((x(t+1),y(t+1))=(-100.5510,42.8728) #wbw

How many people will be scared off from this post just because of the scary-looking title? If you’ve made it this far, have a look at the story, and then I’ll explain why I chose this super-intimidating-looking title.

Well, I inserted the #wbw to indicate that it’s a Way-Back Wednesday post, and it’s one of my old journals. Here we go!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I got up at 625 with little provocation, and closed my window.  The attire of the day was my Nebraska map T-shirt, Crocs, and green athletic shorts.  I bounded downstairs, declaring, “Hi, Mom!” with alacrity.  Breakfast was different today—cookies, brownies, and juice.  I probably should have had something more substantial, but it’s vacation.  WHO CARES!!

I read the Journal Star as well.  The $4-per-gallon gas was all over the opinion page, and all three of the baseball teams I am cheering for (Royals, Saltdogs, and Fresno State Bulldogs) won yesterday.  It’s going to get hot in Lincoln, but hopefully it will be bearable in northern Nebraska.  Nothing else in particular caught my attention.  Of course, the politics don’t particularly interest me anyway.

Mom packed me a lunch, and I finished packing up glarf.  It was 700, so I hit the van to embark to UNL.  I took 70th to 27th via Highway 2, not hitting horrible cadence.  The traffic was reasonable, and I went driveway to driveway in 17 minutes and 45 seconds.  I walked to Selleck, jaywalking around the road construction, and making it to the Selleck lobby at 731.  However, nobody was there yet.  I journaled until people arrived, about five minutes later.  But, they were just getting up for BREAKFAST!

At 800, the vans (my white “764” and the red “791”) went to the Rec to meet Gordon.  Those canoes he is towing are REALLY BIG!  We won’t be easily going 65 [the maximum speed allowed by UNL for these vehicles].  Before we left, Lori took a group picture and then we set off, taking 16th to Q, and then Q to Interstate 180.

I didn’t journal off the bat due to bumpiness.  Maybe I should have—I’m trying to catch up now!  (I wrote this at 711 on [Thursday?].  While we were on the interstate, I played a best-of-five series of diamonds.  I lost the first two before we pulled over in order to tighten up the canoes.  So I went outside and did pathetic jumping jacks.  [At least there was no substitute gym teacher today!]  As we continued, I went 2-1 on diamonds, and the last one I lost by ONE point.  We approached Grand Island at Exit 314 and ran over a tire before the exit!

The road took us a few straight-away miles, before turning left through cornfields.  We eventually ended at FAMILIAR civilization: Central Community College!  This was the Groundwater Festival venue that I attended 123 (!) months ago.  We stopped at the catty-corner Git & Split, and there was also a Doctor John’s [adult novelty store] that some of us got some nasty ideas.  I used the restroom as people got provisions and tanks were filled [nobody ended up entering Dr. John’s.]

We continued through Grand Island and saw the businesses.  Heading for Highway 2 West, I got astounded.  I didn’t know that Highway 2 continued out this way, since I thought it was OVER at West Van Dorn!  Oh, well, you learn something every day!  Along this road, I listened to my music, but should have shuffled earlier.

I read Busting Vega$ for a while.  The second strategy that Team MIT used was to follow a sequence of cards.  The phrase “The queen and her dog took a dip with the cat.”  This gave nearly a 51% advantage to one hand.  But technique #3 gave a 30% advantage to every hand: steering the dealer to bust!  This was the first big thing of suspicion, with a PI and the back rooms.  The plot thickens!

We were driving through small towns like Broken Bow, Anselmo, Cairo, and Mason City.  The Sandhills were obvious—I saw lots of sand to the north.  We hit a small patch of rain, but I hope that it’s not too bad once we get to camp.  I saw some creeks near Broken Bow that were awash in duckweed.  As we continued, we played a guessing game called Monticello (or something like that).  One person thought of some name and gave the first letter of the last name.  Others would ask a question cryptically and the first person would guess the answer.  For example, the letter was B, and one person asked, “Is it duck season?”  The correct answer was, “No, I’m not Bugs Bunny.”

Finally, the vehicles pulled into Halsey National Forest.  There were trees, picnic tables, and sand near the visitor’s office.  We went in there to contact Don, who was going to show us to the fire tower.  I imbued sunscreen and sprayed on DEET, and got a water bottle too.  We drove up the hill to the Scott Lookout.  It was picturesque with all of the trees.  Our driver said that some of those trees are fairly new—a fire wiped many of the old ones out a few years ago.

