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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘road trip

Different Lake

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We are up at the lake again, but not our lake place. Last night we met our friends, Barb and Mike Wilkus at Marie’s house in Edina and they drove us, with Delilah, up to their cabin near Grand Rapids, Minnesota. We all agree that it is more fun to wake at the lake.

Very quickly, we recognized there was plenty of snow up here.

Maybe all that snow will provide insulation against the predicted deep freeze. We have a warm fire to keep us comfortable indoors, so we may be playing more cards than trekking in the woods as we mark the end of one calendar year and the beginning of the next.

Delilah traveled well for the drive that lasted an hour longer than our usual trips to Hayward and was thrilled over the new environments’ sights, sounds, mounds of snow, and exciting smells. She quickly gained a new friend in Mike, who likes to serve dog treats to good dogs.

There was a lot more sitting politely and offering of a paw in a shake happening last night than I usually see at home in a month.

Hope you have a wonderful last day of this year wherever you are!

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Written by johnwhays

December 31, 2021 at 7:00 am

Like Ships

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It’s funny how it can feel like I’m in a relationship with another vehicle on the drive home from the lake when it travels the same speed and direction as I am going. When they finally went straight through a roundabout that I turned south from, I felt as if I should send them off with some acknowledgment of the road miles we shared.

I arrived home yesterday around 11:00 a.m. and watched Cyndie prepare for a trip of her own. She left for a seminar in California, so I am on my own this week. We are like ships passing in the night lately.

Or, like cars on a drive home from the lake.

When she returns home at the end of the week, the plan is for us to head back up to the lake for the weekend. That will make three weeks in a row that I have been up there. I can’t remember the last time that happened.

It’s a treat, for sure, but it does require that I do the lawn mowing after work in the middle of the week and interferes with ever getting back to the lumberjack projects that linger in our woods unfinished. Small concerns, both of them, compared to the glorious beauty we get to enjoy up in the Hayward area.

I have a sense that a day is going to come when I will be facing long hours of labor with a chainsaw this fall. Too bad the hours of daylight get shorter as summer wanes. But, it’s the summer sunshine that is giving us all the more reason to be up on the water while the going is good.

You could say, the lumberjack projects and my attention to them are a little like ships passing in the night.

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Written by johnwhays

August 5, 2019 at 6:00 am

High Points

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After work yesterday, Cyndie and I hopped in her car and drove up to the lake for the weekend. Leaving on a Thursday night makes for easy driving, in the absence of the typical weekend traffic headed north. Our route took us through some of the damage from last week’s storms that produced near-hurricane force winds and some baseball-sized hail.

It was fruitless to try to capture a representative photo of the large scope of broken trees for miles, but I snapped a few shots on my cell phone through the car window at highway speed.

It was a little easier to capture a sample of some building damage that hadn’t been covered up yet.

The extensive damage to trees was a really sad sight. It gave me a whole new perspective on the comparatively minor issues we are facing at home with a few dead or dying trees leaning across our trails. We’ve got it easy.

High point of the day for me yesterday was finding a neighboring farmer working our fields to finally bale some of the cut hay that has been left on the ground for weeks, repeatedly being rained on instead of properly drying out. The past week offered the longest stretch of dry days that I can recall so far this summer.

The second high point was getting a chance to watch portions of Stage 18 of the Tour de France on the subscription TV channels when we got here. At home, we only pick up what is publicly available through the airwaves, and bike racing coverage is minimal.

Two big mountain stages remain, today and tomorrow, and I am thrilled to be able to view all the drama as it happens.

Maybe it will be rainy here as the morning progresses so I don’t waste sunny lake time sitting indoors in front of the glowing screen getting my bike racing fix.

Honorable mention high point yesterday goes to the Coop’s pizza dinner we devoured when we got to Hayward. Oh, so delicious.

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Poetically Anticipating

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Cyndie and I are going up north with Barb and Mike for the weekend, leaving this morning to drive up to their lake place near Grand Rapids, MN.

For reference, that is over half-way to Canada from our home. Does that make it sound cold? Well, honestly, it’s not expected to be that much colder than down in the Twin Cities area on Saturday, but one recent prediction put the high at 34°(F) in Grand Rapids.

After temps in the 60s yesterday around the region, a high so close to the freezing point tomorrow will feel plenty brisk, I’m sure. The effect will be augmented by some wind, too, just in case we might otherwise miss the fact it was colder outside.

