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Minnesota - PT.2

If you haven't read "Minnesota - PT.1" - check that one out before reading this one! - (This one is a long one, but there is lots of photos!) Simon and I woke up in the morning and headed to a cafe in the middle of the city for breakfast and it was delicious. We had deep fried cheese curds as starters at 10:30am, which Simon tells me isn't a normal thing but I'm not believing him... After breakfast and of course COFFEE we started making out way from the big city to the small town area of Fergus Falls where Simon lives. The drive there was around 3hrs, which was the perfect time for Simon and I to catch up, chat about what we've been up to in the last 4 years since we have seen each other. The further from Minneapolis we got the more we began to see farms, farms and more farms. Our first stop was actually to Simon's family home where he grew up. He showed me around the area, the lake he spent a lot of time on/in growing up, his grandparents cabin and we took the 4 wheeler into the yard behind his place and up a small hill to get an awesome view of the area. It was gorgeous and the area reminded me a lot of where I grew up which was really cool. Later that afternoon Simon took me into the town of Fergus Falls, a small regional town which felt a lot like home for me as a kid. Fergus Falls has a population of just over 13,000 and was pretty quiet on a Saturday afternoon. As he was showing me around town he remembered a "fun" location to show me. This was the "Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center" - an incredibly spooky, undoubtedly haunted, abandoned mental asylum. The building was incredibly eerie, it made us both feel uncomfortable and gave us goosebumps, so of course we got out of the car and explored! We could see through the cracked and broken glass windows into the scary little rooms that patients would have lived in. The place was incredibly run down and gave off some terrible vibes so we stayed outside. Check it out!

One of my favourite things about photography is you can tell so much story through the use of framing, colours and so much more. The images above all make the asylum look incredibly spooky. But if you change the way you use the lighting & colours, this is how much nicer the area can look. The photos below are the same photos as above (plus a few more), just edited to feel much happier and convey a completely different story.

That evening we went to one of Simon's buddies post wedding celebration in a town close by. It was in a really well modernised brick industrial building and was beautiful! Afterwards we headed home to Simon's family home and fell asleep pretty quickly, we'd all had a big day! The next day we woke up to the amazing smell of waffles & bacon made by Simon's Mum which was a wonderfully delicious way to start the day. Afterwards Simon, myself and Anna (his girlfriend) headed out on a hike to "Inspiration Peak" - it was a much shorter hike than we were expecting but we got to see some more beautiful fall colours, plus we probably needed to walk off the waffles.... We got some wonderful Bro-mance photos of Simon & I, as well as some cute couple photos of the actual couple.

We stopped in for lunch in a small town called "Battle Lake" with a massive population of around 800 people. However it was a Sunday and as the days are getting colder the closer we get to Winter, a lot of businesses actually close for the season. We had lunch at an awesome little place called "Battle Lake Boathouse" which one of Anna's friends owns & runs. After lunch we spent a little bit of time exploring the town of Battle Lake before heading back to Fergus Falls for our epic afternoon activity!

Simon had planned for the afternoon a stereotypical country American experience. We headed down to the local store, purchased some ammunition and headed out to a friend's farm to have some fun. Simon had surprised me the day before with a gift, which was a camouflage hunting hat with the American flag on it, because why not. At the farm we had an entire selection of guns ranging from handguns, to shotguns and even an assault rifle. It's been a while since I've shot a gun, so handling and firing a variety of weapons in an environment where we could do so safely was a great experience. We had homemade targets, plastic gophers and of course explosives to shoot at.

We spent 2 hours trying different guns and just having an outrageously good time. In the picture above you can see 6 of the 8 guns we had to choose from. But front and centre was my favourite handgun, this had a 45mm round & had a pretty serious kick for a small weapon, it was really accurate too which made hitting those metal targets so incredibly satisfying. We also had a really nice 6 round .357 Magnum revolver, this thing was pretty awesome as it had a western feel. (top left photo is the 45mm, you can see the round flying out of the gun as I've shot)

As awesome as the handguns were, there was one gun that really jumped out. It was the most #MURICA thing I've seen since getting here and it was an AR15 Semi-Automatic Assault Rifle. This had a 30 round magazine which made it a lot of fun, but we went through those rounds pretty quick. This thing looked gnarly and of course we had to pose in the most ridiculous ways with it, it went well with my American Camouflage Hunting cap...also the sunset was gorgeous that afternoon!

Then if this gun wasn't enough already...we had explosives to shoot too...that thing at the bottom of the explosion used to be a hay bail.

All in all an epic day, lots of stupid fun & of course good company. Craziest thing was, everything we did was legal... Looking forward to more adventures, so far so good America.

The next day was pretty chill. I went to one of the local cafes, had an awesome breakfast and spent hours there. I got super side tracked, I sat in the cafe for close to 4 hrs editing photos, organising a few things and writing this blog. My buddy Simon was at work, so I had the day to relax and hang out and just enjoy my free time. In the afternoon Simon, myself and his two house mates, Hayden & Zane, went fishing at Hayden's parent's house which is right on the lake. It was an awesome little spot where we were able to just flick our rods out straight from the dock in their backyard.

The sunlight was perfect, we had an epic sunset while we celebrated that each of us caught a fish! The fish we caught are called Walleye which are a freshwater fish native to most of Canada and Northern USA. We finished the night with delicious pizza and just chilling out with friends.

The next day was my final day in Fergus Falls, so I took Simon's truck and headed North. I drove to an area called "Maplewood State Park", which is a gorgeous area filled with vibrant orange and red leaves. I was pretty lucky and got to see a Bald Eagle soaring high in the sky!

The park was a nice way to spend my last day in Fergus Falls area. I am actually really going to miss Fergus, the town is small & very friendly. Everyone knows everyone, and it's very country feeling. It reminds me a lot of the small town I grew up in and I think that's why I liked Fergus Falls so much.

It has been amazing to catch up with my friends in Minnesota, it's been years since I've seen them but the best thing is that nothing has changed, our friendships are still just as goofy and ridiculous as always. It's been real Minnesota, thanks! But now the time has come to move on to the next portion of my adventure, cya soon Buffalo, New York!


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