We climbed the tower on small and scary stairs.  At the top, Don waited inside an enclosure with windows surrounding, a locator map (aka an ancient device), deck, and CORDED PHONE.  He explained that some big fires have hit the area—the big ones were in 1908, 1963, and 2003.  The top of the tower is more than 3000 feet above sea level.  Someone watches during thunderstorms for first signs of trouble.  There were some other things, but I’m not recalling very well…

Photo credit: Kathryn Dabbs.

Before descending, we crowded together for a group picture.  Then, we went down and walked the three-mile trail back to the entrance.  The trail was all sand, which sloshed in and out of my Crocs, sometimes giving me hot feet.  The route was scenic with all of the trees and valleys.  Poison ivy lined the trails, but I evaded it all.  The insects were all over me, and the heat got to me too.  It was good exercise, and I confronted no snakes either.  I took some pictures with my phone too.

We returned to the office as I refilled my water and used the restroom.  The air conditioning felt really good.  After everyone got back, we walked to the campsite, and the walkers took a shortcut.  The site has a few trees and a shelter with lights and picnic tables.  We unloaded stuff from the truck, including the horse ball [ladder golf] game.  I watched an exciting match—a 21-point game where Blue started behind 3-16 and eventually tied the game at 21-21 to force overtime.  Blue ended up winning 5-1 in overtime!

Susan and I then played against Ty and Jeff.  I couldn’t even get close, and the other team bolted to a 9-0 lead.  The game was suspended as we began to pitch the tents.  The poles are fun to assemble, but connecting it to the tent is somewhat frustrating.  Gordon recommended for us to sleep with head higher than foot when we go to bed tonight.

Dinner was ready for us after we finished setting up!  It was Taco Night, and I had a taco with no shell.  I loaded it up with salsa, lettuce, and tomato.  Too bad there were no hard shells!  I mostly just listened in on the sundry conversations.  I also attempted to fend off the flies, gnats, and mosquitoes.  I was only somewhat successful!

Of course, we then started a campfire.  We gathered deadwood and pine cones for the fire, and then cut sticks as marshmallow skewers.  I did NOT hurt myself doing this [unlike the linoleum cutters from 6th grade…]!  It had gotten cloudier and cooler, as we heard thunder, but no lightning was in sight.  This did bring up Little Cedar references, though.  My S’mores tasted really good, as we told jokes around the campfire.  My favorite was one about mathematicians, balloons, and how the information mathematicians give are logical, completely correct, but totally useless.  [I’d have to re-ask how the joke went!]           Some of us decided to head down to the river.  There wee shower heads and a set of steps down to the shore.  The current was pretty strong, but the river was shallow and the water wasn’t horrifically cold.  Although I wasn’t wearing swim trunks, I jumped in anyway.  Jeff and Adrienne were “wrestling” as others were drifting and having a good time.  Everyone, including Gordon and Bo, jumped in for a little while.  It reminds me of the fun times that we had at the Brockman lake house, [and I also intentionally slipped, splashing water, and saying, “Whoops!  I tripped!” much like last year at Sedge Pond.]

Photo credit: Kelli Hall.

We returned to the camp site.  I changed into my Windstream softball T-shirt and red basketball shorts.  People were playing with the campfire, and I just had to “Commence party!”  We sang random songs, but since I have to get up tomorrow at 600, I elected to retire at 2222.

Noah and Susan (one of the research teams). Photo courtesy Adrienne Amador.

>TO BE CONTINUED…

………………………….

Wait. I’m not letting you go yet. I haven’t talked about the title of the post yet!

Let’s start with the fact that I have x(t+1) and y(t+1). Those denote horizontal  and vertical coordinates respectively, at a time t+1.

What is today?

14 February, better known as Valentine’s Day.

What day was June 25, 2008 to me?

The day before the canoeing. And on the canoe trip, we passed through Valentine, Nebraska on the next day (i.e. using t+1).

The ordered pair (-100.5510,42.8728) represents the longitude/latitude combination of Valentine, Nebraska!

With that, let me sign out with one of my favorite photos from the trip…

Photo credit: Adrienne Amador.

===========================================

Lincoln: 18 days (possibly give a day or two)

פסח: מ”ד יום (Passover: 44 days)

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