recreation

Idaho Summer Trip – 2017

After getting a few short weeks with Katie home from school at Boise State in Idaho, we took another family road trip across the country to get her back and spend time with the Cook family. Misti and Brandon live in Council, ID now with their kids Copper and Elia. I got to spend a lot of time with the kids which was very fun. Just prior to leaving, Rachel’s car developed transmissions issues. So we ended up taking my mother-in-law’s brand new Ford Edge on the trip that she got the day before! Uh, it is a little bit dirty Sabrina… :^)

When we arrived, Council was having their “World Famous Porcupine Race” and parade, so we took part in this historical event! Shocking how many cool cars and trucks were at the car show and parade as Council is sort of in the middle of nowhere! Waiting for the porcupine race was very hot, and they decided to do an auction for the winner prior to the races (which PITA would not like much).

The whole time we were in Idaho, there was no rain, and temps were between 91º and 108º F. They say not having humidity is great, but I disagree. That sun was HOT when it was fully on you. However the temps dropped quickly after sunset. So we stayed indoors in the cars during the day, but going out at night was great!

The photos below show the trip out (2,200 miles one way), then the photos of the Council parade, races, car show, and crowd in city center. Other photos show the lakes we visited (including one where a bear sneaked up on Katie!). We drove around through the beautiful mountains of Idaho, camped one night by a creek (camp fire shot), rented a couple kayaks on one small lake, ate out a lot, and hung out with the Cooks. They even took us boating one day to a small water retention lake to ski and tube. Fun!

Sadly I had to leave via plane to get back to work in time. Katie started her summer internship the day before. But we got to make a late day trip to Table Rock. Enjoy the photos I got below. Rachel and James are still out there for an unknown amount of time. So dad is taking care of all things at home (and working).

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So where in the world is Council, Idaho? Here, I’ll show you…

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Waynesville, Port William & Jeffersonville Railroad Book

A number of you have been aware of the partnership I have developed with Mr. Mike Mason of Port William, Ohio over the past 3-4 years. For those unaware, Mike is the man whom I was told to contact for learning about the “Grasshopper Railroad” by a local historical society. The line that once ran through Port William – even down my in-law’s driveway! He also farms 1,000 acres, has been on ESPN as a dirt track racer, and many other amazing things.

I first was recommended contacting Mike back in 2011, but he owns a lot of farmland and works it himself, so he is usually unavailable for much of anything from April to November (farm season).

I managed to track his phone number down, and recall talking to his wife Jean for the first time one spring. She just said, ‘he will be available to talk to you around October or November’! I was like “really”?! It was true.

Some months later I finally got to meet Mike. He was skeptical of me at first, unsure who I was, but after some Q&A on railroad terminology and details on the Grasshopper, we quickly became great friends!

Mike had two great-grandparents, and all all four of his grandparents (maternal and paternal) own mills or businesses that once used the Grasshopper Railroad for shipping goods out of or into Port William. So he had family ties to the old line just as I did.

For the past 40 years he’s collected information, photos, maps, and history on the old line. His hope for those 40 years was to write a book on the line. There was a LOT of misinformation on the line in books and on the web.

Mike wanted to tell the TRUE story about the line from start to end, and had nearly given up on writing a book until I happened to get with him.

I’m in the business of graphic design, and having helped my mother-in-law Sabrina Kiser (retired English high school teacher) with getting a couple of her books she wrote in previous years (Dove’s Trail and Mountain Mist) started, I offered to help Mike fulfill his dream of writing and publishing a book in trade for him helping me to know all about the old line.

He agreed and for the past 4 years I’ve scanned, cropped, and re-touched images, created artwork of old stations and maps of the old route, converted pages of hand-written notes to electronic copy, edited text (over and over), dove into searching online for old newspaper articles, taken road trips to photograph images of old road crossings, helped get Mike a publisher, set-up a Facebook page for the book, and many other things covering the line’s 31.5 mile length.

In all the many hours of work we’ve put into the book, I’ve never made 1¢ nor have I wanted it. Actually Mike did buy me lunch one day! 🙂

My desire was to help Mike fulfill a dream and for me to know that I helped preserve history. I’d also always wanted to help write a book from start to finish.

With all the work I’d put into helping Mike with his book, he offered to list me as “co-author” of the book! So not only have I helped Mike, I’ve helped preserve history, learned a LOT about Mike, the railroad, and this area, and have become a published co-author too!

Better than that, Mike has vowed to give me all the material he has collected over the years on the railroad and there is a LOT. I’ve already make plans myself to donate all those items to the Clinton County Ohio Historical Society when that day comes. I love history and want it protected!

The past 4 years has been an amazing journey and the trip is nearly finished. This morning, Mike’s publisher David Braughler let me know that the books should be done in a week or so. David also said that he has the book listed on his site and is taking pre-orders on the book.

So with much happiness, I share this link for those who love history, love railroads, live in SW Ohio, or know me or Mike and want to see what we did. We hope you enjoy it!

https://braughlerbooks.com/…/story-waynesville-port-willia…/

I have a page on Facebook for the book and will be sharing even more there as I get time at: https://www.facebook.com/grasshopperrailroad/. I’ll also share some of the strange things that just happened to work out to help us make this book happen. Some things had to have some Divine guidance! We are both very excited and hope what we’ve done will be useful to many.

– Roger W. Starnes, Jr.