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My Van Life: Day 16

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Bloomington, MN - Elk Mound, WI

Another morning waking up feeling like my eyeballs are just going to crawl out of my head in search of a nice quiet place to close again and rest. I am EXHAUSTED! Weekends are meant for rest and rejuvenation, not feeling more exhausted than I already do during the work week. At the same time though I am someone, especially on this trip, who wants to soak up every last drop of free time so weekends are absolutely booked and busy. Not that I would want it any other way though, you know me, I don’t really do well with downtime.

We woke up around 7:30am this morning and Adam hopped up to the drivers seat to lead us out of the campground and on to our next destination. The Mall of America didn’t open until 11am so we had some time to kill. Time that I most certainly thought would have been spent sleeping but you know what they say about making plans. We drove over to a local Walmart parking lot, took turns taking showers and getting ready then grabbed a cup of coffee and moseyed on over to the local laundromat. Sundays are for laundry and unfortunately when you’re living that van life you only have one option – laundromats. That being said I would definitely not recommended bringing super nice clothes on a trip like this unless you plan on dropping them off at cleaners or something because laundromats are, well, not exactly the premium laundry experience you may be used to at home. Unless you are used to laundromats in which case power to ya! There’s really nothing wrong with them but it can definitely eat up a lot of your time if you’re separating everything appropriately and as you should be when doing laundry.

Once clothes were washed and dried it was about 11:30am and thus the perfect time to head over to Mall of America. As an aside, I will tell you we are currently tracking about a week ahead of schedule due to last minute change ups in our drive. Truthfully we were planning on landing at the Mall of America next weekend and were going to stay in one of the hotels connected to the mall to give us the chance to figure out what to do with Coco while we walked around and shopped. As I’m sure you can decipher by now, because you’re so smart like that, we didn’t end up booking the hotel and thus felt a little bit stuck regarding Coco. While a lot of what I read online indicated that pets weren’t allowed in the Mall of America, as is the case with most malls, we felt like we didn’t really have much of a choice and decided to just go for it. What’s that they say about asking for forgiveness instead of permission? Well we went for it and I’m happy to report that we managed to spend over 3 hours in the mall before ANYONE said anything to us. We were literally heading to our last store and a security officer politely told us that pets weren’t allowed in the mall. We were heading out anyway so we politely said thank you and found the nearest exit. Would you believe it?? Now I’m not saying follow my guideline as clearly we were not doing what was allowed but desperate times call for desperate measures.

We’ve never traveled to this extent with Coco so unfortunately it can be quite limiting sometimes but at the same time we don’t want to miss out on incredible once in a lifetime experiences either. I will tell you that I’m glad I was able to check Mall of America off my bucket list but truthfully it was underwhelming. I think it’s a GREAT destination for families and especially those with young kids but honestly it was a LOT and reminded me why I don’t shop at malls. There’s too many people, it’s too crowded and there’s nothing there that I can’t live without. I think browsing Mall of America reminded this vintage/consignment girl to stick to what she knows and loves. Nevertheless, like I said, great once in a lifetime experience checked off the old bucket list.

Again we found ourselves with quite a bit of time left in the afternoon but not a whole lot left on the agenda. After doing some research I remembered there was a beautiful Prince tribute in Henderson, MN. It’s about 45 minutes West of Minneapolis so we drove over and checked that out before heading out of town. Henderson is a town of 800 people and about one main street to its name. Purple Rain was filmed in Henderson, MN so it makes sense for the tribute to be here but despite the size of the town and its older vibes, it is well worth the drive to visit that beautiful tribute to Prince. If you’re at all a Prince fan make the drive and pay homage. You won’t regret it.

We found ourselves ready to hit the road again and knew we wanted to keep moving ahead of schedule to give ourselves more time on the East Coast after we stop over in Chicago for a week or so. Neither of us have ventured too far East of Chicago so we are most looking forward to discovering that new territory but want to ensure we have the most time to do so. We made it to Elk Mound, Wisconsin for the night and all I can say is I’m very much looking forward to getting a whole lot of sleep. Now we’re in Central Time so while I’m going to bed at like 9:30pm (7:30pm PST), I may be waking up at like 7am which would really be 5am PST. Think of all the things I can get done in the morning AND I’ll have had a great night’s sleep! What a dream.

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