Author Archive - Doug Lund

Welcome!

Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at 11:41 am
By: Doug Lund
8 Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share
I'm ready for my close-up Mr. Lund

I’m ready for my close-up Mr. Lund

 

I thought perhaps we could all use a shot of Brandy on this somber day.(September 11th) Brandy, in this case, is our granddog: a 9 year old Shih Tzu who comes under our care for a couple weeks each year and makes me go through these annual yearnings for a dog of our own. I express these desires to my wife, who also loves Brandy’s visits, but who correctly points out the impracticality of pet ownership when we’re gone so much; the unfairness of it all to the poor animal and how we can’t be asking friends and family to be doggysitting every time we get a chance to host a two week tour somewhere or decide to spend January in Arizona or want to take off with Denny and Joanie for a long weekend road trip.

Still, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of when Brandy jumps up on the bed and snuggles in your armpit overnight or lets you pet her head through an entire football game on TV.

Of course Linda didn’t find anything too romantic yesterday about taking a long walk with Brandy who seemed to have been saving up a week’s worth of #2’s for this particular outing; steamy little projectiles that used to be considered fine fertilizer for lawns but now anger homeowners who regard them as extremely offensive effluvia that turn lawn mowers into manure spreaders. She had to delicately finagle the plastic bag she was legally obliged to carry along in such a way as to scoop up the excrement without coming in contact with her sensitive skin.

She said, upon her return to the house, “It was okay at first, but Brandy felt the need to stop, squat and lay a log in somebody’s yard for three straight blocks.”

Then, last night, Brandy curled up on Linda’s side of the bed and..well, I may have another shot at making my case. We’ll see.  I might have to call Tom Gunlicks, my dog whisperer Facebook friend, for some advice and boarding rates.

 

As most of you have heard, Keloland News made this past week what I think was a brilliant move; hiring Kevin Woster to fill the vacancy in our Rapid City news bureau.

Kevin Woster Keloland News

Kevin Woster
Keloland News

I won’t go into detail about how Kevin became available for employment after long stretches with both the Sioux Falls Argus leader and the Rapid City Journal. It’s all on the web. The point is, we got him which means Keloland News has on its payroll one of the most seasoned journalists in the state with expertise in government at all levels, the great outdoors, sports, music, feature reporting..on and on. Plus Kevin will bring a whole new dimension to our already top rated website with his nose for news, his long list of sources, and the respect he has from his years of experience and preparation.

I know in this business one might think we all know each other but, aside from being Facebook friends, Kevin and I are basically only acquainted through mutual admiration.

I have been a big fan of all three Woster Brothers since first meeting Jim the elder back in 1972. I loved the way he felt so at ease doing the livestock markets on TV and radio entertaining even those of us who didn’t give a rip about the sale price on a load of black baldy cattle from Puckwana.  Jim and I have been good pals for nearly 40 years now. There’s not a better man on the planet. Well, maybe his brother Terry Woster could qualify. I didn’t know Terry as well, but have let him know on several occasions that he, along with another former Argus Leader alum, Kim Ode, have been a great influence on my career and inspired me to be a better writer. Of course, all the Woster boys are so self effacing, they’ll just say “ah shucks” to a compliment and then go back to writing something brilliant.

I really hadn’t read that much of Kevin’s stuff until I started blogging myself and then quickly realized that he had drunk from the same well on that Lyman County farm near Reliance.

Oh, yeah, Kevin has been a prolific political blogger with the Journal’s Mt. Blogmore and I understand he plans to continue blogging on Keloland.com which means I better make like Brandy and get my poop in a group in order to keep up.

Welcome again, Kevin.

God Wants Tebow To Be A Viking

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 3:36 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Even if it is a clear sign that winter can’t be far behind, I’m looking forward to the NFL season getting underway this week.

Again, I have no high expectations for my Minnesota Vikings because the Vikings hierarchy apparently has no high expectations for the team either.

While we have a semi-stellar defense and the greatest running back in the league, the most important position on the team will still be occupied by a lightweight  in my opinion.

Instead of recruiting an experienced quality big name quarterback, we’re being Minnesota “nice” and sticking with Christian Ponder hoping that he’ll come around eventually  maybe even throw a pass to a guy on the same team farther than 20 yards downfield .  To back him up, we have Matt Cassel who enjoyed a stint of fame with the Patriots when Tom Brady went down and the Kansas City Chiefs when Brady got well where he eventually melted into a sea of interceptions and boos from fans before hightailing it to Minnesota where many has-beens have been known to go to die.

