BACKROADS IN ESPECIALLY remote rural regions often yield an eclectic mix of discoveries. Like those spotted along a gravel road off Wabasha County Road 21 in the Zumbro River Valley between Mazeppa and Oronoco in southeastern Minnesota. A homemade roadside sign for Mac’s Park Place drew Randy and me to take a path into the unknown.
I photographed some of the sights along that short route from the highway back to Mac’s, a bar, restaurant and campground along the Zumbro River.
What we saw remains somewhat of a mystery, especially Mabe’s Deer Camp. Was this once a public place for hunters and others to gather? Or was this (is this) a private hunting retreat for friends and family?
And who is Mabe?
I expect locals could tell me lots of stories. Or I can spin my own backwoods river stories about Mabe’s, imagination running rampant.
That’s the thing about backroads. You see oddities that leave you wondering. And sometimes it’s OK to wonder, to not have all the answers. To delight in the simply seeing. In-the-moment appreciation for that which unfolds before you, unexpectedly.
TELL ME: What oddities have you discovered along a back country road?
© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
These would have made my hummm…file blog! I loved it the door of the truck signage. You caught some great photos.
You’re right, these pix would fit your “hummmm” file blog posts. Thanks for appreciating my discoveries.
these finds are always fascinating to me, and like you, I wonder about the stories behind them. once, in northern Michigan, my sister and I happened upon a store, offering spices, souvenirs, etc. everything you’d imagine from a little store not too far from a lake where many go to relax and get away. the store was cute and when we walked out the back, there was a garden and little shed filled with horrible scary images and items! kind of on the order of a creepy haunted house but not fun, doll heads, etc.- such an odd contrast.
That’s quite a contrast between store and backyard shed. My, this really makes me wonder.
Years ago, I lived in a very small town and there was a beautiful natural hot springs that the locals knew about. It was hard to find, well off the beaten track. You had to know someone that knew someone to find it.
I remember a saloon that looked very much like the front of Mabe’s. It was very popular with the local deer and elk hunters.
Nice piece, Audrey. 🙂
Yes, sometimes it’s who you know. I expect there are many “Mabe’s” along backroads, if only we take the time to find them.
It’s always fun to visit back roads. Most surprising thing found that sticks in my mind was in Australia where we spotted a microwave turned into a mailbox. I thought it was brilliant!
Now that is unusual. A mailbox from a microwave.
I love to go on back roads, and off-the =-beaten trails. Can’t remember anything specific right now, but I’m glad you shared what you found on this back road.
I’ll show you Mac’s tomorrow.