Making plans on my own

Last summer, I started to think about doing things on my own. I am used to travelling alone all the time for work. But usually those trips are planned by the schools where I speak, so I really don’t have to make any decisions.

Paul Bunyan Bike Trail

After staying with my new friend Deb, I had a book signing at Beagle Books in Park Rapids, Minn., about an hour-and-a-half from Alexandria where I stayed. There was a pretty good turn-out of people because of the shop’s location in lake country. Many people were in town that morning buying fudge and t-shirts. I had my bike and really wanted ride the Paul Bunyan Bike Trail. I had ridden it many times when Barry and I vacationed at Grandview Lodge when our kids were teenagers. I can no longer afford to stay at that nice lodge, but I could spring for a night at The Country Inn located in Walker.

You never know what is around the bend!

You never know what is around the bend!located in Walker.

I am learning to make plans on my own now. It is hard to get used to figuring out stuff alone and not second-guessing myself. I made the plan to bike the trail and if it rained, I would head home; if I had a flat, I would fix it. I felt a sense of freedom!

What’s around the bend?

I pulled into Walker by mid-afternoon, checked in and jumped on my bike. I rode through beautiful country, getting to the town of Hackensack near Woman Lake where I used to spend a couple of weeks each summer at my uncle’s cabin. I wandered around the town, stopping to watch a young couple swim at the boat landing. It seems strange to make these plans on my own. If Barry were here with me, we’d plan to have a nice dinner and maybe take a walk after dinner rather than more biking. But I was by myself so I kept riding! It kind of bugged Barry that I always wanted to keep moving. He was much more laid back than I. He used to call me the energizer bunny! This summer day I kept riding, but as the sun got lower, I reluctantly turned around. I have this habit of always trying to see what is around the next bend. This was something else that bugged Barry when we hiked or rode our bikes.

Dinner back at the hotel wasn’t fancy — just a sub sandwich alone in my room. The next morning, I got up early and biked a different stretch of the trail that I had never been on. I rode all morning, again just trying to see what was around each bend. I knew I had to turn around and head home, but I wished I could keep riding forever. However, I had a husband to check on, Pete the fish to pick up and artwork to do!  My busy life is always waiting for me.

Crow Wing State Park

As I headed south on Highway 371, I saw a sign for Crow Wing State Park. So, dang it, I pulled in. I wasn’t ready to go home quite yet! I had bought a Minnesota State Park pass earlier in the summer so it is easy to stop when I see a state park up ahead.

Crow Wing Park is really nice. I started out hiking on a boardwalk that goes through the Old Crow Wing Settlement. It is a guided walk with tons of history and photos of the settlement from the early 1800s. Oh, I sometimes wish I was a pioneer woman instead of me right now. Pioneer life seems like a walk in the park compared to what I am dealing with these days. I took my time and continued hiking along the Mississippi River Trail, wanting to see what was around each bend on that hot day at the end of August. I had stuff to do at home, but I was having so much fun. After a few hours, I finally got back into my car and drove south once again to see Barry and get on with all I had to do!

I learned on this trip that I can make nice plans on my own. What is around the bend for Barry or me? I have no idea. But for once in my life, I am not sure I want to go there yet!

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14 comments on “HIKE FORTY-ONE
  1. Linda Satrom says:

    I am a sister-in-law of Larry Satrom and have spent many a day biking and hiking with his wife, Denise, another victim of FTD. Your blog “hits home” quite often.

  2. Karolyn Lee says:

    You go girl! It can be scary to do things alone but you sure are doing pretty good!

  3. Kris Alexander says:

    Your are stronger and more independent than you would ever imagine yourself to be. Ride On!

  4. Ellen Wohlrabe frank says:

    Hey Nancy,
    I’ve been following your story and just wanted you to know if you ever want a place to stay in Brainerd Steve and I live on the Mississippi just down from the Paul Bunyan trail.
    Our front door is sort of revolving -! So you can come and go as you please . Have you tried the bike trails in Crosby?? Our kids bike there all the time plus there is kayaking etc. I’ve taken Judy there with our group.
    I’ve been reading your books to my granddaughter and they are signed to Elsye and Cabi loves that! I haven’t come across the original Harriet and Walt- I’ll have to try to order one on Amazon unless you have any?!
    You truly have showed grace and humility on your journey- Barry is a lucky guy!!
    Just know you’re welcome anytime .

  5. Ann Hustad says:

    A sweet sad story Nancy…..
    So so good to see you at my aunts funeral!! I didn’t get to talk with you so sorry! Lucia was so happy you came as well!! Hugs honey!

  6. Jim and Kay Griggs says:

    You continue to amaze me Nancy. I am proud to be your aunt. We are still going to have that hike together. Love you.

  7. Edie Pierce-Thomas says:

    Hi Nancy,
    You may not remember me. I am a friend of Barb Szurek’s and we all played softball together – go ‘The Hits’. I want you to know your story is moving and a good reminder that you don’t know what is coming around the next bend in life. The way you have been handling of your situation is inspirational. I don’t know I could do as well. I enjoy your doodles. Keep on down the road!

  8. Debbie C in Bloomington says:

    Don’t shy away from a nice meal in a restaurant. You can bring a book, or doodle. I know you will think that everyone is looking at you but they are not. I have enjoyed traveling on my own and that was the most difficult part of it. I love reading about your journey.

  9. carol kellogg says:

    I know how you feel when your trying to get the bend. It can be scary or have heaven on earth. Please know I pray for you everyday! Keep going!

  10. Mary Meland says:

    Take time to be good to yourself! Doctor’s orders. You deserve to do things you enjoy while you care for others.

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