I recently spent a week In our neighbor to the north, specifically the Canadian province of Manitoba. We had booked a trip with friends to a remote lodge nearly a year prior, and we were finally there! The travel brochures promised spectacular scenery and wildlife, interesting geology, world class fishing, and northern lights. I wasn’t all that interested in fishing, but I’m always interested in the other items on that list. (And the fishing turned out to be a highlight!)Continue reading
Dr Robert Olson, 1940-2022
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of my uncle, Dr. Robert Olson. After a lengthy battle with multiple myeloma that included periods of remission, he succumbed on September 15, 2022. He was a remarkable man, and there will be many tributes that capture his many talents, his professional contributions, his passion for gardening, and his strong friendships and family relations. They will all be inadequate, as is any attempt to capture the essence of a person’s life.
But to the list of inadequate tributes, I would like to add mine, an anecdote that I wrote a few years ago following a Thanksgiving dinner, one of many large and boisterous holiday gatherings that he loved to host, with his daughters handling cooking and logistics. I was able to share it with Bob in a letter, at a time of better health. He was an important influence on me during a formative period of my life.Continue reading
I intended to visit Big Bend Park and found it on my Texas road atlas southeast of Marfa—except that it was labelled “Big Bend Ranch State Park”. It had what appeared to be a major route through it, Casa Piedra Road, that I could take and see the terrain and park facilities, then continue through to the town of Presidio, where I could find lunch, and then take another major road back home.
So that was the plan. But it turns out that Big Bend Ranch State Park is entirely different from Big Bend National Park. I was confused but it didn’t matter. I missed the turnoff for the road through the park and stayed on US 67 to Presidio.
And I continued to follow US 67, thinking it would show me how to get to Big Bend Park. Eventually I found myself approaching a major checkpoint—the customs and border inspections.
I looked for a way to turn around before actually getting there, but I saw no convenient way to do this and suddenly found myself going through a covered channel with many many speed bumps—aggressive and alternating sides of the lane, then full width and strategically placed. There was no place to exit; the lane continued on and I thought maybe there would still be a turnaround opportunity. But there wasn’t, and I was now passing a long line of cars headed in the other direction, nearly all with Texas plates, stopped, waiting their turn to be inspected and pass into the U.S.Continue reading
Fort Davis is the name of the town, “Historic Fort Davis” is the reconstructed early fort, established here in the 1850’s to protect the growing number of emigrants, and the mail and freight traffic to support and supply them in the westward expansion. My national parks pass gave me entry and access to a walking tour of the fort grounds to see the buildings that have been restored, and exhibits in some of them depicting the conditions and resources of a military outpost. It was very interesting to learn of the difficult conditions on the frontier, and the life of enlisted men stationed at the fort. It is probably not so interesting to small children; a rudimentary awareness of US history is helpful. I recommend visiting in the morning, before the temperatures become excessive.Continue reading