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Planning a Minnesota Staycation

planning a minnesota staycationIf time or money is tight this summer, there are plenty of things to do that require little or no travel. Whether you’re looking for ideas for a day trip or stay home, here are some ideas you can explore with your family.

  • Photo Hunt: Plan out 25 topics and challenge everyone in the family to find something to photograph that represents that topic. Have fun with the topics making them difficult or funny. With most mobile devices and phones having cameras, this shouldn’t be too hard or do the hunt in pairs/teams. Invite friends to join in.
  • Water Slide: Make a giant slip-n-slide on the front lawn out of a roll of construction plastic from the hardware store. If you don’t have space or have a neighbor with a great slope, team up.
  • A Different Type of Picnic: Organize a shrimp boil. Invite a few friends or family, assign each one an ingredient (shrimp, chicken, corn, potatoes, onion, butter, etc). This is a great campfire/outside cooking recipe that will keep the house cool in the summer. Line a picnic table with paper and dump the food in the center. Here is one recipe.
  • Pinterest Party: Give each member of the family an assignment to pick one fun recipe and a project from Pinterest. Lots of people pin things to try at a later date, but use this time as your opportunity to give things a try!
  • Check out our Staycation Pinterest Board where we’ve been pinning all kinds of fun summer ideas!

Summer Survival Kit

summer survival kit

If you’re from the upper Midwest, you’ve heard plenty of advice and tips for assembling a winter survival kit for your vehicle during the snowy months. However, a summer survival kit is a good idea as well. Car trouble can happen at any time, in any season. It’s a good idea to have some key items in your car at all times, plus a few additional things based on the weather. 

Summer Survival Kit Necessities:
  • Water; gallon jug and refillable water bottles and/or cups
  • Electrolytes; you can buy in powder form to add to water
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Caps or visors
  • Wet wipes
  • Sunglasses
  • Cooling towels
  • Snacks; some should have some salt content
  • Reflective blanket to use as shade
  • First aid kit
  • Jumper cables
  • Flashlight or glow sticks
  • Bug spray

Always check your tires over before heading out and make sure they are in good condition. If you have questions about your tires, stop in and see us in Anoka or Bloomington. 

Independence Day Store Hours

We will be closed at both our locations on July 4th for the holiday.

We will reopen regular business hours on Friday, July 5th.

On Saturday July 6th we will be open from 9-3 (note* Saturday hours means we are closing early).

Happy 4th of July!

Minnesota Landmarks with Musical Ties

The summer is the perfect time for a Minnesota road trip!  If you enjoy music or are a fan of Prince, Bob Dylan, or Weird Al, here are some fun musical Minnesota landmarks you can visit.

Minnesota Landmarks for Music Lovers

Bob Dylan – Hibbing, Minnesota

Bob Dylan was born in Duluthmusical Minnesota Landmarks and also lived in Minneapolis and Hibbing, Minnesota.  Before he was famous, he was known for hanging out in coffee houses in Dinkytown playing music with friends while he attended the University of Minnesota. Here are some Bob Dylan sites in Minnesota that would be fun to visit in Hibbing, Duluth, and Dinkytown.

Prince – Chanhassen, Minnesota

Many people may not realize that Paisley Park was a song, back in 1985, long before it was a recording studio. The song also eventually led to the name of Prince’s record label, Paisley Park Records. Today, you can take a road trip to the 65,000-square-foot, $10 million recording complex and visit the Paisley Park Museum. Both the Current and Explore Minnesota have also put together a list of self-guided tour stops for Prince fans that include First Avenue, public murals of Prince, the house from Purple Rain, and more. 

Weird Al Yankovic – Darwin, Minnesota

Unlike Prince and Bob Dylan who both grew up in Minnesota, Weird Al just wrote a song about one of its quirky tourist spots. In his song, “The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota” Weird Al sings about Darwin’s landmark in a classic Minnesota accent.  Besides the world’s largest ball of twine, there are many other highway highlights in Minnesota worth stopping at.

Ready for your Minnesota road trip? Make sure your car is ready to put some miles on and you have supplies and snacks, then hit the open road! Here is a road trip playlist of Minnesota songs to get you started. 

Clean Your Vehicle Cup Holder

clean your vehicle cup holderHave you spilled one too many times in your vehicle’s cup holder? Maybe a fast food beverage was left only to seep sticky syrup into the crevices of your cup holder, making it a mess. Clean your vehicle cup holder with these tips to make the clean up process a little easier.

Removable Cup Holders

Many trucks and cars have cup holders or cup holder liners made of plastic or rubber that is removable. If you can remove your cup holder, it is much easier to clean. Try running your cup holders through a rinse cycle of your dishwasher (be careful with full cycles that could warp or melt). After the rinse cycle, allow the cup holder to sit for 20 minutes and then attempt to wipe out leftover slime. If necessary, repeat the process.

If you don’t have a dishwasher or are leery of that method, try a bucket of warm, soapy water and drop your cup holders in. They may need some serious soaking time.

Non-Removable Cup Holders

This is much more challenging, but can be done. Have two clean rags ready. Use the first one to squeeze a small amount of warm, soapy water into the cup holder and allow to sit. Use the second, DRY rag to wedge into the cup holder to soak up the water and released residue. You may have to repeat the process until all the sugar dissolves.

For light colored plastic cup holders stained with coffee or other beverages, try a small amount of lemon juice and rub with a clean cloth.

