Saturday, April 13, 2002

A Thorough Loving of the Common Road

Winona Post editors John and Fran Edstrom have hopped into their car for a road trip – and the adventure described in Fran's article reminds us Anthony and Miss Eells's adventures touring the back roads of Hoosac. We doubt the Edstroms come across anything as mesmerizing as a mansion in New Stockholm, though: a great time for a road trip. So last weekend, John and I took off to wander the back roads of Wisconsin.

Friday night, we drove up to Pepin, had dinner and stayed in a little motel there. The motel had a whirlpool, but not a hair dryer, so in the morning I turned on the heating unit in the room and sat on the floor in front of it until my hair was dry.

Then we jumped in the car on our way to Eau Claire to meet friends and look at (guess what) wedding rental tents. We had been given directions to Eau Claire, written on a restaurant check.

We followed Hwy N from Pepin to Durand. The road took us past Little Plum, where there is a Lutheran church, a house and a building that looks as though it may have been a school. Shortly after that, the road began to run parallel to the Chippewa River, and the scenery was wild and spectacular. In a slight bump in the road called Ella, there was a little farm for sale. If I were a millionaire, I would have bought it right then and there. I could just see myself on that front porch, watching the Chippewa roll by.

We turned right, just like the directions said, at Hwy P, and soon we came to Hwy 10. Our directions didn't say which way to turn, but the sign said Durand was to the right, and Arkansaw was to the left. We had a minor difference of opinion, but I won out, temporarily.
Then comes the passage that reminds us of Mrs. Zimmermann finding the old photograph of herself stashed away in the back of a junk store in the middle of nowhere:
We then went to another used book store where the organization purported to be sensible. There were hand-lettered signs claiming that in a certain section you would find classics, or children's books. But upon closer inspection it was all just for show. After several hours, as we were checking out, I happened to see a book I've been looking for for years, "St. Figita and other parodies" [sic] by John Bellairs, who taught in the English Department at Saint Teresa's when I was a student there. Three bucks!

No comments: