Our Minnesota Trip

According to Google Maps, we traveled 915 miles, and drove for 19 hours and 14 minutes during our week in Minnesota while avoiding highways.

Each state we visit, we will choose at least one point of interest from each of the following categories: Famous Person, Famous Food, Road Side Attraction, State Capitol & State Museum, National Park, Historic Location, Can't Miss Attraction, and Made in the USA Factory tour. Some of the categories may have more than one selection, and sometimes a category will be vacant due to the lack of a candidate. Please click on the links below for the corresponding blog related our experiences in Minnesota over the past week.

Famous person: Judy Garland

Famous food: Wild Rice Burger

Roadside attraction: World’s Largest Spoon, Jolly Green Giant, Smoky the Bear

State Capitol/Museum: St.Paul

National Park: Voyageurs National Park

Historic Location: Aerial Lift Bridge

Can't miss attraction: Mall of America

Made in the USA Factory tour: UPM Paper Mill Cancelled by Factory

Please view our previous blog posts for the past week for further explanations of our experiences in Minnesota.

A breakdown of our expenses of the past week are as follows:

Gas $ 191.00


$ 2. 16 gal. in Rochester, MN was the lowest price paid.

$ 2. 39 gal. in International Falls, MN was highest price paid.

Groceries: $ 72.00

Walmart $22.00

Costco $26.00

Cub Grocery $ 8.00

Aldi $16.00


We did great in this category

Dining out $ $125.00

Pizza Ranch $29.00 (unbudgeted)

Freshii $18.00 (only healthy option in MOA)

Auntie Annie $ 7.00 (unbudgeted, 2 Hot Pretzels)

Whole Foods $37.00 (unbudgeted, but starving in Minneapolis)

Grandma's $34.00 (budgeted, Wild Rice Burger)


We did better than usual, but are still eating out way to much.

Entertainment: $26

Redbox $10 (went on an unbudgeted movie kick this week)

Judy Garland Museum $16 (budgeted admission x2)


We did great in this category again!

Lodging: $0.00

Walmart $ 0.00 (slept in parking lot x7 nights)


We continue to do great in this category

Miscellaneous $7.00

Parking $4.00 (Parking in St. Paul)

Parking $3.00 (Parking in Duluth)


We did great in this category

Minnesota Expenses Grand Total: $ 421.00

(Our expense list does not include re-occurring expenses such as insurance and cellphone etc. )

Is Minnesota Our New Home State?

Here are the rules:

Below are the 5 categories that are important to us in choosing our new home state. Each category is rated from 1 to 10 based on our personal experience in no particular order. 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest for each category. Each category will receive 2 scores; 1 from Lori and 1 from Nate. The average of these two scores will determine the final score for each category. To determine a state’s final score, we will average the total score of each category. If a state’s final score is less than 8, then that state is eliminated from consideration. At the end of our year long cross country trip, the states that scored 8 or higher will be subject to further consideration. In addition, Lori and I each have 1 wild card option, which allows a state that otherwise would have been eliminated, to be considered as our new home state.


Nate: 2

“The State House and Senate are currently suing the governor over his veto of the state budget; enough said”

Lori: 4

“Most of the job opportunities were in the heavy populated southeastern corner of the state”

Economy score: 3

Cost of Living:

Nate: 3

“With a base sales tax of 6.875%, and an 7.05% income tax, it would be cheaper to live in Connecticut; enough said”

Lori: 5

“The price of gas varied drastically from county to county within the state, due to a variable rate county tax,”

Cost of living score: 4

Quality of life:

Nate: 4

“Outside of the major metropolises which were dirty and crime ridden, the state was fairly safe and clean the farther north you traveled”

Lori: 5

“The winters are brutal, and there is a high risk of blizzards and wildfires within the state”

Quality of life score: 4.5


Nate: 2

“Most of the state’s social outlets center around hunting and fishing, and neither of which appeal to these two vegetarians”

Lori: 3

“The state had ample meat eating options, but we could not even find a frozen veggie burger on most menus”

Culture Score: 2.5


Nate: 7

“Throughout the state, the roads were well maintained, and the vast lakes and forests were absolutely beautiful”

Lori: 7

“In both urban and rural settings, businesses were open and flourishing”

Environment Score: 7

The verdict is in:

The final score for Minnesota was 4.2, and it will NOT be our new home state. Neither Lori nor I opted to use our Wild Card Option on this state.

Below are the current standings:

Michigan 8.3

Ohio 7.6

Indiana 7.4

Virginia 6.6

Pennsylvania 6.5

West Virginia 6.0

Kentucky 4.9

Wisconsin 4.5

Minnesota 4.2

Missouri 3.5

Iowa 3.3

Illinois 1.9