Getting Started with Teen Drivers Education in Minnesota

If you have a Junior High School student in your house, it’s not too early to start thinking about Teen Drivers Education. Most drivers education teachers will recommend classroom training anytime after the age of 14. Behind-the-wheel drivers training can begin at the age of 15. The overall goal is to turn new teen drivers into safe drivers, and this does not come overnight, but with hours of classroom and behind-the-wheel training. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety uses a Graduated Driver licensee system (GDL). There are 3 stages that a new driver needs to complete to become fully licensed to drive.

Minnesota Driver Education – GDL Standard Requirements

  1. Supervised Learning – Instructional Drivers Permit teen drivers education
  2. Intermediate – Provisional License to Drive that limited unsupervised driving in high-risk situations (there are several requirements for this including being 16 years old, having an instructional permit for 6 months, pass a road test, and more)
  3. Full License to Drive (either has had a provisional license for 12 months or be 18 years old)

Start Here – How to Choose a Quality Driving School

  1. Ask other parents and your local high school administrators which driving school they would recommend and why
  2. Make visits to some of the driving schools to see their materials, vehicles, and meet the instructors. If you can’t visit in person call them to ask questions about their process and their references.
  3. Focus on quality over price.  The cheapest or quickest driving schools may not get the best results.

 How to Get your Minnesota Drivers Permit

  1. Driver must pay the Minnesota Drivers Permit Fee
  2. Driver complete an Instruction Permit Application (Proof of identity and parent or guardian signature is required)
  3. Driver must pass a vision test and a written test at their local Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) office

Requirements to Begin Drivers Behind-the-Wheel Training

  1. Driver must be at least 15 years old
  2. Driver must complete 30 hours of classroom instruction and pass a drivers knowledge test

Teen Drivers Education Resources

Minnesota Public & Private School Driver Education Programs in Minnesota (PDF)
FAQ – Answers to Common Teen Driving Questions
Best Driver’s Ed Courses in Minnesota
Top 10 Things Teen Drivers Should Be Taught to Do

Your teen’s driver’s education class will focus on being an attentive driver and following the rules of the road. One thing that teen driving lessons don’t cover as well is car maintenance, such as how to change a flat tire or change the car’s oil.  

Drive Safe!

Anoka Tire is the TireZoo of Anoka, MN

Looking for Anoka Tire?

Then you’ve arrived at the right place! Anoka Tire has been TireZoo for a number of years. Actually, Anoka Tire was sold in 1995 to Dan Wilkerson, who also owns the TireZoo in Bloomington, MN. Anoka became the second TireZoo location around the Twin Cities-Metro area. It is located at 604 Church Street and has had the nostalgic “Anoka Tire” sign up for years. You can read about our history here, and we encourage you to stop by or give us a call!

Guide to Travel & See MN Movie Sites

tour MN movie sites

Minneapolis-St.Paul/Metro Area

“Young Adult”, starring Charlize Theron was set and partially filmed in Minnesota. They filmed around the site of the old Metrodome and Minneapolis City Hall.

“The Mighty Ducks” movie(s) starring Emilio Estevez features scenes filmed at Mickey’s Diner at 36 West 7th Street in St. Paul, Stearns County Courthouse in St. Cloud, MN, and the IDS Center in Minneapolis.

“Purple Rain” starring Prince was set in Minnesota and partially filmed at First Ave. and the IDS Center in Minneapolis.

“Jingle All The Way” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger was filmed in Minnesota and features downtown Minneapolis, the Mall of America, and Mickey’s Diner.

“Mallrats” starring Jason Lee is not set in Minnesota, but was filmed at the Eden Prairie Center mall in Eden Prairie, MN

Northern Minnesota

“Fargo” the infamous Minnesotan movie starring Frances McDormand was set and filmed in Minnesota, but not actually in Fargo/Moorhead area. Parts of the movie were filmed in Hallock and Forest Lake, MN, as well as areas around St. Louis Park, Chanhassen, and Edina.

“Catch Me If You Can” starring Matt Lattanzi and Loryn Locklin was filmed in St. Cloud and Apollo High School.

 

Southern Minnesota

“Angus”, starring James Van Der Beek was filmed in Owattona, Minnesota. You can see much of the filming took place at the Owatonna High School. 

“Grumpy Old Men” starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau is referenced to be in Wabasha, MN, but the houses featuring the neighbors in the movie are said to be located on Hyacinth Avenue East in Saint Paul, MN.

“Drop Dead Gorgeous” starring Kirsten Dunst is set in a fictitious Minnesota town and filmed in Waconia, Jordan, and Eden Prairie, MN to name just a few of the many locations used.  

 

Happy Memorial Day!

Wishing you a beautiful Memorial Day weekend. The TireZoo will be closed on Monday, May 27th in observance of this holiday.

TireZoo of MN

Road Trip Using Google My Maps

Plan a Google My Map road tripHere’s a fun and quirky idea for your next road trip if you are a bit techie and want to break of up the monotony of  another family driving trip. You can use Google My Maps to build a custom map to plan your route with location markers. Mark familiar landmarks along the way everyone will recognize, if you’re taking a regular route. If not, you can use real photographs to indicate when your going to stop along the way to sight-see, stop to visit a friend, stretch your legs, or grab a bite to eat. You can even give your personalize map a name like “Most Awesome MN Road Trip Ever” and a date. Google will allow you to keep the map private or share it with only specific people who have the link. If you have older children or want to work on your travel route with your spouse or friend, you can give them permission to edit the map. 

Another family helped young kids map a trip to Grandma’s house to cut down on the “are we there yet?” questions. 

This is a Google my maps tutorial on how to create a custom  Map for your next road adventure