A task of my youth has become a habit of middle age; the Sunday
drive. Lisa and I have made a science out of it by writing down destinations on a chalkboard in our kitchen that we visit on Sunday. This week Iâ€™ll tell you where our van leads us on a Sunday afternoon.
My parents always loved a Sunday drive; they used to drag me
along too. We would go to dinner and then spend the afternoon
bouncing from location to location while listening to oldies on the
Grafton, North DakotaÂ radio station with announcer, â€œUncle Sigâ€ Jagelewski. Most of
our tour involved places that my parents had lived at, either in
their youth or as a couple. My dad grew up mostly around Thief River Falls
but an excursion to momâ€™s homeland meant a trip to Highlanding, Minnesota sometimes with the Zavoral grandparents along for the ride. All of our trips included my dadâ€™s commentary about each locationâ€™s familial historical importance and a story involving snow, horses and a stone boat. I remember trips to Oklee Quilting where my mom and Grandma Zavoral would pick-up
material for snowmobile suits and quilts. When my brother moved out
to New Rockford, North Dakota, our Sunday drives began at four in the
morning and ended when we arrived home late Sunday night. I slept; mom and dad listened to Uncle Sig.
The traditional Sunday afternoon drive still enjoys a place in our
home. We donâ€™t listen to Uncle Sig and weâ€™ve yet to stop by Oklee
Quilting, still Lisa and I like to visit any construction such as new roads, new buildings or sites of familial importance upon which I think then make commentary. Weâ€™ve driven through Rosewood, MinnesotaÂ several times which now has a main street that almost bypasses the whole town. I imagine it makes Rosewood safer but it really doesnâ€™t look like Rosewood anymore. I noticed Marshall County has tarred the road north of Rosewood now right up to county road #2 which makes me believe Rosewood has great potential for a population bounce in the near future.
As long as we were close to Viking, we drove by my brotherâ€™s place. Steve recently had to tear down the old 60 foot concrete silo so we had to see what the farm looked like without a skyline. My nephews, Andy and Jamie, used a backhoe and cable to tear the structure down. They made a video of the operation which would have served well as an entry in Americaâ€™s Favorite Home Videos or a nice memorial to watch at the post silo-razing funeral. Andy and Jamie thankfully survived, however, so we had to see how everything looked. Steveâ€™s farm is lush and green, which made the lack of a silo go by without notice. Iâ€™m sure people around Viking, MinnesotaÂ will find another landmark when they give directions.
Lisa and I spent last summer checking out the new asphalt on Dewey Avenue in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. There is something so satisfying about driving on fresh top-coat. This year, one mile of our Sunday drive has been spent on County Road #31 just north of town. C.R. 31/190th Street was recently transformed from something that shatters vertebrae and removes intestinal blockages to a road fit for a trucker who wishes a bypass on the Memorial Highway. We also recently tracked all of the new potential routes for the ditch that runs into town along Highway 59. Iâ€™m sure weâ€™re an odd pair as we discuss our ideas about box culverts and ditch grade in my van but itâ€™s part of a nice afternoon and makes what we read in the newspaper seem more real.
The places we drive are probably not promoted as tourist destinations. They are more micro-tourism spots that seem unique or interesting to Lisa and me plus a few others. If you have a special place you like to drive by let me know at email@example.com. You see, our chalkboard is empty and Sunday is just a few days away.