_Adventures - Where in the world did you go with Bil?!

Many of us were fortunate to share adventures with Bil.  Feel free to add the adventure, the year, and location below.  If you'd like to attach pictures, you can cut and paste them into the comment box.
2/6/2012 03:37:32 pm

OK, I will go first! I keep waiting for Sam or John or someone to start this!
Anyway I think I was lucky enough to join Dad on his last adventure. For his 84th birthday I wanted to take him on a trip. First he wanted to go to Beaver Island where we went with Kate with her broken leg when she was about 5. But then he called one day and said he would really like to take a driving trip back along the West Branch of the Susquehanna. This was the same river that he and paddled the length of for his 50th birthday. We joked then that we would get together and do it again after another 50 years. Dad didn't think he could make it that long, and he wanted to see it again, and he wanted to go back and visit Fairfield and the old house. We had a grand adventure. We saw many of the old sights along the river-God talking to us at the dam in Shawville, Clearfield, the Fallon Hotel, the hotel in Milton (both now closed), and lots more. We visited the house in Fairfield, saw a few friends, almost got blown away by a tornado, and ate at all Dad's favorite places, like Ted's Landing and the Book and Table! :) Dad even let me drive. We both had such a good time, reminiscing, talking, feeling grateful. The trip was so important to both of us and I think it was something he needed to do before he left us. Kate and Lee and I all went to visit Mom and Dad this past Thanksgiving, and I gave him a collage I made of the trip. There is a picture of it in the pictures section of the website. In the collage is a poem I wrote about our last adventure. "Draw, Goddammit, Draw" is a gilbertism from some of our first adventures with Dad, the annual "lots of kids canoe trip."


Thirty-four springs ago we made our epic trip,
Down the Susquehanna, Chinklacamoose was our ship.
You were celebrating fifty, an adventure you did crave,
An adventure craver too, goodbye to Tucson I did wave.
We found many perfect camping spots, we even talked to God
We saw Rocky in Loch Haven, watched groundhog babies by a log
Our trip was full of memories-good company, good place to be
Snisking deer, good weather, and chipmunks chirping merrily.

Fast forward to the present, and you are 84!
We both knew it was time to Journey into Spring once more.
Chinklacamoose was tired, so we traded paddles for some wheels.
There was no freeze dried camp food-just fine dining for our meals.
Our tent was a Hampton Inn and the lodge at Liberty,
My turn to paddle stern, your turn to reminisce with no responsibility.
Our trip was full of memories-good company, good place to be
Tornados, West Branch, Iron Springs, - all special things to see.

Your life has been one big adventure, I try to make mine one, too
But my best adventures ever, are these I share with you!


As a P.S., I returned to Alaska on February 2 to go back to the classroom I have been subbing in. It was Groundhog Day, which brought back a wonderful memory of our Journey #1 on the West Branch when we sat on a beautiful day watching a groundhog family on the bank of the river. Dad taught us how to notice things and appreciate them- big things, little things, interesting things. I am grateful to be able to notice and appreciate things like a groundhog.

2/7/2012 10:51:54 am

Oh my! Great.
I gotta submit poetry?

2/8/2012 07:13:14 am

Sam, you could start with 'There once was a man from Nantucket'....

2/7/2012 06:08:50 am

Lyn, remembere the canoe trip you got real sick and we paddled you out at night to get to a doctor in Hopewell Pa. We made a litter for you and Hugh kept an eye out for rocks. I followed behind in another boat with Gordon. They decided he should be with us and not left with the others. Bil was really worried about you that night. As always Bil got us all through just fine. I think you survived too.

2/8/2012 02:09:02 pm

Yes, Dick, I DO remember that trip! I think the canoe was covered in flowers (rhododendron??) for my voyage to Karthaus to await the doctor in the bar there. Dad and I went there on our trip this last spring!

2/21/2012 08:31:25 am

I remember also, and I think we built a canopy over the canoe to shade you from the sun. I also remember the trip where I jumped in the river and landed on a broken bottle. Your dad dug the piece of glass out of my foot with tweezers while my dad held my hand. Later that day I was given a crutch made out of a forked stick so I could walk around.

5/30/2012 12:18:30 pm

Happy birthday dad! I miss you and all the adventure you brought to everyday life-
Love you,
your youngest

5/31/2013 12:55:41 pm

Thinking of you this birthday week. Took Chinklacamoose out on the river and redwing blackbirds greeted us! ... love, C.

Frank Helton
6/17/2013 12:03:31 pm

I knew Bil in 1976 when he came to Emporia State University in Kansas He was there to write an article about the Play Factory for Sports Illustrated. He was 49 and I was 29. I was in terrific shape. Since he'd said he liked racket sports, I asked if he'd like to play racquetball (a sport I was pretty good at). When we got on the court he said, "I have to warn you, I completely block out everything around me when I play." So, I looking at this overweight, cigarette smoking guy 20 years my senior and I arrogantly said, to myself, "Just don't have a heart attack on me, old man."

We played two games. He kicked my butt 15-2 both times. I walked out of the court wringing wet from perspiration. He was dry and going to grab a smoke. He promised me a rematch when he came back in August.

When he came in August I kept asking when we would play. Finally, he came in one day with my boss. (My boss was only 31 and a superb natural athlete.) Bil was leaving the next day so he agreed to play at that moment. I beat him the two games. Not as badly as he beat me, but I beat him.

The next day I went into my boss's office strutting my stuff. I cockily said, "Hey, I beat Gilbert yesterday both games." My boss asked when we'd played and I told him after they came into the building. He laughed and said, "We'd just gotten done playing 3 1/2 hours of tennis in the 90 degrees and 90% humidity.

A superb athlete had to work him over for 3 1/2 hours in heat and humidity for me to barely beat him. Bil was one tough dude.

I've shared this story often when I think I'm getting a bit too cocky.

1/30/2017 07:45:31 pm

Lots of adventures-some good,some not so good but all all remembered with great love! Thanks for it all! You are missed.


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