Still, I’d rather see Cassel take the first snap of the season than Mr. Ponder. But what do I know? I’m still puzzled and PO’d that NFL coaches couldn’t or wouldn’t  find a place for Tim Tebow..a true Christian whom I’d like to see with the Vikings. Now just a minute, hear me out.

tebow

This young man, considered by many to be the greatest college football player of all time, allegedly  just couldn’t be trained to make it in the pros.  Oh really? This kid has already proven himself in the pros hasn’t he? During his brief career beginning with Denver, Tebow started the last three games of his rookie season and became the team’s full-time starting quarterback in the sixth game of 2011. The Broncos were 1–4 before he became the starter, but began winning with him on the field, often coming from behind late in the fourth quarter until they won their first AFC West title and first playoff game since 2005, defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime.

And what was the Bronco’s reward for  Tim Tebow’s  performance? A trade..instigated by John Elway for Payton Manning..sending Tebow to the Jets where he was humiliatingly buried in the roster. Tebow’s reaction?  “I’ll work hard and do the best I can for my team.”  His reward from the foul mouthed Jets head coach, Rex Ryan? Embarrassing treatment and minimum play followed by a  trade after the trade deadline. An evil move which virtually assured that Tim Tebow had little chance of being picked up by another team. Oh, the Patriots made a gesture but decided after an exhibition game that it didn’t matter what Tebow had done in the past, he was useless and had no business in professional football.

Amazing. All this is based on WHAT?     Practice and exhibition play.

Where has Tim Tebow proved his metal?

In the actual Game. When the chips are down. He finds a way to overcome and find victory.

Yet no coach..no owner.. NOT ONE will take a chance on him even though they’ve seen the intangible gift he possesses for winning with their own eyes.

Hey Lund are you saying God is on Tim Tebow’s side?

Well, I can’t help but think of the Oscar winning movie from 1981, “Chariots of Fire”, in which Eric Liddell of Scotland, a devout Christian and outstanding athlete, was ostracized  for refusing to run on Sunday during the 1924 Olympic games in Paris. He went on to compete as an underdog in the 400 meter race carrying a note handed to him with the scripture from 1st Samuel which said “those who honor me I will honor.”  When he won, the theater audience cheered just as crowds at the Olympics did some fifty years earlier. Yet when Tebow takes a knee to give thanks to God in public for his strength and success, he’s scorned by many for wearing his Christianity on his sleeve.  There’s one way to settle this once and for all, of course.  And that’s for some team to bring Tebow aboard and START him at the position he was born to play…quarterback.

But even the Jacksonville Jaguars owner who is known for his outgoing personality, crazy promotions and losing franchise, seems blind to the possibilities of what Tim Tebow could mean to his struggling team  both on the field and at the gate.

So, sadly,  it’s unlikely that Tebow will wind up with my Vikings either. After all, how could a team like the Vikings ever find success with a quarterback that scrambles around in the backfield like a scared jackrabbit?

Oh, yeah. There was this guy.

tebow fran

 

 

Hot Hot Hot

Posted: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 7:07 am
By: Doug Lund
6 Comments | Trackback Bookmark and Share

How odd.

I’m watching TV the last several nights and that familiar weather crawl comes scrolling across the bottom of the screen announcing school closings all across Keloland. What the heck is going on? Did I fall into some sort of  Rip Van Winkle-like slumber and suddenly its wintertime; with blizzards keeping our kids homebound?

Nope.

Schools are curtailing their hours or not opening at all because it’s too darned hot.

Here we are at the end of August when visions of cool nights, apple cider, pumpkin patches and State Fair trips are dancing in our heads. Instead..we get this late surge of Hell; a cruel uninvited visitor who shows up on the heels of our violent spring in which ice and wind combined to ruin our trees and sour our dispositions about living in this country where tolerable weather is such a premium.

I remember squirming and being uncomfortable in the classroom as a kid but it had more to do with uncompleted homework or pop quizzes than hot humid days and schools without air conditioning.  Besides, back then, schools started when they were supposed to: on the Monday after Labor Day.

I got to thinking about how hot is too hot?

So far as I can recall from my youth, nothing was ever called off due to the heat. Cub Becker still phoned the house looking for me to haul hay bales at a dollar an hour. It didn’t matter if Bert Getz announced on KBRK radio that temperatures could hit a hundred. Uncle Johnny still needed help picking rocks on his east eighty. Harry Prendergast was still holding football practice at the high school field and mom would still fire up the stove to cook a big supper.  Don’t get me wrong, I hated the heat back then as I do now it’s just that we weren’t constantly reminded how dangerous it was; staying hydrated and all that.  Plus, we had no choice but to grin and bear it. Only a few folks in town had one of those buzzing metal boxes projecting from a window that meant cold air was being delivered on the other side. Usually it was at the house of an old couple who’d never invite a kid indoors to cool off anyway.  The drug store was our only oasis on Main Street but, you couldn’t just go in there all the time and hang out. You either bought something or got the stink eye from owner Dwayne Tupper.

