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Trip 41 Monday – Thursday April 26 – 29, 2010

Posted in: Alpha by Radar on April 30, 2010

Who:  Munchkin, Chunkie, Rooster, Radar

Site:  Alpha

Menu:   Steaks, fish, shrimp and more from Radar’s store closing. Also, full breakfasts including bisquits & gravy.

Wx:  Cool and cloudy Monday. Warming with sunshine  & full moon Tue-/Thu.  Lows upper 30s, highs in upper 70s.



Monday the crew met at Dexter at 9am and stocked the chuckwagon for the trip. The caravan arrived at Camp Alpha just after noon. After a quick wood run we had Bratwursts grilled on campfire for supper. We had two chainsaws, but no gas can. We managed a good load of wood regardless. Chunkie forgot the poles and hardware for his tent, so he bunked in the tent with Munchkin who became  ill during the night and left for home before daylight. Don’t know if there is any connection there.

Tuesday the three remaining gangsters made a wood run and took a bicycle ride. First trip for Roosters new cruiser three speed bike. Weather stayed cool and damp until about 3pm.  We drove up to the lookout to call and check on Munchkin who was still not feeling well, but resting at home.  Chunkie called home and found out one of his grand daughters and also, his mother in-law were both in the hospital. We returned to camp and Chunkie loaded up and went home, also.  Radar and Rooster had steak, shrimp, mushrooms and salad for supper and turned in fairly early after watching a spectacular moon rise.

Wednesday the two remaining campers had a big breakfast and organized camp. We then made a road trip to Johnson’s Shut In’s to see the changes after reopening  from the Taum Sauk reservoir collapse. We walked the hiking trail and boardwalk and drove through the new camping area. On the return trip we circled through Sutton’s Bluff and stopped and unloaded the bikes from the van and took a bike ride before returning to camp. When we got to camp we had visitors. A childhood friend of Rooster’s, Jesse Rayfield, who now lives in Hawaii, along with his pal from Kentucky, John, were sitting in camp waiting for us to return.  Jesse had camped with Rooster and family on Black River back in the eighties.  Jess and John joined us for fish, shrimp ,and salad at supper and left before dark.  Radar and Rooster had a mixed drink or two and turned in about midnight.

Thursday morning we had snack cakes for breakfast and took our time packing up the camp. We pulled out for home late morning and stopped for a picnic lunch at the roadside park near Ellington. We had an uneventful trip on home.


On arrival at Mark Twain Forest turn off Monday we found that the skyline road was being resurfaced all the way to the Sutton’s Bluff turn off. Illness and sickness in family left Rooster and I to fend for ourselves Tuesday night through Thursday.

Nice trip to Johnson Shut In’s on Wed and verified that they are still closed to campers. Had visitors; Rooster’s friend from Hawaii and his buddy. They joined us for a fish fry for supper.  Had to scrounge for ready sized firewood becase I forgot to bring chain saw fuel.  Another bike ride ended the evening.

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Trip 40 Thursday-Sunday Oct 1 – 4, 2009

Posted in: Bravo by Radar on October 6, 2009

Who:  Chunkie, Rooster, Radar

Site:  Bravo   – Chuckwagon, tent, Blazer

Wx:  Perfect fall wx. Lows mid 30s Highs 70.  Breezy

Menu:  Grilled chicken quarters, pork steak, BBQ beans, T-bone steaks, fried potatoes, hamhock and beans,bacon, sausage, eggs, fried bologna.

Photos:  Click Here or Scroll Down



First Octoberfest trip in several years. Weather is perfect. All went for walk to spring Friday. Later made a circle to Sutton’s Bluff and got firewood. Solved timing for retirement. Met some new camp friends from St.Louis area. Enjoyed several walks and many hours sitting around campfire. We plan to start doing Octoberfest trips again – my favorite time for camping.


I rode up with Rooster this trip. Arrived at 3:30pm and set up camp. Chunkies chicken quarters for supper & nice campfire chat until turning in about 10:30.  Friday we made a couple of hiking trips around area and truck circle to Sutton’s Bluff. Had campfire debates about politics and retirement timing with plenty of refreshments untill midnight.  Saturday morning I made up an egg omelet recipie that all enjoyed.  Rooster and I took a couple mile hike while Chunkie recovered from cutting his thumb tip nearly off with a limb saw while doing some unnecessary chore. On our return to camp he had recovered and had the bleeding stopped.  We socialized with another camping group several times. We had one of the best 1-1/2 ” thick T-bone steaks I’ve ever had for supper – prepared by Chunkie.


