Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Iowa City to San Francisco in 9+ days...Day 1 images and Road Trip Lit of Note

As my friend Sean Standish is moving to the Bay area from Wisconsin and needed a travel partner, we have made the excursion to a new life and job for him into an all out road adventure. We armed ourselves with some of the best travel lit to read aloud to each other and reflect on as well--Jack Kerouac's On The Road and Mark Twain's Roughing it as well as Blue Highways: A Journey into America by William Least Heat Moon courtesy of Richard Kreitner (writer), Steven Melendez (map) 20th July 2015map and text on "American Literature's Most Epic Road Trips" (find that on Atlas Obscura) And from another road trip lit book we stumble upon Rolling Nowhere: Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes by Ted Conover, which we have also brought along.

For more articles and lists on great road trip books, I also suggest the Telegraph's list of the 20 best Travel books or the list put up in 2013 on Buzzfeed by Alex Naidus "The Ultimate US Road Trip Reading List". 

As for Sean and my great adventure... it is very much underway. And here are a couple photos from the first days for anyone interested in the images of America as seen this Aug 2015 by two lone midwestern travellers having a great time zig zagging up and down and across the United States. 

Pre-departure: Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa's old capitol
Sean Standish at the Ronald Regan table in Hamburg Inn, Iowa City, IA. Reagan was there too--in 1992. 

Day 1: Iowa City, IA to Fort Collins, CO. Across Nebraska on I-80W then down from Cheyenne, WY on I-25S, reading about Kerouac hiking practically this exact route as we drove.
Cattle grazing along a slope between Iowa City and Newton, IA

Sean Standish in front of this statue outside a MacDonald's  at a pit stop gas and breakfast break en route to Des Moines
Crossing Nebraska, suddenly farms and equiptment reveal a kind of inner beauty, symmetry
First visions of mountains as we descend I-25 from Cheyenne, WY to Fort Collins, CO where we rest for the night with friends.
It is after a generally smooth and sunny ride over the "prairies" of Iowa and the "plains" of Nebraska as Kerouac differentiated between them in On The Road, that we pull into the corner of Wyoming where we are blasted by a thundercloud, the road running like a river with water, the darkness of the cloud so sudden and then so quickly heading off so that at one moment there is sun and blue skies in the windshield and almost black skies with a violent purplish tone in the rearview mirror. We turn south towards Denver and begin to see mountains, some of the Rockys are even snow-capped. We turn off on Prospect road and pick up some drinks before heading to join a BBQ with friends in progress. It becomes a surprisingly late night of conversation and catching up. The sound of the crickets fills the air as we sit on the back porch, not being bitten by mosquitoes--this is so delightful to me after time in Canada and Wisconsin this summer. We are treated to a fabulously cozy stay in the basement and though it is only day 1, Sean and I are practically tempted to stop now and move in. But... the road beckons, and up we get the next morning and off into I-25S traffic we went! More soon...

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Thank you Luxembourg Review...

I am pleased to announce that Nathan Hassall has kindly reviewed my book CIRCUITS (corrupt press, 2013) in The Luxembourg Review (click HERE to read the full review). I am deeply thankful to Nathan for his rich, honest and in-depth review where he writes:

"Enigmatic and esoteric, Dick has created a poetry collection unlike any other I have encountered."


"One of the tasks of poetry is to make the work relevant to the day, as poems become as much of a historical artifact as they do a cultural magnifying glass on contemporary society. There are abundant times where Dick achieves this fundamental aspect of poetry."


 "...the imagery is vivid and interesting, tossing the reader between the taxing natures of mysterious wordplay and academic psychology."


"Overall, Circuits is a collection for anyone who is intrigued by science and art formulated together into poetry. Dick’s intellectual platform is fascinating and her work echoes human behaviour dressed up in metaphors using neurons, thought patterns and lab experiments."


 "Circuits is an interesting collection which captures intrigue, contemplation and inspiration..."

For anyone who is interested in knowing more about Hassall, he is the author of Nascent Illusion (2009), A Conscious Void (2011), and Of Gods and Gallows (2015) and says that he "endeavors to study an MA in English and Creative Writing at a British University in 2016". Again, the full review of Circuits by Nathan Hassall is on The Luxembourg Review at 

Monday, August 03, 2015

The fishing trip ends: Day 6 and departure

Sun. Sun. Sun. The brightness woke me early (around 7am) and I got our breakfasts going until dad woke (with a bit of nudging). The night had also been a little difficult as we had had a visitor—a little bat had made his way in and was flying like mad round the cabin in the night. We had turned on the lights and I got a few good but somewhat dark pics of him perched on a baseball cap up near the ceiling. He panicked so much at one point when dad and I stood in the middle of the room that he swooped out of our way and actually struck the pipe chimney of the wood burning stove. He actually fell to the floor, paused, then lifted his little head, gave it a tiny shake and then was up and again flying at amazing speeds round the little room. In the end, I decided to sleep in the back room with dad and leave the bat to his own. As we headed out onto the lake we mentioned this to Tom who later told us he’d found where the bat had come in and sealed up the access point—and it is true, we had no more visits. 

