Wander project Wisconsin Dells in time, and memory…

Castle Rock 1968

This picture was taken by my grandfather Henry Oliver Andersen in the 1960’s in Wisconsin Dells. This particular picture is one of a famous rock formation near the Wisconsin River called Castle rock. My father was born in Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin. He and my grandfather used to tramp around the fields and wonders of the Dells.  The wonder of the Dells is just what the river carved in rock. It takes millions of years for the formation to be created, floods and river water. Droughts and the passage of time are all needed for the creation of these beautiful rock formations. I remember as a child may being 5 or 6 and taking the Dells tours. The tours were basically boats that ran up and down the river. The Dells was a tourist destination, everyone wanted to come, visit. There was an amusement part at the Dells as well. The picture to the right was one of the original scans from even before the family history project started. The image is from the early 1960’s. It was scanned from a slide. It is as stated before of Castle Rock Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin.

Wisconsin River 1968 (2)

Here is the river, now in 1968. There are many more of my grandfather’s images. Grandpa took a lot of pictures of nature. He loved the Wisconsin River near the Dells. Recently we converted the last of the actual 16mm film that my other grandfather took. We now have everything converted in the family history project eject the old pictures of Cambridge. We have old video of Cambridge just not the pictures. This image was taken in the spring. The Dells, is a place of great physical beauty. The river presents many faces during its transition from each of the seasons. When I was little which would have been in the early 60’s the Dells was small. It had a boardwalk, the river tours and a small amusement park. We were there in 2011 and it is a much larger place now than it was when I first went, and when my father grew up there. That said, on the boardwalk there are souvenir shops. I remember going into one of them many years ago. The platform for the river boats is new. They rebuilt that a few years before 2011. But the shop was the same. I remember it.


This image from our 2011 trip to the Dells. This is part of the underwater/indoor/water park. There is an outdoor water part now at the Dells that has a huge wave pool (that is amazing). There are flume rides (where you with only you plunge down from a great height to the water below. Plus this wonderful indoor water park. We spent over an hour in the indoor water park. There are many pictures taken, including underwater and action pictures. The Olympus TG series rules when it comes to being flexible in various photography environments. They don’t care if you drop them. They don’t care if you get them wet. They are ready, able to willing. I had given the camera to my daughter who took all the indoor water pictures. I did not go into the water at the Dells. I was chicken I guess. I did enjoy hanging out with the kids all day though. It was exciting to see what they were interested in, what they wanted to do. I had the whole family (kids) that day. Really was the best day at an amusement park ever. Except for racing go-carts. That part was not as much fun for me. Nick passed me on the second lap of four, and shook his little fist at me as he passed. I couldn’t catch him. I still hear about losing that race.


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Wander project Hawaii, on the cruise!

P8060127Barb in our cabin on the family Hawaiian cruise we took in 2015. Hard to image that 2016 in June was our 25th year of being married.It is funny how a person goes from someone that people say you should meet this person you would like them. That happened for Barb and I three times.  There was also the moment where Barb was wearing a white rabbits suit at our high school, as a freshman I walked over and asked her if she had the time. The response was a senior in a bunny suit walking away. Anyway the trip to Hawaii was an entire clan event (Misner’s, Ooley’s, Giordano and Andersen’s) spending time together in paradise. We had a cruise around the islands for the first part of the adventure. We visited the major islands of the Hawaii chain. They actually reversed there normal cruise order to avoid the Hurricane that was threatening to hit the Island chain. We would that way miss the rough waters of the Hurricane while enjoying our cruise. The best part for me was the fresh pineapple every morning for breakfast. We went to the islands in August, so we really weren’t saving on any less heat or gaining warm days in the cold of eastern shore winters…


Sometimes when you are a large party all together you wait. So there are times on the ship wandering around Hawaii when we waited. Here is an example of Luke Matt and a couple of other family members waiting for a restaurant or to get off the boat for a day trip. I think this is waiting for a restaurant by the location (mid-ship). We filled two tables side by side in the restaurant. The food on the cruise was average. Overall it was the fresh pineapple and melon that made me happy, the rest of the food was average. Which made it a lot easier for me to walk off the cruise ship 5 pounds lighter and come home from Hawaii, 8 pounds lighter! I cannot say the same about the trip to Europe in 2016, for that one I ended up gaining 2 pounds over-all. I am going to chalk the European weight gain up to swelling in my hip and ribs! The scenery and the people taking care of our cabins were beyond first rate. They were always there with a smile, and they were always taking the extra care of us. It was only the food that wasn’t as good as we were hoping for. But when you are all together- food isn’t as critical.


