What I Did Instead of Watching the Super Bowl:

My northern strategic avoidance adventure

Illustrator: Olivia Novotny

As soon as I heard the Super Bowl was coming to Minneapolis, I knew I wanted to be out of town for it. I didn’t have any specific plans; I was just looking for an excuse to skip town and avoid the fateful weekend. On Friday morning me and a pal hit the road to Duluth with one goal: visiting the aquarium.

We threw all the blankets from our beds in the back of the van and headed north. Of course, on the way up we had to stop at those nice thrift stores in the ‘burbs: the giant, warehouse-like ones that have quality shit like flannel-lined denim you never find in the cities.

Once in Duluth we entertained ourselves by checking out the diviest diners, stopping in every antique store we saw, and poking around the huge industrial train yards at the base of the hilly city. We climbed over a locked gate at the entry to a tower that overlooked the land, and the view at the top was 100 percent worth it.

At night we drove to the nearby Jay Cooke State Park and parked in an empty campsite to sleep in our car, in our cozy nest of blankets. While the first night was bearable at a balmy 0 degrees, the second night the temp was -20 and I was constantly shivering, aching for the morning, half-laughing and half-crying at the fact that we were out there trying to sleep.

Sunday we were all smiles despite the cold as we went to the Great Lakes Aquarium, boasting the title of the largest sturgeon touch tank in North America. And let me tell you—that touch tank was amazing. The sturgeon seemingly loved it and would continuously circle around and swim up to my hands, their big smooth bodies gliding under my palms, their spiky spines brushing the tips of my fingertips. We stayed there all day before driving back to the city Sunday night, successfully evading the Super Bowl in its entirety. Mission accomplished.