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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 38 Thurs – Sun. April 23-26, 2009

Posted in: Bravo by Radar on April 27, 2009

Who: Radar and Rooster

Site: Bravo – Chuckwagon, Van, Tent-cot.

Menu: Baked Coon and Sweet Potatoes, Cajun Boudin, Portabello Mushrooms, Thick Pork Chops, Veggies, Baked Beans

Weather: Highs 80s, Lows 55-60. Sunny and breezy.

Photos:  Click Here or Scroll Down

Rooster’s Blazer was in shop so Radar provided Rooster a ride and sleeping quarters in the stretch van. Radar used his Cabella’s tent/cot. Radar brought a brand new lounging chair which broke Thursday night and pitched him out on the ground, resulting in a cut over eye and a strained back.
Here’s a picture; think twice before you purchase this chair.  This one came from SAMs.  Radar submitted a photo of the damage this chair did to his face on Thursday afternoon:  Chair 1 – Radar 0…
denny facebroken chairlook at brandRooster cut the leaning tree that has been under discussion for a few years.  After some effort it is now on the ground and no longer presents a danger of falling on someone.  Rooster 2, leaning tree 1. We brought enough fire wood from the January ice storm to last the first day or so. Friday we rode up to the lookout and found a bonanza of cut firewood left by prior campers. We loaded up enough to last the rest of the weekend.
We had fine cusine this trip and will be adding a couple of recipes to the recipe page as a result. The racoon baked with sweet potatos was fantastic. Cajun boudin, portabello mushrooms, and grilled thick lean pork chops made a few more fine meals accompanied by steamed veggies, baked beans, corn on the cob, or other side dishes. A couple of slow walks along the river, some unsuccessful morell mushroom hunting, and a circle through Sutton’s Bluff in the van were the only activities for the two, lone, campers this trip. Munchkin, Chunkie, and Bumble Bee had other comittments this weekend so couldn’t make this trip. All were missed. Packed up and headed home about 10:30 Sunday morning.

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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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