#33 Off The Grid

You know those people who say, "We're going to the cabin this weekend so we can rough it a bit!" ...but what they really mean is that they're going to have a little romp at their mansion on the water, merely so they can mix up their Instagram posts and justify paying their lofty taxes? At one point I dated a guy who took me to his "family cabin." When he pulled the car up to an elegant and stately property  -its manicured lawn nestled right next to the shores of Lake Superior, I thought sure he was playing a trick on me. We spent the weekend there, and I quickly discovered I'd happily be the kept woman of a rich baron if it meant living like a princess. Breakfasts were spent on the patio, where spray kissed our noses, and French-pressed coffee washed down the whitefish caviar & croissants which had been set out by the maids. I ended up driving this particular man to the Seminary, so unfortunately my little fairy tale of a life spent in luxury was more short-lived than I would have preferred.

A couple weeks ago I took Danny Rampage up to my family cabin, where he got to experience almost a week without running water and little-to-no cell service. My grandparents built the cabin in the 1960's, and it still has a few remnants of classic mod flair that I adore. Sadly, they did away with the orange shag carpeting, (which is a travesty as far as I'm concerned) but the original charm and energy of their hard work and presence remains. Their ashes sit on the mantel and their things are scattered throughout the property, helping to keep their memory alive. The cabin is a rustic but sturdy structure on a weed-riddled lake, down a dirt road about 4 hours north. Most people wouldn't give it a second look when planning to build their dynasty, but it has a special place in the hearts of those who have come to appreciate its primitively charming quirks. About a year ago we almost lost our treasured lakeside retreat over a dispute after my grandma passed away. I've learned that people can get absolutely sick with greed when somebody dies. The day my mom and brother drove their truck up there with the intention of cleaning the place out and saying their goodbyes to a lifetime of memories before putting the property up for sale, they were both struck with the same overwhelming feeling that they were making a big mistake. I don't believe in God, but I do believe in cosmic energy and whatever my mom and brother felt that day, I think was my grandparents getting feisty wherever they are. They wanted the cabin to stay in the family and that's just what my mom and brother vowed would happen... at all costs. The cost was rather great, both monetarily and emotionally, but the plan is that eventually the third generation will take over ownership, and then the fourth generation, and so on. 

So while Danny and I were up north, visiting my mom at our humble Shangri-la, (since we couldn't update our socials or scan Facebook for trolls or even read text messages) we decided to get creative! When you're used to living with modern conveniences like running water, it tends to be taken for granted. You see, there has never been a way to bathe at the cabin (when you can't just get into the lake) so we made it a priority to construct a shower. Now, luckily my mom was there, as she is one of the more industrious & innately handy people I know, so she was able to take the lead and we were there to add our little nuggets of advice when we had them. Together, with an old tin tub, a hoola-hoop, a rubber bladder, some screws, and a shower curtain, we made magic happen!  We heated kettles of hand-pumped well water on the stove and waited patiently, sipping on brandy in front of a roaring fire and then I took the first indoor shower that cozy little dwelling had ever known. It was fabulous!

Stepping off the grid for the week was just what we needed to get ourselves ready for another weekend on the road. Once all the work was done, we did some lyric writing, some planning, and a lot of relaxing. Grandma and grandpa would have been so happy to see us enjoying the fruits of their labor and to know that we're doing our best to honor them. It's no sea-side castle, but it's perfect to us. 


  • Carolyn
    Carolyn Sioux Falls
    Love reading the Danger Diaries! Interesting stuff! Sounds fabulous!

    Love reading the Danger Diaries! Interesting stuff! Sounds fabulous!

  • Connie Powell
    Connie Powell Bayfield, WI
    Cedes and Jango: I so enjoyed every moment spent with you both. The shower is a perfect addition to the cabin! Let's spend some time there again real soon!

    Cedes and Jango: I so enjoyed every moment spent with you both. The shower is a perfect addition to the cabin! Let's spend some time there again real soon!

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