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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Two Nights in Chicagoland

Monday, 18 June:

Rode uneventfully along Interstate 80/90 to Hammond, Indiana, where I tried unsuccessfully to find an HJC half-helmet to replace the one I'd lost.  I continued up through Chicago on Lake Shore Drive, and into Evanston on Sheridan Road.  The old city was spectacularly beautiful on this glorious late spring day.  I found my way to Uncle \Joe \mcCloskey's house, and was welcomed like the prodigal son.

Tuesday, 19 June:

Visited my adviser Nick B., as well as Kyle S. and Mike M. at Merrill Lynch in Oak Brook. 
As Nick and I were exiting the buildijng at noontime, a colleague of his stopped us to ask Nick something, and Nick introduced us, saying that I had recently been in Romania.  "Did he meet our Romanian colleague?" the friend asked Nick.  We went back upstairs, where I was introduced to Ms. Alexandra Didac, formerly of Cluj, Romania, and a graduate of UBB/FSEGA, French line, along about 1998.

Went to dinner with Joe at a small but excellent restaurant called Jilly's Cafe, on Green Bay Road.  We were greeted by a man with a strong accent, who said his name was Nicolae.  I asked if he were Greek.  He said, "No, Romanian,,, actually Moldavian, but we speak Romanian there." 

(And the beat goes on... .  Da da da da... )

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Memory Dump: Half Way in a Week (Continued)

Dawson Creek, B.C.

If you get to blogging as a way of clearing the memory of unimportant but interesting non-business items that you do not want to forget, it becomes difficult to stay away from your blog for long.  This past week's abstinence had begun to drive me into a state I call "cluttered mind syndrome," and important stuff was being forgotten, such as my half-helmet (which I lost in a memory-lapse, way back in Ohio).  It was on...

Monday, June 17th: Baltimore, MD to Streetsboro, OH

Striking camp is a task that well-demonstrates the learning curve effect, and this was my first tenting campout in several years, and I had a lot to relearn.  As a result, I did not leave the Patapsco Valley State Park in Maryland until 11:00.  I-70 begins at Baltimore, and is a beautiful ride west across Maryland before turning north and connecting to the Pennsylvania Turnpike about midway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.  The sky was blue, the air comfortably warm, and the bike rebalanced thanks to an improved packing job at the campsite. Rocinante and I made good time to the Ohio border, at which point I had to decide whether to stay on I-76 toward Akron, or to take the right fork toward Cleveland, and I-80.  I had not looked at a map, and had no computer nor GPS along.  I felt I knew the lay of the land pretty well, and could certainly get to Chicago by dead-reckoning.  So, knowing Akron to be about one hour south of Cleveland, I chose I-76.  Then, it started to sprinkle.  Fortunately, a rest area was just ahead.  Before the rain began in earnest, I had parked, taken off my helmet, put it atop my backpack to shield that from possible zipper-leakage, and gone into the building, where I found a rest room, a bench, and a talkative caretaker who owns a 1968 Harley Sportster.

Thirty minutes later, the rain was still steady, though less intense than at its peak.  I needed to get rolling, as by this time it was after 6:00 PM.  I looked at the map on the wall, and saw that the Akron route was problematic.  Akron was still a long, wet way away, and from Akron there was no easy route to the northwest.  I would have to jog northeast to find I-80/90 toward Chicago.  I asked my caretaker friend about motels in the area.  He told me that the next exit, Ravenna, had nothing much to offer, but that if I could take Rte. 14 north to Streetsboro, only 14 miles in the rain, I'd have several choices, and that I could pick up I-80 there.  I went out to the bike, put on my full-face helmet against the rain, and rode off with my half-helmet unsecured atop my backpack.  Sure hope whoever finds if has a use for it.  It would make a damned fine bird's nest!

That is how I ended up at the America's Best Value Inn in Streetsboro, the first hotel to come into sight.  It offered a standard room at a fair price.  And, next door was a restaurant, so I would not have to ride to dinner.  I'd had enough riding for the day, and I wanted a beer, which I never mix with motorcycling.