Before even getting into the boat the fish seemed ready to say hello—for example this big northern in the shallows by the dock (pictured above right). Off we set—dad a bit pessimistic saying that sometimes on bright days like this the fish didn’t bite. But in the end he was wrong, and our last day of fishing was a great success—we caught a lot of 18-20 inch walleye. One three occasions our walleye seemed to be getting attacked by a MUCH larger fish—evidently a northern, who managed to in fact practically slice one of the walleye I had on the line in half (yes, the walleye did not survive, to the great satisfaction of a nearby seagull who feasted on the walleye when he floated back up to the surface). After a few of these, dad actually caught a walleye which the northern snatched as he was reeling in and this time we thought we would get him—that either he was hooked, too, or would hold onto the walleye until we netted him. But when the fish got to the surface it either spotted the boat or us ogling it and saying “Woah, that’s HUGE” and off it went. This happened once again and again I thought I would manage to net it and almost did but then he let that walleye go too—one he had hard around the head and which he did hold onto for a long time at the surface. We continued catching a few more good walleye before deciding to head off and have a lunch pause.

 After pausing for a lunch on a rocky little island instead of in the boat we cast round the rocky shores of the island and both of us caught some nice northern. As we headed in we stopped one last time on the hump and caught some nice fish on our last minnows, but never “the big one” dad seemed to be hoping for on his final day.

As the afternoon started to come to a close, the boats were cleaned out and washed for the next guests and we packed and cleaned out our cabin for them too. The big plane came in with some newcomers and materials (pictured here:). 

We ate some nice fish for dinner and then got a good night sleep after a last lovely sunset before getting up at the crack of dawn to get the bags out onto the dock and await the planes. 
Last evening view of the camp (our cabin is the one to the left of the triangle) the sunset reflecting orange in the windows
The sliver of moon over the Bull Mouse main house and office building
Ducks swimming off into the rich orange glow of evening

Our gear looked quite minimal (we are the little row with no plastic boxes between the two high-piled rows below!) among the piles of some of the larger groups and we thus had an easy time getting loaded on and off the planes.

Here are a few lovely pics from our flight out—in a smaller plane this time, so we have ear muffs. I am always amazed by how the land and lakes just seem to go on forever up in Canada in this part of Ontario where there are no roads or houses or signs of man except, of course, for this little plane we were on flying over it all.

Once landed back in Red Lake (pictured here below from the water as our plane taxis back to the dock) we unpacked the plane and packed up the car, getting a final picture in before we drove the 11hours back to Lake Sisabagama, WI.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Bull Moose Camp Fishing Trip Day 5

This blog posting is, yes, a bit post-event, but it is also nice to post about the trip even though it is now over. So here's to looking back at Day 5 of my fishing trip with dad to Upper Goose Lake and Bull Moose Camp.

Though the rains had stopped and the sun was back out, the wind remained. The lake was choppy and it was difficult to stay in one spot or even to cast into shorelines as the wind would not only take the bait and fly wildly off with it but it would also push the boat too quickly in one direction or another. So, as we had already discussed, we decided to go around the bend in the lake and fish up a river that we think was called Baron’s River . We stopped at the mouth of the river and fished round a big rock and caught a few before taking the sinewy river bends, casting with little success this time until we got close to the intermediary South Lake . There, we found some nice drop offs and pulled in dozens of fairly tiny walleye. Dad felt a bit hopeless after a bit about finding anyone larger and so we passed through the edge of South Lake and then back around to where the Baron’s River continued again towards a long reed bed and around some more sinewy bends to a rapids. There, we got out of the boat and anchored it on land while we fished from shore for a bit. I caught 2 northern right up in the falls on my “flippy floppy” bait as I like to call the surface spinner (szee me pictured below with the first). Dad had gone to the other end of the falls and there he caught a walleye right away (he is pictured below trying for another and then with the 2nd surprise walleye in hand)

We paused to eat the packed sandwiches I had brought and drink a beer in the sun watching a ton of industrious ants along a nearby set of boat portage rails. Dad was peculiarly flustered by this butterfly that seemed to have taken to his shoes and which kept landing on him. I told him having a butterfly land on you was good luck.

After our pause we returned to fishing the falls a bit more and dad caught a massive tree, dragging it almost out of the water before losing his bait, then losing another, which brought our rapids fishing to a close. 

Back in the boat we went around the other side of the falls to try for more northern, but having no luck we fished the river on our return journey, getting a few near the large rock before returning to Upper Goose Lake which was still fairly wavy with some white caps. We decided to go in for a break (having been out for a little over 5 hours) and to let the wind die down. Just when we thought we would park the boat for the night Tom, from Bull Moose, told us not to give up hope and that soon the wind would calm down. So, we had an early dinner and then saw that the lake had become totally placid and clear and so off we went to fish the second hump out in the big lake.
Me pictured with the sunset in the background on Boat number 5

If you look closely a bit up to the right of the island is the lovely sliver of moon

Another amazing fiery sunset

Dad bringing the boat round as the sun sets behind him

There, we caught a great number of nice sized walleye and enjoyed another gorgeous sunset. As we boated home during the sunset the sliver of a moon became visible in the colorful sky over the islands marking the return path from one part of the lake to the other and back to Bull Moose. It was a wonderful penultimate day of fishing for us. Which we ended with a bit of ouzo toasting to a day of fishing in no rain.
Breakfast--and dinner--for tomorrow has been caught!

Dad's work is not yet done--he cleans the fish for us

The ouzo and the fish ready for frying (or baking)