A small, green oscillating fan was the only air conditioning in the Lund home and there was many a time after mowing or some other task on a scorcher of a day, I’d plant myself in front of that thing until all the perspiration had evaporated from my face leaving a salty residue behind.  I wonder if Google might have a picture of what ours looked like. Well, I’ll be darned.

vintage-GE-fan-General-Electric-oscillating-retro

Mom used to warn us boys not to get our fingers anywhere close to the metal blades of that fan so, of course, my brother Denny had to demonstrate how he could stop it without injury. That may have been what burned up the motor forcing my dad to buy a higher priced but much more effective box fan that you could actually put in the window to suck-in cool night air.

We’ve all done this: think about the worst job on an excruciatingly hot day?  Usually, being a roofer would be in the top three. Well, guess who’s having their roof shingled this week.

 

These are the hardy guys from James Roofing who luckily have some shade on this section and wisely take lots of water and rest breaks.

These are the hardy guys from James Roofing who luckily have some shade on this section and wisely take lots of water and rest breaks.

 

Even plus size guys shed their shirts on days like this and use a shingle to hide behind if some idiot wants to take your picture.

Even plus size guys shed their shirts on days like this and use a shingle to hide behind if some idiot wants to take your picture.

My kid brother, Tom, is coming home this week and hoping to play some golf with his brothers while here. He’s in very good shape..plus he’s been living in South Carolina for the last few years and become familiar with the kind of heat and humidity that has befallen Keloland. It’s going to be disappointing; I’m sure when I tell him that I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than try to play golf in heat like this. I would start the round in a golf cart and leave in an ambulance.

Maybe we can go hang out at the drug store.

A Night At The Races

Posted: Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 12:26 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I’ve been a fan of auto racing since my dad took us to the races at some small dirt track near Lake Poinsett when I was a little kid. During my two years living in Pierre, I never missed a Sunday night at Oahe Speedway..even tried my hand at it ONCE. A guy I worked with at the Red Owl grocery store talked me into going hav-sies on an old 1949 Ford racer that was well past its prime. The rules were pretty lax back then and even though the safety officials just shook their head in disbelief when we towed this heap up for inspection, they still let us on the track.

I had been pretty confident from watching up in the grandstand that I could outdrive most of those guys..but when it came my turn to line up and actually take the green flag I was scared spitless and finished dead last..so far back that I pulled off before the race ended out of embarrassment. I put my half of the car up for sale the very next week.

After moving back to Sioux Falls, I was a regular at Huset’s Speedway for a while but lost interest when they started fastening those metal awnings atop the open wheel sprint cars and demoted stock cars to peon status.

Linda and my enthusiasm has been peaked again, though, thanks to Craig Hanisch..son-in-law of our good friends, Denny and Joan Graves.  Craig began driving demolition derbies when he was a teenager..then graduated to stock cars and recently chalked up the record for most wins by any driver at his home track; I-90 Speedway just outside of Hartford. Several years ago, Craig moved from hobby stock to street stocks and has not only been tearing up the Hartford track but Huset’s too. In fact,  just last weekend, he drove his number 45 to victory in the feature race at Huset’s Speedway for the fourth time this season.

After giving up a big lead due to a late race caution, Craig Hanisch managed to fend off the contenders and take the checkered flag.

After giving up a big lead due to a late race caution, Craig Hanisch managed to fend off all contenders and take the checkered flag.

 

Another trophy and another kiss from the trophy girls.

Another trophy and another kiss from the trophy girls.

Craig’s success behind the wheel has not come without considerable sacrifice. Although he has rounded up several sponsors, it’s still a very expensive sport. He and his lovely wife, Kristin (Denny and Joan’s daughter) have had to pass on many of life’s luxuries so money could be put back into the race car for it to stay competitive . But Kristin has never flinched in support of her guy who she’s known since middle school. She rarely misses a race and other drivers have come to expect and appreciate her appearance on the infield where she passes out cookies, brownies or some other treat she’s baked up for them.

Craig gets congratulations from his number one fan, wife Kristin.

Craig gets congratulations from his number one fan, wife Kristin.

 

It's a good thing the feature race ended when it did.

It’s a good thing the feature race ended when it did.

 

Number 45' rear tire went flat when he stopped to pick up the winner's trophy.

Number 45′s rear tire went flat when he stopped to pick up the winner’s trophy.

Kristen realizes, of course, that this is a very dangerous sport and she worries constantly every time  Craig straps himself into the seat, the green flag drops and those big engines roar to life. He’s had his share of accidents too over the years but walked away from most of them. So, Kristin holds her anxiety in check because she also appreciates all the positive things that racing has brought to her family. Their two grown sons, Brandon and Beau, are terrific kids who not only adore their dad but are usually down in the pits getting their hands dirty working on the car helping him to victory or offering consolation in times of defeat.

Racing is in son Beau's blood too. But as a pit man. Preferring to leave the drving to dad.l

Racing is in son Beau’s blood too. But as a pit man. Preferring to leave the driving to dad.

