This past weekend I had the opportunity to take the camper out by myself. My wife was attending a choir retreat in Decorah, IA, and so I decided to pack up and go camping in southern Minnesota. I could then pick her up on Sunday after her retreat and we’d ride home together.
My intention for the weekend was to relax. It’s often hard for me to unwind and stop doing things. Often times I’ll chill out for a bit, and then antsy and decide to go do something, or go somewhere. It sometimes drives the people in my family crazy with how I can’t just stay in one place forever. Yet, this weekend would turn out to be a bit different.
First, I’m stuck here for two nights. I don’t have many places to go, as Lake Louise Park is kinda in the middle of nowhere. Second, I ended up coming down with a head cold, and being sick is one thing that will get me to sit still for a while. Finally, it also rained most of Saturday evening and night. That meant that I had to sit in my little camper and spend time doing relaxing things like reading a book.
I did manage to get some exercise though. Despite feeling a bit out of it, I headed out for a run first thing Saturday morning. I started meandering through the various trails, and just wasn’t really feeling it. I could tell I was starting to get sick. and I just wasn’t in to it. Then a couple miles in to my run, another runner comes down the trail towards me. I immediately knew that I had seen him before, and he knew me on sight. It was Chris D., one of the 50 mile runners from Zumbro who ran much of the race with my buddy Mike B.,.
It turns out that he lives down here, and he was more than happy to show me around the park. As we chatted, what started as a miserable run that I probably would have quit after three miles, instead turned into a great 10K around the park. Most of the trails are horse trails, which means uneven footing, but with someone else to chat with, I was able to just shift in to auto-pilot mode and get it done. We had a great time, and I felt rejuvenated when we got back to the campground. He headed out for more miles, and I decided to switch to the bike.
The Shooting Star State Trail goes through Lake Louise State Park, and so I hopped on that for a while. It’s a mostly flat, paved, trail that goes through farm fields, and a few random woods. I made it to the town of Taopi, about 8 miles out, before deciding to turn around and head back to get cleaned up. It was a really nice casual bike ride that makes me glad I brought it with. This is despite having to come up with a different way to haul my bike while towing the trailer. More about that product in a different blog.
After I got cleaned up I decided to head over to Mystery Cave/Forestville State Park, about 25 minutes away. Lake Louise doesn’t have a staffed park office, so if I wanted to get the traditional patch and pin, I had to head over there. I stopped in to the historic village briefly, and then my body was telling me it was nap time. I got back to the camper, had some lunch, and took a very hot nap. The temps have been in the 90s (or higher) for the past few days, and today was no exception. I managed to get in a bit of sweaty sleep, despite the uncomfortableness.
Thankfully, with the evening rain came cooler temps. I spent Saturday night just curled up with a book in the trailer, resting my body, and trying to kick this head cold. Because it was pouring rain, I couldn’t do much of anything else, and that was OK. It was good to force me to slow down a bit, and take it easy.
Unfortunately, my night of sleep was interrupted by horrible sinus pain that apparently had me clenching my teeth, causing my entire left side of my jaw to scream in agony. I reached for the ibuprofen and found that the bottle was empty. Thankfully, the gas station in town was open until 11pm, and I was able to get some more to try and get some sleep. The rest of the evening was uneventful, and I was lulled to sleep by the sound of rain hitting the roof all night long.
Sunday morning brought more of the same, with gentle rain and cooler temps. I spent the morning finishing a book, and doing a whole lot of nothing. Eventually the rain subsided and I decided to start packing up. I had a date with a couple of taprooms in Decorah, IA, and I figured it would be best to start getting ready to go before more storms blew through.
The rest of the day was nice and easy with lunch at a Chinese buffet, a couple taprooms, and the concert that my wife was participating in. It was a peaceful afternoon, on a rural college campus, that brought back all kinds of ‘feels’ for both of us. Once the concert was concluded we got some ice cream and began the journey home.
Overall, it was a good weekend of rest. I’m still suffering from this head cold, hoping it will pass soon, but it still didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment. Spending time away from home, in a little camper in the woods, is good for the soul. I was able to just read, relax, and decompress. My wife wants to go back to the choir retreat next year, so I’m already thinking ahead about returning to Lake Louise for another weekend of simple pleasures.