Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

All roads lead “somewhere” March 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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EXCEPT IN MY NATIVE southwestern Minnesota prairie, where roads run mostly straight and the land lies divided into field grids, I possess no sense of direction.

That navigational deficiency evokes occasional tense moments when my husband and I journey into unfamiliar territory. We have neither smart phones nor a GPS, only a road map, an atlas and Randy’s sense of direction to guide us.

I always want to know exactly where we are and where we are headed. He, on the other hand, is an adventurer attempting to calm my unease. The road “will lead somewhere,” he reassures, which isn’t at all reassuring.

Which way he asked?

“Which way?” he asked.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, as we drove “somewhere” east of Nerstrand, aiming toward Kenyon, we came upon an intersection of gravel and tar roads. “Which way do you want to go?” Randy inquired.

The gravel road I did not want to follow.

The gravel road I did not want to follow.

I peered down the icy gravel road ahead and thought to myself, “not there.”

Too late. “There” proved to be precisely my spouse’s preferred route.

The half muddy, half icy road.

The half muddy, half icy road.

As the van slogged along the gravel road, marred by mud and ice, I muttered something about “not going in the ditch.”

Left (east) or right (west)?

Left (east) or right (west)?

Eventually we came to a T in the road. “Which way do you want to go?” my husband asked again.

Then he turned left.


NOTE: All images have been edited because, well, I can do that to make this story more visually dramatic.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


25 Responses to “All roads lead “somewhere””

  1. Marilyn Says:

    Travel alert: Warning, Audrey and Randy are confirmed doppelgangers of the (in)famous travel team of M & M. Insider advice: following this road will definitely lead to confusion.

    Musings: Why do they even ask? Why does the scaredy-cat old lady driver always land in the soup or the slush-filled ditches? Why does the intrepid, devil-may-care land on all four paws, no harm done? Why, indeed?

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    LOL! I can totally relate!!!!!!!

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Exactly! I am often asking Chris—-do you KNOW where we are and where we are going??? We always get where we are meant to get but sometimes it takes a bit longer than I had anticipated. 🙂 In the snow, though, I am not a fan and would rather just get there.

  4. Dan Traun Says:

    The back roads are very mucky these days. Much slogging in the next few weeks I am afraid until this white stuff goes away. Not knowing where you will end up is all part of the adventure; going in the ditch, not so much 🙂

  5. I love the tunnel effect of the snow banked on either side of the road. I knew he’d want to go on the snowy road. So would Colin. 🙂

  6. Oh My Goodness – did not care for roads like this growing up in Rural MN – especially in Winter or bad weather!!! Happy Thursday:)

  7. That conversation could have been one between my mom and dad. Dad was forever following a road less travelled, often one that came to a dead-end and required us to retrace our route. As long as you can read a map, why not? I have a GPS that lives happily in my glove compartment most of the time.

  8. Jackie Says:

    When it comes to “road trippin’ “,I am exactly like Randy, and Rick is just like you Audrey….isn’t that funny. I want to slap that map out of his hands sometimes. I’m the adventurer, and he comes along for the ride always wanting to know right where we are. I would have chose the icy gravel road too 🙂 Rick is starting to loosen his grip on the map, as long as he knows what direction we are going he feels better 🙂

  9. Thread crazy Says:

    Oh my Audrey…yes it sounds like conversations in our vehicle sometimes! I can so relate!!! We like to go out on weekends and take some back roads that we haven’t taken before….most times, heaven only knows where we’ll end up!

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