The journey of a thousand steps begins with the first step. In the case of my grandfather and father, the journey of the Wisconsin River is nearly 100 pictures (from dad,) and another 400 from my grandfather. I suspect my Aunt had a few as well — the pictures today of the dam near Wisconsin Dells. The Wisconsin River was and is a powerful force. There are a couple of dams, One that created the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. We spent a summer a summer vacation there one year — Canoeing and walking around the lake created by humans so that flooding was reduced. We spent a lot of time wandering the trails around the flowage. Somewhere in the picture collection, there are images of that vacation.
Back int eh day we had a blue Mercury station wagon. We used to mount two canoes on the roof. The way back of the station wagon was packed full, which I suspect was a mistake. My little sister was in her car seat in the middle, my middle sister and I were on the two sides. The fighting was between us, so my little sister was literally in the middle. I cannot tell you, in the 9 hours to drive from Bloomington Indiana to Turtle Flambeau how many times my mother turned around and said: “We will stop this car and turn around.” I suspect that was a threat of emptiness. Mom knew it, we knew it, dad wasn’t going to give up on seeing someplace in the wilderness.
So we bickered, fought and pushed things in the part of the car seat that was open.
It had to annoy my little sister. It also had to annoy our parents.
Dad didn’t often, back then turn on the radio. He would sitting in the front seat, sing songs as he drove. We won’t be back, till its over, over there. He was running through our heads, over and over. Or his other favorite, detour there is a muddy road ahead. Detour. I can sing the verses dad sung to this day; they are burned forever in my memory.