Monday, February 19, 2018

Seven Metal Detectors

There are things I have had to do that I've only done because my nephews are part of my life. Changing diapers, geocaching, and metal detecting quickly come to mind.

Changing diapers is what it is. The little one does what he has to do, then I do what I have to do. Both jobs done well.

Geocaching is high up my Surely-You-Can-Think-Of Something-Better-To-Do™ Scale.

I like to keep moving, so stopping to clamber through undergrowth, searching for a hidden cache, is not my preferred activity. But when you have little ones bicycling along with you, it's a good way to motivate them to cycle further than they would otherwise choose. Being on a mission distracts them from boredom and imagined tiredness. A distant Dairy Queen also helps.

Near the top of my SYCTOSBTD scale is a grown man with a metal detector.

So today, Presidents Day, it was with these thoughts I set out for the home of my 9 and 10-year-old nephews to work through the mechanics of seven metal detectors with them.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Perches Above a Rail Yard

It's 1906. A man looks down from his perch high above a rail yard and the flour mills it serves. The caption for the stereograph simply reads "Huge flour mills where grain crops are made into food for the world, Minneapolis, Minnesota."

From our temporary Minneapolis Mill District home, a rented condominium, I love to stare out at a place that was once a busy rail yard serving flour mills. I imagine the complex pattern of rail tracks, the sounds of shunting locomotives, and the sulfurous smoke.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Mapping My Next Travels

On a freezing February day in Minnesota, it feels good to think about upcoming travels to warmer places. Today, I've been assembling digital and print maps.

As usual, my winter trip has several phases, each with its own mapping requirements. The trip starts in the Florida Keys and culminates in a walk from one side of Britain to the other along a national trail, the Hadrian's Wall Path. This sounds grander than the reality: the path runs from coast-to-coast at Britain's narrowest point.