Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Driving toward Minneapolis & “a blazin’ ball of fire” November 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Along Interstate 35 in Burnsville.

Northbound along Interstate 35 in Burnsville.

DRIVING INTO AND AROUND downtown Minneapolis always makes for an interesting experience.

The Minneapolis skyline appears in the distance as we drive along Interstate 35 in Burnsville.

The Minneapolis skyline appears in the distance as we drive along Interstate 35 in Burnsville.

This trip late Black Friday afternoon—not to shop but to visit family in the north metro—did not disappoint. I noticed a businessman texting on his drive home in heavy traffic. I spotted a junker van with a padlock attached to the exterior driver’s door, at about the location of the lock. I don’t have photos to prove either because by the time I realized what I’d really seen, we’d bypassed both.

Duluth Trading Company's billboard along Interstate 35 in the south metro.

Duluth Trading Company’s billboard along Interstate 35 in the south metro.

However, I did not miss photographing a Duluth Trading Company billboard for Buck Naked Underwear. I find these ads amusing.

Signage for the "sane lane" nearing downtown Minneapolis.

Signage for the “sane lane” nearing downtown Minneapolis.

The blinding reflection of the sun.

The blinding reflection of the sun.

And I didn’t miss photographing the reflection of the setting sun off skyscraper glass blazing a blinding ball of fire into our eyes as my husband aimed our van toward downtown Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis skyline as the sun sets.

The Minneapolis skyline as the sun sets.

Creeping along in a congested area near downtown Minneapolis.

Creeping along in a congested area near downtown Minneapolis.

As traffic thickened, Randy remarked that he is thankful he does not need to deal with rush hour on a daily basis. But at least we were moving, albeit sometimes barely, and traffic volume was less due to the holiday weekend. The slow-down gave me time to study the Minneapolis skyline. I can identify only the Foshay Tower and the IDS Center; it’s been decades since I’ve been downtown.

Driving through the Lowry Hill Tunnel.

Driving through the Lowry Hill Tunnel.

Low light and a slow shutter speed created this effect inside the Lowry Tunnel.

Low light and a slow shutter speed created this effect inside the Lowry Tunnel.

And then we were curving and zooming through the Lowry Hill Tunnel, which always feels visually surreal, as if we are inside an auto racing video game.

That was Friday.

Driving toward downtown Minneapolis from the north.

Driving toward downtown Minneapolis from the north.

Saturday morning, after staying overnight with our eldest daughter and son-in-law, we headed back toward the city on our way home.

Behind the building in the foreground, you can see the pointed end of U.S. Bank Stadium.

Behind the buildings in the foreground, you can see the pointed end of U.S. Bank Stadium.

Another view of the stadium from the Interstate.

Another view of the stadium from the Interstate.

My focus was on the new U.S. Bank Stadium under construction in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. To me, it resembles a ship rising from the urban core. A Minnesota Vikings ship.

And so we drove south, clear sailing. No crashes. Light traffic. Out of the city. Back home to Faribault, fifty miles distant.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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21 Responses to “Driving toward Minneapolis & “a blazin’ ball of fire””

  1. wyonne Says:

    Hei Audrey!!
    Fantastic! You brighten my day when you bring me back to Minnesota – particularly the Minneapolis area – as you do today! I love living in Norway and I loved living in Minnesota. I can’t live in two places at the same time, but your blogg enables me to do it!! Keep up the lively pictures and comments! Wyonne Long

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    I passed through Almost Iowa yesterday, there was no traffic but I noticed a lot of changes. A high wind stripped enough leaves off the oak tree at the intersection to reveal the town’s other building.

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    The new stadium is pretty neat looking. Hope you had a great time with the family and that the snow is staying away. It looks like the trip went well even with all the traffic.

    • We had a wonderful time with family, both on Thanksgiving at our house and then on Friday at my sister-in-law and brother-in-law’s house. Snow has now arrived with about an inch overnight and more coming today to an expected total of perhaps seven inches.

  4. I like that “Sane Lane” idea..

  5. Jackie Says:

    Random thoughts…. I always think of Princess Diana when I drive through that tunnel (as people speed by me). My Husband LOVES “Buck Naked” underwear, and all my boys are are getting a pair in their stockings (is that too much information)? Love the fireball reflection…nice shot, and I always marvel at the Minneapolis Skyline. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • The Princess Diana thought seems fitting. It’s always good to get endorsements or thumbs down on a product.

      I though the fireball reflection image rather unusual. My one regret is that I didn’t photograph that padlock on the beater van. I didn’t have my camera ready…

  6. Your pictures make city life look beautiful

  7. I love your shots of downtown Minneapolis, especially the one with the sun reflection. I always wish I could photograph it that way, but am usually the one driving when I see the skyline in all its glory. And on the rare occasions when it’s Mick driving instead of me, the windshield isn’t clean enough. Heh! That shot with the slow shutter in the Lowry Tunnel is cool! We are not fond of the new Vikings stadium at our house, though. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

    • Thank you, Kathleen. The Minneapolis skyline is truly photogenic. I don’t have an opinion either way on the new stadium’s design other than to think it resembles a ship.

      I agree about the slow shutter speed pic. You never know what will happen while photographing on the go in low light.

      I did have a nice Thanksgiving. I hope you did also.

  8. Don Says:

    Love the photos, brings back many memories of driving to the “cities”. I remember as a kid when the Foshay Tower was the tallest building in Minneapolis and my parents took me to the observation floor for a birds eye view of the area! What fun that was…………………..

    • Yup, “going to the Cities.” It was a phrase spoken in our rural house at least once a year, the annual trip to visit Mom’s sister and her family.

      I don’t think I’ve ever been inside the Foshay Tower. But the IDS, yes.

  9. Littlesundog Says:

    It’s been 30 years since I’ve been to Minneapolis. I thought back then the skyline was beautiful… spread out so nicely. We see a lot of TV ads for Duluth Trading Company down south, and I have ordered from them before. They’re a great company!


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