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Talking It Over -- Summertime trips a treat

A lot of people are on the move at this time of year. As some of the summer activities start to wind down and there is a brief break in farm activities, many families try to take the time for a short vacation.

It isn't always easy for families to get these vacations in every year. When I was younger we were not able to take many weeks off. My dad milked cows along with raising crops and a few other animals. The milking duties were daily and there were always things like baling hay, cultivating, spraying and grain harvest to occupy the months of June, July and August.

However, I recall that one summer dad managed to get someone to do the chores and he loaded up his family and we headed toward Duluth and the North Shore. I was probably about 6 years old so I don't remember all the details, but I do know that it was a long drive with six, or maybe it was even seven, people in the car.

We would sprawl out across laps, in the big back window or even lay on the floor just to move around a bit. There wasn't any air conditioning in the car so the windows were all down and the wind blew freely through the vehicle. There were a few stops along the way for car sickness and bathroom breaks and even to stop and eat the picnic lunch mom packed. When we finally stopped for the night we found ourselves all bunked up in a two-bedroom cabin.

When I say bunked, that is how we slept. Each room had rows of bunk beds and the bedroom had an open area at top between the two rooms. I remember this quite well as we talked, laughed and eventually were sternly told to quiet down late into the night.

Duluth seemed like a metropolis to us farm kids. We ran back and forth with the waves in the huge, Great Lake of Superior. We couldn't imagine a lake so big that you couldn't see the other side. We stared in awe at the huge ships and watched them as they were loaded and unloaded. It was a wonderful family trip and well worth the long uncomfortable drive.

On our way home, we drove through the mining range which was very active in those days. Once again, we were fascinated by the large equipment and learned a lot about the valuable products being harvested from the ground. We also learned that what we grew on the farm wasn't the only thing harvested in Minnesota.

Since that one vacation, I have always believed that taking some time each year to see something new or visit an interesting town or area is important. Even if it is a short trip to northern Minnesota, a drive to western South Dakota or several weeks touring other states, there is so much to see, learn and tour right within our own country. There are always sights to see and things to learn along the way no matter how far you travel.