Craig Hanisch is a nice guy. Just ask anybody. But his persona does change on race night when it’s all business. His focus is on crossing that finish line first and beating the other guys fair and square. That’s exactly what he did on Sunday night as Kristin, Beau, Denny, Joanie, Linda and I all sat together in one of the VIP booths that my friend, Kevin Kjergaard let us use. As Craig gradually maneuvered from fourth to first we were all screaming at the top of our lungs so loud that people way down in the grandstand were looking back wondering what was going on. When he took the checkered flag and pulled up to victory lane to accept yet another trophy..well, we were all hugging and high fiving.. relishing the moment right along with him.

Later we all went down on the infield to share our  joy and congratulations with Craig himself who, by then, had taken off his game face and returned to the modest..and reluctant..hero we know him to be.

Blurry, I know, but Joanie and Denny couldn't wait to congratulate their son in law, Craig, after the races.

Blurry, I know, but Joanie and Denny couldn’t wait to congratulate their son in law, Craig in the pits.

What a great night at the races!

It made me almost wish I could give it another try.

Linda???  Would you mind if I……

Care to see what a street stock race looks and sounds like from Craig’s perspective. Check out this video of him driving Huset’s last season. YouTube Preview Image

For God’s Sake, Give Him Corn

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I was driving down to the Keloland studios this morning and couldn’t help but notice a couple things; Hoekness  produce stand on the Austad’s east 20th street parking lot had just received another big flatbed full of sweet corn and people in the right lane were making dangerous moves across the flow of traffic so they could gain access to the  fresh piles of golden goodness stacked on that trailer.  Hoekness has finally wised up, I guess. Some marketing expert has figured out a way to make sure everybody who stops will spend at least five dollars.  In the past, you could have all the corn you could carry away at a dollar a dozen provided you bought something else from the stand; a few green beans, a tomato, a cantaloupe, green pepper or even a single potato. Now corn is actually five bucks whether you get one dozen or five.  Last week when I stopped, I left disappointed because the supply was picked way too early with under developed kernels that were more white than yellow. Sunday afternoon I gave it another try but the ears were all picked over. So, it was another disappointing departure from my favorite stand and on to the one by Lewis Eastgate where they claim the corn is local but I had my doubts since it was stuffed in what appeared to be Florida gunny sacks. Plus they don’t let you select the ears yourself.

I’d hoped to charm the indifferent young man wearing headphones that made a high pitched buzz sound when he took them off. “Pick me out six of your best ears will ya, there, pally?”  Yeah, kill ‘em with kindess, I thought, that’ll humiliate him into treating me right. Wrong. I got home and had only three ears fit to eat. I considered driving back to the stand and shoving those white cobs where the sun don’t shine but thought better of it; instead writing off the experience as further confirmation that society has long since abandoned the golden rule and couldn’t give a fat rat’s patoot about fairness.

I’m not supposed to have sweet corn anyway. Another diet, you know.

As I drove by the swimming pool, which used to be Drake Springs but is now a brand new family aquatic center, I thought about stopping to take a picture and maybe writing a blog about what a short swimming season the pools offer with everybody, including lifeguards, going back to school so dadgum early. What a waste of these beautiful late summer days and fine facilities which shut down after just a few weeks.  Maybe that proposed indoor pool is justified.  Before snapping a photo, though, I had a vision of a policeman pulling me from my car, squeezing cuffs around my wrists and putting me under arrest for being a suspected voyeur. “But officer, I was just….”  “Tell it to the judge ya perv.”   I put the Kodak away.

Boy, this whole blog sounds like I’m awfully grumpy.  Well, chalk it up to sweet corn deprivation.

Raiders Of The Lost Cars

Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm
By: Doug Lund
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I love cars; always have.

No one was more anxious to turn 16 than me so that I could get a driver’s license.  Finally, when the day arrived, my mom took me to the Brookings Country Courthouse to put an end to my anxiety.  I zipped through the written test but, during the driving part, with the examiner sitting next to me, I nervously but carefully pulled out of the courthouse parking but apparently failed to make a complete stop before entering the street. That brain fart brought a groan from the examiner and a realization for me that, even though I’d been illegally driving for a year delivering groceries for the local food store, I was about to be given a big fat fail. To make matters worse, my buddy, Don, who not only had his license but a beautiful Mercury car, asked, that night,  to see my new license as we drove to Castlewood to meet up with our girlfriends. All I had was the yellow certificate which would have satisfied most inquirers but Don noticed that it didn’t have the official stamp and seal. The jig was up and I had to confess about flunking.

My mom, bless her heart, somehow convinced the examiner to waive the usual 7day waiting period and let me re-take the test the next day.  I made darn sure I stopped this time and passed with flying colors.

I couldn’t wait to show Don my fully notarized license.

