Tow Vehicle Shopping, Smart Bike Helmets and Amazon Tour

September 22-30, 2019 — The last week of September and the official start of the fall season is upon us. With this change in seasons comes shorter daylight hours and cooler temperatures. This coolness is especially noticeable in the early mornings when the chilly air makes one just want to stay in bed under the warm covers. Although staying in bed sounds nice, knowing that the nice days of fall are limited gives us that urge to get out and explore while we can. 

We finished up the month of September in Minnesota at the home of our son and his family. We spent time with them in the early mornings, evenings and weekends helping the grandchildren getting on and off the school bus, watching soccer and swimming lessons, making masterpieces in the kitchen, building marble towers, playing outdoors and much more. 

During the day while they were at work and school we were on our own but found plenty of activities to keep us occupied. There may have even been a nap or two involved as grandkids certainly wear you out fast! Follow along below to see some of the fun we had while in Minnesota. 

 

Mile Driven - RV
Miles Driven - Car

Blue skies and fall temperatures make for a perfect day for a long bike ride. There are so many nice trails in Minnesota that it’s hard to decide which direction to go. Pictured below is an urban trail that circles Colby Lake in Woodbury, MN. 

Hmmm. Upgrade our tow vehicle with a Chevy Colorado truck? We’ve been thinking about replacing our Kia Soul with a 4×4 truck for quite some time and finally stopped to take one for a test drive. Although we love the Soul, since purchasing our Lectric XP e-bikes the cargo space has shrunk considerably. The bikes do fit folded up in the back of the Soul with the seats folded down but they take up all the available space leaving minimal room for groceries, laundry, etc. We also lose our ability to have passengers when the bikes are in the car. Another plus is having a 4×4 that opens up more possibilities of being able to explore remote places while out on day trips. Anyone interested in buying a Kia Soul completely set up for towing? 

Amazon offers warehouse tours at 23 locations in the US and Canada. We toured the MSP1 Fulfillment Center in Shakopee, MN. The tour covers all the steps from receiving an order to loading it on the trucks for shipment. We especially enjoyed watching the robots in the product picking department. The warehouse is the size of 14 football fields and has 1500+ employees. Tours are free and must be reserved in advance. Adults and children ages 6 and up are welcome. 

The Minnesota State Capitol building in Saint Paul opened in 1905 and is third building to serve this purpose. The original building was destroyed by fire in 1881, a second capitol was built, opening in 1883, but was considered to be too small.

After a run-in with a snake while on a bike ride (eek!) we decided an intercom system of some sort would be a good investment as we then could warn each other of potential hazards as well as bicyclists, pedestrians, vehicles, etc. along our path. After much research we purchased Sena Smart Cycling Helmets with Bluetooth and a hands free intercom system. The helmets are able to be paired with smartphones to hear GPS directions, listen to music, take phone calls and more. We’ve used them on a short ride and so far are pleased with the intercom system. The audio is very clear with no wind noise. Being able to communicate easily without having to stop really adds to the enjoyment and safety of bike riding. 

Luckily we are allowed to street park in Minnesota at our family’s home. Their house is on a cul-de-sac which keeps traffic to a minimum except for residents and construction workers that are building a house across the street from where we are parked. 

Our Lectric XP e-bikes have 4″ fat tires that allow riding on all types of terrain including off-road trails like this one at Carver Lake Park in Woodbury, MN. It’s nice to have a variety of options when choosing a trail. 

We spent a morning with family visiting Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater, MN. The farm offers pre-picked and pick-your-own apples, honey, bakery items, hay rides, farm animals, play areas for the kids, and more. We voted their Sweet Tango variety apples the best. Yum!

Doesn’t a slower pace sound wonderful? We’ve been go go going steady since spring on a faster tempo than we like and are so looking forward to sitting in the Arizona desert for a few weeks/months. First, though, we need to get there. October 1 we start our trek south from Minnesota with a goal of being in the southwest by the end of the year. We don’t have an exact route planned but are thinking of visiting a few stops in Missouri and Arkansas. The rest of the agenda is wide open so it’s anyone’s guess where we’ll end up. 

The month of September is up and it’s time to move south. Follow along next week to see what direction we decide to go and what we find along our route. See you then!

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