We were camping in Minnesota's bluff country. That is in the southern part of Minnesota and it provides a nice change from the flat farmland of the Red River Valley where we live. We like that area because of the tubing on the Root River and also the bike path that was put in. Like many states, they have taken an old abandoned railway line and removed the tracks, then paved the path to make a very flat and biker friendly route that covers 42 miles. We were camping near the trailhead and it was early, so I told Lisa that I was going to hop on the trail and bike a little bit after dinner.
With dinner eaten and the kids entertained, I got my bike and headed off to the trailhead. It was a beautiful evening. Not too hot or too cold. My legs relaxed and I was soon going at a steady pace. The miles seemed to slip past at a fairly rapid rate. Sandwiched in between the bluffs are small farms. I passed one such farm and the farmer was near the trail and waved and said "Hello". So I stopped and returned the gesture.
He said to me, "There's a full moon tonight. Stick to the trail".
Before I could say anything, he started his tractor and went back to work in his field. Well I didn't think much more of it other than that was a little off. So I jumped back on my bike and hit my stride rapidly. A little farther down the trail, a couple was walking along with their dog. I slowed down a little to get by and as I passed they said, "There's a full moon tonight, stick to the trail".
I thought that the locals really had some weird fascination about full moons. Oh well. The sun was getting low on the horizon and I was about 10 miles out. Thinking that if I went a few more miles I would be getting home in the dark. I didn't mind because the trail was flat and I had a light on my bike so I really wasn't that worried. So after another 5 miles I decided that I should turn around and head back to the campground. As I stopped, another biker caught up to me.
He then said to me, "There's a full moon tonight, so stick to the trail."
To which I said, "What is this all about? You are the third person to tell me about the full moon and that I should stick to the trail. What the heck?"
"You haven't heard of the legends around here?" He said.
"No" was all I could say, starting to get a little flustered.
"You know this bike trail you are riding on is an old railway line right? Well at the turn of the century when they put this line in, This was all Indian country. Now the natives didn't want to give up this land because it was sacred to them. Many spirits lived here they said. Now the railway company didn't care, they just wanted their trains to go through at any cost. So to get the Indians out of there they hired bounty hunters. These hunters where very good at what they do and before long the Indians were gone. The trains came in and now the trains are gone. Leaving nothing but this amazing bike trail. But on full moons and only on full moons, a fog rolls over the area and the locals say that if you are quiet, you can hear horses in the fog. Mysterious things happen on those nights. People have disappeared without a trace. So that is why you have been told, or should I say, warned to stay on the trail. If you are on the trail you are safe. Step off the trail, you are on sacred land."
"Ha, ha" I said. "Nice little story you people made up to scare the tourists. Thanks for your time. Now it is dark and I have to get back."
"Stick to the trail!" he said.
With that I was off and returning home 15 miles away. A mile down the path it started to cool off and damn, wouldn't you know it, a fog was starting to form. Not thick at first, but as each mile passed it became thicker and thicker. I thought to myself that these people really like to trick the tourists. Half way home and no worries. I stopped for a second because my shoelace came undone. I dismounted my bike and knelt down to tie my laces.
"Who's there?" I said. I looked around and could hardly see 20 feet into the fog. I strained my neck to try and hear what I thought I heard before. The silence was overwhelming. Not even a bird. Wait.....What is that? It's faint, very faint but it sounds like, horses? It can't be. But I am not waiting around to find out.
I jumped on my bike and started to peddle a little faster. Not because I may be getting scared, but because I needed the exercise, right? Before I could answer myself I found myself skidding to a stop because I failed to tie my shoe and my laces were tangled up in the sprocket. I struggled to get off of the bike and doing so one foot ended up off of the path. The gravel crunching under foot. I bent down to tie my shoe and as I did I heard a WHOOOOOSH and a THUD above my head. I looked up and there was an arrow, an honest to God arrow stuck into the tree next to my head. I cut my shoe lace, jumped on my bike and peddled as fast as I could to get home and off of the trail.
To this day I don't know how fast I was going but I know I have never gone faster. I made it home and you wouldn't believe what I found.
Everyone was dead. Women, children, cats and dogs. Arrows in all of them and do you know why? Because they were all off of the trail.
I made this story up on a camping trip down in Lanesboro Minnesota to entertain the kids and my nephews one summer. I never repeated it but it has always been in the back of my mind. The embellishments may have gotten bigger but it is basically the same story.
Now you may be wondering why I have regaled you with this whimsical yarn of tomfoolery.
The title of this blog was "Blog Challenge Accepted" and what I meant by that is this. I have been reading other blogs similar to this about other people's fulltime RV experiences. There are all types of blogs. Some people write short snippets daily. Some write longer blogs over several days worth of activities. Some people wait weeks before they write about their adventures. Then there is the occasional bloggers that will write 3,000 to 4,000 words every other day. That is the challenge I have challenged myself with.
Can I write 3,000 to 4,000 words in a blog every other day and keep it entertaining and informative? I am betting that I can't. Because as of this point, I have only written 1225 words. I had Lisa read my story and halfway through it she was saying, "Do I have to?" Although she did like the ending. It caught her by surprise because it was totally different from what I had told the kids.
3,000 to 4,000 words is a lot. You would have to have something important to say. Hell, the Gettysburg address was only 272 words and it has a more powerful and important meaning than this. The Declaration of Independence is 1458 words. Both of which will live on in history forever. Our little blogs will fall by the wayside.
So as I sit here trying to think about what I could write to entertain and inform that would be 3,000 to 4,000 words, what comes to mind?
1354 words. I just couldn't do it.