Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

The Red Baron and the Great Northwest Passage

Friends, Tosa Curling

Last weekend some Tosa curling buddies and I went on a short road trip to represent the Waukesha Curling Club at a Men's Bonspiel in Pardeeville, WI.

Waukesha, you say?  I thought you curled for Wauwatosa? 

Yep - Waukesha.  Waukesha has a curling club - it just doesn't have a physical presence.  There is no building, club house or ice.  It is a club that exists solely on paper so I suppose it would be characterized as a virtual club.  My skip is largely responsible for its existence and it's a long story.  Nonetheless, it is an official club that is fully sanctioned by the curling authorities and I am an official dues-paying member.

There was this other curling club in attendance this past weekend.  They also are more or less a virtual club but they are less dignified.  Truthfully, they are downright irreverent.  So if you have delicate sensibilities you should not even think about clicking on this link to learn more about them.  

If I had to guess they are not sanctioned.

Anyway, more about the weekend.


The Pardeeville Curling Club hosted its annual Red Baron Bonspiel.  I have no clue how Baron Manfred von Richthofen figures into curling but that's the name of the event. 

Those curlers in Pardeeville really know how to host a spiel.  Teams from all over the state.  Outstanding food including stuff like baked lasagna and venison and bear chili and tenderloin tips.  Refreshing adult beverages and lots of time on the ice. 

A word about curling ice.  

It is nice and safe. 

Oh sure - you could slip and fall and maybe pull a muscle or conk your noggin but it's basically safe. 

There is absolutely no way to fall through the ice and suffer a slow death by means of exposure.

Unlike the weak and dangerous black ice with the giant rotten spots that you see in this picture.

What differentiates this ice from nice and safe curling ice is that we had to cross it to get to that island more than a quarter mile distant.

Huh?  What's that all about?

You see doing something perfectly reasonable like staying in a hotel for the weekend would be too easy.  That would make too much sense and would imply that we are rational thinkers. 

Instead, we saved money by staying in a cottage on that island. 

The trouble was we had to cross that bad ice to get there.  And back.

I've mused about my experiences on ice over at the other blog and I have no particular fondness for it especially when it isn't safe.  

So in the interest of safety and preserving our skins we perfected the technique of making the crossing with a canoe and ski poles. 

Yes.  Canoe-skiing on ice has now been added to my repertoire. 

Just like you see in the picture below.  

Lest you think that this singularly unique experience couldn't be made even more interesting try doing this at night. 

At midnight.

With only the north star to direct your journey since you cannot see the island in the dark.

As one of my fellow curlers opined-

Tom, you guys are just like Marquette and Joliet crossing the great northwest passage.

Between you and me I think he's got his history of early exploration twisted around but I think you get the point.

Anyway, just like we usually do, we took second place in the fourth event.

And lived to tell the tale

I can't wait until next year.

Good curling!

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