Today we got up fairly early, grabbed breakfast, then packed up and got checked out of the hostel. I took some cash out of the ATM by our hostel as for the next few days we wouldn't have easy access to cash points due to heading to small locations and a National Park so I got enough to cover me for food etc for the next few days.

TOP TIP: I used the Fair FX currency card, which is a prepaid MasterCard. It acted like a debit card and this allowed me to pay for items, food and visits almost everywhere as so many places accept MasterCard. I could load money onto the card which gave me american dollar currency and meant I wasn't charged huge commission like I could be when using my British bank cards. I could take money out at ATMs cheaper with this card and could pre pay it online while I was in the USA. It was so handy and I would recommend currency cards to everyone. It means you don't have to carry loads of cash everywhere and can take it out when you need it.

Then Jake pulled the van round to the front of the hostel and we dragged our suitcases into the trailer, before getting our last view of the city and heading onto small town America!
Today was going to be a long driving day where we would be covering 410 miles and spending a good 8 hours in the van.

There was no real sight seeing in the plan for today, which was fine with me after a busy couple of days in Chicago.
The driving was broken up with a couple of unusual stops, in addition to the usual gas station stops. With our first stop being in...

Middleton, Wisconsin:
It was our sixth day of travelling and this was our sixth state of the trip. We stopped here to take in the National Mustard Museum. Who knew there was a National Mustard Museum in America!

There were a few of us that were not fans of mustard but we still took in the sights. There were cabinets filling large walls with mustards from every state and from Europe… quiet the feat in mustard collecting! This museum celebrates national mustard day by holding a mustard festival.

After occupying ourselves with some mustard colouring in, a couple of us exited the museum early to take in the fresh air. As it was quite early on a Sunday morning the streets were mostly empty and I couldn't get over how clean looking everything was. The streets looked like a movie set, it didn't quite look real.
After the others had had their mustard fix we all headed back into the van and after a bit more driving we made a stop in...

Windsor, Wisconsin:
This was a shorter stop than the last, but it was to break up the driving, and why not take in the Cheese Mouse House!

Wisconsin is known as America's Dairyland so this was a must visit stop. This was a roadside stop, which we don't really have in the UK, where there are roadside attractions to break up long road trips. Officially known as the Mousehouse Cheesehaus, there was speciality Wisconsin cheese that you can sample and purchase, as well as fudge, sausages and other gifts! I didn't try to much but I was taken with the foam cheese hats, quite the fashion accessory.
After a while we got back in the van made a stop for lunch and kept on driving. As well as taking in the scenery I slept most of the day in the van to regain my energy from the busy two days in Chicago.
We passed by the Mississippi river on the state borders of Wisconsin and Minnesota (the river originates in Minnesota). Our day of driving had been mostly filled with bright yellow visits and bright green fields scenery. The landscape reminded me of the UK a bit. After a long days driving Jake suggested we made the other stop to the Green Giant Statue the next day instead of today, as it was a bit out of the way for where we would be staying.
So we got to our stop for the night...

Albert Lea, Minnesota:
Entering our seventh state, we were staying in a motel and it was nice to go back to comfortable double rooms sharing with just one other person. The motel was nice and had all the usual trimmings, two comfy beds, desk, tv and ensuite.
We got settled into our rooms and then decided to get dinner. There were a few places to eat within walking distance but there was a large bar and restaurant attached to the motel so my roommate and I decided to just get dinner there. A few of the others did the same so we pulled some tables together and had a nice hearty dinner, a salad buffet and steak and chips!
As we finished dinner it seemed to be the local karaoke night. Even though wanting an early night we couldn't miss out on some local entertainment and spent a few hours enjoying drinks and karaoke, where the song Sweet Caroline seemed to be following me across America!
Some of our group took to the stage and we took in the great atmosphere. Eventually we headed back to our rooms, got showered and to bed to revive our energy before our national park visit tomorrow...

ITINERARY (LISTED):                           Green Giant - Roadside Attraction Day
ACCOMMODATION:                            Americas Best Value Inn - Albert Lea, Minnesota

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