Day 26: Sunny in St. Paul

The weather was stunningly great today.  But lots of road closures, traffic, etc. limited productivity a bit.  Sparkle is apparently not over her “cold”.  Around 10:30 am, the fuse blew.  I was just steadily moving along at about 35 mph and there went the power.  I coasted off the main road, turning onto a residential side street.  Replaced the fuse and we were on our way again.  My nerves were still frazzled though — trying to notice the slightest change in anything, waiting for it to happen again — but it didn’t.

In the afternoon, I thought I’d treat the dogs to a legit dog park since on-line there it was described as 4.2 acres with river access — the Minnehaha Off-Leash Recreation Area in Minneapolis.  At the entrance, there was a giant warning sign about how you might be being watched — to lock up your valuables or bring them with you to the park.  I guess cars have been broken into and that made me a lot nervous with the computer, camera, etc. all right there.  (Not to worry, nothing happens with that.)  So we walked, and walked, and walked and eventually came to the Mississippi River which was moving  dangerously fast for a 15 pound Terrier.  Nik is a fantastic swimmer and I know he likes swimming against currents but I thought it best to keep things short.

As I walked back to the van, I noticed a little puddle on the ground under the engine.  I backed up to inspect.  About a three-inch wide, fresh, reddish color liquid.  I assumed it had come from Sparkle.  I seemed to remember something about red being transmission fluid – and I had just had that changed (“transmission service”) yesterday.  So I found another Jiffy Lube about 15 minutes later and had it checked out.  Yes, red would be transmission fluid — not oil.  But all the fluids were where they should be.  So maybe that puddle wasn’t ours.  Relieved and on my way.  Not five minutes later, the old familiar “service engine soon” light came on.  Which has been off, on its own, for nearly a week.   And which I should know means nothing by now.  But after the other two events, it just made me completely fried with stress.  Like just packing it in and heading for the closest interstate home.  But no, of course not, and nothing else happened the rest of the day.  Everything ran normally, with the light on.  So I’ll be checking for any puddles tomorrow.  And I guess I should stock up on fuses.  I sure hope my mechanic back home can figure this out — and that we can limp along til then.

Let’s start with a couple Maplewood signs — next door neighbors:


The Maplewood Wine Cellar with a barrel-shaped sign and ziggy-zaggy roof:


This sign in St. Paul appears to be new.   I love all those piles of hair!


Love car wash huts — also St. Paul:


Another contemporary sign from Axel’s Bonfire in St. Paul:


This was the Chalet Lounge & Restaurant until March.  The crappy cover-up sign already ripped up.   I hope they won’t be replacing the original sign now.

The funky fun building — gotta be 1960s:

The cute icon:



From South St. Paul — at Don Madland’s Used Cars (where the Whale Car is that I posted at Flickr tonight):



I went all the way to Lakeville to check out a giant guitar at Hot Sam’s Antiques.  Never did find the guitar.  Nobody around to ask.  Maybe it was actually around the backside facing I-35?

But there was a lot of other “stuff”.  I know nothing about this giant sign:

Can’t resist rockets:

There were loads of old cars:

And my personal favorite:


Way out west of the Twin Cities towards dark — Shep’s Bar is in Cologne.  Sign on the door says “thanks for 57 years of patronage”.  I asked a kid on a bike and he said it had been closed a year or two.  Let’s pray someone reopens it and keeps the name & sign:

And way out in the tiny town of Plato for a gas station — came across a mega monster truck:



My good luck with the weather might be over for a bit.  Tomorrow, the forecast is for a mix of sun, clouds and afternoon thunderstorms.  Friday about the same.

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