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Minneapolis: Part III - The Minneapolis Shoe Tree
i'm ready for my close up mr demille
soopageek
Warning: going beneath the cut will take you to the full entry which contains about 25 photographs, just so ya know.

The first half of Martin Luther King Day, atthestarz took me downtown to a diner for breakfast.  Except for the bitter cold, it was a gorgeous day.  While atthestarz drove, I was having fun taking pictures of the Minneapolis skyline from a distance, steam from various buildings filling the clear blue sky.



Being a holiday, downtown was pretty vacant.  There were a handful of cars and pedestrians about, but for the most part it was deserted.



The architects in Minneapolis must have a serious affinity for mirrored glass.  Most all the major buildings shone blue in the late morning sun, reflecting back the brilliant sky.  It made for some interesting photos, catching reflections of steam and other buildings in the windows.












I had an awesome three cheese omelet packed with bacon and veggies and some fried potatoes.  Probably one of the better breakfasts I'd had in a while.  There's nothing better than breakfast at a greasy-spoon diner.  After breakfast, atthestarz drove me down to the University of Minnesota campus.  We found some parking and proceeded to walk down to the river.  Let me say for the record that taking a half-mile walk after breakfast is probably good for you, but not when it's below zero degrees outside.  And while my toes and fingers were going numb and my face was becoming chapped, once we arrived at our destination, I forgot entirely about how cold it was outside.



Isn't it lovely? 



A shoe tree right in the middle of the city.  While it's not as impressive as the Nevada Shoe Tree, a nice start has begun.  It's also not as striking since it isn't the only tree on the landscape, but it is interesting for several reasons.  For one, some of the more attentive of you may have noticed that there is... a.. bicycle!



Actually, there are TWO bicycles hanging in the tree.



It's also much, much taller than either the Oregon or Nevada shoe trees.



See, the Univeristy of Minnesota is divided by a river.  To facilitate the migration of students and faculty from one side of the river to the other, a bridge which serves as a pedestrian walk-way has been constructed....



...allowing mischeivous college students access to the branches of this tall tree at eye level.







In addition to the urban setting, the very presence of the river below makes the entire viewing experience completely different from the other two trees.



But the neatest thing about visiting this shoe tree is the bridge.  Since you are essentially at a height which is level with the upper branches of the tree....



You are afforded the unique opportunity to view the shoe tree from above, looking down through it's shoe covered branches.








We finished our tour of downtown with a drive along the river.  This afforded me with some nice photograph subjects like old mill buildings and factories.  I was going silly snapping the button of my camera while atthestarz navigated the twisting riverfront streets.












I got a phone call from hockeyfag at some point during our tour.  As cold as it had been, he had been concerned about it being too cold for flight.  Apparently when the temperature gets below zero the various hydraulic systems on the plane don't operate because the oil becomes to viscous.  As luck would have it, it was THREE degrees.  Woohoo.  We were going flying!  The subject of my next entry.

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Wow!

I'm a little torn. I tend to be a purest about the most random things sometimes, and for some reason, that bridge almost feels like "cheating" to me- because in my limited experience, I think a big part of a shoe tree ritual is tossing the shoes up there, to see how high you can them, to see if you can get them to stick, etc. The bridge makes it too easy.

On the other hand, the bridge looks like it was very valuable in helping the shoes become more evenly dispersed, because dropping shoes is easier to control than tossing them.

Also, it would be hard to heave a bicycle up into a tree, and easier to drop it.

The bikes are really nice touch :)

Yeah I like the bikes, too... it's like, the evolution of land travel, right next to a bridge.

Hmm. I wonder if people ever take shoes *off* the tree. To, you know, wear them.

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