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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 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 37: Thu-Sun, July 17-20, 2008

Posted in: Alpha by Radar on July 20, 2008

Who: Munchkin, Radar, Mayor

Site: Camp Alpha – Tent, cot, Blazer, chuckwagon, trucks.

Weather: Mild & Sunny. Highs 80s, lows 60s. AM fog. Showers Sat.

Summary: Munchkin pulled chuckwagon over & arrived about noon Thu. Radar & Rooster left work at 10:30 & drove over together arriving about 2pm. Troubled by several mosquitos late evening. Bats must be on vacation. Kayak run to rope swing & cave Friday. Radar sprung leak in seam just like Mayor’s last year. Good burger steak & mayo grilled corn on cob supper. Turned in about 11pm Fri. – Rooster

Surprisingly mild wx for mid July. Low humidity & low 80s temps – fine sleeping. Nasty bout with mosquitos Friday. Float to swing Friday. Perfection finally achieved in buiscuits from new camp oven. Float trip to Suttons Bluff Sat. proved catastrophic for me. About 1/3rd of the way after leaving camp I also suffered a leak in the notorious seam on my kayak. I was left to pull kayak remainder of distance – stumbling across slick rocks. Finally got Radar to carry deflated kayak the final leg. River up some. Fewer portages than last year. Radar to call Coleman to inform them of design flaw in leaky kayak seams. Hopefully we’ll get some compensation or incentives.  Fine dining as usual. I filled in for Chunkie on evening eals. Camp site in good condition on arrival. No beer for me this trip. No airshows this time. Faulty moon. I’ll leave itat that as “food for thought” for next year’s look back. K.C. Strip Steak, fried taters, slaw, sliced tomatoes, and river chilled watermelon on tonights menu, so better sign off and get busy. – Munchkin

I was the breakfast cood for this trip. Prepared fried squirrel & eggs Fri morning. Everyone bragged about the scrambled squirrel eggs (See recipes) that I fixed for Sat breakfast. Our annual Kayak trip was enjoyed by all but Munchkin who wound up hiking most of the way. We missed Chunkie this trip since we had no one to pick on. – Radar

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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 34: Thur-Sun, April 19-22, 2007

Posted in: Alpha,Bravo by Radar on April 22, 2007

Who: Munchkin, Mayor, Radar, Bumble Bee, Duke

Site: Bravo – Alpha – Bravo

Menu: Bologna stick, Polish sausage, Taco soup, West Fork pot roast.

Weather: Clear 68/28 Thu. 78/36 Fri. 80/38 Sat. Light wind.

Summary: Munchkin arrived first about 4pm Thu.  After setting up camp heard Mayor & Radar pulling up. The silly bxxtards waved, circled toward Camp Charlie & headed out to Alpha. Daylight fading. Walked down road thinking I’d head them off before they made it out to road. Saw them up on Alpha road already. Ran hollering and waving to get their attention. Too much effort for an old man. Retreated to camp and hopped on scooter and made for Alpha. Told them I was here first & I wasn’t changing camps. – Munchkin

Now… the rest of the story. Munchkin had said he was coming up Friday, so Rooster & Radar thought someone else beat us to the campsite. Therefore we were going to Alpha as second choice to wait for Munchkin to arrive tomorrow. All was settled and we encamped at Bravo. Mini Luau Thu night till about 2am.

Friday made early wood run. Made calls from lookout and left Chunkie a voice mail at work. Bumble Bee and Duke arrived about 6pm. Taco soup for supper. Bed 11:30pm. Someone has cut about three trees around Bravo site. Will hurt shade eventually.

Saturday big breakfast. First bisquits in Radar’s new propane camp oven. Bumble Bee fished – no luck. West Fork pot roast in double roastpan over campfire for supper. Great day. – Rooster

Radar took a quick bath in river Sat am. Rooster went in knee deep, froze out and took pan bath. Radar went mushroom hunting but had same luck as Lee’s fishing trip.  Thought I should mention coyotes this trip. Heard two different packs several times. Sometimes only 200 yards, or so, from camp. – Munchkin

My first addition to the journal but far from my 1st trip. Make it a point to fish every time I come up. Fish aren’t anything like they used to be, but I still enjoy the solitude. Saw the biggest grey squirrel I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve seen more squirrels this trip (six or eight) than I’ve seen around here in a long time. Now if they would just go round up the goggle eyes. – Bumble Bee

Sunday morning note: Radar birthday (64) today. Got up and found a honey bun with a lit eight hour candle and a styrofoam cup with “Happy Birthday” written on side. Also solved quart jar mystery. I found a jar half full of something inside my sleeping bag when setting up Thursday. Everyone trying to figure out why I had a quart jar of something in my sleeping bag. This morning I remembered a buddy giving me a jar of honey during deer season last year. I forgot about it and it turned into greasy looking sugar mass over winter months. Also need to mention a birthday present from Munchkin. A small viewing stone. Some people would call it a rock.

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