I haven’t let cold weather interfere with my anticipation for our adventure. Based on previous experiences, this is how I’m envisioning our coming time together this weekend…

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it starts
with anticipation
of the days ahead
embraced greetings
in the moments before
departure
friends traveling together
the hours on the road
as precious as the destination
smells and sounds
of a northern forest
in the waning days
before winter saunters in
colorful leaves
blue sky
reflected on the lake
laughter dancing on the breeze
all hands on deck meals
card games
and a crackling fire
turn up the tunes
then clean up and pack
it’s time to go home
and the hours
on the road
are as precious
as the destination

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Written by johnwhays

October 19, 2018 at 6:00 am

Partly Smoky

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Cyndie and I drove up to the lake last night. It was a long day in a car for her, because she started the day yesterday up at the lake. She had gone up on Wednesday with Melissa and daughters, in an original plan to have me drive up to join them Thursday night, but that changed when a memorial for Charlie Weller was announced for Friday.

Charlie was the husband of Cyndie’s close high school friend, LuAnn (Miller). The revised plan had Cyndie riding home with Melissa and the girls yesterday afternoon, taking a moment to freshen up from beachwear to something more appropriate, driving us through afternoon traffic to Eden Prairie from our house, and then heading back to the lake from there, after paying our respects.

LuAnn and Charlie were dating in high school, not long after Cyndie and I had begun our relationship, so my memories of Charlie are wrapped in fragments of events that I haven’t thought about in decades. Even driving on roads in Eden Prairie, now approaching only six years distant from when I drove them almost every day, was feeling a little fractured.

I had to ask if we turned right or left at the intersection by the House of Kai restaurant to get to the funeral home.

In our haste to pull off this plan, we left out one pertinent aspect of determining the optimal route back to northwestern Wisconsin. I was tempted to try the old way we always drove when our kids were little and we regularly made the trip on back roads, but construction and traffic made the city portion an unwanted annoyance.

We paused for dinner at Jake’s to give traffic more time to thin out.

In the end, we chose to skirt the metro area on 494 and head up toward Stillwater to cross into Wisconsin on the new bridge. The resulting country roads we picked provided a rich reward of light traffic, gorgeous rolling hills and spectacular scenery.

We chuckled over the MPR radio weather forecast of “partly smoky” from the many fires burning out west, but when changing stations to our old favorite WOJB as we got far enough north, we heard the same phrase used again. Maybe it is an actual authorized weather service term.

It sure made an impact on the setting sun. It was looking dusky a lot earlier than the actual time of sunset. I held up my phone through the open top of Cyndie’s convertible at 7:52 p.m. and experimented with capturing it at 60 miles an hour.

Then I tried zooming in. It looked like a cartoon drawing of the sun.

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The optics of my iPhone seem to have added special effects without my input. Yes, that’s the sun glowing through the smoky sky.

Between the funky looking sun, my grasping at recollections of interactions with LuAnn and Charlie back in the 1970s, and finally, unexpectedly stumbling upon a portion of our old back roads route, but from a different point, my mind was feeling partly smoky.

“We’ve been here before…”

Yes, we have.

And now we are up at the lake again this weekend.

Ahhhhh. I remember this.

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Written by johnwhays

August 11, 2018 at 8:44 am

Road Trip

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We’ll be hitting the road today for a jaunt north in Minnesota to spend the weekend at the cabin of our friends, Barb & Mike. I raced home from work yesterday, changed clothes in a blink, and hopped on the lawn tractor to mow grass in hopes of getting it done before dark, so I wouldn’t have any pressing chores delaying our departure today.

I was also hoping to have it all cut before the predicted rain arrived. It can be so frustrating to have it rain on the one day I set aside for mowing, compared to the good feeling of getting it done a day earlier to beat the precipitation.

My hopes were fulfilled by some speedy maneuvering, which I was able to achieve because, for once this summer, I was mowing at less than a full week’s interval, and the growth has finally slowed down a bit. I was able to get it all done.

Our freedom to get away this weekend came about after Cyndie checked with one of our trusty property/animal sitters about the possibility of covering for us over Labor Day weekend, so we could go to Cyndie’s family lake place in Hayward. When the holiday weekend didn’t work, McKenna offered her services for this weekend as an alternative.

We can make that work! Since this weekend the Hayward beds are all filled during Cyndie’s parents’ golf weekend with friends, we inquired with Barb & Mike and hatched a plan. One of the enticing things about our plan is that involves no plan at all. We are going to relax and enjoy whatever strikes our fancy in the moment.

With luck, maybe one of those moments will involve a nap in a hammock among tall trees overlooking a lake. That, and some good food shared among fine friends. More than enough motivation for the few extra hours we will spend driving, to get us there and back.

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Written by johnwhays

August 28, 2015 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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