Electrical challenges, greenspace, and human connections

8/22/22

Today was… interesting.

Shortly after I published last night’s post, my hotel lost much of its power. It kind of seemed like a brownout, with only some outlets/lights working some of the time, or lights kind of fluttering and dimming. My laptop stopped charging, and soon lost power completely and shut down. I didn’t immediately make the mental connection to the outlets, so I thought the charger had suddenly failed and was ruined. I struggled not to freak out about the logistical and financial implications of that.

This hotel had already been challenging. When I checked in yesterday evening, they had given me an upstairs room, despite my request for a ground-floor one since those are much easier to get in and out of with my rig. The front desk clerk said that was because they were completely booked.

But when I began lugging my things upstairs—and down a long corridor—and opened the door, I found that the beds were all rumpled. The room had not been cleaned and prepared for me.

Oof.

Not surprisingly, it flustered the clerk when I told him that, and I could see that he was already in the middle of handling an ugly domestic-violence situation, involving a homeless mother and daughter and the mother’s violent boyfriend who was being asked to leave.

Oof.

I waited while he handled that situation. Then he gave me someone else’s (ground-floor) room.

I said, “Oh… wow, is that the only option? That’s going to be terrible for them. I can go out to dinner for an hour or two, if I can leave my things in the original room while someone cleans it.”

He shook his head.

“There’s no one here to clean it. I’m the only one here tonight. This is the only option. And yeah, those people who booked your new room are going to be… very upset.” I could see the dread on his face about having to call them to inform them of this.

Oof.

But I took the room, and decided that things unfold the way they do, and that perhaps in some way, not getting their room could be a blessing for those folks.

And I think it was, because we ended up being mostly without power for about 18 hours. My food in the fridge warmed up. The light was dim for brushing my teeth. In the morning, I desperately needed to take a shower to wash my greasy hair and scalp, but there was no hot water, and the light was dim in the bathroom. I gritted my teeth and took the cold shower, with the door open to let some daylight in, in case we lost all power while I was in there. With hair as thick as mine, washing it takes some time. And I hate being cold.

Meanwhile, I think something was wrong with the fridge: overnight it began leaking water all over the floor. Fortunately, nothing of mine got wet, and I saw the puddle before I stepped in it.

But… wow, really? This was all a bit of a comedown after the past week of over-the-top amazingness.

It turned out the problem was caused by an original electrical cable (from the hotel’s 1970s construction) literally having eroded into uselessness underground. So the utility company had to send out a truck and crew with a backhoe to dig up the earth and replace the cable.

Power was restored this afternoon.

By that time, I had taken my leave to explore the nearby woods, while continuing to contemplate the nature of life, and my journey forward. It was a nice natural area, tucked away off the busy nearby beltline (although I have never encountered so many mosquitos in my life).

Meanwhile, though, I was making some cool phone connections with friends near and far, one of whom I am now planning to see in Minneapolis later this week! I love how all the magical connections keep falling into place.

In the evening, I did meet up with Penelope again—and a few of her friends—for dinner at a quirky local restaurant called The Weary Traveler Freehouse.

Tomorrow, I begin my journey to Minneapolis, which includes a 26-mile bike ride from the hotel to the Amtrak station in Columbus, Wisconsin, and then the Empire Builder train to St. Paul!

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