my mail stop this afternoon included a letter from my middle sister. it also included about 20 minutes of sitting in the postmaster's extra chair, relaxing in the air conditioning and talking as rush limbaugh ranted in the background. i now know how one goes about getting a postmaster job. it seems common for the smalltown postmasters i've met to apply for their positions as a late-career way to draw a good salary, good benefits, and low-stress work. she and the one person who drives the rural route are the entire post office in this town of about 500 people. she warned me of construction along my route for tomorrow; i'm going to need to talk to the police in la crescent to find out a good way around it.
the minnesota-local soda, spring grove soda, comes in little 10 ounce bottles, is sweetened with cane sugar, and is quite tasty. the "sour lemon" flavor is reminiscent of san pellegrino limonata. i'll probably grab a few more in the morning for my pre-ride carb jolt. the store chain that sells them locally also makes quite serviceable breakfast sandwiches.
the route today was in the lowlands along the river, below the bluffs. mostly flat and gentle, long hills. i passed several info stations for the federal fish and wildlife refuge, which i stopped and read. i learned more about the ducks who migrate through this area in the fall, diving down and eating the river plants. (this part of the river is a very large national preserve, which means that much of the local economy is based around regional tourism and vacation homes. lots of hunting and fishing supplies in the convenience stores.)
this afternoon's agenda includes reading the new yorker, napping in the shade, and making some of the backpacking-meal curry from a recent care package. later, perhaps, a hot shower, a campfire, and toasting marshmallows. bug-spray application will be frequent unless the winds keep up.