Don shared my love of automobiles but he actually possessed the ability to work on them and make repairs if  need be. He also talked me into helping him build a genuine hot rod out of an old Model T shell located behind a shop his dad owned. I wasn’t much help during the construction process but it was sure fun..albiet a bit scary..to drive the thing when it was done.

 

This is the hot rod that Don and I ..well mostly Don..built in the early sixties. We eventually sold it to Denny Nagel who is seen here behind the wheel. Sadly he doesn't know what happened to it.

This is the hot rod that Don and I ..well mostly Don..built in the early sixties. We eventually sold it to Denny Nagel who is seen here behind the wheel. Sadly he doesn’t know what happened to it.

My first car was a 1949 Ford that belonged to my Uncle Arnold and Aunt Mabel. It was anything but cool, but got me through the first few years of my early married life. Next, was a 1959 Thunderbird that had belonged to a friend. It was gorgeous and absolutely fantastic to drive but it had a bad engine and was a money pit. Next was a 1967 Mustang..a car I’d dreamed about since they first came out in 1964. It was fine until an accident on the way to Milwaukee one winter. My friend, Don, actually fixed the damage but the car was never the same.

Since then, I’ve owned a fleet of Lincolns, an MGB, and a Chevy Camaro Z 28..none of which were what you might call “classics” but still designed to turn a few heads which is fun.

As mentioned, I have a real limited mechanical ability but I love watching others work on cars and tune-in all those TV shows that feature automobile restoration and repair.

Okay, so where you going with this Lund?

Well, many years ago, Linda and I were enjoying a distilled beverage with our desert daughter in a Phoenix, Arizona watering hole. A gentleman seated next to me struck up a conversation about the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction taking place that week just up the road in Scottsdale. When he learned we were from the Midwest and that I was a TV news guy, he perked up and asked if I’d ever heard of a dealership in  Nebraska with a huge number of brand new vehicles that have been tucked away in storage; some for over fifty years. He then proceeded to tell me this tale about an old guy and his wife who had run a highly successful Chevy dealership in Pierce, Nebraska since 1946. If a new car didn’t sell, they’d park it in the warehouse and pretty much forget about it.  I had my doubts about the validity of this fella’s claims which, if true, would amount to the Holy Grail for collectors. But my affinity for automobiles and the reporter in me pressed for more information. Unfortunately, that was about all he knew. He’d never actually seen any of the cars but swore they were there.

The internet back then wasn’t quite as advanced as today and I didn’t have much luck searching for information about this mysterious stash of new\old vehicles and I pretty much wrote off the guy’s story….until just a few weeks ago when I learned that the car collection not only exists but is going to be sold at auction at the end of September.

 

Warehouses are jammed with new old cars. Most have never been licensed or driven more than a mile or two.

Warehouses are jammed with new old cars. Most have never been licensed or driven more than a mile or two.

Yvette VanDerBrink, “the little Nordstrom gal” who grew up in Garretson and whose dad and brother run Nordstroms auto recyclers,  will conduct the sale and has unveiled a couple videos on her web site about this automotive time capsule. VanDerBrink Auctions

YouTube Preview Image

Ted and Mildred Lambrecht, who owned and operated the dealership until 1996, are both in their 90’s now and decided to let everything..including thousands of car parts and automobilia..go to the highest bidder at the Pierce, Nebraska golf course September 28th and 29.th

Mildred behind the wheel of a first year Chevy Corvette in 1953.

Mildred behind the wheel of a first year Chevy Corvette in 1953.

Ray behind the parts desk of his dealership. He was one of GM's top Chevy franchises from 1946 to 1996. That's his son Mark on the left and Roy the mechanic.

Ray behind the parts desk of his dealership. He was one of GM’s top Chevy franchises from 1946 to 1996. That’s his son Mark on the left and Roy the mechanic.

What follows are more photos of this incredible discovery and sale which promises to bring-in collectors from all over the country and hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Lambrecht family.

A 1959 Chevy sees the light of day for the first time in over fifty years. It's dusty dirty but Yvette says it still has that new car smell when you open the door.

A 1959 Chevy sees the light of day for the first time in over fifty years. It’s dusty dirty but Yvette says it still has that new car smell when you open the door.

 

 

Imagine the feeling of driving off in a brand new 55 Chevy.

Imagine the feeling of driving off in a brand new 55 Chevy. (I’ve been advised this is a 56 not 55)

With just ONE mile on her.

With just ONE mile on her.

How about being the first owner of this Vette?

How about being the first owner of this Vette?

Never had the plastic seat protectors removed.

Never had the plastic seat protectors removed.

Nor has this sixties era Impala.

Nor has this sixties era Impala.

While many of the new old cars have been indoors..some were not.

While many of the new old cars have been indoors..some were not.

