Mike Campbell

Sometimes where we travel and the cities we visit choose us. Minneapolis, Minnesota, was one of those cities for me. It was only a four-hour drive from the house we were housesitting in Clam Lake, Wisconsin, but it also happened to be the hometown of Jeff Sandquist.

Who is Jeff I hear you ask?

He is the beautiful mind behind the Intentionally Wandering Podcast. My wife Inga and I listen to when we drive together. We struck up an “online” friendship and when we discovered he lived in Minneapolis, we had to take a road trip to meet him.

It is one of the beautiful aspects of traveling, it opens our lives to complete strangers.We had hit the jackpot with the weather as it was early spring, the sun was shinning and it was a beautiful 28 degrees.

We met at Minnehaha Park, which is a huge 170-acre city park. Our initial plan was to hire bikes and explore the park on two wheels, but we were too early in the season and the rental shop wasn’t open for the summer yet.

We decided to take the walking trail that looped down to the Mississippi River. With the winter snow all melted and the rivers thawed, the Minnehaha Falls were flowing.

 

The walking trail followed the banks of the Minnehaha Creek, with most of the trail quite easy to walk on.

A huge old tree provided an ideal playground for our four-year-old daughter Andy to play in. Its roots system, visible above ground creating nooks and spaces for her to hide in, like a natural fort. A sandstone cave nearby told a story of previous visitors who had left their names etched into the rock.

 
 

We had arrived at the Mississippi River when Jeff starts to walk off the trail up a dirt hill, towards some concrete steps with graffiti all over them. As we reach the top of the hill, an opening forms, and we come to an enormous stormwater drain.

He jumps down the 7ft wall into the drain and then proceeded to open the huge grates that covered the drain entry.

“You coming?” echoed from the drain.

“I am here with my wife and four-year-old. We’re not going in there”.

He came back with a photo that was simply sunning.

We jumped down, went through the grates and were blown away. I expected there to be graffiti, but what we saw was art. The time and deliberateness it must have taken to paint something like this, while being in a dark stormwater drain was impressive.

 
 

I will always remember my trip to Minneapolis, the moment I met a new friend and took my daughter into a stormwater drain.

Travelling often doesn’t work out as planned, and those days are often the best. We never got to ride bikes around Minneapolis, Andy didn’t mind, as there was a tricycle at the Airbnb house we were staying at.

 

Things to know

  • Check out Jeff Sandquist’s Intentionally Wandering Podcast - http://www.intentionallywandering.com/
  • The bike rental shop, Wheel Fun Rentals, opens early May to late October but check dates before you go - http://www.wheelfunrentals.com/Locations/Minneapolis-4 - That said, the best thing that happened to us was it being closed!
  • Do yourself a favour and have breakfast at the Birchwood Café. The food is delicious, it is all real food and they support local farmers http://birchwoodcafe.com/
  • There is a beautiful seafood restaurant right near Minnehaha Falls. The lines are crazy long but that means the food is good. You could also grab takeaway or bring a packed lunch and eat it on this little “beach” on the shores of the Mississippi River. https://seasalteatery.wordpress.com/

Mike Campbell and his wife Inga, along with their daughter Andy have packed, donated or sold everything they own in Australia and hit the road for a year, attempting to housesit their way through North America. You can connect with them and read about their adventures at www.liveimmediately.com Instagram: @liveimmediately Facebook: liveimmediately

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.