I had seen pictures of the majestic looking Mystic Hot Springs before I left MN and knew right away it was a must see. It just so happened that Jay’s Diesel was a mere 10 miles away from Mystic and after a stressful last few days, I was eager to soak my bones in the mineral rich hot springs.
I drove a short distance and it was like I had traveled back in time to 1970. Mystic Hot Springs campground has spots for you to pitch a tent or park a camper but you can also rent lodging. You have your choice between a whole slew of old buses, a couple of cabins or a covered wagon! Mander wasn’t quite as old as these character heavy buses but I think she fit in nicely nonetheless.
I got parked, paid for my stay and put my swimsuit on. I couldn’t wait to get in one of the pools! They have a couple of larger soaking pools but the special pools are made of old claw foot bathtubs that have been encased in mineral build up over the years. Each tub was like a one of a kind work of art. I couldn’t think of a better way to take my first bath since living on the road.
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I lived in an apartment with a clawfoot bathtub for 11 years and it was easily one of my favorite things about the place. I finally made the decision to move out of my hip city apartment and into a place in the suburbs in order to save money for something epic. On my last move out day, I stood in a completely empty place and drew myself one more bath. Then I sank in and had a cry. It was the end of a chapter and I sure was gonna miss that tub. I didn't know it at the time, but that "something epic" I was moving towards was a completely different life. An in that new life, there were even better bath experiences to be had. 😍
I slept well that night, got up and soaked again!
I spent the day exploring around the property and dragging my heels. I didn’t want to leave this place…like ever! It had such a good vibe to it. There was a peace and calm in the air and I loved that nothing was perfect. Some may look at a place like Mystic Hot Springs and see it as an old, run down campground. Not me. I saw a place with tons of character, that felt completely special yet unpretentious. The 60’s/70’s vibe was like the cherry on top. That brought in the feeling of discovering a long since abandoned hippy commune where just a few of the surviving members were keeping the dream alive. I stayed way past the official check out time, not that anyone seemed to care, and finally decided I had better head to my new camp spot for the night.
Come Monday, I drove back to Richfield so Jay could give all the work he did a good once over. I hadn’t driven a ton but it was enough to make sure nothing was leaking. After everything checked out A-OK, Jay brought up the fact that he could hear an exhaust leak. I told him it was coming from my exhaust manifold and had made itself known after a few months on the road. I hadn’t noticed it at first but as I put on more and more miles, the sound of my engine had gotten louder and louder. Now it was crystal clear I had a solid leak coming from the manifold.
Jay had a friend that worked at a shop across the street that could do the repair. I was a little concerned about what it may cost because I knew it was a relatively big job. Because of the cost, I was planning on trying to tackle it myself but was very nervous to do so, thinking it might be too difficult for me to pull off. I weighed my options and figured if he was a friend of Jay’s, I could bet he was a stand up guy and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to at least have him look at it.
I drove Mander across the street and met Ross. He seemed to be equally impressed and confused by me as Jay was, as we talked about my engine. He look at the exhaust manifold and immediately discovered that either a bolt had fallen out or more likely, had broken off. Since that was the case, I knew I wasn’t going to be doing the repair myself and asked Ross for a ballpark estimate. The quote wasn’t ‘knock me on my butt’ high so I asked him when he could fit me in. I made an appointment with him for a few days out and left with directions to a boondocking spot nearby. My plan was to enjoy the time in the solitude of nature and then roll back into town for the repair. But of course, Mander had other plans….
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