As noted, our ‘preferred’ mode of transport to get us up to Minneapolis was a long bus ride. We boarded the bus in down-town Jackson and pulled out just before 3pm Friday afternoon. The first leg would be the straight run back up the main Interstate to Memphis – took us around 3.5 hours to pull into the station on the southern side of the city. We had a planned wait of around 1 hour which transpired into the obligatory ‘delay’ and it was almost 8.30pm before we finally got moving again. Whilst it was obviously very dark outside our run north basically retraced the path we had taken to come south – we ran west across the Mississippi into Arkansas and then run north on through Missouri on Interstates 55 and 57. Hitting Illinois, we had a long run ahead of us to get up to Chicago and then west from there. The bus stopped every 2-3 hours – middle of the night included. I roused from a rough snooze around 4.45am to find us hitting the outskirts of Chicago – big city. Even though it was still very dark, the skyline of Chicago materialised and it looked quite impressive – even at night / early morning. Our bus driver struggled with her bearings a little and missed the turn into the station and had to rely on one of the passengers for directions into the station. We were due in around 5.30am but it was 6am before we pulled up and it was a case of off one bus and straight onto the next for the final run through to Minneapolis.
Getting back on another bus – sore bum and all, we pushed on again in the last of the dark – the run across / through Chicago was around 2 hours plus – big city. We worked our way north to Milwaukee and found a dusting of snow on the ground to support the fact that it was cold out. We were only supposed to stop in Milwaukee (the city looks nice – not nearly as big as Chicago, but we did note a load of homeless living in tents under the freeway bridges – a sad situation) for a little over 30 mins, but just as we were set to move off the bus broke down and we found ourselves ‘enjoying’ the Milwaukee bus terminal for another hour / hour and a half. Finally back on the road, we pushed north west through Wisconsin and finally saw the ‘welcome to Minnesota’ sign – not far to go now. An interesting observation besides the snow – that the further north we pushed, the less there was – not sure how that worked, but by the Minnesota state border there was no snow – that’s not to say it was cold – the phone said it was 1 degree outside. The landscape was all pasture – fields of corn / maize which hadn’t yet been harvested and with the weather the way it was it didn’t look that feasible that they would be able to get it harvested and off the ground. Our second to last stop was the city of St Paul – I think Minneapolis and St Paul are known as the Twin City’s as they are effectively joined at the hip. Finally after a little over 26 hours we finally pulled into the central bus terminal in Minnesota – it was good to get up and be moving freely again.
We got some directions and bearings to get downtown a little to the hostel we were staying at. Bit of a walk and then a short bus ride and we got ourselves to our location – an old hostel which looked like it really needed some good TLC. We got ourselves in and then went for a bit of a walk locally – the area we were in had a load of eateries and bars – the main street lined in trees had fairy lights strung through them so a nice touch. We liked some of the buildings / older but restored, and the homes were a nice mix as well. We got to talking to a couple of people in the hostel and settled in for the evening. Sunday was about getting ourselves back downtown and out to the airport – time for another leg of our journey. Hopefully along the way we will see a bit more of this city – the concern currently is, what will the temperature be in another 2 weeks’ time when we return – if it’s 1 degree now (and supposedly feels more like -3 outside) what will the weather do from here (the news suggested that we are well below average for this time of year so hopefully some warmth comes back through. Will update you from London.