First trip for the extra large food cooler on the chuck wagon. It works great with a couple of very large ice blocks, allowing all the food to fit in one cooler. We met some folks from Farmington camping in a couple of motorhomes at the lookout point. Visited back and forth a few times over the weekend. They really enjoyed a sample of our campfire hamhocks and beans. We saw several deer tracks on our walks. We used walking sticks on our hikes, so we brought home some good hackberry and oak limbs to make some permanent walking sticks. Radar captured a box turtle for his grandson. I hope it doesn’t wind up like the honey he packed away on a previous trip.

We missed Munchkin on this trip and hope he can make it for the next one.

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Trip 39 Wed – Sun, June 24-28, 2009

Posted in: Bravo by Radar on June 30, 2009

Who: Munchkin, Radar, Mayor-Rooster, Chunkie, Shane, Bumble Bee,  and 4
youngsters Dalton, Steven, Alex M., Alex S.  plus two dogs – Birdie
& Sarge

Site: Bravo.  Tents, cot, Blazer, chuck wagon, van.

Menu:  Grab Bag – Everyone brought their own food and supplies this trip.

Weather: Hot and humid. 15 minute shower Fri am. Highs 90’s, Lows 60’s.

Photos:  Click Here or Scroll Down

First, comments from the four youngsters who were asked to write in the journal their favorite part of the camping trip

The Dalton Gang
  • Dalton: Sitting around the camp fire telling stories and catching fish. Making a dam in the water.
  • Steven: I really enjoyed catching crawdads, tadpoles, fishing and
    swimming. All four of us jumped off the rope swing. I really enjoyed
    sitting around the fire and making smores.
    Camp CoonI also enjoyed sleeping in the tent and seeing raccoons and walking to the spring with Mr. Chunkie and Mr. Denny.
    We also shot fireworks Saturday night. Thanks for reading the journal.
  • Alex M: Being with my friends, fishing, catching tadpoles, and swimming.
  • Alex S: Having fun!!!
In photo above from left to right are:  Dalton; Steven;Alex
M;Alex S
Time Out to Eat

Now comments from the grown up kids:

Radar: When I arrived around 8am Wed. the road to Bravo was impassable. The storms a few weeks back blew several large trees down blocking the road. I managed to circumvent some fallen trees and made it to Camp Alpha only to find it fully occupied by several tents of strangers.  I drove around the area a while waiting for Bumble Bee and the boys he was bringing to arrive. Somehow I missed him early. With
his chain saw and new Jeep he made his way into Camp Bravo. We finally connected about 11am and he led me through the new path to Bravo. We spent the day setting up camp, relaxing and enjoying the weather along the river.
Chunkie: As always – trip was great. Radar and I made a 5 mile hike to turnoff on ridgetop and back. Rooster and I talked about this trip being historic since Lee and Shane  brought the boys. This is looking
at the future, keeping the tradition so the Black River Gang will continue for many years to come. Of course, we plan to make many more trips before we pass the torch to the youngsters in twenty years or so.
Bumble Bee: Bringing 4 boys camping seemed like a good idea from town and after 4 days in the woods it is still a good idea.  Everyone enjoyed watching them and playing games on – and with- them. I got to
do more fishing than usual and actually snuk off early one morning with Shane to float and fish. Great times!
Shane: The trip here was a little adventurous, but we finally made it around 2am Thursday morning. The fishing was great. I think I’m getting the hang of river fishing. Got to spend some time with Lee,
Radar, Munchkin, Chunkie, & Rooster. They are a bunch of great guys. Enjoyed Radar’s magic show for the boys. The float trip down to Suttons Bluff with the boys was a lot of fun. All in all it was a great
trip with a bunch of funny guys at a great place. Can’t wait to come back next trip.
Rooster: There was a sudden 15 minute shower Friday am while most adults were gone hiking or fishing. Munchkin, Rooster, and the four youngsters scurried to put rain flys on the tents and cover what we could. Dalton even thought to put the T-top on Lee’s new jeep. Every thing in camp got a little wet, but dried out quickly when the sun returned and temps hit the 90s.  Friday night around the campfire Radar taught the four boys (ages 10-12) the ritual of homage to the three camp spirits; OWAH, TAGU, & SIAM.  They were also treated to a snipe hunt. No snipes, but plenty of fun. The mayor told the story of the glutchmaker, but the audience had mostly dozed off by the end. Everyone shared cooking duties this trip. Under Bumble Bee’s supervision the boys were very good at doing the camp chores they were assigned. Munchkin pulled out Saturday morning.  Everyone else packed up and pulled out about 9:30 Sunday morning.  As a parting gesture Bumble Bee ceremonially burned Rooster’s straw hat with duct tape hatband. Other than one speeding ticket  in the group the trips home were uneventful.

