Legs dangling over a large tire tube, head leaned back, eyes closed -- the motion of the slow river current almost made me fall asleep. I was lured back when one of our companions exclaimed over a family of Loons -- the state bird of Minnesota - she told those of us who just weren't educated enough to know that.
She likes Loons. The birds floated down the river beside us for awhile, almost within arm's reach. They knew we were there and they looked over at us occasionally, probably wondering what exactly they were looking at.
The relaxing afternoon floating leisurely -- more than four hours -- down the Otter Tail River in Minnesota ended all too quickly. We had forgotten to bring a camera, but know now that it was probably best. Taking photos would have taken away from the whole experience. We came away from the adventure a little more relaxed. After quick showers, we shuttled the three blocks from E's house to the local pub. Another bar and restaurant down the street was packed by "lake people" and "tourists." The Old Brick Inn in Battle Lake was the destination of locals. We sidled up to the bar, and since we had memorized the short menu of both beer and food the night before, ordered quickly. Fried, pub food. Yum. The local Summit beer was a cool respite from the afternoon heat. We ate, drank and talked. Our karoke experience the night before had acquainted us with the waitresses and the bar keep. We were "The Oklahomans" -- not a title we would normally embrace, but it was ok here. We talked sports, took some ribbing about the Twins' quick demise of the Royals that afternoon (and three games before that) and talked about the weather, family and politics.
Battle Lake is not a big town -- population 700 or so. But it has a big heart. We felt as if we belonged there somehow amid the locals and the lake people. We walked in and out of shops, met the owners, learned their life stories and promised to return. We will.
Liberating Plankton, part 1
6 days ago