Ray and Mildred's kids had the ultimate pedal car; a 53 Corvette.It's for sale too.

Ray and Mildred’s kids had the ultimate pedal car; a 53 Corvette.It’s for sale too.

I sure wouldn’t mind attending this sale but I can’t find our checkbook.

Linda???

 

 

 

Back From Alaska

Posted: Friday, August 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Our first day back home and it’s raining which seems odd since we just left some of the world’s traditional rainy spots, Ketchikan, Alaska, (which was sunny on both days of our visit) Vancouver, Canada and Seattle, Washington which both are undergoing one of the worst droughts in memory.

The view from our stateroom as the ship pulled into Vancouver, BC.

The view from our stateroom as the ship pulled into Vancouver, BC.

In my recent blogs, I’ve been raving about the great luck those of us on the Alaska tour have had; whether it’s seeing lots of wild animals and crystal clear views of mountains and glaciers, but our good fortune hit a snag on the drive from Vancouver to Seattle. About four miles from the U.S./Canadian border, our bus broke down and we were stuck on the side of the road waiting for a replacement. I should point out that it wasn’t a Holiday Vacations motor coach that had trouble but one leased by the company for the 4 hour trip.  Amazingly, most of the 45 people aboard took the incident in stride and good humor. I, on the other hand, sat in the back with my head down fuming to myself about being cooped up without air conditioning in this aluminum tube along a busy interstate  just waiting to be slammed into from behind by a guy driving a big rig who had taken his eyes off the road for a split second to grab the mic on his CB radio to chat with a good buddy about how boring this stretch of road is. 

“Oh, Lord..please grant me the ability to be patient. And grant it to me NOW!”

Never did hear the exact reason for the why the engine stopped. It had something to do with an environmental device on the new buses that stores unspent diesel fumes to be burned as fuel. Anyway, that got screwed up and then the computer prevented any kind of manual over ride.

The replacement bus actually showed up in less than an hour so after doing a little ditch dance stepping from one bus to the other and switching luggage (with the help of two strong gentlemen from our tour) we were on our way.

You can see it was a pretty steep ditch as we gingerly transfer buses.

You can see it was a pretty steep ditch as we gingerly transfer buses.

 

Our replacement driver was also a diesel mechanic who was glad to get out of the grease and back on the road for a few hours.

Our replacement driver was also a diesel mechanic who was glad to get out of the grease and back on the road for a few hours.

Other than that little snag the vacation was perfect but it’s good to be home.

I promised those on our tour that I’d post a few more photos from the journey for the benefit of their families, friends and any other Lund at Large readers who’ve been following along on the blog.

Several of us tried our hand at flinging arrows from an ancient weapon that preceded the bow by ten thousand years. It was used to bring down woolly Mammoths but all would have escaped our feeble attempts.

Several of us tried our hand at flinging arrows from an ancient weapon that preceded the bow by ten thousand years. It was used to bring down woolly Mammoths but all would have escaped our feeble attempts.

Even when there's a bit of a drizzle, Alaska and the Yukon beg to be photographed.

Even when there’s a bit of a drizzle, Alaska and the Yukon beg to be photographed.

Bumpity  bump on the ALCAN highway.

Bumpity bump on the ALCAN highway.

The little Arctic Ground Squirrels..perhaps tired of running from foxes and eagles in Denali National Park, pleads with one of our folks to help him escape.

This little Arctic Ground Squirrel..perhaps tired of running from foxes and eagles in Denali National Park, pleads with one of our folks to help him escape.

Another Denali Park photo  op.

Another Denali Park photo op.

Also in Denali, Lana Crawford gives a not-so-subtle hint to her husband, Todd.

Also in Denali, Lana Crawford gives a not-so-subtle hint to her husband, Todd.

Holland America ship, Volendam docked in Ketchikan. Not as big as a lot of  ocean liners but just right for the mostly grown  up passengers who it caters to.

Holland America ship, Volendam docked in Ketchikan. Not as big as a lot of ocean liners but just right for the mostly grown up passengers to whom it primarily caters.

Our driver and host, Todd and Teresa. We couldn't have had any  better. Both said, in all sincerity, it was the most fun group they'd ever had.

Our driver and host, Todd and Teresa. We couldn’t have had any better and both said, in all sincerity, it was the most fun group they’d ever had.

But now it’s back to reality. I just made out the bills and, after two weeks, the yard is screaming for a haircut.

 

Glacier Bay

Posted: Monday, July 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm
By: Doug Lund
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Sitting here on the outdoor balcony of a bar/restaurant in Ketchikan, Alaska. It has WiFi and a plug-in so I can bring you up to  speed on this vacation we’re on that absolutely defies description because of the weather we’ve had. We boarded Holland/America’s Volendam cruise ship Saturday afternoon in Skagway and set sail that evening for our Sunday cruise through Glacier Bay. HollandAmerica is one of only a few cruise lines whose ships are allowed in the bay and to snuggle up close the glaciers..especially the  Tidewater Glacier which put on quite a show for us. Well, take a look at a few of the pictures from the last few days.

