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Saturday, August 4, 2012

All Together

Yesterday was a drive across the Northern Plains continuing on highway 2 across North Dakota. Along the way we pulled over so we could be the center of North America.  Literally.  Rugby, North Dakota is the geographic center of North America and has the monument to prove it.

Rugby, ND Geographic Center of North Dakota
  As you can see from the sky our day was mostly overcast, which was exciting for the residents of North Dakota who were eagerly awaiting the rain the storm behind these clouds.

About one o'clock local we had lunch in East Grand Forks having crossed the Red River into Minnesota.  We still had about 150 miles to go and were anxious to end the first part of our journey, arrive at Camp Birchwood and of course see Blaire and Jenna.

Just before the camp dinner bell rang at 5:30 we drove down the road and into camp

Road to Camp Birchwood
As we did last year Leslie and I have lodging in a trailer which is a short walk through the woods, past the tennis courts and rifle range and into camp proper.  Upon exiting the woods we saw two girls sitting in a hammock.  I said, "Is that Jenna?" Who saw her mom, jumped out of the hammock and sprinted into Leslie's arms.  Big, strong hug and tears of complete joy at seeing her mom for the first time in four weeks.  I too received a giant hug.

Jenna let us know she has done the required tasks to receive awards in riflery, tennis and sailing.  She was proud to tell me she had skippered a boat that day, I was proud to hear it.

As we entered the dining hall where a couple of hundred girls and their counselors and other staff were assembling for dinner Leslie went in search of Blaire.  After everyone sang the opening prayer song I went over to Blaire who still had tears in her eyes from seeing her mom, gave her a slight hug and kiss and got the message she was a bit embarrassed to go through this routine in front of her friends.  After dinner she did manage to come up to me with a big hug.  Phew, I thought she had turned into a teenager on me in the past two weeks!

After dinner we went to see the art show displaying the arts and crafts the girls had been working on then headed down to the lakeside deck to sit and enjoy the view while waiting for a show based on the Queen musical playing in London.

Here is the view of the Steamboat Lake, as you can see it is rather dark and windy.
Storm approaching Steamboat Lake
Camp owner/director Terry Bredemus, who was my counselor when I was a camper and whose dad was my dad's counselor when he was a camper, showed me the weather app on his iPhone.  Big storm headed to camp and the timing between the end of the camp show and the start of the storm would be close.  If the storm hit before the girls could get back to their cabins everyone would have to stay in the dining hall where the show was being performed.  He didn't want the girls running back to their cabins in a thunderstorm and high winds which could be dropping branches and trees.

As the girls all beat it back to their cabins minutes ahead of the storm Leslie and I joined Terry and his wife Rachel in their cabin to catch up and wait out the storm.  It was quite a blow, rain pelting the windows as the wind blew, lighting flashing, thunder booming.  I love a good thunderstorm and this was a good one.

Waking up this morning we see branches down around the area and sun peaking through the last of the clouds.

We have completed the first leg of our journey.  We are all together and tomorrow two more occupants will be in the Odyssey as we start the journey home and head to Des Moines.

Off to the traditional last Saturday breakfast of donuts on the lakeside deck.

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