Posts tagged Minnesota

August 2008: The Great Outdoors and the Great River Road

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Part 2 of “The Great Outdoors” as we return to the Sleeping Fawn Resort in Park Rapids.

While we needed to take the Interstate up, for the most part, we returned along the Great River Road through Minnesota. We crossed into Wisconsin, back over to Iowa, and back to Wisconsin, before taking Wisconsin State Road 11. We then needed to take the Evil-I home to Indiana.

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June 2008: The Great Outdoors – Park Rapids, Minnesota

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Pat has mentioned many times over the past several years about wanting to visit Minnesota. As a child, it was his family’s vacation destination of choice, and he also visited several times as an adult, the last being 1995.

Other than our journey to the Twine Ball in November 2005, I had not been to Minnesota. So, we thought a trip to “The Great Outdoors” would be a fine idea.

One of my favorite movies is “The Great Outdoors” starring Dan Aykroyd and the late, great comedian, John Candy. The film epitomizes the family northwoods vacation and our experience reflected that – everything reminded me of something from the movie.

We didn’t have a 96-ounce steak, rent a jet boat or encounter a bald-headed bear, but we had fun and enjoyed the beautiful country anyway. We stayed at a resort called Sleeping Fawn, located about 12 miles northeast of Park Rapids.

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The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota

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Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota - Darwin, Minnesota

Weird Al inspired this road trip. Really!

After hearing the Weird Al song, “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” we decided to make our own journey to the Twine Ball.

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The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota

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Here are the lyrics that gave us inspiration…and a video

Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota

by Weird Al Yankovic

Well, I had two weeks of vacation time coming
After workin’ all year down at Big Roy’s Heating and Plumbing.
So one night, when my family and I were gathered round the dinner table
I said, “Kids… if you could go anywhere in this great big world, now where’d you like to go to?”
They said, “Dad, we wanna see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.”
They picked the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.

So the very next day, we loaded up the car with potato skins and pickled wieners,
Crossword puzzles, Spiderman comics and mama’s homemade rhubarb pie
Pulled out of the driveway, and the neighbors, they all waved goodbye.
And so began our three-day journey.
We picked up a guy holdin’ a sign that said “Twine Ball or Bust.”
He smelled real bad, and he said his name was Bernie.
I put in a Slim Whitman tape, my wife put on a brand new hair net.
Kids were in the back seat jumpin’ up and down, yellin’ “Are we there yet?”
And all of us were joined together in one common thought
As we rolled down the long and winding Interstate in our ’53 DeSoto.
We’re gonna see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
We’re headin’ for the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.

Oh, we couldn’t wait to get there, so we drove straight through for three whole days and nights.
Of course, we stopped for more pickled wieners now and then.
The scenery was just so pretty, boy, I wish the kids could’ve seen it.
But you can’t see out of the side of the car because the windows are completely covered
with the decals from all the places where we’ve already been.
Like Elvis-a-Rama, the Tupperware Museum,
The Boll Weevil Monument, and Cranberry World,
The Shuffleboard Hall of Fame, Poodle Dog Rock,
And the Mecca of Albino Squirrels.
We’ve been to ghost towns, theme parks, wax museums,
And a place where you can drive through the middle of a tree.
Seen alligator farms and tarantula ranches,
But there’s still one thing we’ve gotta see.

Well, we crossed the state line about 6:39,
And we saw the sign that said, “Twine Ball Exit – fifty miles.”
Oh, the kids were so happy, they started singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” for the
27th time that day.
So we pulled off the road at the last chance gas station,
Got a few more pickled weiners and a diet chocolate soda,
On our way to see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
We’re gonna see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.

Finally at 7:37 early Wednesday evening, as the sun was setting in the Minnesota sky,
Out in the distance, on the horizon it appeared to me like a vision before my unbelieving eyes.
We parked the car and walked with awe-filled reverence toward that glorious, huge, majestic sphere.
I was just so overwhelmed by its sheer immensity, I had to pop myself a beer.
Yes, on these hallowed grounds, open 10 to 8 on weekdays, in a little shrine under a makeshift pagoda,
There sits the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
I tell you, it’s the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.

Ohhh, what on Earth would make a man decide to do that kind of thing.
Ohhh, windin’ up twenty-one thousand, one hundred forty pounds of string.
What was he tryin’ to prove?
Who was he tryin’ to impress?
Why did he build it? How did he do it?
It’s anybody’s guess.
Where did he get the twine?
What was goin’ through his mind?
Did it just seem like a good idea at the time?

Well, we walked up beside it, and I warned the kids,
“Now you better not touch it, those ropes are there for a reason.”
I said, “Maybe if you’re good, I’ll tie it to the back of our car, and we can take it home.”
But I was only teasin’.
Then we went to the gift shop and stood in line, bought a souvenir miniature ball of twine,
Some window decals, and anything else they’d sell us.
And I bought a couple postcards: “Greetings from the Twine Ball, wish you were here.”
Won’t the folks back home be jealous.
I gave our camera to Bernie, and we stood by the ball,
And we all gathered around and said, “Cheese.”
Then Bernie ran away with my brand new Instamatic,
But at least we’ve got our memories.

So we all just stared at the ball for awhile,
And my eyes got moist, but I said with a smile,
“Kids, this here’s what America’s all about.”
Then I started feelin’ kinda gooey inside,
And I fell on my knees and I cried and cried.
And that’s when those security guards threw us out.
You know, I bet if we unravelled that sucker, it’d roll all the way down to Fargo, North Dakota,
‘Cause it’s the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
I’m talkin’ ’bout the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.

Well, we stayed that night at the Twine Ball Inn.
In the morning we were on our way home again.
But we really didn’t wanna leave, that was perfectly clear.
I said, “Folks, I can tell you’re all sad to go.”
Then I winked my eye and I said, “You know,
I got a funny kinda feeling we’ll be coming back again next year.”
‘Cause I’ve been all around this great big world and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather go to
Than the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
I said the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
Minnesota.
Minnesota.
Minnesota.

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