The restaurant was called Rockne's, and though they say it was not named after the great Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, the walls were decorated with sports photos, and the TV screen above the bar was showing the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament.  So, I sat at the bar, next to the only other fellow there, a young man of perhaps 38, with an Asian countenance.  I introduced myself, and he said his name was Michael Hamada (or something close to that).  I asked if that were a Japanese name.  Mike said, "No, I am partly Thai."  I asked, "Like Tiger Woods?"  We laughed.

As our conversation progressed, of course I mentioned something about my time in Romania,  perhaps in reference to my golfing experiences there.  Mike picked up on my mention of Romania, and said, "I work for Michelin.  I was posted to Bucharest for a year-and-a-half, from 2009 through 2010."  Our ex-patriot periods in Romania had overlapped, though his had been spent mostly in the Bucharest-Sinaia-Brasov corridor, and mine mostly in Cluj and northwestern Transilvania.

We shared anecdotes, until Michael had to leave, at which point he said, "Sarut mana!"  I said, "Noapte buna!"  (Romanian friends, please advise: does one say "Sarut mana" to another man?  I thought it was an affectionate and respectful way to say goodbye to a lady, meaning something akin to "I kiss your hand.")

The next morning I arose early, and found an Indian woman behind the desk.  I asked if she were Mrs. Patel, which led her to ask, "How did you know?"  Seasoned road warriors like me all know that the Patel clan has come to own almost half the economy hotels in America, and other Indians another 20% of them.  So I said, "I have estimated in my travels that 70% of the hotels I stop at are Indian-owned, and that 70% of their owners are named Patel.  Point-7 times point-7 is point-49, so I figured I had about a 50% chance of being right."  She laughed.  "You are quick ... a precise thinker," she said.

At that point, I told her that less than two days before I had been invited to make my first trip to India in August, in order to do some work at a business school in Bangalore.  She asked which school, and I told her, "XIME, the Xavier Institute... ."  "Oh!" Hema Patel interrupted.  "That is Prof. Philip's school.  They are quite famous.  They insist on teaching to a world standard!"

Not a coincidence in sight, eh?  (I sure am glad I took the wrong road and got caught in the rain.  And that helmet was at least seven years old.  Ready for replacement, right, Merlin?)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Long Ride, A "Forty-Niner," Begins

Back in 1992 when Jesse and I were returning from our two-up trip to The Black Hills and Boulder, Colorado on my Suzuki, we stopped in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts to pay respects to my old friend and former motorcycle dealer Eino Hokkanen.  We found him at home, on his deathbed, having lost a leg to his ailment, and in the care of a nurse, who answered the door, and then asked Eino if he wanted to see us.  From the first-floor bedroom I heard Eino's always-gruff voice, "Duncan McDougall?  Bring him in!"  When Eino heard of the mission we were then just shy of completing, he said, "Oh, yes.  I used to take the long ride myself, when I could find the time."

Alaska is the target of my long ride this year.  AK will be the 49th state that I'll have visited in my life.  It was the 49th state admitted to the Union.  I got my first two-wheeled motor vehicle in June of 1963, 49 years ago this month, a Harley Topper scooter in Phoenix, Arizona.  That December I bought my first motorcycle, a 1957 BMW R50.  (Eino serviced it for me, which is how I'd met him.  I later bought three motorcycles from him, two of which I still own.)

Memory Dump: Half Way in a Week.

Thursday, 14 June:

Rode to Boston for an appointment at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine, where I am having three implants done.  Following my appointment,  I rode out to Westboro and spent a pleasant evening and night with Joan and Dick Cichowski, Shirl's sister and her husband.  While there, I thought to check Rocinante's air filter, and found it thick with the fuzz of too many miles and too many years.  This is a thirty year-old motorcuycle I am riding.  Its air filter is not stocked anymore at auto parts stores, nor at Honda dealers.  So, I vacuumed it out as best I could, and lived with it (all the way to Omaha, as it turned out).   Highlight: Dick cooked us a dynamite meatloaf dinner.

