Today was an adventure.
My first mistake was waking up early and going for a workout. I’m definitely not an early bird and sprints didn’t sit well with my body at 7:30 a.m. One hot shower and a quick parfait later I joined my bus-mates. We were on the road by a respectable 9:00 a.m.
My second mistake came when I started climbing on the statue of the pig farmer walking behind a bunch of pigs outside of the SPAM museum. Apparently that’s frowned upon in some places, but I figured it would have been kosher since I’m such a fan of the town of Austin, not to mention SPAM. A quick walk after the statue incident and we were inside the store/museum. We bought a bunch of SPAM including a few types that you can’t get anywhere else in North America (Garlic, Black Pepper flavors).
After hanging out in the SPAM store a touch too long, we hopped on over to KAUS 1240AM in Austin to do some interviews. Mike Greenlay and Charles Coyle each did two interviews, Antti and myself only one. Apparently Greenlay thought this gave him the green light to be the self-appointed “most awesome person ever.” When he finally settled down we took a quick ride on the bus to the Wells Fargo in Austin where we signed autographs, answered some questions and had a great time. The MN National Guard was there again with the climbing wall and once again my bid to climb got shot down by our wonderful event coordinator, Anna.
An hour and spare change plus some sandwiches later, we arrived at KATE 1450AM in Albert Lea for some more radio interviews. Our tour guides Anna and Mackenzie asked for a recommendation of a few places that we should stop to see on the way out of town. This was their first mistake.
We chose to stop at a statue called “Pitchfork Pete.” A giant farmer with, you guessed it, a pitchfork. We took a few pictures, one including me getting punched in the face with Pete’s giant fist (check Wild.com’s photo gallery later today for all the photos). Mackenzie and Anna walked around the corner looking at the wonderful pictures…this was their second mistake. It was probably the first (and only) time they left us by ourselves the entire trip so far. Needless to say, when they walked back around the corner I was busy being a ninja and had somehow managed to almost get on the roof of the adjacent building. This was my third mistake. I blame it all on our video guy Keith; he just wanted some good footage and I tried to help out. Apparently someone who lived across the street thought I was trying to do something crazy and called the store…. they ran outside right as were making our grand escape. We saw that they were outside and we stopped so I could do my best ‘it-wasn’t-really-that-bad-I -wasn’t-actually-on-the-roof-it-was-for-TV-I-promise-I-won’t-do-it-again’ apology.
A few laughs later we were off to KOWZ 1170AM to do some on-air interviews. A quick hop over to Central Park in Owatonna and we met the largest crowd of the tour. Had to use some sunscreen for this autograph session, we were getting cooked by the sun while everyone else enjoyed root beer floats. Somehow Greenlay ended up with one… no idea how that works. I think he might have stolen it from an 8 year old. After lots of autographs, including a baby’s onesie, we grabbed some water and took some pictures with a bunch of fans. Before we left we got a quick tour of the historic Wells Fargo Bank in downtown Owatonna… I got separated from the group and was completely lost trying to find a restroom.
We arrived in Mankato and are finished our stops for the day! After a rather long steak dinner at a local restaurant (Antti likes eating local to support the economy) our bus driver Ryan pointed out an 8-foot high cement buffalo statue. Anna and Mackenzie allowed us to get off the bus to look at it. This was their third, and final, mistake of the day. In a matter of seconds and a quick pair of boosts from Greenlay, Charlesworth Coyle and myself were on top of it taking pictures. Luckily no one was hurt and the police either weren’t called, or showed up after we left.
Now it’s bedtime! Going to get a good sleep, squeeze in a workout, then power through day three of the Wells Fargo Minnesota Wild Road Tour!