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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten

Spoons and a Cajon

We arrived at the city park in River Falls, WI Tuesday, planning to stay a night or two. This is a quiet little park, a short bike ride from downtown. Abe asked the city worker at the park about bike trails and she told him about the Whitetail Trails nearby. Wednesday we rode into town to see what was there. The town was pleasant. Big enough to have everything you might need, but small enough to still be safe and friendly. They've worked hard to make it bike friendly, which is always a bonus for us. Wide roads and a bike path that led all through the town made it easy for us to get around. We followed the path across a slow moving river. The dark bottom convinced us that the water was thick with sediment until we realized that we could clearly see the pale gray rocks on the bottom showing through the black soil.

There was a sign next to a small band shelter near the river with dates of different musicians that were playing, and we were looking forward to coming back Thursday evening to listen to High & Rising play. When we returned to the RV, there was a stack of printed papers on the picnic table - maps of town and the bike trail system. How nice of the city worker! Thursday evening we rode back to listen to music. While we were sitting there enjoying the cello, guitar, and soft voice of the celloist, some girls walked past us with ice cream cones. The temptation was too much to resist, so I stayed with the bikes while Abe walked to a nearby ice cream parlor and got us cones. Strawberry Rhubarb for me, and something chocolate with lots of chocolate pieces for Abe. We've been running into some really good ice cream this side of the country. When they say homemade, they mean it. We've had the frozen treat in two different places where it tasted like the ice cream my mom used to make, my siblings and I taking turns cranking the handle on the ice cream maker after Mom filled it up. We got to spend quite a bit of time visiting with a few of our neighbors in the park. RVers are some of the friendliest, most sociable people you'll meet. We got to eat dinner with Ruth and Paul, the couple parked next to us. He was a woodworker who'd packed all of his supplies into the back of his pickup and spent his time building things, and his wife spent her time sewing quilts to donate. Another day, we had Patrick and Ayanna (I hope I didn't butcher the spelling) over for air conditioning and cold drinks. They were camping in a tent, and it got way too hot to be stuck outside. The park was $20 a night, and worth every penny when the temperatures got into the mid-nineties with 90% humidity. The heat and humidity brought with it some spectacular lightening storms, and one evening that was supposed to maybe have a few sprinkles of rain brought us a rainstorm that dumped on us and tornado sirens. We looked around when the sirens went off, and no one was reacting to them, so we figured it wasn't that big of a deal. Some people who'd been there for a long time told us that they went off a lot when storms came up. There was a storm shelter across the road, but no one was there to open the doors. We didn't know until Abe talked to a cop that drove through that the doors automatically unlock when the sirens sound. I am hoping that I get to see a tornado at some point, but in the distance. I definitely don't want to be caught in one.

We finally got to take our bikes on the trails. Miles of single track trails that are maintained by volunteers, and they were the best mountain bike trails we've been on yet. They run through a deciduous forest so dense that the sunlight never touches the ground. Hills and tree roots make it just challenging enough that you have to pay attention, but not too hard for someone like me. Once again, I was glad to have an e-bike, making the climbs a piece of cake.


We called it quits on our last ride earlier than we were planning. Abe stopped his bike to show me some pretty, bright yellow mushrooms growing out of some dead wood. I scanned it on my Seek app and the app said it was Chicken Of the Woods. I was pretty sure I'd read about that one and it was good eating, so I looked it up on some other sites to make sure and, sure enough, it was Chicken Of the Woods, and it was edible. I'd happened to bring my jacket because it was cool when we started out and it was now wrapped around my handle bars, so we picked the mushrooms, wrapped them up in my jacket, and took them with us to eat for dinner. Whoever named it knew what he was talking about. It really did taste like chicken! We even used our charcoal to cook up some chicken to eat with it, and side by side it still tasted like chicken. That was the first time for either of us picking wild mushrooms, and it was by far the best mushrooms either of us has ever had. I really hope we find some more!


When we started our trip, we bought a trailer for my bike in case we needed to haul groceries, water, or whatever else. I'd been thinking that we may have wasted the money on the trailer, but we finally got to use it. We rode to town to buy groceries and a bag of charcoal. I'd decided I wanted to buy some spoons to play because it's fun, cheap, easy entertainment on the road that doesn't take up much room, so we found some at a thrift store. After listening to me, Abe decided he was finally ready to buy the Cajon (box drum) that he's been wanting, so we stopped at a music store and threw that in the trailer with the groceries. Our poor neighbors probably wanted to kill us as we were outside playing along to bluegrass music. Lucky for them, I haven't gotten the washboard and whiskey jug that I want to add to the collection...yet. I finally had to quit playing my spoons. It wasn't too bad when I built up a good sized blister on my finger - a bandage fixed it up good enough - but once the blister popped, I was done. I'll start playing again in the next day or two. Eventually, the blisters will turn into a callous.

All in all, we liked that spot enough that our one or two night stay turned into a six night stay. But once again, yesterday I started getting antsy and ready to move on, so this morning we started making our way to Duluth, MN.


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Patrick Callan
Patrick Callan
03 août 2021

No worries about the names (I mean thank you for correcting it, but no offense was taken) I'm honored we made it into your post.

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Patrick Callan
Patrick Callan
02 août 2021

Thanks for visiting our town. It was cool reading your post. You're a really good writer.... Me and Ayanna enjoyed meeting both of you.


Duluth is a really nice city to visit. There's a cool little coffee shop right on the waterfront (it might still be there, the name might have changed, but it used to be called) Amazing Grace. Also the Electric Fetus Record shop/headshop is worth checking out. Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls are a little ways up the lake superior coast, both are gorgeous and the trails on the superior hiking are worth checking out for a day hike or if you feel like backpacking and camping out for a few nights.


I added you on…


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Kandy Thietten
Kandy Thietten
02 août 2021
En réponse à

I'm so sorry! I just realized that I got your name wrong! It's fixed now and I will fix Ayanna's. Thank you for the places in Duluth to check out. It's always nice going into cities knowing some of the things to do. It was great meeting both of you.

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