Rochester-Marion MN KOA
Arabella comfortably wintered in a pole barn near Winsted; escaping the late spring snow and the cold of this year’s winter. I got the call in late April that conditions at the farm allowed for her pick-up and Sheri made fun of how fast I responded to schedule the retrieval. Arabella took her place in the driveway, but it took a few weeks to find us set-up in a KOA, six miles south of Rochester Minnesota.
The process came back fast, I guess 82 days on the road permanently embeds muscle memory in the far reaches of your consciousness. The familiarity of camping returned quickly, but I still forgot a few things and determined needed items that are best left in the camper for the season. Thankfully there is a Walmart just down the road.
I set up in a corner spot, close to the pool but far from the bathroom and I did what you do while KOA camping; sit in a comfortable chair and survey the situation. There are two kamper kabins (KOA’s attempt at cuteness, not mine) surrounding the site and the tent area is directly across. I see that a bicycle camper and I are on a parallel plane and ask where he was from. Gil rode the 15 miles from home as part of an Adventure Cycling weekend and will spend two nights before pedaling back.
We started talking about our travels, he would love to ride ocean to ocean but not sure when; his 50th high school reunion is later this year and probably won’t make it because life gets in the way. He is a Viet Nam Vet, serving in the Navy at the tail end of the war, but spent most of his enlistment in Scotland, which sounds like a choice assignment. I told him about my journey and we looked over the map. The route and places of the trip highlighted to show where I have been. It’s weird, in that I now have experience that can be passed on. I ask if he had been “there” or seen “that” and then provide details for the places he hasn’t.
Parts of the trip POP into memory, and I remember the CCC buildings of the Wall Doxey Campground in Northern Mississippi. I am on the beach at Outer Banks North Carolina hoping Mabel will come back as she trucked after a piping plover, her form becoming smaller and smaller as she speeds away. She did, and you should have seen the happiness on her face. Then I am in Northern New Mexico, west of Los Alamos, enjoying the Ponderosa Pines of the Jemez Falls Campground in the Santa Fe National Forest. The places I saw in California, the Pacific Northwest, and the East Coast, actually all-around America, and the family and friends become recent memories. I remember the fun.
So why has it taken me so long to finish the blog?
I like the feelings from finishing a post or a story. The satisfaction with looking at the words as a body of work I own.
There are only three days left which need to be posted.
Mostly, I owe finishing the blog to Sheri. Without her support, encouragement, and sacrifice, my trip will still be a dream, or would have been finished in the 113-degree heat at Needles California. She has been extremely patient, at least on the outside, but some inside seething might be hidden. The trip was not meant to be a jaunt, but a life changing experience that will also allow her to fulfill her travel dreams.
When people ask about the trip I hate telling them, “please read my blog, its almost finished.” But strangely, it has done little to motivate me to put pen to paper or pound the laptop keys. I am good at making excuses or prioritizing other things over writing. I can say life gets in the way and to a point it has. I went back to work, oddly in my old cube, but as a contractor, about a month after I finished travelling. But if I am honest with myself, there is always time, I just need to go on a Netflix/Amazon/Hulu diet.
And lastly, I want to finish the blog because it is weighing on me like that last college assignment that needs finishing before fun-reading can begin. There are so many other projects I want to work on but feel I can’t until the blog is complete. Some are:
· A summary of each day’s travels to include a route map.
· A book of the trip’s experiences. Amazon self-publishing, here I come!
· A photo book of the pictures taken during the trip. More Amazon!
· A Patreon account filled with quality, thought provoking short stories.
· A history of the CCC and WPA in Minnesota.
· More Travels With Mabel travels which hopefully include Sheri. Circumnavigating Lake Superior, following the Pony Express Trail, maybe some Lewis and Clark in the Dakotas and definitely more of Minnesota.
So that’s why I took a creative weekend in South Minnesota, to finally finish my travel blog and push on to other projects. To remove the life gets in the way excuses and focus on the finish line. Its supposed to rain so the weather is conducive to writing, and cave exploration. Which I will do later this afternoon, in Forestville State Park.