I stayed the night in Pontiac, Illinois on my way to Chicagoland to visit my best friend, Fran. I was able to use my Harvest Host membership to boondock in the City Hall parking lot for the night. Harvest Host is an organization that allows members to stay overnight in a variety of places such as wineries, golf courses, museums, farms, or in this case city hall. There is a yearly fee to get access to the website and members are required to call ahead and make reservations. Boondocking is a term used in the RV community to mean camping without any electricity, water or sewer hookups. Most RVs are self contained and can go for several days without plugging in. Some people will boondock in Walmart or casino parking lots if they are traveling and just need a place to sleep before hitting the road again.
I wanted to try it out and was pleasantly surprised that I was in walking distance of the many activities that Pontiac has to offer. One of the most interesting things about Pontiac is the Mural Tour. There are over 20 murals painted on walls in the downtown area. Eighteen were done in 2009 by the Walldogs group which is an international group of artists dedicated to the history and preservation of wall and barn advertising, as well as modern outdoor painted murals. More about the murals and the Walldogs group can be found at http://www.visitpontiac.org
Pontiac is also noted for it’s many museums dedicated to Route 66 memorabilia, classic cars, gilding arts, and war veterans. It also has a rich history connected with Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln visited Pontiac many times and was one of the attorneys in Livingston County’s first jury trial. Stephen Douglas was an opposing attorney and they held in an impromptu debate near the courthouse after a day’s session in court.
Gemini and I took a nice long walk and discovered a lovely park on the banks of the Vermilion River. It had extensive walking paths, seating and picnic areas and also a swinging bridge. Gemini pulled me toward the river and the raft of ducks milling by the bank. I let him off leash to swim in the gentle, refreshing current on a very hot day.
I finished the day by having a nice dinner in a local restaurant and walking around the square. I thought about how some people would view eating alone in a restaurant as being weird and uncomfortable, and slightly sad. But, I find it to be relaxing. I usually read a book or catch up on my email or play scrabble while watching people out of the corner of my eye. The couple to my left were having a night out away from the kids while the two men on the right traveled from northern Illinois to see the Route 66 museum.
There is a distinct difference between being alone and being lonely. I am rarely lonely because I have many things that interest me or that I want to learn about. When I feel the need for human connection, I go to the grocery store or a coffee shop or a restaurant and strike up a conversation. People can be very interesting if you take the time to listen to what they are saying in a nonjudgemental way.
I also don’t really need other people to entertain me or provide constant feedback that I am ok as a person ( ie: Social Media likes and comments). I try to live by one simple rule that I have written on a tee shirt, “Be the person that your dog thinks you are”.
So my dear friends, I am here to remind you that life is a journey and it’s best to Go with the Flo!