"Quit hanging on to the handrails... Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it everyday"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Road Trip Tale: Meeting a Fellow Great River Road Traveler

I think I will say this everytime I have one of these tales.  I absolutely LOVE the great people I meet while traveling solo or semi-solo.  So many people that make my life richer and of which I would be less blessed had I not met them.  This tale goes back to my October Fall Colors trip up Great River Road. 
We were walking through Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa, which is on the Great River Road, enjoying the beautiful fall colors, climbing hills and sliding down in the mud, just having a grand old time, when I realized that it was getting late and that it was going to start getting dark soon.  Not one to risk my safety too much I wanted to head back to our car so we started back on the main trail out to the parking lot.

As we started back I noticed a man walking by us, just kind of meandering like we were.  Now being a single women I realize that I need to be more wary so I was keeping an eye on him.  We kind of nodded at each other as two people are wont to do when going the same place and I know that this was the main trail and it was getting late in the day so I wasn't too concerned, just keeping watch.  My son, on the other hand, is a super friendly person and starts a conversation with him.  I'm kind of like great, now I have to really keep an eye on this guy so I'm trying to kind of shush my son and hurry up a bit, but you can only go so fast.

I shortly realized that while I had to be wary he was an ok kind of guy.  I wasn't getting any creep alerts going on in my head, girls you know what I am talking about, and he was being very respectful of me by not invading personal space and staying where I could see him, whether consciously or not. 

So while I didn't competely relax I did decide to join in the conversation.  He asked where we were heading and I told him we were heading up north driving up the Great River Road to Minnesota.  He got excited and said that he had just come back from a two week journey up and down the Great River Road.  I was like, really how awesome is that.  So we chatted about the different areas he had visited and what he liked and didn't like.  He asked me where we were from and I told him roughly where we lived, which was on the MississippiRiver. 

He started asking all these questions about the area where I lived.  He was fascinated by the lock and dams up and down the river and thought that it was so neat that we lived near one and could visit it.  So funny how what one person thinks as so normal and boring, the other person thinks as just fascinating because he or she doesn't see it very often.  I found out that he was from the town of Madison Wisconsin and was heading home there and we swapped stories about small town versus larger town living. 

We also talked about eagle watching up and down the river and where some of the cool spots were to see the eagles, especially since living by a lock and dam we get lots of bald eagles in the winter.  He also gave me some insights into making a road trip down the entire length of the Great River Road and where to go and where I could probably skip in order to make the trip not quite so long.  I might use some of his suggestions for my next Great River Road adventure or not :).  My son chimed in with all the things he had seen as well.  It made the trip back to our cars go by so quickly and I would have missed that had I not gotten out of my comfort zone and talked to the guy.  Once we got to our cars, we politely said good bye and each went our own way.

I look back at that and realize that I think travelers (not vacationers) but travelers, have a different outlook on traveling then do vacationers, and are a unique and interesting breed of people.  Also that I should probably learn some self defense, just in case haha.  Vacationers get to a location and they just want to chill and relax, they are in their own little world and just want to be left alone to hang out with their family or whomever they came with.  Absolutely nothing wrong with that at all, its a type of vacation.  Travelers on the other hand are more out for the experiences they can have while on their travels and a way to immerse themselves in the act of traveling, not just lets get to a destination.  I believe that I happen to be more of a traveler then a vacationer.  Which do you think you fall into?

Part of the reason we had a hard time finding a hotel haha.  Lots of Octoberfests going on the weekend we went.

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