I’m nearly naked from the waist down as I write this, sitting in the laundromat of my RV park. That’s why I brought my sleeping bag, so I could wash all my pants. That’s what you have to do when you’ve only got two pairs.
I think I will like Wisconsin better when it stops raining. Wisconsin is overflowing. Coming from a land of perma-drought, it’s hard not to be impressed. People keep telling me, “It’s been terrible this year, the rain.” I don’t think Californians can commiserate on that sort of terribleness. If it rained like this in the Bay Area, we’d be out dancing in the streets. And yet, it is terrible on the bike. Especially with no fenders, when water comes spinning off my front tire directly into my face.
There are fireflies here in Wisconsin. Turtles too. They have a ridiculous habit of trying to cross busy highways and getting squished on the way. So far I’ve rescued three turtles from the middle of the road.
Lately I’m bored with sleeping inside my tent. I want to see what’s going on at night. Sleeping with the rainfly off is asking for trouble. Thunderstorms have a way of showing up suddenly, making me scramble up for the fly. It’s better to find some kind of roof. Maybe it’s all the pioneer books I’ve been reading. I really want to sleep on the prairie in my bedroll. Even though I’m not riding the prairies anymore. I wake up covered with mosquitoes bites and tiny slugs.
I’ve got two weeks to kill before attending my next writers’ workshop at University of Iowa. Hence my aimless meandering through the Cheese State. I tried cheese curds at a cheese factory the other morning. They tasted like cheese. I’m not sure what else I was expecting.
Last week I was in Minnesota. Henderson, in the Minnesota River Valley, is a great ride. I am not the only person who thinks so. In Purple Rain, Prince appears to be riding his beautiful motorcycle through the same valley I rode up through. You would not think that Prince, in all his purple funkiness, would be into such pastoral splendor, but you would be wrong. His mansion, Paisley Park, is only a few minutes away from my friend’s house. From the outside, it doesn’t look very mansion-y. More like an office park. The surrounding fences are covered with Prince tributes and art work left by visitors. We were not the only visitors that day. There were plenty of people walking around in the rain, looking at the art, humming Prince songs.
Minneapolis reminds me of Seattle. With more lakes, more bike paths, and even shittier weather. Or better, since the overcast skies actually lead to things like snowstorms and thunderstorms, instead of just hanging around like a giant wet blanket for 50 days in a row. There are all kinds of gentrified neighborhoods full of free range coffee and kale smoothies and wall murals. I could probably live here.