Patchology: National Scouting Museum
It is too easy to take for granted the forces that have created and continue to drive the existence of a scouting movement in the United States. A trip to the National Scouting Museum should eliminate any doubts about why this organization exists, and must continue to exist, as a critical part of our national youth development infrastructure.
We visited the museum in June 2017, just as it was preparing to close and relocate from a commercial park in a Dallas suburb alongside National HQ to a brand new home. The new National Scouting Museum would be at the Philmont Scout Ranch at Cimarron, New Mexico, a place where, the organization’s leadership believes, it will be seen by twice as many people.
We didn’t focus on this during our visit. Instead we had the run of the museum, which did a brilliant job explaining what scouting is, how it is conducted, why it is delivered the way it is, and, perhaps most important, why scouting plays an essential role – as essential as school and sports – in developing young people.
If scouting, broadly speaking, faces a problem in the US, it is that we are far better about delivering these messages to ourselves than we are to people who have know little, nothing, or aught more than disinformation about the organization.
Hopefully, the process of shifting the Museum will open more doors to better exposure. I hope so. The more people who know about the organization and what it REALLY does, the better.
Flashback: my first camp cooking recipe
Kosher dutch oven Shepherd’s Pie for Troop 234’s adult leaders (basically, me and Dan E.)
Morro Bay State Park. Six years ago today.
Passover in the Air
Pre-COVID onboard Kosher meal, Passover:
- Steak and salmon: excellent.
- Couscous and matzah: good.
- Veggies: doable.
Needless to say, the cake went undisturbed.
While I feel bad about wasting food, I’d feel worse about “waisting” it.
Casmalia, a healing beauty
Just off of the Vandenberg Air Force Base reservation we turned inland and rode through this hidden valley of oaks and sycamores surrounded by rolling green hills. I’d never been through Casmalia, and it looked like a hidden gem.
But this beautiful place has a rough past. It had been a railroad boomtown when the Southern Pacific first came through, then an oil boomtown when the oilfields nearby were still producing. Finally, just over the hill in the background somebody opened a toxic waste dump in 1973 that wound up polluting the groundwater. The EPA shut the dump down and took it over in 1992 as a Superfund site, and the effort to remove some 4.6 billion pounds of toxic waste is still underway.
The town is starting to return to normal, but I can see a time in the future when, the ground water once again clean, more life will come to this beautiful little valley.
OCD Moment – Road Duds
You know you are looking forward to heading home when, three days before the end of your two-week business trip, you’re already laying out your clothes for the flight.
It’s about 40F outside of my tent as I make my early morning run for bladder relief, and the sun and sky are putting on a show as the rest of the troop sleeps. I had to stop and gawk, letting nature’s call go temporarily unanswered.
Camping in the desert is a delight for me in all but the hottest guy of summer, and it is moments like this that remind me that I need to get out here more often.
Southern Pacific Caboose
Superseded by advances in technology and railroad management, the noble caboose no longer rides the rails in the United States. Southern Pacific #1886, shown here, has not only been saved from the scrappers by the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum, who have spruced her up to like-new condition inside and out from the wheels to the chimney.
Riding past this, I added the museum to my bucket list.
Mugology: The Cherry of Seattle
Not far from Pioneer Square in Seattle is the Cherry Street Coffee House, a hidden oasis of superb coffee and healthy eats.
Sure, there are plenty of little joints scattered around Seattle, but I keep finding myself going back to this one. Cherry Street also boasts one of those bohemian dining areas that beg you to sit down, pull out your laptop or your Moleskine, and start creating.
That it’s a block from my company’s Seattle office, a block from my preferred hotel, and a block from the LINK light rail line to Sea-Tac make it one of the best-located writer’s nooks on my list anywhere.
I think it’s time to cook up a reason for a deductible junket…