By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the first time in three weeks, temperatures rose above freezing Monday, and Minnesotans made sure to get outside and enjoy the weather while they can.

There was a line all day long for drivers at the Holiday near Target Field, washing away weeks of salt and winter grime. And for many, it was a chance to get outside without feeling like the Michelin man.

It’s been a while since the outdoor ice rinks were busier than warming houses, but no need to escape winter’s bite — Mother Nature is handing skaters like Jenna and Max a January reprieve.

“Honestly, after being in the sub-zero temperatures and freezing every time you went outside, coming out to this — it feels like you could be in t-shirt and jeans and be just fine,” Max Jacobson said.

And yes, there are bare legs jogging the trails around city lakes, where bare hands could finally take selfies, and dogs had more spring in their steps.

“It’s nice being outside, I’m actually enjoying the winter in Minnesota,” Jenna said.

In St. Paul’s Rice Park, a cement foundation awaits the laying of the first ice blocks for the Winter Carnival’s ice castle. Who would have thought the project’s construction workers would be working in short sleeves? Just last week, those workers were cutting blocks of ice from a lake near Spicer in -30 degree weather.

Dads like Guillermo Hernandez could do a casual stroll in Rice Park with his two girls Monday, not the classic “Minnesota hunch.”

“Definitely, it doesn’t compare,” he said. “When the winter is very cold, those days we go to an indoor park, a pool, a kids museum — we have a membership there.”

And if you thought you’d beat Sunday’s lines at the local car wash Monday was just a bad. It’s the price we pay for a clean car and warm winter walk.

So enjoy those clean, salt-free vehicles for the next couple of days — dirty road-sprays could return with another storm Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

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