Monthly Archives: May 2011

4am Silhouette


Flight of the CL-215

The CL-215 “Ducks” continued to fly over the Moose Mountain Fire Saturday. I was out splitting left over firewood, and generally cleaning up around the cabin. 800 acres have burned so far north of the Goldstream Valley. I have not heard what the cause of the fire was.

Let the Fire Season Begin…

I met the fire trucks on the road this afternoon as I was returning home after retrieving my extension ladder that had been borrowed. I made some calls as more sirens blew past, causing the neighbor’s sled dogs to howl in chorus. Overcome by curiosity, I ventured out onto the deck and took two of the three pics above.


It’s early for a fire. The ground is soaking wet on the surface, and still frozen only a few inches below it. It has been a beautiful day, with a light breeze. If I had to wager a guess, it looks like a burn pile gone rogue, and it has reached the black spruce. The forest service calls those trees “gasoline on a stick”.

Planes have been flying over the cabin for hours now, dropping water & retardant onto the wild fire. There are several that are simply circling the fire, trying to get a feel for who is on the ground, and which direction this fire is going to run off to. The breeze has shifted a bit, and is at least blowing the fire across the horizon from me.

For the moment.

The Classiest Man in Baseball

Killebrew hits his 49th home run vs. Chicago in 1969

Rest in peace Harmon.


That is the final tally for Leg I.

16,130 miles. 3 countries. 2 Canadian provinces and 1 territory. 15 U.S. states. 15 Mexican states. 2 bribes.

The Rover is now sitting peacefully, with its Bosch starter, in San Antonio, Texas waiting for me to make enough money to start Leg II of the Pan-American.

San Antonio Missions

The entire Greer clan took me on a tour of the San Antonio Missions prior to my departure for Alaska. There’s an incredible history to San Antonio, which is so different from the relative newness of recorded history in Interior Alaska.

“Somewhere between Memphis and Chicago is…”

I’ve been out there in the 80+ degree Iowan air working on The Rover. All fluids have been checked and topped off. Bolts have been tightened, lights all seem to be working properly (other than my high-beams) and the gas tank is full.
All camping gear has been properly re-stowed, and The Rover is as ready as it will ever be for the hot temps that we will be driving through to get to San Antonio. Des Moines is calling for 93 degrees tomorrow, and it will only warm up from there as we travel south. This will be a good test of the auxillary fan I installed in front of the radiator.

As I worked on and repacked The Rover, I’ve been streaming The Whip out of Farmer City, Illinois and listening to some damn good Blues. Thanks to Larry for the tip and introduction.

Hannibal, MO

An honest recollection of the 1200 mile trip across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and back to Iowa again, could not possibly be complete without mentioning the Great Hannibal Snow-Globe Hunt of 2011.

Larry had been on the lookout for a snow-globe the entire trip, but it remained an elusive quarry. Upon arriving in Hannibal, MO Saturday night, Tom and I realized that the finding of The Globe was paramount, so we hit up every likely supplier that we came across, but to no avail.
We ventured off to Mark Twain State Park defeated. There was no snow-globe, no firewood, and no beer. Things looked pretty damn bleak. Luckily, a Casey’s supplied the beer and I was able to scrounge some firewood without going Black Op. There was light at the end of the tunnel… at least for Tom & I.

After paying our respects to Mr. Clemens and visiting the metropolis of Florida, Missouri, we made a run at Hannibal once again. Gift shop after gift shop turned us away. The Show-Me-State was showing us nothing but disappointment. Barges floated by on the Mississippi, probably loaded with snow-globes, but they might as well have been in China. We traveled deeper into Hannibal. Tom, being stressed out by the hunt, left us for a coffee house, but Larry & I trudged on.

Even I have no idea how many shoppes we went into, how many license plates, spoons, shot glasses and thimbles we had to look at, in the hope that one tiny snow-globe would be hidden among the trinkets.

We had reached the end of the street.

There was one more shoppe to go: A Book Store/Gift Shop. Larry and I glanced at each other, took a deep breath and opened the old wooden door. The door creaked with apathy for our plight. We asked, “Do you happen to stock any snow-globes?” The elderly woman sighed deeply. She made excuses about her suppliers, that most of her order was still on a barge somewhere, but that she might have one still unpacked… one with a river boat. Larry gasped & instinctively went for his wallet, shouting “I’ll take it”! The woman reached into a box that had been sitting on the floor at her feet. Would it, could it, possibly contain The Globe?

She asked for patience, so we waited with frayed nerves. Finally, with a wonderful grace, she brought out a river boat snow-globe with “Hannibal, Missouri” written on the base in beautiful golden script. There was a sigh of relief and then pandemonium. That little store had not seen such a celebration in many a decade.

I will never take the unheralded snow-globe for granted again.

Mark Twain Museum

After camping out at Mark Twain State Park near Florida, MO, we stopped by the Mark Twain Museum. The cabin Samuel Clemens was born in has been moved from its original site and is now inside the museum. A monument has been placed on the lot in Florida where the cabin originally stood.

McCormick Creek State Park

We arrived pre-sunset at McCormick Creek! It would be the first and last time we arrived at a campsite during daylight hours on this trip. It was the perfect site for races Friday night at Bloomington Speedway, and would have been even better for races at Lincoln Park Speedway for Saturday night if those had not been called due to rain.

It was a late night at McCormick’s after Friday’s racing, with a large bonfire in a small firegrate, and plenty of spirits floating about in the dark.