Dinner conversation on the ship. I took a few dinner conversation pictures over the course of the cruise. There were a few meals where we went off as family groups. There were a few we ate all together as a family group so there was a good mix of experiences. One lunch we wandered off to a great little hole in the wall sushi place. Poor Becca struggled with the lack of Vegan options for food at the restaurants. She ended up having to import food onto the ship from the various shore stops. She was a trooper though and still smiled though the frustration! The rest of us, were not overwhelmed by the food options either. Some of the meals were good overall but not tremendous ever. Our cruise left Oahu, and wandered the islands for a week. It was really cool to see the big island (I hadn’t been there before). It was also cool to visit other islands in the chain as well. Barb and I,. many years before had spent a week on Lanai. So this was a chance for us to see the rest of the islands. Our flight in for our trip to Lanai back in the day, landed in Honolulu at night. we rode a prop plane to Lanai and then visited the back side of Oahu once on a dinner expedition. So we were getting to see more of the state!


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WaNdEr Project Dogs on the way, there and back again Bloomington Indiana…


When you have dogs, and they come with you on trips they have to travel well. One of the many things our dogs do to fit in is travel extremely well. They are amazing in the car. This is Dylan when he got home from the trip. He hopped onto his settee and napped. We’ve owned labs now for more than 16 years and the guarantee is they are great in the car. Well our three over the years have been great. We do make an effort to stop every 3 hours though they have a chance to relax and stretch for a bit. The trip home due to presents, was a bit cramped. So the dogs were more pressed for space then they are used to. No complaining by them, they just moved around until they found a place to relax. They also hung out in Bloomington with my mother’s dog’s. She has three poodles (full size) and a poodle. Well in fairness she has two full sized standard poodles and a small Scotty. Her third standard poodle is not standard, he is huge.


The flipped ear is a Dylan specialty. When we picked him up in Richmond Virginia 4.5 years ago his ear was flipped. Here he is wondering what the humans are doing. He did enjoy opening his stocking. His favorite part of Christmas is staying in the hotel. He loves a piece of bacon in the morning to start his day. We ended up staying in the Springhill Suites by Marriott on the South West side of Bloomington Indiana. It is a very clean, easy to access hotel and I would give it as many stars as you can for a hotel. They serve hot breakfast and the team working there was fast and efficient. They left a wonderful not in our room letting us know that there would be not service on Christmas day, but the front desk was open so we could get things if there was anything we needed. We weren’t in the hotel room much so it didn’t matter. But Dylan loves hotel stays. His first hotel stay with us was more than 4 years ago in Virginia Beach Virginia. They also had bacon for breakfast. Plus in Virginia Beach Virginia the humans are more evolved. On the beach side of the city they allow dogs to wander in and out of all the stores. Dylan felt that was important to the evolution of humans who struggle to be as smart as Labradors are.


This was Raven’s first stay in a hotel. We have taken her on vacation before, just stayed at my mother’s last year and in an apartment when we took her to Oak Island North Carolina. So she was experiencing the joy of hotels for the first item. She quickly embraced Dylan’s get me bacon in the morning rule, and found the floor to be quite nice for stretching. Both Dylan and Raven pronounced the bed comfortable, but wished the humans would not have been on the bed or that the bed was bigger, Only having 68% of the bed available for stretching out cramped their styles. The bacon made up for the too small bed, somewhat, but not completely. When did the dogs seize control? Our lesson learned from last year was not to force the dogs to be together for the day and night. That caused more tension. By us taking the dogs to the hotel they had a chance to get away from their cousins and chill a little. There was an abrupt transition in the morning. but mom and my sister usually take the poodles and scotty for an early am walk. Raven and Dylan are huge fans of the walk process and early morning walks are even better!


