Thursday, January 21, 2021

Pandemic Travels

I’ve been trying to think of things we can do this year in terms of a vacation. Right now, we are still quite a bit limited to places that are open to the public. It is hard to know what the next few months will bring due to the pandemic and limited traveling around the country. Traveling cross country was our plan last Spring right before the country shut down and travel was not recommended. All bets were off at the time regarding what would be open if we traveled. So plans to go to see our kids In the Southwest and Western States were cancelled. 

Last summer instead of going cross country, we did several Day trips within the state, just to feel like we were getting some kind of vacation. So we gassed up the minivan, loaded it with snacks, drinks, and lunch. We packed anything that may come in handy, fishing poles, chairs, binoculars, and even our bikes and a canoe. In Minnesota you don’t go far without taking something to travel with by way of water. We headed out to places we had never seen before in MInnesota. It was pretty much like throwing a dart at the state map and heading towards that destination. We had invested in a Minnesota Atlas that showed all the little backroads that would weave around lakes and more off the beaten path areas. Off we went, packed for whatever adventure may come our way. And I have to say, considering we were never more than a few hundred miles away from home, it was awesome!

We mostly took the backroads and found many little lakes to paddle and fish and relax by the shores. We were beyond content. We were on vacation and it felt like we were far away from home. We drove through bigger towns and little towns with a population under 50. While maintaining social distance and masked we met people who had great stories about their hometown. We saw water towers made up as tea kettles, cows, hornets and more. We saw tiny little wooden one room churches of unknown denominations and we saw mega-churches that hundreds attended. 

One of my favorite stops was a boat landing up near the Canadian border. People with large fishing rigs and those with small kayaks were coming and going at the landing that day. They all had great stories to tell of their day on the water. Whether they had caught any fish or not, all were content and happy just to be out and about during the pandemic. You can keep your distance and still be Minnesota nice and visit at a boat landing. 

This Summer, who knows if things will be open and we will be able to travel cross country freely or if it will still be pretty limited. If the country opens up and the pandemic winds down, we will once again try to head West to see the kids. If not...I have a new book titled “Weird Minnesota Your travel Guide to Minnesota’s local legends and best kept secrets”. Many things to go and see. Some are indoor activities, and many are outdoor and even able to see through the windows of the minivan. First stop I am thinking is to see the Jolly Green Giant down in Blue Earth, Minnesota. Or maybe we will go and see the 28 foot statue of the Viking Warrior Big Ole.

No matter where we wind up this year, be it near or far away in other distant states, I have been reminded of a poem by Dorothy Colgan. And because of the pandemic or maybe even in spite of the pandemic her words ring in my ears…

“The joy is in the journeying and not the journey’s end”.

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