valid ID.
Heh yeah, snow is definitely NOT a problem. When we drove to Green Bay last year, it was snowing/sleeting so bad that we had to pull over about every fifteen minutes to deice the windshield until we got some anti-ice washer fluid. After that, we only had to stop every half hour. So yeah, snow isn't an issue.
The Dakotas would definitely be cool, certainly going to be considered. What's Yellowstone (or Glacier) like during the winter?
Yeah, I have seen that too
That icing scenario brings back "fond" memories... One time in an snow storm in Arizona, I had to have my co-driver running a hair blower full-blast on the inside of the windshield to keep up with the ice building up on the outside. Another time in Davenport, Iowa, after driving in the aftermath of a huge ice storm at the dizzying speed of 14 mph for six hours I stopped for a break, stepped out of the truck, and promptly fell on my backside (2" of solid ice on the ground) and slid under the truck where I nearly got stuck in the quickly re-freezing slush... Joys, joys.
Yellowstone in the Winter is a delight -- much fewer people. Some of the backroads are closed (duh) but you can still see some extraordinary stuff. Two resources you should look at for pre-planning such an adventure: <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/read/Lost-In-My-Own-Backyard.htm">Tim Cahill's Lost in my own Backyard<a/> and <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/read/The-Ultimate-Montana-&-Wyoming-Atlases-&-Travel-Encyclopedias.htm">Ultimate Wyoming<a/>.
Glacier tends to be foggy and cold in the winter. Check out the web cam of Lake Many on <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/links/nparks.htm">our NPS page<a/>. Some of the best roads are closed and I would save Glacier for Summer.
Best Information about Canada/USA Entry
Dave Hunter who writes the popular guide books about <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/read/Along75.htm">Interstate 75<a/> maintains a <a href = "http://www.i75online.com/Border.html">page about entry between Canada and the USA<a/> with links to current delay periods at all of the entry points.
If it were me, I'd go to Winnepeg, but don't take the standard I-94 to Fargo, I-29 to Canada Route. Take I-35 to Duluth, then take U.S. 53 across the Iron Range to Intl Falls. From there, cross the border and go up and over lake of the woods and then on to Winnepeg. The drive from Int'l Falls to Wpg is one of my all time favorite scenic drives.
I've spent a few nights in Winnepeg, and its a surprising fun place to hang out. Drinking age is 18, so you can all hit the bars even if you're not all over 21. The people are pretty friendly, and will generally point you in the direction of a good place to have fun. Also, if you enjoy music, make sure to stop at a CD store. Prices are much cheaper than in the U.S., although I imagine the deals aren't quite as good with the current value of the u.s. dollar.
Take your time coming home, maybe visit the northern most spot in the lower 48 - the part of MN that you can only get to from Canada (I'm a MN native and I've always wanted to stop there).. and/or stop at Lake Itaska State park to see the begining of the Mississippi.
Another suggestion if you'd rather spend the time driving and enjoying the view than spending time in a city, take the loop around lake superior. Go up to Thunder Bay, Over to Sault St. Marine, and back through Wisconsin, although I'd guess you'd be much more likely to end up with heavy snow on that Trip.
I have never had any difficulties crossing the border, pre or post 9/11. You should bring your birth certificate/passport, but if you don't you'll most likely just get a lecture from the border guard, and they might search through your things if its a slow day and you look like you might enjoy marijuana.
Badlands and the Dakotas are other good ideas that have been mentioned, although Yellowstone or Glacer would be rushed for just a five day trip. You could do it, but I'd give yourself at least a week.
And good luck with those finals!
Winnipeg sounds like a possibility... what's the drive-time on average for that? We've been thinking about Thunder Bay too, since I'm a Superior nut.
So basically the people there are Minnesota nice, as far as the directing people on where to go? :P Canada's looking good, as several of us are longing for some Cubans...