At the last hour, I decided not to embark on a great hiking adventure in the Ozark Mountains. The world had come rushing at me so fast in the past year that it was time to take a breath and regroup. Since it was too late to buy a plane ticket to fly home, I’m spending a week in Beloit, Wisconsin. This is the epitome of the hipster vacation! This state is known for cheese, micro-brewed beer, and a crazy governor. The town is known for a liberal arts college, a coffee shop, and a museum housing thousands of angel dolls. And to top it all off, I am getting around solely by the wits of an ancient and borrowed road bike. What’s more alternative than that?
Luckily, I have been training for this week basically my whole life. Growing up in rural New Hampshire prepares you for things like this. I plan on making this week refreshing, productive, and utterly adventurous. In honor of this mental sanity break of me-time I am going to keep a log of my daily Beloit (and hopefully beyond) activities. Welcome to small-town entertainment 101.
I spent the morning lounging around my bedroom, something I never do when the semester’s in session. My definition of lounging includes drinking peppermint tea, planning a stay in Chicago with air bnb, and reading about free things to do in Chicago. After eating lunch with acquaintence-friends (the campus community gets much closer when there’s no one here) in the near-empty dining hall, and set off to round up my friend’s bike. It’s a lovely old road bike that has squeaky brakes and a back shelf for carrying cargo. I stopped in at the local bike shop to fill up the tires and got into a conversation about winter plowing in Beloit, and the aggressiveness of plowers on the East Coast. I biked away with a map of rail trails in the area which I’m definitely planning to check out. Deciding to explore a plot of land that Beloit College owns about five miles away from campus, I promply got lost in the maze of streets lined by cornfields outside of the downtown area I frequent. An hour later, I found the plot, ran 3 miles in it, and biked back getting a little less lost this time.
I’ve spent the evening baking oatmeal-themed goods. The excess of oatmeal in this house is due to a strange deal the Outdoor Environmental Club struck with the food service. For the backpacking trip (the one I was supposed to go on but didn’t), we arranged to get food from the food service to feed the 26 participants for the week. Since they weren’t going to be eating on campus, this would equal out in cost for the food service. The crazy thing was, they gave us a ridiculous amount of food, a lot of it completely unusable for backpacking (giant loaves of bread, pounds of butter, huge jugs of oil etc…). We have six tubs of oatmeal, so I’m baking it into everything. So far I’ve made oatmeal banana muffins and oatmeal bread, both New England originals from The High Maples Farm Cookbook. I’m sure there will be more to come!