Friday, 15 June:

Rode 430 miles to the Patapsco Valley State Park, Hilton Camping Area, only about 15 minutes from downtown Baltimore, where I was to spend Saturday at the ACBSP Annual Conference.  This proved to be an excellent facility for tent camping, with a decent shower, shaded woody sites, and pleasant people.  Pitched the big tent, because I was to spend two nights here.  I was so bushed from the ride that I skipped going for dinner, ate a Slim Jim and a Snickers from my tank bag, showered, then slept well on my thin foam pad, no doubt largely because of having dug a hip groove under the tent.  (Right, Jesse?)

Saturday, 16 June:

Arose early, dressed in my ACBSP golf shirt, khakis and street shoes, and headed for Baltimore, where I spent a full hour trying to find the Marriott Waterfront.  Once there, I met with Prof. Bell and Dean Booth of Alabama State University, for whose College of Business Administration I am serving as reaffirmation mentor. 
Prof. Bell and Dean Booth
After lunch, I went onto the 5th-floor poolside balcony to watch The Blue Angels perform in honor of Baltimore's Sailabration, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the firing on Fort McHenry by British warships during the War of 1812, and from which the poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," emerged from the pen of Francis Scott Key.

Then, at the end of the afternoon, I attended the meeting of the ACBSP's Baccalaureate / Graduate Commission.  Among the people introduced at this meeting was Prof. J. Philip, President of XIME, Xavier Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship, in Bangalore, India.  At the close of the meeting, I happened to meet Prof. Philip, and as we were chatting, I was invited to come to visit that Institute late in August.  Needless to say, I accepted, and have added a ten-day trip to India to my 2012 travel plans. 

Next, as I was headed for the elevator to the parking garage, I was stopped by a young woman from EAN in Bogata, Colombia.  She told me that she had explicit instructions from their dean to invite me to come there to teach.  I expressed my pleasure to do so, and asked to discuss times and topics following this long ride, perhaps in August.

It was quite a gratifying day.  I was glad that I had started "South to Alaska."

So much for the first three days.  The non-coincidences started on Sunday. 
(I am now in Billings, Montana, a hundred or so miles past the half-way point of the road to Fairbanks.  Already this morning I rode 260 miles from Moorcroft, Wyoming.  I am at the Billings public library, where the reference librarian has already kindly extended my allowed "guest hour."  So, the non-coincidences will have to wait for the next opportunity to post.  I am headed for Great Falls, another 220 miles up the road.  Tomorrow I will be joined there by Bert Kemp, my fellow PGR member, now living in Arizona.  We're making the rest to the ride North together.  Please stay tuned for pictures and more stories.  So, goodbye for now ...  .)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

South to Alaska

The Silver Wing got the nod, and a new name.
At 10:00 in the morning on Thursday, 14 June, after mounting Old Glory to celebrate Flag Day and after kissing Shirl goodbye, I shall depart Campton on this brave steed, newly dubbed Rocinante, and charge southward to Alaska.

If that sounds too "Cervantesque" to be true, I assure you that it is not.  My first stop will be Boston, where I have a 1:00 P.M. appointment at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine.  Then, I shall spend a night with my in-laws Dick and Joan ("Kim") Cichowski before proceding on down to Baltimore for two nights in a tent at the PATAPSCO VALLEY STATE PARK campground.  That will make possible my spending Saturday attending the 2012 Annual Conference of the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP).  I have attended the Annual Conference of this fine organization in twelve of the in the past thirteen years.  (I missed only the 2010 conference, when Shirl and I were in Europe.)

From the Baltimore area I will ride West to Chicago, which will take two days.  I expect to camp in Ohio, and to arrive in Chicago Monday evening, where I am invited to stay at the home of my great friend and former English teacher at New Trier High School, Joe McCloskey.   My plan is to spend Tuesday visiting several folks in Chicagoland, after which Rocinante and I will turn our heads west, to Omaha, and then northwest, toward Alaska.