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Trip 36: Thu-Sun, July 26-29, 2007

Posted in: Alpha by Radar on July 28, 2007

Who: Munchkin, Radar, Chunkie, Mayor

Site: Camp Alpha

Menu: Grilled Chicken, taters, slaw, chuck roast, bacon, sausage, bisquits & gravy.

Weather: 90s day, 70s nights.

Summary: Radar arrived 7pm. Munchkin, Rooster, & Chunkie already here. Finished setting up and planned kayak trip for Friday. Mayor and I did coon watch till 2am. We did a 4 hour kayak trip to Sutton’s Bluff Friday. We took the Kayak shuttle bus (Radar’s streatch van) and left it at the Bluff earlier for a ride back to camp after the float trip. Left camp at 1pm and arrived at Bluff at 5pm. Decided that 6″ more water would be ideal and should do this in May each year for higher stream flows. I saw a 6 foot long cottonmouth swim between my legs during kayak trip. (Actually it was only 2 feet long and a harmless brown water snake.) It really didn’t swim between my legs, but the last sentence makes a better tale. After the float and a good supper prepared by the Mayor, we retired a little earlier than usual. – Radar

Munchkin came over from the lake through Sam A. Baker park and arrived about 11am Thu. Gathered firewood and policed area waiting for camp mates to arrive. Bettered my buddy, Chunkie in one regard this trip. I was first to draw blood from knife cut. Group arrived about 5pm.  Friday we made a fine float and took several good pics. Two kayak teams assigned – blue team and yellow team. Rooster alerted by me of hearing water gurgling from his inflatable kayak. Chunkie allowed that I couldn’t hear gurgling. Turned out to be a leak. Just made it to take out at Sutton Bluff before #3 chamber deflated. Limo ride back to camp in S&D luxury kayak haulers streatch van. Float time 4 hours with beer breaks and body surfing by some.  Chunkie broke trail on one bad overhang. Looked like he had been in a gang fight when he emerged on other side. First trip for battery fan in tent. – Munchkin

Radar & Munchkin pretty well summarize this trip. All activities rate 12 on a 10 scale. Radar fixed breakfasts which equal Justin Wilson’s fine cusine. Several action pics taken on float trip. Grilled chuck roast and Radar’s taters & onions with Mayor’s slaw for supper Sat. I was not feeling well Sat morning, but after several pork chops in a can ordered by Munchkin, I felt much better. Much discussion about having a full moon Fri night. Mayor allows the full moon will be Sat night & will be a blue moon. Suppose we will find out later. – Chunkie

Research later determined Sat was, indeed, a blue moon. (Second full moon in calander month).

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Trip 35: Thr-Sun, May 10-13, 2007

Posted in: Bravo by Radar on May 13, 2007

Who: Chunkie, Rooster, Tucker

Site: Camp Bravo

Menu: Ham & beans, sirloin steak, P. sausage, snacks.

Weather: Showers enroute Thu. 80/48. Shower Fri pm 68deg high. Soggy and 48deg Sat am. Then clear and sunny.

Summary: Set up camp in dark. Sat around fire till 12:30. Friday Chunkie & Tucker five mile bike ride/run to Charlie, Delta, and low water bridge. Put beans on campfire and made wood run. Called wives and told them no double insurance – we are still kicking.  Lots of wood ticks around this trip. Having to check Tucker several times a day for ticks.

Chunkie & Tucker maed trip to the Pines Sat. Folks were camping with families. Saw 2 deer, 1 rabbit & squirrel on ride. Tucker chased deer into the hills. Took swim at high noon. – Chunkie

High was 85 deg Sat evening. Turned in early. Temp at sunup Sunday 42 deg. Coffee & cookies, then packed up. Left at 10am. Chunkie hit a stump leaving camp. Minor damage to front bumper. Otherwise – great trip. – Rooster

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