Highlights I neglected to mention in my 2005 Christmas Letter
I have not sent out a Christmas Letter since 2002. I tried this year to touch base
with those who have kindly continued to stay in touch. But in my haste and the
limit of two pages, there were highlights that I neglected to mention.
Click on pictures for larger jpegs.
Camp Lowden Reunion
While I only worked at Camp Lowden for half of one summer--and was pretty grumpy
about it at the time, I've since become a bit of a historian
of the camp
reunion occurred on Labor Day weekend of 2005. It was a one day affair. I hiked
around and found distances to be shorter than I remember. Only six gents were at
the event from my summer--it was good to see them!
- (front) Dan Bestul,
Bruce Small, Mike Berlin,
(back) Tim Gaston,
- Dry Pack Food lasts for
26 years--but I wouldn't eat it!
Region 7 Canoe Base Reunion--a success!
I worked at the Canoe Base (then called Northern Wisconsin National Canoe Base)
during the summers of 1980 through 1983. In the past five years, I've become a historian of the place.
In fact, it was wanting to do a website about "something" that led me becoming
the Canoe Base
historian. As former staff
would find the site, they would ask about other staff who they remembered. One thing
led to another and I hosted a reunion in August of 2004. We had about 75 staffers attend and over 100
at the banquet. It was a weekend long affair in Boulder Jct and on the old site of the
camp. The DNR was as accomodating as could be expected. I canoed and portaged the
Voyageur Circle with Dave Melnick, Jeff Laubenstein, and Jill (Whyte) Laubenstein.
It was so good to see people from all those years ago and it was good to meet staffers
who preceeded me. The camp had 43 good years of teaching advanced camping and canoeing
skills. Those of us who were involved are proud of our skills and appreciative of our
memories. Most of us have a bit of disappointment that the world has changed and doesn't
appreciate those skills and activities in the marketplace of today's youth to the extent
we saw in our time.
Car Trip Through Nebraska
In Illinois, I grew up living on US Hwy 20 (known as US Grant Hwy between Chicago
and Galena, Illinois). As I've looked at US maps over the years, I've always been
filled with wonder about what it might be like to explore some of the major US highways
such as 20, 30, 36, and 66. In late July I was able to get several days off in a row--
this was important because I needed to be at the Central States VHF Society conference
in Colorado Springs. Because of my airline work, I could
jumpseat to Colorado
Springs. But I actually secured enough days off in a row that I decided to take my first
car-trip exploring these old US Highways in conjunction with my travel to Colorado Springs.
It was a leisurly trip where I stopped for photography whenever I wanted and also stopped
at every single historical marker I passed. I spent my first night in New Ulm, MN. Second
night in Plainview, NE. Third night in Chadron, NE. Fourth night in Benkleman, NE (near the
KS border). I drove on US Hwy 14 in Minnesota. I stopped at Pipestone National Historic
Monument. It was a site where Indians mined pipestone. The pipes were valued and were
traded far and wide. I also hiked around a geologic feature in SW Minnesota called Blue
Sure, in a perfect world, I'd have a spouse or family who would enjoy finding adventures
in simple car-trips like this. But for too long, I've put off trips waiting to share them.
The highlights were taking gravel side roads either till they ended and then back-tracking or until
they came out at a location where I could work my way back to the highways working westward.
I stopped at two former Army Air Fields from WWII. One in Ainsworth and the other in
Alliance. South of Alliance, I was on a gravel road for about 40 miles transiting a
desolate portion of the Sand Hills. It was great. I chased trains and did a fair
amount of railroad photography near Alliance and then along Hwy 26 west of Ogallala.
I drove on US Hwy 20 from Sioux City, IA to Chadron, NE. I drove on US Hwy 26 from Alliance to Ogallala, NE.
I drove briefly on US 24 and US 6. I finished the drive with several miles on US 40 in KS and CO.
I crossed US Hwy 30 in Ogallala and happened upon a display that talked about US Hwy 30
being the first US Hwy completed. It was also known as the "Lincoln Highway". In 1919,
shortly after it was completed (then) Lt Col Eisenhower spends the summer leading a
military convey across the US mostly on US Hwy 30--the Lincoln Hwy. The purpose was to
see the speed and ability of moving army units large distances. It is not surprising that
Eisenhower was a major proponent of the Interstate System when it was initiated in the Fifties.
- Niobara River near
- Oneill VOR
- Taking the path less travelled