I may be a bit distant from the Internet for the next six weeks, folks.  So wish me, "Drum bun!" va rog.
Rocinante retreating.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Life Goes On: Jesse and Cally Wed in Vermont

The Poet's Studio at Trumbull Hill Farm
On the 9th of June, 2012, adjacent to the Poet's Studio on the Pullman farm atop Trumbull Hill in Shaftsbury, Vermont, our son Jesse Stewart McDougall, age 33, took as his bride artist Caroline Stevenson Wheeler of Annisquam, Gloucester, Massachusetts, whose mother's family has for generations owned that farm, whose father was my roommate at Amherst College in our senior year of 1964-65, and whose parents' wedding (Mike Wheeler to Candace Pullman) I had attended in 1971, on the very same hilltop.  The sun shone, but not too warmly.  The breeze blew, but not too briskly.  The readings were both romantic and charming, one original by the reader, and one, about "becoming real," from The Velveteen Rabbit. (See link) Tears were shed freely, and all folk present, gathered as they were from damned near everywhere between Puget Sound and Miami Beach, treated one-another throughout the weekend with affection and respect.  The tartan of the Clan MacDougall was much in evidence, in the neckties of Jesse and his brothers and father, in the sash worn by the bride, in the pillow cover on which the rings were carried up the hill, and elsewhere in the attire of the wedding party.  Yes, the tartan was there, but not so brashly as had we all gotten kilts for the occasion.  Hence, it was a Pullman Farm Wheeler Wedding.  It was lovely beyond my ability to describe.

Dear Cally, you are, as you know, welcome in our family, and always in our home.  We love you.

I would post a wedding picture, but the newlyweds expressly asked us to refrain from posting pictures of them on their wedding day.  I guess they want this day to stay the glorious holistic memory that it is, rather than be reduced to a few static, published images.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mossy Antlers Mean "Spring in NH"

Received today from my friend Bert Kemp: "My daughter took this on her way to work this morning. WOW!"

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wedding Weekend Begins Wednesday

Alex (27), Jesse (33), Piper (32), Duncan, Shirl, and Jamie (35).  

Today the Campton Contingent of Clan McDougall gathered to prepare for Saturday's celebration of the wedding of Jesse McDougall and Caroline Wheeler.  I expect there will be future posts, so tonight I will keep it simple, and post only this informal group picture, taken following Piper's late arrival from Aspen, Colorado.  Jamie and his lovely wife Amy had arrived earlier from Orlando, FL.  Jesse and Alex came by car.  Yours truly served as Manchester Airport chauffeur.

Tomorrow, Shirl and I will head for Shaftsbury, Vermont, where the wedding is to be held.  There we will be meeting up with daughter Christal (46) and her daughter Hannah (12), and our Brian (43) with his wife Nika and their son Moses (1), all of whom constitute the Colorado Contingent of the Clan.

(Photo by  Amy McDougall.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Alexandra in America

A3 with Shirl, at our home.
My dear colleague Alexandra Muţiu has now returned to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and to her beautiful family.  And now we know how a Fulbrighter's hosts must feel when a well-respected and well-loved visiting professor has to leave for home.  Shirl and I miss A3 (as Shirl dubbed Alexandra, to distinguish her from our son Alexander, and from Alexandru Mican, the Romanian MBA who lived with us for a year).  But we have some photos to soothe our feelings, and to keep her memory fresh in our minds.  Today, I will post a selection of my favorite snapshots of A3 and Shirl at play, and of Professor Muţiu at Plymouth State University.

At The Brick Store in Bath, NH, "America's Oldest General Store"

Dancing to the Wurlizer at the Ice Cream Shop

At lunch in Woodsville.


Pastoral Symphony, please, Maestro!

