A Little Explore

For our anniversary a couple of weeks ago, Husband and I took the day off and went out exploring. It is particularly beautiful right now out in the hills surrounding Winona, and we headed south and west, and ended up in a little town of 657 souls called Rollingstone. Had lunch at Bonnie Ray’s Café – cute place, with photos of the locals papering the walls, pretty decent food. We got to meet Bonnie herself – she was wearing a t-shirt that said something like “Rollingstone – Before the Song, Before the Band”. Then we walked around town and played cribbage on a picnic table in the city park, from which we had this view.

We drove on back roads toward Lewiston, and knew our way to Farmers Park, a gorgeous county park situated in a flat spot among the hills. It’s a peaceful place with multiple picnic spots, and an old fashioned playground with not only teeter totters, but also a real merry-go-round.

When we left, I suggested we follow the road you see in the top photo, up a rutted, winding path that brought us to a cornfield on the ridge. We made our way along one gravel road after another, trying to guess which direction at each juncture, and finally came to a county highway. By now we were so turned around we had no idea what would get us back to our Hwy 14. (And we have no smart phone.) Eureka! – I remembered a map I had picked up just that week, which showed a good bit of area around Winona; we turned left onto County Hwy. 23, made our way home.

Before (or lacking) smart phones, how did you manage to find your way when lost?

43 thoughts on “A Little Explore”

  1. Morning all! As a directionally challenged person, I can tell you that it’s possible to get lost even when you HAVE technology. But back in the day, lacking a map, there was a really good way to get clarity when you were lost. It was called “asking for directions”. This method appalls YA.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    I echo VS’s comment–some of us can get lost even with a GPS assisted phone. I have spent my entire 63 years lost in some respect.

    This morning my sister and I will be walking near the Saylorville Lake in Central Iowa. The paths are curvy and wooded. I will follow my sister slavishly and take no detours because I will be lost in a heartbeat.


  3. Maps, always carried maps. Atlas of state maps. County maps for MN and WI.
    But I only rarely lose my sense of direction, meaning north, south, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a pretty good sense of direction. When I’m going someplace unfamiliar, I usually study a map ahead of time, so I can picture the map in my head. I have a friend who just prints out the driving directions from Google maps, but she often gets lost and can’t figure out where she is if she gets off the trail. But she’s just a directions person. I’m a map person.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the story today BiR.
    I’m very familiar with farmers park as we have family picnics there almost yearly. Spent a lot of time as a kid playing in the creek and hiking up the hill to the railroad tracks. I love driving through the stone arches at the enterance. (Nickname for the park is ‘The Arches’) .

    And driving back roads is always fun. I learned from my dad that eventually run into a major highway. Or the Mississippi.
    But Kelly learned to plot your route on the ‘TripTik’ and you do not deviate from that.
    So we just keep heading in that general direction until we see something familiar. But that doesn’t mean she likes it.
    And I’m not adverse to getting out and asking someone.
    We spent an afternoon driving around Wisconsin once upon a time trying to get to Nelson. Never saw anyone to ask.
    The ongoing joke became ‘ it will be at the bottom of this hill’. Or ‘it’s just around the corner. ‘

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m glad someone else knows Farmers Park, Ben! If we had gone out the main entrance, I was going to get photos of the arches and the railroad trestle…

      We’ve also driven around some gorgeous overviews of SW Wisc not far from Nelson – so hilly and windy it’s impossible to predict anything…

      Liked by 2 people

  6. In general, my sense of direction is pretty good, but when need be, I seek direction from a good map. Much prefer maps to a GPS except for when I’m trying to find a particular address in a big city.

    My dad, a sailor, was an expert navigator. He could orient himself by stars at night, and the sun during the day. This was a skill he had learned during the countless hours on the open sea with no land in sight, so not an innate skill that he could pass on genetically.

    I’ve written before about my outings with my friend Ken who has FTD. Although he’s now mostly non-verbal and doesn’t communicate much of anything because he no longer knows what most words mean, he still has a keen sense of direction. Perhaps because of this, it is also one of the few things that he shows an inordinate interest in, that and food.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m seriously directionally challenged; maps mean very little to me, left and right were a challenge until I was pretty darn old, and I’m an abysmal navigator on the road. John has some kind of manly super power that he describes as looking down at the terrain as if he were floating above it and seeing here and there and how to get from one to the other. Not me. My lack of directional acuity was inherited from my mother and passed on, unimproved, to my oldest daughter. Her children learned early to recognize a u-turn and promptly ask if they were lost. Again. When daughter first had her driver’s license, she would frequently bring her younger sister with her when going to Burnsville Center, because the younger one remembered how to get there.

    On the bright side, the women in my family have taken many a scenic route and seen (driven by) a great many more places than other folks, and being patient people by nature, we’ve enjoyed a lot of it. We’ve also added a bundle of miles to numerous vehicles’ odometers. It’s less fun when a time critical appointment is involved and the destination is nowhere to be found. A smart phone or GPS is my best friend on the road.

    Locally, we are known to navigate by landmark (frequently food related landmarks) rather than actual coordinates or street names. “Turn left at McDonald’s, keep going until you see Chipotle on the right, then turn left at the next block and no, I have no idea what street that is!”

