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Author Topic: I'm off...
mikemunsil
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...on an epic journey to Wilmot, South Dakota. 1,200 miles (each way) of pure pleasure with my 83-year old mother, her pets, my 2 animals (aka Pablo and Jean Pierre), and my wife in tow.

The internet tells me that it is currently 50 degrees F colder there than here. What was I thinking?

I'm sure there is a reason why this post is appropriate for this forum, Kathleen, but it temporarily escapes me. I'll edit this text when I capture the elusive little bugger.


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HSO
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The reason that eludes you, Mike, is perhaps that you intend to write a memoir of your trip.

Maybe?

Good journey to you, sir.


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MaryRobinette
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Enjoy your trip...?
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Minister
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Stay warm. My wife is from Minnesota, and I've never really understood why people voluntarily chose to inhabit that part of the world during the winter.
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Avatar300
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Because the land has formed our character.
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Minister
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Cold and hard?
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mikemunsil
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I am in lovely Wilmot, South Dakota where the sun shines but there is no warmth.

We found some snow and had a snowball fight. It's the boy's first time with snow. I won the fight.

We're heading to Mt. Rushmore next.

mm


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ScottMiller
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Of course there's a reason; it's grist for the mill. Right?

Congratulations on a successfully-completed snowball fight.


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mikemunsil
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We're at Rapid City, SD. Despite first appearances, I recommend the city to writers. So far I have seen two characters who WILL appear in a story or two. They're just too fantastic not to immortalize. They're clearly direct descendants of people who settled the area and who still believe in the sartorial niceties of leather. Their ancestor's leather. Never washed, smelly leather with its own ecosystem.

I also reccomend the Journeys museum. Well done and thought provoking.

We're waiting out a late snowstorm in order to be able to actually see Mt. Rushmore when we get there. The snow has been a great experience for the boys, although I must admit to being a bit dismayed by how rapidly they have figured out that by double-teaming the old man they can get their revenge. I am still digging ice out of one ear.

Wish us luck.


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HSO
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Best of luck, Master Munsil.
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mikemunsil
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never try to cross the Black Hills of South Dakota in a snowstorm
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MaryRobinette
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oh. That does not sound like a good story. On the other hand, you lived to write a post about it so it must have a happy ending. Unless you're a ghost writer...
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Rocklover
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Hey Mike. Having been raised in Wyoming I can relate. I have been in more than a few blizzards and wondered if I would survive to tell the tale. You do NOT want to be caught anywhere near Laramie in a snowstorm, believe me! DRIVE SLOW and find yourself an 18 wheel rig to ride behind. Those big guys' tail lights have saved me more than once when visibility was minus zero. By the way, a good retaliation to keep those two young whippersnapper snowball menaces in line is an old favorite of mine: snow down the back when they're not looking. Doesn't require good aim and the results are quite satisfying. Have a good trip and come back in one piece.
Judith

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ablelaz
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Hi Gang---I was just reading though these threads and thought I would be remiss if I didn’t leap in to defend my two favourite elements, snow and cold. I am Canadian born and bred. In 1957 I went north to the tree line of Northern Ontario to answer an, add in an adventure magazine. There was a trapper by the name of Ian Cambel (that’s the way he spelled it) who wanted a partner, especially for the winter, due to his advancing age. He said `I can handle the summer it’s a kind of lark, the winter, that’s another thing. When the temperature drops down to between twenty and forty below and the snow piles up to three to four feet in depth, this land turns savage. A man makes one mistake in this land in the winter it’s apt to be his last.
I spent three winters with Ian and I had intended to stay in the bush year round, but the introduction of the Black Fly season soon changed my mind.
Black Flies start just about the time the fur season ends. In the south where we had to put up with mosquitoes that live on the blood of mammals here it was Black Flies that live on the flesh of mammals and the chunks they took were quite a size. I put up with it that first year for about two weeks, then I made a hike for town. Ian introduced me to the bear oil method of dissuading Black Flies. You lather on bear oil till it is about an sixteenth of an inch thick; this is supposed to offend the Black Fly, after about two days when the bear oil turns rancid, it certainly succeeded in offending me. The Black Flies, at least the ones I met didn’t seem to mind it that much; they just held their breath and dashed in for a quick bite, when ever they felt the need. The problem with the bear oil method is that once you put it on its hell to get off, especially in the north where hot water is a lot of work.
Well I hiked back up to the big lonely for the trapping season of 58, but it wasn’t much of a season. That was the year of the great blizzard when the wind came in from the west and piled the snow up like mountains, we couldn’t step foot outside for neigh on a week. We just sat in the cabin and watched our wood and meat supplies shrink. About two weeks after the big blow we managed to get out for a hunt, came across two moose, a mother and calf. They were both starving, pawing hopelessly at the snow in an effort to uncover something to eat. We shot them both that’s pretty much what we lived on that winter. Ian called it the winter of not and said they came along about every ten to twelve years.
I don’t know why I stayed on for another year after that but I did. Perhaps it had something to do with that great savage land they call big lonesome, where the valleys all run God know where. Where a man lived or died on his choices and no one is there to cry.
Trapping wasn’t much of a living, but there is something about the big lonely that lured a man to prove himself once more, man against nature, man against God.
Talk to you soon ---ablelaz

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Survivor
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Flies, flies, little black flies,
Gnawing on my bones
till the day that I die.

