As I reported a while back, I made the mistake of volunteering at the right (or maybe wrong) time and am now essentially a “road warrior” for the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. That means I’m a delegate to the state and congressional district (mine is bigger than many states) conventions, meetings, shindigs, etc.. It was thus my duty to proceed from my humble Buffalo Ridge retreat to the big city of Rochester to attend last weekend’s state party convention.

Now weeks ago a party caucus I’m involved in told me they we were getting a hospitality suite and don’t bother getting a hotel room. Then last week I see a flier for the hospitality suite… looks like they’re planning on a party room than a crash pad. Being a recovering alchy of some years, I can handle the occasional inbibing around me, but don’t care to spend the night in an impromptu joint that would probably fail the local liquor licensing authority’s inspection on several counts… So I searched for alternative accomodations. Yup, Motel 6 still had the “vacancy” light on, but had jacked the price to $43 a night… larcenous by airhead standards! Then I remembered that there was a BMW rally barely 50 miles from the convention… And a plan was hatched.

So friday morning I ducked south to MN30 for a cross state ride to the Hiawatha Rally. Made the mandatory stop at Judson Cycles, still had a BMW part I needed and ordered some spare cables for the Quota. After turning a 250 mile ride into dang near 300 with my wanderings, I registered and set up camp. Then went into road warrior mode for the 50 mile sprint to Rochester to register for the convention and a short meeting, followed by a relaxed ride back to the rally following US 14 alongside the old CNW tracks. Soup was gettin’ cold by that time, but burned a couple hot dogs and spent an enjoyable evening around the campfire.

Crashed ’bout midnight, but a few characters ignored the quiet camping signs and took the rally organizers 2 hours to recognize the problem and put the miscreants to bed. Tried to make up for lost sleep by sleepin’ in, but a glaring 6 am sunrise and an impending 9 am meeting woke me all to early. Went heavy on the coffee, the local church group filled me with ‘cakes and sausage right quick, and I sprinted back to Rochester and further sprinted into the convention in best moto-courier style. Of course, the 9 am meeting was empty.

‘Bout 9:05 got an e-mail that the meeting had been moved, headed to the new room and found it was half over… Like Will Rogers said,” I am not a member of any organized political party, I am a democrat”! Into the main hall as the convention proper began. With no contested races, the business at hand was quickly disposed of- I went to the bathroom and missed the endorsement of a U.S. Senator. But this political expediency couldn’t last for long… The compulsive debaters and machaveleins were itching for a fight, even if there was nothing much to fight over. So a bunch of routine motions and elections of party officers were subject to epic political battles, and we left an hour after they began serving dinner at the rally an hour away without completing our business. We did fight one good fight and won it too, defeating an attempt by environmental extremists to essentially ban copper mining in Minnesota. Fearful of having to pay a hundred bucks for a set of simple jumper cables before I die, I joined my union brothers and sisters in opposing the mining ban.

Missed the “pulled pork’ dinner, which given that IMHO “pulled pork” is the Pork industry’s answer to hamburger, no great loss. Stopped at Culvers for dinner, rode back to the rally, walked down to the Rally HQ to get some coffee… And found that I’d won a riding jacket. Perhaps noting the “cosmetics” of my 150,000 mile Aerostitch Dakar, they’d taken pity on me. Dang, now I can’t even write nasty things about the rally… I’ll comment on the freebee jacket after I maybe collect it.

More happy time round the campfire, then pretty much quiet by midnight and got a good night’s sleep. Full of coffee and donuts, packed, and back at the convention by 9:30. Managed to waste 4 hours picking national convention delegates… Not a lot of interest in taking a $3000 tightly escorted tour to Charlotte in the heat of summer to watch a sitting president be renominated. In fact, a couple folks got to be national convention delegates just by holding up their hands at the right time.

But by the time the convention mercifully adjourned, the rain had passed and I had a lovely ride back across Minnesota. Headin’ west on US14 alongside the ol’ CNW tracks, the traffic slowly disappears and the Buffalo Ridge rises… and everything is right with the world again.

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