Okay to be honest, we haven't had fair weather every day. The one exception was our long drive to Skagway.

Okay to be honest, we haven’t had fair weather every day. The one exception was our long drive to Skagway.

But the clouds broke by the time we boarded the White Pass train that takes us over the same trail as sour doughs took during the gold rush of 1898.

But the clouds broke by the time we boarded the White Pass train that takes us over the same trail as sour doughs took during the gold rush of 1898.

The ship's captain suggested we get up early for some great pictures of Glacier Bay. Linda and I were on deck, practically alone, at 5 a.m. But it was almost worth it.

The ship’s captain suggested we get up early for some great pictures of Glacier Bay. Linda and I were on deck, practically alone, at 5 a.m. But it was almost worth it.

With promises of a rare sunny day, the fog that hovered over the water couldn't and didn't last long.

They now have real comfortable chairs in the Crow's Nest. Perfect for sitting back and taking in some of the most beautiful views on earth.

They now have real comfortable chairs in the Crow’s Nest. Perfect for sitting back and taking in some of the most beautiful views on earth.

This is one of about a dozen glaciers in the bay. Seeing the mountains in the distance was a special bonus.

This is one of about a dozen glaciers in the bay. Seeing the mountains in the distance was a special bonus.

At the end of the Bay is a dirty glacer stained by earth as it retreats backward as most glaciers are doing now.

At the end of the Bay is a dirty glacer stained by earth as it retreats  as most glaciers are doing now.

As soon as the ship pulled close, a huge chunk of Marjarie glacier let loose and crashed into the sea. It was the first of about a dozen calvings in the hour we were there.

As soon as the ship pulled close, a huge chunk of Marjarie glacier let loose and crashed into the sea. It was the first of about a dozen major calvings in the hour we were there.

Here you see Linda's hand pointing to, what one crew member said was the biggest calving he'd seen. Unfortunately, all I managed to catch was the splash which was large enough to rock the ship a little.

Here you see Linda’s hand pointing to, what one crew member said was the biggest calving he’d seen. Unfortunately, all I managed to catch was the splash which was large enough to rock the ship a little.

We did get off our butts and out on the deck. Everybody smiled as the captain announced how lucky we were to have witnessed such a glorious day and glacier display.

We did get off our butts and out on the deck. Everybody smiled as the captain announced how lucky we were to have witnessed such a glorious day and glacier display.

Alaska 2013 cruise day two 037

We've seen moose, fox, bears, caribou, Mt. McKinley and so many of the things people go to Alaska for. Linda and I said the only thing to make the journey complete would be to spot a whale through the Inside Passage. Within minutes we started seeing the tell tale sprays of exhaling whales then, sure enough, two Humpbacks surfaced showing off their tails. Mission accomplished. intospotted two

We’ve seen moose, fox, bears, caribou, Mt. McKinley and so many of the things people go to Alaska for. Linda and I said the only thing to make the journey complete would be to spot a whale through the Inside Passage. Within minutes we started seeing the tell tale sprays of exhaling whales then, sure enough, two Humpbacks surfaced showing off their tails. Mission accomplished. This photo..sans whales..was taken from our stateroom.

Formal night aboard ship. Here are just a few of our fellow travelers from Keloland all dressed up for dinner.

Formal night aboard ship. Here are just a few of our fellow travelers from Keloland all dressed up for dinner.

Ketchikan is always rainy but not for us.

Ketchikan is always rainy but not for us.

This will probably conclude the Alaska blogs for this time. Love to have you along on any of these adventures with Linda and me. We'd have to go some to top this tour but it will be fun trying

This will probably conclude the Alaska blogs for this time. Love to have you along on any of these adventures with Linda and me. We’d have to go some to top this tour but it will be fun trying

Way Off Line

Posted: Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 11:26 am
By: Doug Lund
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Ufdah…no WiFi for three days. The wilderness and isolation up here in the Yukon is both exhilarating and frustrating but no worries other than being unable to post any of the pictures I’ve tried to capture of this incredible place and the people taking part in our Keloland/Holiday Vacations Alaska Adventure. Here are a few shots from earlier in the week.

 

Another sunny day as we headed to the gold mine to do some pannin'. First a little train takes us through the site.

Another sunny day as we headed to the gold mine to do some pannin’. First a little train takes us through the site.

On site is one of the few remaining big time dredges in Alaska.

On site is one of the few remaining big time dredges in Alaska.

After the ride, everybody is given a little bag of dirt to pan for the gold that's inside. Linda and I scored a combined 25 dollars worth this year.

After the ride, everybody is given a little bag of dirt to pan for the gold that’s inside. Linda and I scored a combined 25 dollars worth this year.