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Wander project Christmas 2016 and Bloomington Indiana


My rule about being away from home is that I never write about being away from home while I am away from home. I bend that rule a little so for the past few days I talked about our trip away from home to Europe while I was away from home. We started out the day before Christmas Eve hoping in the car early and preparing to cross the country. Well preparing to cross what was the country back in 1806 or so. Maryland to Indiana and in particular to Bloomington is about an 11 hour journey. It is one we have made a few times now. We try to get on the road by 7 am that way we are rolling along before DC traffic, and wander through the larger cities other than Indianapolis at times that are not rush hours. That is the DC driver in both of us now. We try to avoid rush hour. Even though rush hour in Indianapolis is well, about 1/20th of what we deal with daily. But you can take the person out of DC, but once in DC for a time you can’t remove their fear of traffic.


The route takes you through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio before reaching Indiana. To get via car from where we are to Bloomington Indiana the fastest route is the route that uses I-70 the whole way. We saw a lot of amazing holiday light displays. This is one from Bloomington Indiana. Both Barb and I grew up in Bloomington. I moved there (against my will I might add) when I was six. Barb was born in Bloomington Hospital. Its funny because over our years growing up we ran into each other many times, but it wasn’t until the last time that we started dating and got married very quickly. Funny how fate intervenes. We grew up in different parts of the town. I lived on campus the first couple of years we lived in Bloomington. Then I lived on the South side of town. Barb lived in the middle-South part of Bloomington growing up. She actually lived really near the coolest part in the city, Bryan park. I used to go to Bryan park in the summer and winter as part of swim team.


The courthouse of Monroe County Indiana. This is the square of Bloomington Indiana. Our all time favorite restaurant is on the square (Trojan Horse). Barb worked at the Trojan horse during her college years. We actually were introduced by a metal friend once at the horse but never really did anything other than say hi. This picture is taken from the front of the Horse to the courthouse square. On the very top of the courthouse is a copper fish. It was once famously blown off the top of the courthouse in a wind storm. Then placed back on to the top. I guess they added some structural support so the fish would take a nose dive again! The square downtown is actually for the most part the same buildings, well the same fronts of buildings from when I was a child. Very few of the companies now having stores on the square were there when I was little. My favorite store was Howards Bookstore (now long gone) and the Book Nook. The book nook is still there all these years later which is kind of cool. Once upon a time there was a Wick’s and a JC Penney store on the square. They were the best stores to wander in because they had multiple floors!


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Wander project Kristensand, museums and ICE CREAM!!!


Heading toward the trolley on the dock. The dock was fairly new and built for the cruise ships. There was also an amazing Ice Cream shop but that was at the end of the day, not in the morning. As we wandered the streets of Kristensand, taking pictures of doors and enjoying the view we really had no plans. We wandered the shopping district. We went into quite a few stores. The first one was a GameStop. The kids wanted to see all their games in another country. They also wanted to see what a Game store looked like in Norway. Our second stop was  a pet store. We were going to buy something for the dogs, but…


Truly nothing our dogs would have liked. We ended up finding something else for them later. But if they read this and I am pretty sure Raven reads my blog, we did try. Here we are checking out the map. Well Jakki was leading us and Barb was trying to help her. We ended up walking around the business district, which wasn’t very large. We wandered past several interesting stores, and every once in awhile Barb would pop into one to wander around. Normally in those cases the boys and I waited outside. A few times the boys, Jakki and I waited outside. Sometimes Jakki would join Barb in the store. They were mostly clothing stores.


As we were wandering we found the most amazing art museum/gallery for local artists. Local to Kristensand in fact. The museum had modern, traditional and new media art including video’s and other interesting media. We wandered the museum for more than 2 hours which chewed up most of our time so we needed to head back to the boat. We wandered by the pleasure craft harbor as we were heading back from the museum to the ship. We ended up seeing more hard top pleasure craft which was fun. On the way we wandered through a little shopping area. We found a meat store that had Whale, Reindeer and one other type of meat in a sealed container. We took some home for the dogs! (they loved eating Whale). Finally we hit the most amazing ice cream store. And enjoyed our ice cream the last 1/2 mile back to the boat. What an amazing city.


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wander project Kristensand Norway


We left Bergen and headed to Kristensand Norway. The best part about this trip was watching the cruise liner come into the harbor. Starting when I got up which was around 5 am we passed the edges of humanity and human buildings. There are lots of little islands and interesting places to see on the way. We passed several small islands. We passed a whole lot of cool houses. The weather was overcast and gloomy as here in the picture but I had a blast watching the world go by. There was, the closer we got to Kristensand, more and more small craft. There was lots to see. So, I blogged and watched the world go by, which is not often how I get to blog. Normally I am down in my office listening to music while blogging.


