Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wisdom from the Psalms

Saturday morning. It was another beautiful day. I had brought along my coffee maker in the event that I had access to electricity. There were multiple outlets in the park's picnic shelter, so I had my first really satisfying cup of the trip. Instead of making breakfast I just prepared a protein shake and a food bar. The tent is always a little wet in the morning from the dew and the ground, so I began to take it down. In the middle of that task I got talking with Pam and another camper.

My new lesson: empty the tent before you collapse it. I think the distraction of the conversation made me forget what I had been doing and I went straight for packing up the tent. You can get your things out, it's just awkward.

All packed up, I took one more look around the campsite and realized that I had not taken advantage of the rack full of courtesy bikes that you could ride in the park, or into town if you liked. So, I grabbed a bike and pedaled the two blocks into town. checked it out and went back to camp. It was a nice amenity, in an all-around nice park.

The evening before, Sam had mentioned that Maiden Rock, WI, a nearby town I would be passing through on my way home, was having their summer celebration this weekend. I was pretty sure it also had a municipal park for camping and I had planned to scout that out anyway.

Just before I got to Maiden Rock I saw a big banner next to a county road that read Maiden Rock Camping Fest or something like that. I turned on to a winding road that climbed up and up into the bluffs until I hit a plateau and found the party. There were tents and campers and lot of people and a parking lot full of cars. Some women were doing yoga in a nearby patch of grass. About 50 people were sitting at picnic tables waiting for the noon lunch.

I found what looked like an official welcoming booth and said that I had seen the sign on the highway, and asked what was happening. The gals working the booth said lunch was being served in about 10 minutes. So I bought a ticket for $5.00 began talking to the young woman next to me. I asked her if this was a pretty popular campground. She seemed surprised by the question. She told me that she was petty sure that this was private property, but that once a year the owner opened it up for this camp out.

Most of the people here seemed to know each other. I didn't see any other touristy types. Lunch was served: A ham sandwich (with cheese slices if you liked) potato chips a giant cookie and a glass of cold milk. Not bad for $5.00. I filled my plate, walked back to my car and retreated down the windy road back to the Highway. I'm pretty sure that was a semi- private party.

Back on the Highway I drove into Maiden Rock. They were having their summer festival. I pulled in to the municipal campground which was just behind where the activities was taking place. Of course I had already eaten, but it was a hot day, and this the the party I was actually looking for, so I bought a beer and sat down.
I began talking with a woman who said she and her husband were camping at the park and liked coming here. Her name was Penny. Her brothers named her. She said she went to a Catholic school when she was young and the nuns refused to call her Penny. Her mother got a call from her teacher complaining that she didn't answer when they called on her. Her mother asked what thy were calling her and they said they were using her full name, Penelope. Her mother said, if they would call her by her real name she would answer. They finally relented.

Penny invited me to see their camper and meet her husband. This campground was also on Lake Pepin and was very nice. Penny's camper was really nice too. I told Penny about my earlier party crashing, and one of the guys visiting with Penny's husband finally figured out that I had been at the old rod and gun club. He said he thought it belonged to the VFW or the American Legion now. He had no clue about the celebration, and he was from Maiden Rock!

The parade was starting in ten minute, so Penny and I grabbed a couple of chairs and went up to main street. I think the parade went three blocks. It was 20-25 minutes long at most. Perfect. The kids ended with huge bags of candy, and since they shut down the highway for the parade the line of cars that had to wait for the parade to be over was almost as long as the parade.

Time to go. I said goodbye to Penny, stopped at one of the tents long enough to buy two pieces of barbecued chicken to eat later at home, and traveled the rest of the way up the river to Prescott,WI to Hastings, MN to St Paul, MN to home. What an adventure.

What will I do next? Well, I have tickets for a Trump Rally in Cedar Rapids, IA tomorrow. I've never seen a sitting president.


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