Tuesday, 5/22/01 - To the Cities
With rain falling lightly and a steely gray sky above, I pulled slowly and reluctantly away from Ross' Teal Lake Resort. To stay off the major interstate in the bad weather, I took 63 South through small Wisconsin towns. When I saw a sign for the Museum of Woodcarving, curiosity struck.
At first, I passed the museum in Shell Lake, Wisconsin, but decided that I just had to see what it was all about and did a U-turn. The museum is the life's work of craftsman Joseph T. Barta. He had completed one hundred life-size figures and over four hundred miniature carvings, his most famous, "the Last Supper" made of Ponderosa and Sugar Pines and which took four years to complete.
The life-sized figures depicted scenes from the Bible, particularly the life of Jesus. While the details were rougher than a sculpture of stone, the wooden figures seemed to have life and energy. The entire museum only took about half an hour to see everything, but it was worth the time. I'm glad I stopped by.
After winding through detours and rainy roads, I finally hit I-94 West toward Minneapolis. I arrived around 4pm, checked into the Thunderbird Best Western, then met up with Joan Holman, an Internet marketing expert, and we had a lively conversation.
I had to stay in a hotel Tuesday and Wednesday because of an article I've been working on - I had to do several phone interviews on Wednesday and needed to use a land line, not a cellphone. I decided to make the most of it and ordered a turkey burger and hamburger to split with the Berts.
Then we settled in for the evening and watched "The Wedding Planner" on the hotel's movies-on-demand. I think the movie was supposed to be charming and funny, but I cried through the whole thing.
Wednesday, 5/23/01 - All Day Conference
The Strictly eBusiness Expo was held at the Minneapolis Convention Center downtown, and not wanting to take the RV, I put the Berts in their carry-bag and took a cab. I spoke in the early afternoon, mostly about lessons I've learned from using the Internet and running and Internet company. The entire day was coordinated by Lisanne, the tireless and enthusiastic Twin Cities Webgrrls chapter leader.
Afterward, I signed books at the Twin Cities Webgrrls booth, then, famished, I trudged to the nearby Hilton Hotel counting on them having a restaurant still serving food. After scarfing down a salad, I took a teriyaki grilled chicken breast back to the hotel for the Berts. Those lucky dogs.
Did my phone interview in the evening. Had dinner with Lisanne and one of the other speakers - Chris Coleman, author of "The Green Banana Papers: Marketing Secrets for Technology Entrepreneurs." Back at the hotel, I decided to watch another movie. When staying in hotels, take advantage of the movies. This time, I selected "Sweet November," the tear-jerker with Keanu Reeves. Needless to say, I cried through the whole thing, too. I think I should just stick with action adventures.
Thursday, 5/24/01 - Friday, 5/25/01 - Two More Days in Minny
On Thursday, I left the Thunderbird behind after a morning of trying to get organized and headed for the KOA in the North West part of Minneapolis. The campground turned out to be a lot farther than I thought, not including getting lost for 20 minutes.
Did a little load of laundry and somehow, the day was over before I could get anything else done. Somehow, I find that being in cities sucks away time and interferes with a more fluid and productive flow of life and work. Yet another reason to move from New York City and find a smaller, quieter place to live.
On Friday, I had a book signing downtown, so I drove the RV to the nearby Park and Ride to get a bus. I drove in huge circles, trying to find the Park and Ride that everyone insisted was "right there." Finally headed down a dead end and found a small road to the Park and Ride area. Turned out that it was a non-functioning Park and Ride, and I was pointed in the direction of another one near a church.
I pulled into the church parking lot, scanning for a sign that said park and Ride, and finally went into the church to find out. "Our parking lot is the Park and Ride" explained the women in the church's office. But when was the next bus? Not until 4:30pm. It was 11:00am, only two hours before my book signing.
After calling a cab, the Berts and I sat in the lobby of the church and picked up a paperback copy of the Bible to read. I smiled as I read the stories I remembered from Sunday school. "This is a fast read," I thought. Forty-five minutes later, the cab finally showed up, and we headed downtown.
After the signing, I had lunch with a woman named Michelle at a sushi restaurant called Oragami. Yes, sushi in Minneapolis. I usually worry about getting seafood in a part of the country that obviously doesn't have any sea nearby, but Michelle assured me that they shipped it in fresh-frozen daily. And it was delicious.
Michelle took me back to my RV at the church parking lot, and I was on my way as rain began to pour again. We made it to Alexandria, Minnesota, finding a private campground called Eden Acres, right by a lake.
The sun set slowly as the sky cleared for the evening, then rain poured over the RV again in the middle of the night. I listened for a long time as raindrops tapped on the roof in a flurry of syncopated rhythms. I love the rain.