In old Ontario-io,
In old Ontario.


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mikemunsil
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3,200 miles later...

we survived. the boys had a blast. they think we went to Canada and are busy telling their schoolmates just that. i've tried to convinve them otherwise, but they're sticking with their story.

we crossed Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and South Dakota on the way up, and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas on the way back.

the boys learned about snow and how to throw up in the van without pissing off Dad. they saw ducks, geese, elk, antelope, deer, bison, prairie dogs, mammoth bones, indian aritfacts and weirdest of all, South Dakotans.

it was a trip, in all senses of the word.


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Kathleen Dalton Woodbury
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Hey, ablelaz, I bet there's a story in all that you experienced. And if there isn't a story, there's got to be a personal essay.

Please consider writing more about it and sending it out.

Glad you made it safely home, Mike.


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HSO
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Welcome back, Master Munsil.

Seems it turned out you weren't so evil after all in "The Quest for Survivor."

Ah, but at least rickfisher wrote in that I had offended you. That was a lovely touch; he deserves a Hatracker's Choice Award for that.

How was the drive through those states? I've been through all of them, but never a straight shot through all at once. I think I'd go mad from the never-changing scenery...

I suppose it does change.... some places had snow 'n' stuff.


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mikemunsil
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HSO, I thank you all for your efforts in the recent epic MaryRobinette adventure. I will remember them. *evil grin*

I am a geologist, and thus, easily bored. So, before we made the trip I checked out the topography and made sure that 1) we never drove the same road twice, and 2) that we traversed the most interesting parts of the countryside we passed through.

I also made sure to have copies of "The Roadside Geology of [insert state name here]" for every state we encountered, and thus was able to play the snotty geologist game with my wife.

It goes like this:

Snotty Geologist Husband
"Hmmm."

Bored-Beyond-Belief Long-Suffering Geologist's Wife
"What."

Snotty Geologist Husband
"These must be old sand dunes we're passing through. Look at the [technical and opaque geological term]s!

Bored-Beyond-Belief Long-Suffering Geologist's Wife
"No way."

Snotty Geologist Husband
"Bet ya!"

Bored-Beyond-Belief Long-Suffering Geologist's Wife
*sigh*
"You're not going to let this go, are you."

Snotty Geologist Husband
"C'mon love! Look it up!"

Bored-Beyond-Belief Long-Suffering Geologist's Wife
*sigh*

--
endless whining on the part of the Snotty Geologist Husband
--

Bored-Beyond-Belief Long-Suffering Geologist's Wife
"You're worse than the kids!"
[SGH had just scored 1 point for raised voice]

Snotty Geologist Husband
"C'mon love!"

Bored-Beyond-Belief Long-Suffering Geologist's Wife
*sigh*
[another point for 3 sighs on one topic]

Snotty Geologist Husband
"C'mon love!"

Bored-Beyond-Belief Long-Suffering Geologist's Wife
"OK, OK! Here, I'll look it up."
[one more point for making her sit up and grab the book]

"Shit!"

Big Ears Number 1
"Mommy said a bad word!"
[5 points]

Big Ears Number 2
"Mommy said a really BAD word!"
[5 more points]

It's a win! 10 points in 15 minutes! Time to look for another opportunity!

*evil chuckle*
There's nothing worse than a bored geologist.


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mikemunsil
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...apparently number 2 son managed to acquire a small bird on the trip. the chirping had been driving me crazy since Oklahoma, but I had ascribed it to an engine noise. instead it was a small finch and was secreted in the seat pocket in front of Jean Pierre's seat. from the looks of the pocket, he fed and watered it during the trip. after freeing it, it was able to fly away, which it did, to our mutual relief.

what next?

it just occurred to me that we spent some time on the ground in South Dakota. now i'm going to have to search JP's room for black-footed ferrets or prairie dogs. i'm reasonably sure that he couldn't have sneaked a bison past us, and i am very glad it was not snake season.

go figure.


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Pyre Dynasty
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I once took a pet fly across the country...How much points does your son get for that stunt?
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mikemunsil
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300, because he got it all the way back home without us having a clue
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