Rochester is so tiny, the best place to find fast food is the food court at the local mall. Sad. At least A&W's new chicken strips are really good...

So today, being Independence Day, is a day for fireworks. Kevin's friends and I, having a large field way outside of town (really, going the speed limit the farm is a 40-minute drive outside of town), we decided to get some rather large fireworks. Problem is, Minnesota is like North Carolina in one regard: all the good ones aren't sold here. Fortunately, Minnesota is like North Carolina in another regard: the good ones are sold in the neighboring state.

So, day trip to Wisconsin! :D

We drove for about 90 minutes and cross the border, then stopped at the first fireworks stand we found. They were grossly understocked, and grossly overpriced. With our budgets and their prices, we could have each walked away with only one or two mediocre items, and that wouldn't be any fun, now would it? 

We drove over to Wal-Mart, hoping, they'd have better stock, but nope! Their selection was even worse.

They did have this, though. And discount bins of single-shot vodka bottles in front of the checkouts. Oh, Wisconsin...

Well, we weren't about to walk out of this ordeal empty- or meagerly-handed, so we pulled up the map to see where we could go. Our best bet looked to be a place another hour in-state, but having nothing better to do, we went for it.

Ah, now this is where it's at! All the selection you could ever ask for, with all prices easily 1/3-1/4 what that tent at the state border was charging. Huzzah!

These rockets are what I walked away with These rockets are what I walked away with Now, doesn't this just look too scary? Now, doesn't this just look too scary? Hmmm, is a sparkler sword as scary as a spinning wheel of sparkler death? Hmmm, is a sparkler sword as scary as a spinning wheel of sparkler death?

Yep, all that driving was totally worthwhile :)

So, I was in Wisconsin, and while I don't know a lot about Wisconsin, I do know it's a place where I'm supposed go get cheese. Yay, cheese!

Luckily, right across the street from the fireworks store was a cheese shop. No idea if it's a good one or not, but I can't leave Wisconsin without cheese!

Did not buy. Did not buy.

The cheese definitely wasn't amazing, but it was still nice to get some from Wisconsin.

We drove back, Kevin and I in the front seats listening to epic movie sound tracks for the 2.5-hour drive back, his friends in the back not realizing there was anything to listen to until we returned and the road noise died down :)

We had a barbecue dinner outdoor with the farm folks, including some pretty tasty strawberry-based barbecue sauce (on the farm they have to get creative with their cooking, since most of what they eat comes from the farm).

Shooting off the fireworks was a lot of fun, including all the near-death experiences (what fun is Independence Day without those?). I didn't take many pictures, because fireworks are horrible to photograph, but I will leave you with one:

This is what happens when you have a couple hundred firecrackers that are too old and stale to light the normal way, so you just throw the box of them into a fire pit. What you don't see is the firecrackers jumping out of the pit and nearly into our faces :) Good times!