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Some thoughts on Minnesota...

It's amazing how after a trip it takes a week to recover and then you've got another week's worth of material in your head!

I've been to Minnesota twice now...once may or may not have been coherent after wisdom tooth extraction complications. Anyway, I'm convinced Minnesotans are a special breed and they want to keep their paradise a secret.

Because, honestly, I doubt many of you out there have ever thought of Minnesota as more than a cold, snowy (coldest urban area in the nation) folksy place where not much really happens. Maybe I need to visit again in the winter before I pass judgment? Maybe.

But did you know that Twin Cities is actually the 15th largest metro area in the US? Home to the oldest operating Ford plant from 1924? And that Minnesota has voted for Democratic Presidential candidates since 1976, longer than any other state? Or that 78.2% of eligible voters took part in the last Presidential election?

It's this populist progressive streak that has me most intrigued. The mainstream party on the left in MN politics is actually a merger between the Democrats and the Farmer-Labor Party merged to create the DFL. Just on the brief time I've been there and the Minnesotans I've met, I'd say this makes sense. Maybe it's the cold, maybe it's the artsy feel to the neighborhoods, but they seem to be a fairly self-reliant people.

They own guns and hunt/fish but not in that creepy "get off my lawn" crazy red state kind of way I'm used to. It's more like a Minnesotan will teach you how to skin a deer and can your own veggies because they don't really want to communicate with the outside world. But they're friendly about it. They've just chosen to go off and do their own thing, which I admire.

There are parks and coffee shops everywhere. I mean everywhere. It's hilly and there are roads and bridges going every which way. Designed to confuse non-Minnesotans perhaps? And don't even get me started about how beautiful the Mississippi River is between Twin Cities and La Crosse. Pheasants roaming around the hills, eagles soaring overhead, locks and dams, people boating, cheese shops.

The state also has wolves, moose, black bears, elk.

All in all, very impressive and the kind of place I'm surprised more people don't want to go. Or maybe that's the way Minnesotans want it? lol