    My mother’s sister, on the other hand, boasts that she can tell which way is North if she were put in the middle of an empty field in the middle of a cloudy night. I don’t even see how that particular skill would help me at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if Linda’s map in her head (which I kind of have available, too) is akin to your husband’s experience of looking down on the terrain… that sounds almost like an out of body experience!

      Would also love to be able to intuit North like your aunt.


  8. I don’t have a good sense of direction. I can get so very lost on cloudy days when hiking in the woods. I now own a small easily-put-in-my-pocket compass that I can use when circumstances warrant it.

    In the city, I sort of can get by. That is, if the sun is shining (unless it’s high noon) and I’m driving in a familiar area of town. I have a knack for being in the wrong lane at the wrong time and realizing as I drive by that I should have taken that turn which I can’t make because I’m not in the correct lane (and can’t get there because of traffic).

    Basically I used to (and still do, because I don’t get a lot of data with my phone plan so only use GPS on it if absolutely necessary) drive around randomly until I happened upon where I wanted to go.

    I did have the experience once where my brain appeared to think it was in Australia. I believe I was going to some garage sales, in a part of town that was pretty basic – straight streets, streets in numerical order, etc – heck, the sun may even have been shining, yet I kept finding out that I was driving north when I thought I was going south and vice versa. This went on for what seemed like a very long time, but I did eventually find my way home…


  9. This morning between tim’s house and Eden Prairie Center we let the GPS do the navigating. This was a mistake. It took us to a private road and then told us to turn right and there was no right, just a lake. Luckily I’m not too out of my depth in Bloomington and Eden Prairie so we did find our way. But it made me laugh thinking what today’s log topic was about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha! There was an episode on the Office once when Michael and Dwight were going somewhere in a car and the GPS told them to turn right, so they turned right – and went into the lake.

      Good thing you have more brains than they did.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. the big old rand mcnally was a fixture in the vw van and all vehicles i have ever driven since. i love looking at maps
    i take the trip in my brain and decide on the general plan . if i get off track it’s destiny and i try to observe what the fates had wanted me to observe or participate in.
    today’s gps stuff is mind numbing and the perfect example of the way the brain no longer is required to think
    reminds me of the poor stoops who look up at the cash register to see how much is due back when i give the a dollar for a eighty seven cent purchase
    it never ever occurs to them to do it in their head.

    i love winona and that bunch of back roads in particular . what a charming part of the world. in all my travels is frequently think about the places i am and the people who live there
    what would you need to do to live here? kind of try to do an imaginary walk in another mans shoes, you were kind of what i had pictured for that part of the world
    a relaxed outlook and an appreciation of the lush surroundings
    i love the shapes of the hills and leafless trees during that other half of the season.
    getting lost was some of my favorite stuff. well marked cool stuff on the map almost always has unmarked cool stuff right next to it grey roads or dotted roads on the map give you an idea of what alternate routes to search out.
    my wife’s grandma use to refer to the good red roads… i asked about it before she died. you want to get to the good red roads, what are good red roads.
    you know she said
    on the map the black and gray ones are bumpy or gravel, the red ones are the good roads, i hadn’t noticed but it is map writers credo. make the good little highways in the middle of bumfuch wherever be red. its a rule.
    i have mentioned being in the lake district at a b&b and chatting with the lady i was next to about how wonderful this area was. she wanted to know how we happened to be there and what we wanted to see and enjoy. we told her what we enjoyed and she gave us 3 day trips that were really exclusive special trips custom chosen to our requested wants. she said her father was the map maker for the lake district so she knew all the hiking trails and picnic spots as well as the roads. a great way to navigate. follow the directions of your soul being directed by an expert, wouldn’t it be nice if life was always that way

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m going to take a closer look at my atlas!

      This question: “what would you need to do to live here?” is what we asked ourselves a lot from the train window, traveling through all the different terrains that would have produced different economies in the little towns we passed.


    2. Like “well marked cool stuff on the map almost always has unmarked cool stuff right next to it” – good reason to be flexible when planning how to spend your time.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Speaking of GPS… a friend who rode in a GPS car last week to see a specialist in St. Louis Park (west TC suburb). From Winona, GPS routed them through downtown St. Paul and then out west on surface streets. Normally we get to Hwy.100 (where St. Louis Park is+ via either 494 West or 62 Crosstown. Could this be because of road construction on 100, 94, Lowry Tunnel, et al., do you think (which GPS may well take into account)?


  12. We really needed a map of Washington State on our recent trip, as we were in remote places with no cell service, so GPS eas useless. Were maps available? No, they were not.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I sometimes have dreams in which I’m driving a car on a freeway, and I have that kind of birdseye view of where I’m going in my head. In the dream there is usually a river, and there are bridges to cross, and I’m trying to end up on the correct side of the river. I suppose years of navigating Twin Cities freeways over the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers have contributed to the manufacture of these dreams.

    OT – I have a kitty who was diagnosed with cancer a little over three years ago, and he’s not doing very well this weekend. I tried to give him an anti-nausea pill earlier today and it didn’t go well. He’s been pretty chipper up until the last few days, but if he doesn’t improve over the next day or two, it may be time to say goodbye to him. 😦


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