June 14, 2015 – Wind and rain, 65 degrees
Miles Today: 61
Miles to Date: 2,396
States to Date: 13
I rode straight north on a still grey and humid morning to Minnesota. Then the country road began to wind and the land turned hilly and the pavement turned to gravel for six miles. I couldn’t help thinking, ‘Is this the best route across the country?’ Pavement returned and I stopped for breakfast at the Preston IGA – the only food option in town – before finding U.S. 52 and a nice wide shoulder. The wind picked up, the rain came down, and I was happy to have the country road behind me.
Rain is not conducive to dawdling; I arrived in Rochester at one o’clock. I was interested in talking to an editor of the Mayo Clinic’s online site – one of the most extensive and respected online resources – but had been tardy in contacting them. Their public affairs guy tried to make a connection without luck. I will try again, with more advance notice, when I am Scottsdale or Florida. The Mayo Clinic has satellites.
However, as is often the case, I may have learned more by simply camping in their lobby, borrowing their guest Wi-Fi, and observing one of the world’s leading medical institutions in action. I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals, often to observe, but I’ve never been anyplace that comes closer, in atmosphere and attitude, than the Mayo Clinic when it comes to creating a hospitality experience. Most hotels only dream of having such well appointed spaces and polite yet professional staff. The choreography of so much activity transpiring in an atmosphere of subdued calm is impressive. I visited the public spaces, museum, and 1930’s era offices of the brothers Mayo and came away assured of that fundamental truth of any business: put the emphasis on people and they will flock to you. Rochester is full of hotels, all of which have shuttles to the clinic. People come to this small city from all over the world for healthcare. Yet there’s no reason why Rochester should draw so many patients, except that the Mayo invented patient-centered care, and probably no one does it better.
The sun was shining by the time I left Mayo. I found a great little motel on the edge of the hospital district, had a nice meal in a cafe, and strolled the streets in summer’s lingering daylight.