In Geringer we had the trolls. In Kristensand a moose greeted us as we disembarked. This was our last day of an organized walking tour, but we were on our own so we could take our time disembarking. The two days that followed this were focused on expeditions. The only two expeditions the kids had to go on. Anyway we got off and rode a trolley into the heart of Kristensand. We didn’t really have a plan just wanted to see the city a little. The trolley took us to the heart of the city. It isn’t a huge city like Oslo but it is still pretty good sized. We went to the central shopping district of the city once we got off the trolley. But the trolley ride was a trip onto itself.





The first image was interjected in as many pictures as he could so I took one of just him. Luke loves to Photobomb pictures so I let him. The next three are the doors of Norway series for my mother. She knows why! I did really enjoy riding the trolley. It is not something I often do so it was fun from the new experience. It was also fun from the sheer joy of being somewhere else!


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Wander project Bergen Norway…


First part of this is me. I love taking pictures of people taking pictures. It doesn’t even have to be people I know. I see someone stopping, pausing and pulling out there camera, cellphone and I am taking their picture. I refuse however, to take pictures of people walking around with an iPad as their camera or a larger tablet. That is beyond something even I find funny.

The second part is the streets of Bergen, near the fish market. You can see the mooring tire there on the left side of the pier embankment. I love the red brick. Directly behind where this picture is, stands the fish market. That was an amazing experience, to wander through and see all the sea food available. Also the boats, I really enjoyed seeing the pleasure craft that were ready for their summer adventures. Just to the stage right of this picture is the street we walked down the last part of the mountain on. It led from the vertical train station past the bakery and with only a light change, ended up at the fish market (we had to change sides of the street).


So this image taken on the other side of the fish market. We wandered through the entire market asking if they were the shop with the free sandwiches. The coupons literally had a logo but no words, so we had to search for a logo, which wasn’t actually something most of the places displayed unless you asked. It didn’t matter though we had a blast. In the right corner of the image is the smoke stack of our ship (the big c of Costa clearly visible). The inner harbor was devoted to pleasure craft and the fish market. Again, a really cool experience.


This last picture is down the other side of the commercial harbor a little further. At the end of the picture (the red tents) is the fish market. We were near the restaurant where we got our sandwiches (the quest was done) and almost to the pleasure craft harbor. There were a few moored along the quay but most of them were a bit further down the way. At the back end of the picture is the red tents of the fish market. What a wonderful day spent wandering Bergen Norway. I found the country to be amazing. The people friendly and the smoked salmon beyond words.


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Wander project Bergen Norway


Barb in the lobby of the vertical train. Right as we were leaving the vertical train the entire lobby filled with another tour group (the official wander Bergen tour from the ship in fact. We were on the we will give you lunch voucher, a map and tickets for the vertical train. You are on your own how you get there. So of course. we hoofed it Smile. The lobby was cool, very open and room for a lot of people on a day like the day we were there (raining). As the tour group moved into the building, we headed out. Literally just out of the train station and to the left was a bakery. Jakki needed some bread to chew on. The boys said they could nosh.


This was on the way to the Bergen Fish market. We both (Barb and I) fell in love with the hard top boats we saw in Europe. The fish market was an open air experience of smells and just amazing looking fish. We had a voucher for a free lunch sandwich so we began looking for the place that was where you could redeem your free sandwich coupon. We didn’t really have a lot of success the first four or five places we stopped. In the last place, the woman nicely pointed across the way to some permanent restaurants. She said we could redeem our coupons there. So we wandered over to an open air restaurant (with huge glass doors that could be shut for when the weather wasn’t as nice as it was by the time we were there.


One last thing about the picture of the boats. We literallly walked down the hill from the  Bergen Vertical Train to the fish market – maybe 1/2 a mile. By the time we got to the bottom of the hill (and from the top where it was raining to the bottom of the moutain) there were blue skies all around. This young man is bringing fish to the market. He was not singing Alive, Alive-O about the cockles and mussels he was dragging. That would have been the ultimate had he done that. We grabbed out sandwiches and went to the bench outdoors. The woman that handed them to us, was sort of put off by having people only grab free sandwichs and told us we had to eat outdoors. They had a smoked salmon sandwich. I threw away most of the bread (it was good but I have given up bread) and really enjoyed the smoked salmon!


