A couple of weeks ago I posted that The Home Forum section of the Christian Science Monitor had accepted an article of mine about an encounter with a man in the Soviet Union in 1983. It is published now, and you can see it here.
In 1983, Peggy and I were traveling in what was then the Soviet Union. One day, we were walking in a park in Moscow and came across an old soldier, his medals pinned across his chest. I walked up to him and held out my camera. He rose, straightened his back, and pushed his chest forward with a sense of dignity. I wrote an essay about this encounter and it is scheduled to run in the Home Forum section of the Christian Science Monitor the end of January. If you don't subscribe to the paper, you can find the essay in the Home Forum section of their website after it is published.
Since moving to Minnesota five years ago, I've become a fan of Big River Magazine They cover everything related to the Mississippi River and the Driftless Region. After I retired from the newspaper, I contacted them to see if I could write articles for them, and it has been a good relationship. I have had ten articles in their pages, with the most recent two in their January/February issue. I wrote a review of Captain Lee Hendrix's book Peep Light about his fifty years working on barges and riverboats on the Mississippi River and tributaries. He gives a good view of the lifestyle of a riverboat captain. I also interviewed Judson Steinback, part of the team called Mississippi Speed Record which paddled the full length of the Mississippi River in just under 17 days. They kept moving 24 hours a day, sleeping and eating on the canoe while facing the hazards of locks and dams, massive river barges, and weather conditions such as dense fog and heavy winds. Their story is an inspiration.
Today Magazine is published in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and is distributed throughout southeast Minnesota. They invited me to write an article about my bridges book. I did, and they published it in the current issue. Nice to have an article in there, because it is very popular with residents of rivertowns throughout the region.
My new book Historic Bridges of Southeast Minnesota is released. It is from The History Press, a division of Arcadia Publishing, and features 142 photos of beautiful bridges with 32 of those photos in full color. These bridges, across both the Mississippi River and the many tributaries, are a lifeline to the economy, transportation, and lifestyle of the area. I took more than a thousand photos of these bridges and found many more photos in the excellent historical centers throughout the region. This was a great project for me to work on, and now that I have the book in hand, I am very pleased with how it turn out. Read more on my publications page.
These nice warm summer days have been excellent for getting out on our boat. We were out recently and the American Queen cruise ship passed by us. The American Queen is 420 feet long and can hold 417 guests and 172 crew members. It was impressive to watch her go by.
I've had a chance to review both the cover proof and the page proofs of my upcoming book Historic Bridges of Southeast Minnesota. It is being published by The History Press and is slated for release on September 11. It looks good in the proofs and I am very excited to hold a copy of it in my hand. Not long now.
I've really enjoyed several trips to Winona to play my djembe with the Winona Community Drum Circle. Tonight I joined the group to play for an hour at Peter's Biergarten, an outdoor venue on a beautiful evening. A dozen drummers showed up and the rhythms were incredible. What a fun evening!
With a string of warm days, we have been back out on Lake Pepin in our pontoon boat. The lake is actually a wide spot in the Mississippi River where the current is gone and there is plenty of room for many boats to spread out and have space to float and enjoy the sun and breeze. We love going out late afternoon with some sandwiches and having dinner on the boat -- the best seats in the best waterfront restaurant on the lake.
We drove to Des Moines, Iowa, to ride our bikes on several trails. We started with the beautiful High Trestle Trail in Woodward, then went into Des Moines to ride some urban trails, connecting three of them with a loop around Gray's Lake. On our way home, we stopped in Boone to try the Rail Explorers. They have pedal cars with electric motors and they ride right on the rails. The highlight is crossing two high bridges with no siderails. What a unique experience to ride down to the river and back on a car with steel wheels clicking along the railroad tracks. Here are two photos.
Photo by John Jancik
Dr. Steve Gardiner is the author of nine books and over 1,000 articles.