I used to write about day trips pretty often; not so much in the last few years. Day trips are not only enjoyable but they are kind of a challenge- to see how much I can get done in one day. To get up early, get to my destination early and then be home at a reasonable hour was always my goal in the past, it’s almost like those little single-serving portions of food only this is a portion of time.
My perfect day trip is going to Carrington, North Dakota to see my brother, Dave. I write one “letter” to Dave each month and use it for my column. People have asked whether Dave was real or a literary tool, he’s real. Dave and I have a history of driving the roads between here and Carrington, typically just day-long trips,
In the past, I would have felt like a failure had I not left by three in the morning. Day trips of the past, I would always pride myself on arriving at my destination before people had awoke for the day. I once arrived in Bismarck at eight on a day when it was still 35 degrees below zero-and that was just for 2 old snowmobiles parked in a pasture ¼ mile from the nearest road.
This trip I took my time. I didn’t get my first cup of purchased coffee until well after sunrise. Coffee is a whole separate part of any day-trip as the trip is basically fuel by coffee. That first cup ended up about 2/3 in me and 1/3 on me after a sharp corner which was a shame because it was Farmer’s Brothers. If I am serious about making good time, then I bring my own coffee. In this case I wanted to sample my way through North Dakota’s coffee and so stopped about every hour.
Dave and I had a few hours to visit so he took a little time from work and we drove to their home. Dave’s wife, Mary, joined us as I marveled at their “birdhouse garden” and just enjoyed the peace and quiet of a Carrington morning. Dave’s daughter, Sara, works with him at Erickson Implement so I got to see her a little but she was pretty busy that morning.
I had time to consider the little towns of North Dakota on my way home. Each town I passed seemed to have their own essential elements: church, school, Ag business, grocery store and a convenience store. I could describe these towns as neat or clean and that would be accurate however the word that came to mind to describe these communities was “complete.” North Dakota seems to understand the concept of self-reliance.
The road is great when enjoyed in small doses. In the Sundays of my youth, dad always wanted to be home by four to milk cows which is a concept that has somehow become a part of my DNA even though we do not milk cows. I was home by four from my day trip-it was the perfect single-serving trip.