Alaska 2013 day 5 008

Nice nuggets Linda.

Nice nuggets Linda.

Back to Fairbanks for our Riverboat ride.

Back to Fairbanks for our Riverboat ride.

We had a surprise visit from Roslyn South Dakota native, Dave Monson who was married to five time Idtarod champion Susan Butcher who died of Lukemia in 2006.

We had a surprise visit from Roslyn South Dakota native, Dave Monson who was married to five time Idtarod champion Susan Butcher who died of Lukemia in 2006.

I’m running out of battery on my laptop now so will post of few more pictures of the final leg of our land journey here in the Great White North when we get to Ketchikan.

We have completed most of the land journey now and are about to board our Holland America Cruise ship where we’ll sail into Glacier Bay and then down the Inside Passage to Vancouver..then motor coach our way to Seattle and fly home.  Yes, it is going too fast..due in part to our excellent Tour Guide, Teresa, and our good humored driver, Todd but mostly thanks to a real fun bunch of travelers who have been extra special. Everybody’s having a ball.

Alaska In The Clear

Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 11:22 am
By: Doug Lund
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I’m going to quickly run out of adjectives in attempting to describe our first four days in Alaska because even though this is Linda and my fourth tour here, we’ve never seen it like this before; bright sunshine and mild..even warm..temperatures.  Because the weather has been so beautiful, the state is showing off like never before; a proud peacock letting down here guard. There’s a saying up here that you take what Alaska gives you. More often than not, she chooses to be mighty but mysterious with overcast skies and mist shrouding the magnificent  mountains  allowing us only occasional glimpses of their enormity. But this time, Alaska is baring it all with colors and views that have even the locals saying “WOW.”  I’m afraid my little Kodak can’t come close to capturing its splendor but I had to try.

Our first stop out of Anchorage was the Idiarod headquarters outside Wassila, Sarah Palen's hometown. We actually drove by her house. I looked but couldn't see Russia from there though. Here, some members of our group get a sled dog ride.

Our first stop out of Anchorage was the Idiarod headquarters outside Wassila, Sarah Palen’s hometown. We actually drove by her house. I looked but couldn’t see Russia from there though. Here, some members of our group get a sled dog ride.

They claim the dogs love to run. They seem happy enough, I guess.

Everytime we've been here, Linda has held one of the sled dog puppies. These are the youngest we've seen.

Everytime we’ve been here, Linda has held one of the sled dog puppies. These are the youngest we’ve seen.

 

At first glance, I thought Joyce Nilles had stolen one of the cute little pups..but it's just a realistic toy from the Iditarod gift shop. That's her husband Jim posing beside her.

At first glance, I thought Joyce Nilles had stolen one of the cute little pups..but it’s just a realistic toy from the Iditarod gift shop. That’s her husband Jim posing beside her.

 

Our first glimpse of "The Tall One" Mount McKinley's South Face. This is a good sign, Denali has been covered in clouds on our last two visits.

Our first glimpse of “The Tall One” Mount McKinley’s South Face. This is a good sign, Denali has been covered in clouds on our last two visits. It’s right above the lady’s head on the right.

 

The only downside to getting around Alaska is the road construction. Delays of up to an hour aren't uncommon. Here our tour guide provides some information while we wait out the delay.

The only downside to getting around Alaska is the road construction. Delays of up to an hour aren’t uncommon. Here our tour guide provides some information while we wait out the delay.

 

Our wildlife tour through Daenali.We saw lots of bear, moose, caribou, foxes and more but the star of the show was this.

Our wildlife tour through Daenali.We saw lots of bear, moose, caribou, foxes and more but the star of the show was this.

Only ten percent of those who tour the park get to see Mt. McKinley like this unobstructed by any clouds. It's awe inspiring.

Only ten percent of those who tour the park get to see Mt. McKinley like this unobstructed by any clouds. It’s awe inspiring.

 

Our tour guide, Teresa who grew up in Alaska and has been to Denali dozens of times has never seen the mountain this clear. She must have taken a hundred photos. One of the guys on our tour said he hasn't seen a woman that excited since his wedding night.

Our tour guide, Teresa who grew up in Alaska and has been to Denali dozens of times has never seen the mountain this clear. She must have taken a hundred photos. One of the guys on our tour said he hasn’t seen a woman that excited since his wedding night.

Believe it or not, the mountain is still 40 miles away.

Believe it or not, the mountain is still 40 miles away.

 

Our perfect day was made complete with dinner outdoors at the Alaska Salmon Bake in Fairbanks.

Our perfect day was made complete with dinner outdoors at the Alaska Salmon Bake in Fairbanks.

 alaska day 3 (11)

One more view of Denali. Gotta run now to catch the bus. We’re going pannin’ for gold and a riverboat ride today. Wish you were here.