Dean Boggess of CoBA, and Prof. Muţiu

With colleague David Talbot

Drs. Brad Allen, Edward Harding, Alexandra Muţiu and Daniel Moore

With fellow accounting teacher Bruce Wiggett
With graduating MBA Chuji Yamada of Osaka, Japan

With CoBA Director of Students, Eileen Bennett

Contingent Românesc: Prof. Muţiu and Prof. Roxana (Dima) Wright, CoBA Director of Faculty

At our seats for the Commencement Ceremonies

A3 had seen enough of the camera by this time.  Da, da, da, da!
Dear colleague and friend Alexandra, many here at Plymouth State University would welcome your return, but none more fervently than Shirl and Duncan.  Thank you for a great semester.  We love you.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My feelings for Romania, foreshadowed in 1964

Non-coincidence newly recognized:
Here is the flag of Romania, my beloved Fulbright home:

And here is the Royal Standard of Scotland:

And here is the McDougall Coat of Arms:

And finally, here is the flag of my fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, which I joined at Amherst College, in 1964.

Interpretation: my coming to Romania was long in The Plan.  Anyone have a better explanation?


Note:  I discovered this connection today, when I received an e-mail from DKE which used this background image:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Patriot Guard Riders

One of the service organizations with which I am active is the Patriot Guard Riders (PGR).  See the link for an explanation of who we are, and why we exist.

I rode a PGR mission north to Berlin, New Hampshire yesterday, to honor the service of WWII B-17 crewman Lionel Routhier, who died this week at 91.

It was a beautiful day.  Only two of us PGR showed up, partly because of the short notice of the mission, and partly because of the fact that the NH PGR is a bit thin in members north of Franconia Notch.  As a result, I make it a point to try to ride North Country missions.  Reno, my PGR compatriot on this mission, is a Vietnam era veteran of the U.S. Navy's submarine service.  He rode his Harley south from Pittsburg, New Hampshire, which is approximately the same distance from Berlin as is Campton, somewhat over an hour's ride.  After the service, the Routhier family thanked us for our presence. 

Held at St. Kieran's cemetery in Berlin, the graveside service (with military honors) was conducted by Pastor Dean Stiles of the Jefferson Christian Church.  The good pastor came to talk with us before the service, and again after it.  It happens that after spending a considerable time in the U.S. Navy Seabees, he attended Plymouth State University, majoring in anthropology, and that among his revered professors were my colleague Dr. Grace Fraser, and my special colleague-friend Dr. Kate Donahue, with whom I joined the faculty of Plymouth State College back in 1976, and with whom I have marched in many academic processionals over the ensuing years.

Pastor Stiles arrived for the service on his 1986 Honda Gold Wing, while I had come on my 1982 Honda Silver Wing.

After the service, I stopped  in Gorham at Labonville, Inc.  Labonville is a top-quality woodsman's outfitter of whom I have been a customer since 1966, when my first wife (Midge Cross) and I had a cottage in Randolph, nearby to Gorham, NH.  At Labonville I bought a pair of Hi-Vis gloves, perfect for hand-signaling turns at night, and something I have long wanted for use on my two vintage BMWs, an R60US and an R27, both of which predate standard turn signals on BMW bikes.

At Labonville, I got into a rather extended chat with Retail Division Manager Laurelle Cote about travel, dogs, schools, camping equipment, and the Scots' heritage.  Before I left with my one small purchase, the delightful Laurelle went into her office and got me a Labonville cap.  I shall wear it with pride.

Next, at Laurelle's suggestion, I stopped at Gorham Hardware, where I found two quart-sized gasoline containers for emergency fuel on my upcoming ride to Alaska, now only two weeks away.

Finally, I paid a courtesy call at Highacres, the summer home of the Cross family in Randolph, finding no one home of my former in-laws, but having a good chat with Ann Kenison, who works there part-time.  I also met Ann's granddaughter Alivia, about three, who has appeared in my son Brian's photo portfolio.  It is a tiny little world up there in the North Country.

The old Honda GL500 ran strong all day.  I think he is "champing at the bit" in anticipation of our ride to Alaska.