Highway 100. Good ‘ole Highway 100. I was first introduced to this iconic West Metro highway when I was a small child. When we drove down from Duluth to visit my grandmother in Edina my dad almost always would take Highway 100 because it goes through Brooklyn Center, the suburb where my dad grew up. Curiously, when ever my mom drove she would always just stay on 35W South, even though my mom grew up in the western part of North Minneapolis. I suppose my mom did grow up about 30 blocks closer to Downtown Minneapolis.
For ten years I’ve only driven on Highway 100 occasionally since my wife and I have lived in the East Metro for the last ten years. The funny thing is my parents now live within sight of Highway 100 in Edina. My wife and I were all set to move to a new home in Eagan but our closing date got delayed due to an issue with the title (due to previous owners-nothing to do with us buying the house) so, having nowhere to go since we sold our townhouse in South Saint Paul last week I asked my parents if we could live in their condominium until they get back February 28th and then in the building’s guest room for the next week or two after they get back until the issue with the title gets cleared up. Being great parents they said of course we can. For the interim that means that I too am now living near Highway 100.
I drove up Highway 100 to where it joins 694 in Brooklyn Center on my way to work which is in the northern part of Saint Paul last week for a couple of days before I finally admitted to myself that it is quicker just to take Highway 62 over the Mendota Bridge to 110 and then up 35E to Wheelock Parkway. Sometimes you just want to go the way you normally wouldn’t go and driving along Highway 100 often evokes nostalgic memories for me so it’s a road my soul wants me to drive on every so often. It’s also the highway that takes you to the MicroCenter exit at 36th Street in Saint Louis Park and for a computer nerd like me you couldn’t not like a road that brings you to “Nerd Central” as my wife calls MicroCenter.
Until the middle part of the last decade I truly believe that a section of Highway 100 had been under construction my entire life (I was born in 1980). Although it is now a much better ride since the construction has ended it still sometimes doesn’t quite seem like the Highway 100 I remember when I was growing up. That especially holds true for my dad who grew up in the 1960s. In some respects he doesn’t recognize much of anything along the road anymore. If you get off the highway in any of the cities it goes through, however, you’ll find there are still many homes that were there when my dad was a teenager. They might not look the same on the inside but it’s still comforting to know some things haven’t changed in all those years of my dad and I driving down Highway 100.
In a few weeks we will be safely ensconced in our new house in Eagan and I will, once again, only be exposed to Highway 100 on an occasional basis but the road will always be there waiting for my turn to burn rubber up and down its grade. It might not be a road that I will ever need to drive on in my everyday life. The best roads, however, are the roads we want to drive on. If it could my guess is Highway 100 would be sporting a small grin right about now.