Notes from the field: Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall…

After I finished my draft of Dead Man on Campus on Friday and handed it over to my editor, we threw the kids in the car and hit the road.

In honor of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, we’re taking our kids on one of the truly horrifying wonderful summertime traditions: the great American road trip. Nothing beats the magical bonding time of spending hours on hours trapped in a car with people you know so well, you’re not worried about social niceties.

“Good thing I finished all the leftover chili before we left.”

Part One:
The Mall of America

I have to admit, visiting The Mall of America has been a bucket list item of mine. Also admittedly, I have a lot of weird things on this list, and this is no exception.

Because nothing says ‘Murica as effectively as gross consumerism, we booked a room in a hotel attached to the gigantic mall. We can stroll directly out of our room into the mall. Four levels of stores, restaurants, retailers, movie theaters, kid museums, an aquarium, and a theme park…

I can’t even. I literally can’t even.

My kids are losing their minds. While I…I’m usually good at orienting myself—I have a decent sense of direction—but with multiple locations of many stores, I keep getting lost. 

“Meet you by Lids.” “Which one? There are 3 Lids stores here, 1 Hat World, and 1 Champs Hats.” “Okay, by Caribou Coffee?” “Again, which one?”

Here are a few more sights and sounds for your enjoyment. Okay, not sounds—but it’s loud here, so imagine screaming and roller coaster noises. Or maybe those are my arteries. Because mall food…to the power of infinity.

(Click the images to embiggen.)

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Ramune (Japanese soda) flavors that made my daughter’s head explode. She likes the Green Apple best.


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Crayons at the Crayola store. “Wait, just let me straighten a couple more…”


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A trip to one of a bazillion candy shops could have scored a pack of actual bugs. But ew, gross, I’m allergic to cheese.


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There’s a Peeps store here. I repeat, a store all about Peeps.

It’s all about memories. And these are the kinds that last a lifetime. Or at least, until we find the next crazy thing around the corner.

Happy 4th.


Coming up… Part Two: Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, Deadwood (South Dakota)

The next Josie Tucker mystery, Dead Man on Campus, is available for pre-order on Kindle.

18 thoughts on “Notes from the field: Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall…

  1. Boy, can I relate to family road trips! Now all the kids are grown and gone, but we had some pretty funny tales to tell and a few that would make good scripts for another family vacation with the Griswolds. Hope you enjoy your vacation and travel safely!

  2. Good luck with the book. We have some pretty big Malls here in Manila, but I suspect that is so much bigger. Not my favourite places, but the kids always love them. Looking forward to hearing more about your road trip.

  3. I’ve heard about the mall but I’ve never seen pictures of it. My kids would have loved it when they were younger. Too bad they are all grown up. Maybe grandchildren one day…

  4. Visiting the Mall of America would be pretty cool. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip. We did a lot of day trips when I was a kid and they were fun.

  5. Oh man, that sounds like an adventurous family trip! Made me giggle a bit, hehe.
    I also had a look at some other posts, this blog is very cool! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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