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Wander project still in Bergen Norway…


We didn’t have time to check out the pizza in Nirvana. But I bet its pretty good Winking smile. The streets of fair Bergen, Norway. The mix of old and new. The city itself is nestled against the mountain so it has many level’s. This is the uphill side of Bergen. We didn’t go down further into the river valley. The town stretches across both sides. From the top of the mountain you can see a long way. The vertical train was very cool. It is as close to vertical (straight up) as you can safely get. Well that probably isn’t completely true but it is really cool to ride up at that step of an angle. The train ride itself is roughly 5-10 minutes. You board the train (ride in the front on the way up and the back on the way down. Really cool experience if you do it that way). We were among the first that morning (just as the place opened) so we got to rush in and be at the front of the train.


This is the very beginning of the train tracks where you get on. The tracks stay roughly this steep all the way up. You can see a lot of Bergen as you head up the mountain side. As is tradition (started by Barb in Paris) we took video going down on the vertical train. That is out on our YouTube channel. It was a lot of fun going up the mountain on the vertical train. The only problem was that it was on the mountain, raining a lot harder than it was in the city below. So while taking some of the video I was also getting pelted by rain. So there is a noise issue. As in the sound of rain on a cheap umbrella is not as soothing as one would think it would be.

There really was no wind either. Anyway on our way up the mountain!





Heading up the mountain side, and the café on top the mountain. We went in the café for coffee but they were not open yet. We wandered through the gift shop (it was crammed with people honestly) and then headed back down the mountain. The last picture taken from the vista on top the mountain looking down on Bergen Norway. You can see the gray clouds. It was raining pretty hard by the time we got to the top, it literally stopped raining as we were on the way down.


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Wander project Bergen Norway…


First off I grew up in a house where walking was a part of what we did on vacation. So I was extremely proud of everyone in my family for being willing to walk in Bergen Norway even though it was as we got off the boat, raining. We walked into Bergen (we were heading towards the vertical train for a ride to the top of the mountain). We wandered tot he old castle first. It seems funny that the culture that used to storm the castle also had castles but you have to protect your harbor! By the time we wandered in the castle a bit it was raining pretty hard. We made an executive decision to go to the tourist shop and get umbrella’s. In the land of the never setting sun surely they would have umbrella’s for tourists! The store wasn’t open (we skidded across two streets and a small open area while the rain pelted down on us. I haven’t seen my family move that fast in a long time, if ever. But we made it to the overhang in front of the tourist shop.


Here the pre-umbrella crowd is plotting how to storm the castle. I recommended that they lob one of the boys over the wall into the castle but that idea was rejected. Most of my helpful recommendations that came after that as well as the number of “dad jokes” were rejected for the rest of that day (well the Dad Jokes have been rejected since Jakki was old enough to talk. The boys, once they learned how to follow suit also routinely reject the gems I share that they call dad jokes).  The castle wall in front of us was pretty cool. Stone with about 10 feet of earth behind the stone and then another stone wall on the inside. We did walk inside the castle just to see it. As mentioned it started raining harder shortly after we moved from this spot. Once we got out of the tunnel into the castle grounds proper it was raining fairly uncomfortably. It picked up a little more as we made our way out of the castle. The plan to storm the facility was abandoned due to weather and dad jokes.


One of us didn’t mind the rain. One of us had planned ahead and brought a jacket. That one of us was a little difficult to deal with, because that one didn’t want to wait to get umbrellas for those of us who didn’t have jackets with hoods.  This picture is inside the walls of the castle. I was amazed not only by the overall structure but how powerful a force it would take to breach the walls. I suspect that was on purpose since they went tot he trouble of moving all that rock and earth, but who knows Smile. The tourist shop was literally across two streets and past a really cool apartment building front. I took a picture of it (in the rain) because the person with the coat on wanted one but didn’t want to stand in the middle of the street. Mostly because I think she wanted to direct traffic to swerve and head down the street I was in the middle of. Barb is always trying to increase the impact of my cardio on my daily exercise by having cars chase me. She says if you can dodge a car, you can dodge a ball (all of this by the way was a JOKE! The line stolen from the movie Dodgeball and modified my wife does not actually do this).


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