Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Touring Tuesdays: The Old Barn

This installment finds the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour" in a campground with an immense barn converted for business located just northeast of Preston, Minnesota.

This was actually an old barn, but not just any old barn. No! It was a huge, immense old barn, three stories high, and long enough to store all the cows that three average farmers might have today. There was a long ramp made of earth that led us to the second story from the west. Inside we saw a rental and souvenir shop for cyclists and campers. There was an office also, and further down a long central hallway there was a restaurant. I noticed a staircase going up to the third storey. After we found out where we could camp, we went around the north side of the barn to the east end. There was another long, low building there that was modern, and much newer than the rest. This housed a pool and a bike rental shop. We found our camping spot, and in the fading light we set our tents up for the first time.

I had a traditional two man "pup" tent borrowed from Steve. Steve was using a more modern backpacker type tent, two man size with an alcove. Troy had a single man, backpacking style tent also borrowed from Steve. It reminded me of a coffin. Even though my tent was heavier, I was glad I didn't get the tent Troy was using after I saw it.

Our camping area was back in a wooded corner of the campground on top of a hill. It was very agreeable to all of us. We found out our "neighbors" were actually from Cedar Falls! They gave us enthusiastic approval on our plans to go to Canada. It made me think of that "small world" saying!

We settled in and drank our beer purchased at the little store inside the Old Barn. We made our supper from dehydrated dinners that we packed. We found this, and all subsequent dehydrated fare, to be most excellent. We all shared in carrying the food load, but Steve carried a stove and fuel to cook with. Both Steve and Troy had their own backpacker type silverware, but I had none. So.....you guessed it! I borrowed again!

After the meal, we all wandered down to find the showers located on the lower level of the barn which was exposed on the west end of the hill which it was built in to. This was originally where the cows were let in for milking. Now it is where they let in the humans for cleaning, and sleeping, and eating. The showers were located in the east end, the hostel in the middle, and the vending machines in the west end. The west end also housed a laundry and a place to use phones or watch T.V. So, I showered, got a soda out of a vending machine, used the phone, and took my weary body back to my tent where I slept very well!

Additional info: I will say that in this story, I forgot to add that Steve and Troy were a bit skeptical that I would be of much use the following day, due to this day being my first century and all. There was some discussion that evening about a plan of attack concerning my certain demise the following day. Troy suggesting that a regimen of stretching before and after sleeping would help, while Steve was just pretty much convinced I would be toast! In the final analysis, there wasn't much to be concerned about, but at this point, all three of us were seriously doubtful I would go very far the next day.

The next installment will be the beginning of "Day Two: Bluff Country"

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