Oh the Places I’ve Gone & the Time Spent With Loved Ones

I last left you on a farm field at a concert in the middle of Canada. The concert was great and since then I have had so many adventures I need to catch you up on. I’ll breeze through a few of the highlights.

People often wonder where they might stay when living tiny on wheels. I’m sure you have gotten some ideas from me already, but here are a few more.

In Winnipeg, I boondocked (sort of) on my cousin;s farm on the outskirts of the city. I say sort of because I plugged in the smallest of power chords which was just enough not to have to pull out the generators. This is where I learned there is no room for ego in the business of tiny travel on wheels. You see my cousins actually live in the city and their farm is on the outskirts of the city. Yep, they specifically told me… “Drive in to the road and then wait for us to get there. Wait. Don’t try to drive on the grass as it may be too muddy.” I pulled up and saw a flat, level, dry lawn that had me thinking it would be oh so easy for me to pull onto and turn around and be all set up. After all, my cousin had been working all day, and they would be so impressed with me that I had handled things and they didn’t have to. So, I started out onto the lawn and quickly my vehicle slowed to a stop as it sunk into the not as dry as I thought lawn. How embarassing! But when they got there, I found no time like the present to figure out if I could four wheel drive myself out of my predictament. And once again I could feel good about solving my problems that I created. With a little help from my Dodge Girl Cassidy and You tube I had all of the directions I needed to figure out how to use my four wheel drive to get out of the muck!

From the mud experience things got better. We had a lovely meal on the farm complimented by some delicious bottles of wine and caught up on life. With just a day, left we chose to spend it in Winnipeg’s Human Rights Museum. If you have never been there,  I highly recommed it. It was incredible seeing from a Canadian perspective all of the happenings around the world and connected activisim to make the world a better place.

hanging with cousins

From there I crossed the border back into Minnesota where I spent time hopping from one friend’s back yard to the next. It was awesome to break bread with my sisterhood of union friends who sent me off on the career path that took me to California in the first place. This entire trip the biggest pleasant surprise was all of the quality time I got to spend with friends, and family who I do not always see. I go to meet my new adorable grand nephew and my nieces’ love and new husband live! All of this because I could pick up and go and then pick up and go again on to the next. There’s some pretty awesome Mexican food in Long Prarie, Minnesota. Go figure?! I also met a fellow past Californian who settled down there opening a cool little coffee hang out. Coming from California I was a little surprised at the presence of California there. I have forgotten what I ate at the restaurant but it was something I have never had in California so I had to ask the woman who cooked it what part of Mexico she was from and it turns out she was from an area further east along the border.

What a treat to enjoy good food and good company. And of course connecting with good friends who shared a great loss with me and are like family to me. If you have ever lost a loved one you will get how strong the connection can be for those they left behind on this earth. These folks will forever be very special people in my life and I am super grateful that I got to include a visit with them on my stops. Its funny, there seems to be a theme of loss for me on this trip as I transition into a new life. Whenever I needed to shed some tears I waited until I was driving down the road, as to not spoil any of my precious time with folks, or stuff myself up before sleeping, which always makes breathing difficult.

I was also reminded how generous friends are. Friends were truly excited to have me come stay on their land and I got several invites to come back in future years. Playing along the Mississipi was one of the many fun things I highly recommend finding a way to do. Dudley and I experienced our first journey through lock and dam #3…. well through any lock and dam for that matter. We had some great bar food along the way, (yes we) we learned a bit about chickens and country bee keeping, and had some bingo fun at a local establishment. Dudley also enjoyed new friends along the way. Plus we had a great time hiking about to all of our old stomping grounds and connecting with friends of more than 30 years. It was great to be back in another part of the country I add to my list of places I call home and to have so many opportunities to downsize my 50 Amp power chord to a regular 15 amp and plug in for a more comfortable boondock, and sometimes stay inside for a refreshing break from trailer life, a regular sized shower or hot bath and a real bed. Although my space in my trailer is quite comfy too, I’m not going to lie, I loved laundry that wasn’t done in a laundromat and some of the other comforts of a sticks and bricks homes like some shared meals at a real table. It was nice. So, a big shout out to all of you. I am forever grateful!

I was excited to finally get to see the Minnesota Airstream Park and especially loved the hospitality. Owning a share there is definitely on my mind. The park is beautiful and I visited during their summer barbecue when folks invite all of their friends. They welcomed us Airstream Style with open arms and lots of delicious food and fun drinks! More new friends were made. Likely in the near future I’ll try renting someone’s spot to see what it’s like to stay a spell. The best part being, it is so conveniently located near friends and family.

I didn’t get photos of everyone and everything because I really was having fun, living in the moment. The priceless treat for me was getting to spend some time with my mom and dad who I rarely have seen these last ten years do to work taking me clear across the country, and also the time I spent with all of my Aunts and Uncles. At the time it felt somewhat like a lot of driving because I ussually like to just go to a place and park, but I don’t regret any of the visits I made. These were the folks that made my life magical growing up, my god parents, my aunties who were fun, stylish, talented artists, some great at networking in the political world, others incredible cooks, smart, and all in all they taught me how to have fun and live a good life. And of course all of my uncles who like my father were pastors and helped teach me about having a life of faith to guide you as well as made me realize its the little things in life that bring you joy. They shared their sense of humor and laughter at some of the simple day to day things one deals with when getting older, their love, compassion and care as they cared for some of my more fragile  aunts and uncles who no longer recognized any of us in their surroundings. My autnies and uncles all shared their attitudes of gratitude, regardless of what health struggles they were deling with. They all were fully living life. The life I have, my successes I owe to all of these folks. Being pulled from the foster care system and showed what love is, being showed my own worth. What a treat to get to come back around full circle and spend time with the folks who helped me become the successful person I have become. We just never know how much time with have with folks and each visit was so special and something I would not normally get to do living so far away. I especially want to mention my dear Uncle Joe, as he has recently, since that visit passed on. I am so, so grateful I got to spend just a bit more time with him and the family. Uncle Joe, you will be missed. When I think of you I will think of you playing your saw, making ice cream from scratch, pony rides, beautiful countryside, sailing on the lake, and your pure love of life and family.

All and all I feel a stronger connection with all of my cousins, as keeping the family connected is now up to all of us. I look forward to many more visits home. Leaving Minneapolis has been a great journey that has changed how I look at life and made me forever grateful that in this Airstream Life I get to come back through and still call it home, along with all of the other places I keep adding to my list that I call home. On my way out, I had one little snag. Yep, I broke a window!


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