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Vroom Vroom: The Drive to Enjoy Summer

–an Old Hwy 61 Blog by Gail Gates

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.”


Have you ever seen a calf emerge from a barn in spring? Usually, the momma cow walks into the sunshine with a certain amount of dignity while her sweet calf explodes out of the door with unabated joy. That baby bovine kicks up its hooves, jumps, runs, and annoys the rest of the herd. The fresh air and green grass are intoxicating! Indeed, the calf must wonder, “Freedom is incredible. Why aren’t the rest of you dancing, too?”

Old Highway 61

Old Highway 61

And so, with Covid-19 restrictions easing, many of us have become calves. I don’t know about you, but when I do need to wear a mask, I rip that sucker off the minute I am once again in the fresh air. Freeeeedom! (I usually don’t kick up my heels or annoy others, though. Let me know if you’ve heard differently. I can explain.)

Attending fairs and concerts, eating at restaurants, and even going to Aunt Bertha’s sour kraut extravaganza feels special this year. It’s both old and new and entirely wonderful to Get. Out. There.

What hasn’t changed, however, is the shortness of our Minnesota summers. I’m already noticing ducks forming “V’s” and birds lining telephone wires. A local tree or two have taken on a flush of red, but I’m sorta hoping that’s from heat/drought stress and not the annual two-minute warning of fall approaching.

Nonetheless, there are still plenty of summer activities just waiting for you! Slather on the sunscreen and ode du bug spray of choice and get your joy on. I, of course, encourage you to have fun along Old Hwy. 61 because it combines nostalgia and a “cool factor” not found along the Interstate. Just saying.



So, what’s going on?

The quickest way to check on activities along Old Highway 61 is to visit the website.

We also have a fun Facebook page where you will find comments, pointers, and happy stuff that people are getting into. Try not to gossip!

If you’re feeling in need of a challenge, try the Old Hwy 61 park bingo game that is in progress. In a nutshell, you print off your bingo card at #oldhwy61parks and then visit the listed parks along the route. Take selfies to prove you were there and mark off the locations.  When you get a “bingo,” you redeem the card for a genuine “Old Hwy 61” water bottle. (Has water ever tasted better?) It a fun and easy game. Get the whole family involved, or at least the dog. (Who doesn’t love a photo of a happy dog having an adventure?) Then post your photos to inspire others.

Old Highway 61

Old Highway 61

For car enthusiasts–zoom, zoom–I am aware of a car show in Rush City, MN, on Aug. 21, and the 13th annual Rat Rod Rendezvous at TJ’s Country Corner in Mahtowa, MN, on Sept. 4 & 5.

Oh! This is also an excellent time to remind you that Old Highway 61 road signs are available for sale. We have sold out numerous times but have just gotten a new shipment. They are high quality and cost a mere $61. (Of course!) The signs make unique gifts and stellar decorating statements. The sign sale proceeds go back into promoting Old Hwy 61 businesses and activities. Win Win!

So, get your inner calf out there. Run, play, and enjoy the magic of a Minnesota summer along Old Highway 61.

Memories, my friends, are priceless.


Old Highway 61

Old Highway 61

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