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Most Recent (Last update: 0033 6/15/2003)

Let's head back to "Camp Granada" (anyone else remember Allan Sherman?) for Day Two and more of life in EscherLand, Where Everything is Uphill! Ha! Morning dawned way early for me; we'd left the windows open to try and combat the heat, but that hadn't done much at all. Well, except let the first light of the false dawn creep into the room. I knew I was doomed at that point: if there's a project to be done, I really cannot fall back asleep. Fortunately I'd hooked up with one of the cooks and knew the morning shift would already be there and have the first pot of coffee ready...

Let's see... How to manage something acceptable from camp coffee... Okay, four of those little French Vanilla creamers, half a pack of some really decent hot chocolate and the rest coffee. Yeah, that works. ...and fifteen minutes later, add in the balance of the chocolate mix and refill with coffee. Close enough, 'cause it's time to start waking up the adults so we can start waking up the kids. That went rather well except for the relative lack of showers, but we all made it to the assembly area on time.

Breakfast was decent and soon we were off to "Raptor Study" with our trusty native guide ('docent' is probably a better word, but anyone calling "Tom", nature name "Tom!", a docent likely would have been fed to the turkey vulture). I've already placed one picture from that session up on the blog; there will be more to follow in the days ahead both there and on my "Walks" pages. The nice thing about how this part was handled was the kids being able to take pictures of the birds. We were with touching distance of some very nicely cared for raptors (all under protection for injuries and such) and the entire crowd learned from our time...

Next up was "Pond Studies" with a classroom briefing and then a trip to two very nicely maintained ponds. The kids gathered water samples and scooped up algae and tadpoles for a while and then we headed back to the classroom for some microscope time. That was cool; everytime a team found something fun, the instructor, "Heather, nature name "Feather", would put it up on an overhead projection scope so we could all see...

Lunch came and went and we hiked up yet another hill for "Survival Class". Tom was our instructor once again and he gave an excellent lecture on how to stay put and survive if you somehow got separated from your party. The kids then had to build shelters from the available material on the mountainside. About half way though that, one of the camp bosses showed up and advised the adults that a water line had blown back at camp and we would be off the domestic systems for a time. Whew. Okay. least it was cooler than the day before, but showers would still be something to look forward to.

I'll let you know how dialed in this place is: we returned to camp about two hours later; when we got there, they already had a string of porta-potties lined up on the edge of the basketball tarmac. ...and every dorm, the cafeteria, and even the picnic area had full, iced water coolers and cups ready to go. Now, that is action! ...even better was the action about an hour later when they tested the repair and were able to flush the lines enough to give us shower and toilet water. Whoohoo!

Yep, the shower that night felt rather nice <g>. ...and the kids were tired enough when we got them back that they were asleep 'early', like around 2230. ...which was a good thing since breakfast was going to be at 0645 in the morning. ...and everything had to be packed and on the bus tarmac at 0630...

Yeah... Me neither...


Daniel wanted me to make sure to remember the scavenger hunt we were all assigned to when the groups rejoined after classes on Day Two. Yeah, he wants me to mention the dead mole...

Well, they got the three groups all back to the assembly point with enough time to pack in one more project before dinner: a scavenger hunt. ...and one based on all that we'd learned over the last two days, "Find an example of a partially decomposed producer. Find an example of a igneous rock. Find an example of..." Yeah, like that. Okay...

...and we joined the groups a little differently from the ones we'd been using; we mixed and matched the brain trust with the rowdies <g>. ...and off I went with my three because I'd recalled seeing a dead mole by the side of the road on the way back (" example of a decomposing consumer!") ...and while we were off on yet another uphill hike, the rest of the gang split up and hit one of the areas nearby for leaves and dirt and such.

My bunch managed to score some rocks and pine cones in addition to the mole; and by the time we hooked up again with our partners, the group had everything we needed. we ran through it all with the kids just to make sure we had everything (and had the jumping spider escaped?). ...and it turned out to be a good thing we reviewed: the staff wouldn't let the adults talk during the check in! Whoooo. Funny thing, though: those kids had it all dialed in. It was surprising the lack of prompting they had to give each other as the proctor went down the list and around the circle of kids asking each to point out the item requested. Man, that felt really good. ...and like maybe they learned more than just a little about nature's recycling system during their stay.

