Posted by: wheelsandfeet | December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

we’re enjoying the snow after the record breaking snowfall here in Minnesota…yep…still in Minnesota, but we’re ready to get out.

We made some last minute changes to the rig (the Volkswagen…duh!) including a new windshield wiper motor and trailer tarp tie down, we embarked on our first mileage with the full set up.  It was awesome to get out on the open road.  We dropped a couple last minute boxes off in Mound at Ma Needham’s place.  From there we went southwest out of Mound only to see Ma Needham one last time out on the open road.  Leave it up to her to be the last one there for the final send off.  Although, she didn’t sport the accordion this time as she has been known to do!  No better way to say good bye to mom when embarking on the road trip of a lifetime but on the open road.

We had a little trouble reaching our destination of Springfield, MN to visit Nicole’s wonderful Grandmother, but nothing to speak of, really.  We had a really nice dinner of a few simple Subway sandwiches.  I really love how Nicole’s grandma, Audrey, has made it a point in her life, after some 90 years, to KISS…keep it simple stupid! 😀  Nicole and I have become very familiar with that whole concept (enter in the movie 180 Degrees South,, seen sometime in May).  Since we saw that film, we have made it a point of simplifying our lives.  Highly recommended…and, in light of the latest economic times, living is cheaper and more fulfilling when it is lived more simply.  Well, the roads were dry when we went in to Grandma Scholtz’s apartment.  Not the case when we left.  2-3 inches of snow were already freshly laid on the pavement for us.  Hmmm…well, as we were leaving, I thought we’d start driving and stop anywhere we needed to and sleep in the VDub if driving conditions turned to crap.  We took a right hand turn…POOF!…a big hill.  TOO STEEP FOR THE RIG!  The wheels were turning and turning and turning…ummm, turning turned into spinning and going backwards instead of forwards! YIKES!  How am I going to turn this rig around, trailer and all, while facing up a hill in the snow not able to see the trailer and no driveway to reverse into?  I backed up so the trailer turned to the right a bit, put the rig in drive to make a hard right turn, and saw the snow bank directly in front of me.  Knowing damn well I couldn’t make the turn, of course, I had to try it anyway.  After all, we’re on an adventure and, if need be the trailer can easily be taken off…but, seriously…think I wanted to do that in the dark and while it was snowing?  Well, this time I wasn’t up for it.  So, with physics on my side this time, I slammed on the accelerator!  AND INTO THE SNOW BANK I WE…HAhaha, just kidding.  With the front wheels spinnin’, the nose of the rig just slid right down the hill, and VOILA! TURNED AROUND I WAS!  and the trailer was fine.  perfect.  Off we go!…using a not so steep route out of Springfield, MN this time!

Springfield to Winnebago in near white out conditions and completely unable to see the road turned into Springfield to New Ulm pretty quick.  Ever hear of this fancy place they call Wal-Mart?  Not a fan, truly.  making mince meat of any small business in the area, Wal-Mart has taken over too many private business destroying small town culture and making front door greeters out of small business owners because they can’t compete with out right pirating of goods’ prices by buying in such massive quantities. Don’t get me started.  BUT! they do graciously offer a free and clear place to park overnight with all the resources you never knew you needed (filling up landfills across the country, uh-hum)!  SO!  where was the first night spent on our “6 month” road trip of a liftime???  WAL-MART!  good grief…and I have to thank Wal-Mart for their gracious hospitality.  They even provided a plowed front lawn in the morning, a hot cup of coffee, and an awesome pair of Dickies Bibs for $20, and a nice new set of wiper blades for the rig after we woke up from a cozy 8hr nights sleep.  Now we’ll both be sportin the bibs!  Oh well.  THANKS WAL-MART. OUCH!  You got me this time!

We left the New Ulm Wal-Mart (have I said Wal-Mart enough yet?) with the big plan of taking the high road to Winnebago.  I should mention, Nicole and I don’t have a GPS for driving (we have one for hiking) because we want to see America by no digital means of direction because we think you lose an edge of the essence of road tripping. I also need to mention that Nicole was driving her car separately because she needed to drop her car off at her parent’s place in Winnebago so I didn’t have my trusty navigator.  I’ll appreciate having her by my side as my trusty navigator from now on no matter how many wrong turns we end up accidentally taking.  Mark my words.

It should take about 1.5 hrs to get from New Ulm to Winnebago.  We took ‘the scenic route’.  ended up in Jackson, MN.  a bit off.  well, WAY OFF…but the roads were awful and to pull over was not an option unless there was a plowed gas station.  There was no plowed gas station.  To turn around would’ve taken plowed turn lanes which there was none. And, would you want to ride with me in a snowstorm while I was driving and checking the map?  Needless to say, a GPS would’ve come in handy THIS TIME.  All my judgments are already falling to pieces here.  GPS…Wal-Mart…other drivers (at one point there were about 20 cars behind me)…I’m taking a hint, okay?  good grief!  Well, after a treacherous drive through awful conditions, we did arrive in Winnebago safe and sound.  Malto was happy to run through the snow like a dolphin in the sea out in front of The Johnson’s warm and welcoming abode.  The driveway was clear and ready for the rig to be parked since Nicole’s dad, Tom, worked hard at getting it ready for the visitors…specifically a 1995 Volkswagen Eurovan camper with a trailer.

Very hospitable. and a fine Christmas with the Johnson’s it was.  very relaxing.  very good food.  very much appreciated. but, we’re off to the far horizon tomorrow!


We’re hoping to visit the farm in Garner, IA.  Aunt Becky and Uncle Dave, Ali, Derek, and, of course, a legend in her own time, Grandma Boehnke.  I’m very excited.  And, so far, the roads and weather are predicted to be good.  After visiting the farm, we’re off to good ole Decorah, IA.  Can’t wait for that either!  we’ll be visiting the good folks of Arne and Robyn.  staying at their place in town and cross country skiing up to their land in the country to check out their soon to be warm and welcoming, earth friendly abode.

BRING ON THE BUTT SLEDS and warm beverages!
Our Wheelsandfeet adventure has officially begun.  We are for real.  It’s starting to feel that way, too.




  1. Sounds like and adventure! Do you have an itinerary? Or is it by by the seat of your “butt-sled-pants”? None the less, wear a helmut and put some padding in to cushion your fall. I look forward to following your escapades and hearing more about your adventures upon your return. Keep in touch! Sincerely Jonathan

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