Destined for a Comfy Bed
Our first night out of the friends-and-family circuit found us pitching our tent at Great River Bluffs State Park, a lushly forested area with high overlooks of the Mississippi River, located in in Minnesota and situated right across from La Crosse, WI. We got settled in the afternoon (a good idea as this was Friday of Memorial Day Weekend, we snagged one of the last 2 available sites), and backtracked into La Crosse to catch dinner1.
When we made our way back to camp the rains were in full force. We contented ourselves to curl up in the tent and watch Kung Fu Panda on my laptop, which took us to bed time (which is indeed a flexible concept these days: on a night like that one, for example, turning in before the sun has fully set is surprisingly acceptable and desirable).
It rained all night. Even the inside walls of our rather resilient tent were soggy by morning. In the morning after a walk we packed it in and hit the road. I was feeling a little gruff and we had laundry to do, so we resolved to take a night off from camping and grab a hotel for the next night. By negotiating by way of William Shatner’s PriceLine PowersTM we found a fine hotel to stay in in Sioux Falls, South Dakota for $50. It seemed like a nudge and a wink from the Universe that we were on the right track when we found Kung Fu Panda 2 premiering on HBO in our room that night, so you can guess our evening’s entertainment.
The next day we were back on the trail headed for the Badlands, ready to give camping another go. Incessant winds and a low of 38 degrees marked this night, and a forecast throughout South Dakota for the coming week didn’t look much better. It had been our plan to take it slow and camp our way through the Badlands and the Black Hills, but clearly this called for some revising. This was a bummer, for star gazing in the nighttime sky there in the Badlands was the most spectacular I’d ever seen, with the Milky Way quite clearly visible (though the prevailing winds kept me from lingering to enjoy during that mid-night potty break anyhow). Additionally, by this time my gruffness had turned into a no-doubt-about-it cold.
So off we went again, this time retreating to the comforts of the Alex Johnson, the posh historic hotel in downtown Rapid City for which we scored a ridiculously good deal ($41) on Kayak for the night. The AJ would be our base of operations for seeing the Black Hills attractions, Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.
Both are impressive carvings, but Crazy Horse really sticks out to me as a mind-bogglingly inspiring demonstration of what gumption, vision, and perseverance is able to create. They’ve been working on it for over 60 years, and by “they” I don’t mean a rotating cadre of anonymous employees of some large, well-funded organization (which is what usually springs to mind when an unqualified “they” is employed in language). Nope, the “they” behind this decades-long endeavor is predominantly a single family: a fellow named Korczak Ziolkowski started it in 1949, and today it is run by his surviving wife and 7 (out of 10) of their children. It’s a family business and an impressive one at that: the whole project is funded on admissions, on-site sales of souvenirs and whatnot, and donations. They’ve turned down any and all government funding offered over the years. One dude. One family. Probably a 3 or 4 generation project and legacy. And they’re pulling it off. A fine data point to illustrate the power of intention and play to create something rad in this world.
After our limited and less-than-hardcore sightseeing junket in SD we continued on to our next residence, 4 nights at the Inn at Silver Creek in Granby, CO. Another find on AirBNB, our space there was a studio complete with kitchen and wi-fi. By this time I was just plain hungry for some straight-up work time: just me, the laptop, and an internet connection. I mean, ostensibly we’d just lived the last month on vacation. It warms my heart to think how deliciously important it is for me to be actively creating something vis-a-vis work on a regular basis2.
After the whirlwind of activity and camping, life in Granby was a sweet change of pace, and more indicative of how the flow of World Tour is set to go: a nice tidy abode which we get to settle into for a while, a kitchen for preparing most of the meals, and biding our time with having outdoor adventures, reading books, writing blogs, watching streaming Netflix3, and doing productive work.
The resort we stayed at offered a very nice lobby area with comfy couches, vaulted ceilings with skylights, stuffed bears and mounted bucks, old-timey jazz tunes, a 12-foot desk overlooking the balcony, and wi-fi. I called this space my office, and even made a regular practice of things like “going off to work” and “coming home for lunch” by way of a walk down a long hallway through the resort complex. Going off to work to a dedicated space during this nomadic existence is a treat indeed, and yields immense focus for inspired work.
Speaking of inspired work, Tracy and I have made a game of fitness capitalizing on a feature I’m developing, Metrics, as part of the new version of CoachAccountable. We’ve resolved to do 60 minutes of exercise every day: biking, abs, pushups, yoga, power walking, whatever. We’re testing out Metrics to track our progress: daily reminders sent by a text to Tracy’s phone keeps this “good idea” around and in our face, lest it just eventually fall out of vogue to be ultimately abandoned. A quick reply via text and our score for the day is captured. Easy peezy. You can see how we’re doing by the graph the system makes for us:
(For sure it would be more impressive had my (and then Tracy’s) catching of a cold not derailed us for the last while, but you get the gist!)
We’re currently staying in a tidy little home in the Denver area, rather again impressed and inspired by the efficiency of smaller spaces. For the coming month we’ve got 2 weddings to attend and a much more relaxed lifestyle to live, and that to me is just perfect.
- This was my last chance to get a Wisconsin signature all-you-can-eat fish fry. It was pretty good, but I think I’m coming into a new maturity about all-you-can-eat situations: just because I can eat that much, doesn’t mean I should. ↩
- Which I don’t think is to say I’m a workaholic. Rather, I reckon I just couldn’t pull off an existence of living on some gorgeous beach with nothing to do day in and day out. ↩
- During this leg of the journey we enjoyed a nightly installment of the most excellent Sherlock, a rather excellent modern day incarnation Sherlock Holmes. ↩