Pretty cool...


Day Three at "Camp Granada" was going to have to start way early: they wanted the buses on the road by eight! That meant when the cook looked up at 0501, she saw me mixing up my morning elixir and walking around the compound taking a picture or two before heading back to wake up the other adults...

Breakfast was set for 0645. ...and everything we weren't intending to carry with us all day had to be down at the loading zone first. ...and some of these kids really hadn't had anything to do with packing their goods <g>! ...but we got them all ready and we managed a decent barracks inspection and we were soon on the buses, with one group headed off to the caverns and the other to the town of Columbia.

We took the town first, and gained a bonus when things were closed and the bus driver (who was an employee of the camp) had time to give us a guided tour of some of the town. Man, talk about a well-informed, kid-oriented teacher: he did an excellent job of showing us the equipment used for mining and dredging, the jail, firehouse and livery stable, and probably best of all, he explained the concept of a "Tourist Town" in the context of a miner needing something essential and there only being one store that could charge all the traffic would bear... Yeah, Daniel caught on to that one right away!

When the tour was over, we had some free time to roam about town before we headed off to Mercer Caverns and the switch with Bus #1. The caverns were an interesting place: about one hundred and sixty feet of limestone and rock cavern to descend into. Great, more climbing. 'Cause, well, yeah, while it was two hundred some odd steps down, it was yet another two hundred back up! The legacy of "Camp Granada"...

We slept much of the trip home <g>...


Daniel and I headed off to school this evening to pick up his new laptop for next year in junior high. ...same deal as before: one very well handled show.

We showed up a bit early, but it didn't matter that much; they already had a class going. We picked up his new machine (still in the box, unopened) and headed into the adjacent auditorium. As soon as that was full, one of the resource teachers came in and walked everyone through the unpacking and setup. ...and by unpacking and setup, I mean all the way through to a connection with the district's wireless network. Yeah, logins and the whole bit. By the time we left, we were set for the fall. ...and the next group was unpacking in the first auditorium!

...and now it's time to link that wireless into the home system!

Speaking of networking and dialed in people, let's not forget Matt's birthday today! Yeah, his lady has been letting little hints slip out now and then, so it's time for the annual, Happy Birthday, Matt!!!

...and many, many more!


Big doin's this weekend... As soon as I can clear work today, I'm off to help with some housecleaning, but only after I've been to the store to pick up some tri-tip for Sunday!

Yep, Shelley's set us up as the hosts for a 'Father's Day/birthday/general get it all out and done with for June' bash here at our place. ...and the first thing her dad asked for was my tri-tip. Okay, so it's a tough job, but someone has to do it...

I mean, it's not like getting up at daybreak to fire up the smoker will kill me! ...especially since there's likely to be a picture or two to take as the sun comes up. ...but it does mean we're all in for a very busy weekend!

Details as available...


Whew... Right now I'm ready to go back to work so I can relax!!! So far the guest list is up to twelve (in a house that simply won't 'seat' that many) and the food selection is expanding to accomodate the crowd (at the expense of refrigerator and freezer space).

Things are still left to be done, but I think between this evening and tomorrow morning, I'll have my part dealt with. The good news is that I'm done with Shelley's prep list. That's cool. Now, as to mine?

Well, tomorrow will tell <g>...


Happy Father's Day to the dads out there! ...and a belated one to the cook here as I've put my personal stuff on hold until things quiet down this evening <g>!

...and it eventually will. Right now the Beast is preloaded with lump mesquite, the rub and tools are ready to take outside; the buckets are ready with more mesquite and the blocks for smoking are soaking up their water. Thing is, I have to be up in about five hours to fire things up, so I think I'll call it a night...

Catch you later in the day...

The Conjuror
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"Any sufficiently advanced technology is
indistinguishable from magic."
Arthur C. Clarke, "Technology and the Future"

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