Who gets the title?! I thought it was a little amusing. Play on the Bruno Mars song Uptown Funk, and due to checking out Uptown Minnesota and along the way enjoying some funky beer.
As I was driving up to Minnesota, I had a gym owner connection from CrossFit Akeso and scheduled a meeting for the morning. I also had an owner from Lawrence Beer Company reach out to an owner in St. Paul who agreed to meet with me as well. I even had a place lined up as my new friend in Montana reached out to his friend in Minnesota who said I could crash with him and his roommate.
I went to CrossFit Osiris and met with Vanessa who told me that it was the community and the members from a gym that had closed that lead to her starting up the box. Sure, there can be long days that take energy, but overall the experience has been enjoyable. I showed her my bottle opener I made and she said she would buy one! This was particularly nice timing as I had a box of a few more waiting for me at FedEx.
Prior to leaving for the trip, I spent about 18 hours making bottle openers. Cutting slugs from the round steel bar, preparing them for the CNC machining process and making them into cool parts. They are in between prototype and production ready, which is why they are nice, yet still take longer than should for larger scale production. I dropped them at powder coating prior to the trip, but it took longer than anticipated and I had to count on my kind (and other nice adjectives) brother to ship them to me.
I went on to Barrel Theory which is a real cool place. The look of the wooden floors and bar really stood out to me. A modern, yet throwback type of look. I’m certainly not doing justice with my wording, nor am I an authority on interior decorating, but it was neat. Brett was passionate about beer, offering one immediately to me and explaining that Northeast IPA is more about the flesh of the fruit, whereas West Coast IPA more of the rind. It was a nice descriptor for me and he made sure that even prior to getting through the questions, he set me up with another brewery. He mentioned that beer is ready when it is ready, and as such he only puts out the beer he is completely confident and proud in. If this means a smaller selection than normal at times, it is ok. Before departure, he offered up a shirt too!
I then headed over to Stillwater, to meet with Jim at Lift Bridge Brewing. Jim was sitting at the bar and immediately offered a beer and I enjoyed the Saison, a style I hadn’t always liked but this one was great. Jim told me how the owners of Lift Bridge started out playing poker and brewing beer together. They upgraded equipment and over time decided to pull the trigger and make it work. It was a hospitable and enjoyable place. Jim was also kind enough to put me in touch with a few gym owners, but unfortunately, due to my tight timeline, I couldn’t meet with any. I was trying to be good at taking the extra picture of the beer and Jim kindly said we’d get a full beer for that and we took a good picture. He asked if I wanted the beer, but I didn’t have to have it. Before he could finish that second part I excitedly said I’d love to have it! Prior to leaving he offered up a couple stickers and a choice of shirt or hat and I happily took a hat and went on my merry way.
My merry mood was somewhat short lived. As I was leaving Lift Bridge, my car was having issues. The check engine light and the diesel particulate filter light and the coil light were all going off. This was not good. I drove a bit and the car was governed type feeling. It would take much longer to get up to speed. It would have a slow acceleration, then shift, and slow acceleration until it got to speed. As I’ve done many times I called up my brother (again, he’s nice, knowledgeable etc.). We decided it’d be good to get it looked at.
I called a Volkswagen dealer in Minnesota and heard it’d be multiple days. This was not ok as I had already stayed one night and after tonight, it’d be time to move on. We decided to make an appointment in Wisconsin, enabling me to move on and hope the car lasted.
That night my friend said a few of them were going out to Uptown and meeting up with a group of people. I could tag along and take in the Uptown scene. Nothing like partying away some worries! We had met up with a group of people in an apartment and they were kind. It was enjoyable telling the story of the journey and having them welcome me to the group for the night. Out on town they even covered a few drinks which were awfully nice and enjoyable as we chatted and had a grand ol’ time.
The next day I headed out to CrossFit Eden Prairie after my first attempt at a gym had was closed for the day. This was a different experience with a big class going on. Anna came over and chatted with me and said perhaps if the open gym wasn’t busy in 2 hours, she could talk then. I told her I hope the timing works in my favor so I can move on to Wisconsin. I did some work in the library before returning.
I was lucky! Anna could speak after a little bit and I learned how she and her husband made a deliberate team decision to make it happen. They each brought strengths to make a good team and now had two locations, each with a strong culture.
After that, I headed down to Wisconsin and decided it’d be fun to take in a new stadium, Miller Park in Milwaukee. I bought tickets on the phone and decided car sleeping would be fine. I had no idea of the adventures I would experience.
-a bit of a cliff hanger! Don’t worry, the other blog is being written immediately after so it shouldn’t be too long to hear what happens. Also, information has been put out on social media, but I’ll add more details here.