Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Decade in Review/ 2006 & 2007

This is the fifth of a series of posts titled "Decade in Review". Each post will be dedicated to one year or at most two, so no one will get bored reading the entire long document! This is a review on 2006 and 2007. Thanks for reading!!
- 2006 -
The first highlight for me in the year 2006 was the purchase of my first vehicle!!! I was looking for a good truck, preferably 4-wheel-drive, since I was tired of my dad's 2-wheel-drive trucks always getting stuck. I answered a private-party ad in the Tradin' Post classifieds, road tested the truck and decided to purchase it. It was a 1995 ¾-ton Dodge 4x4 with a number of dings, but no major damage. I got it for a steal at $4250, as list price was around $7000!

2006 holds the prize locally for the warmest temperature of the decade, with a high of 102.7 degrees on the 31st of July. This time, at least no storms followed the heat wave!

I continued to grow older, and officially became an Uncle on the 16th of August, 2006, when twin nephews Joseph and Josiah were born to my brother and his wife. A full ten weeks premature, they weighed just over 3 pounds, and remained in isolation for several weeks in the Marshfield hospital. By fall, they were allowed to go home, and have done quite well despite early dire predictions!

On August 21st, 2006, the U.S. Hwy 53 Bypass opened, officially bypassing the congested city of Eau Claire and cutting commute times to the South side in half. As with the Hwy 29 project, I had been following this construction project closely via bicycle since 2001.

On October 1st, 2006, I set out on my bicycle to break my record set in 2005. I rode down the Chippewa River Trail, following the same route as the previous year, only this time I rode all the way to Durand. Unfortunately, my tire went flat as I rode into Durand, and I had to stop and replace the tube. I had been traveling about ½ hour ahead of schedule, so the repair delay put me on schedule. Thankfully, I had foreseen the possibility of such a problem, and had packed a tire repair kit!! I finally arrived back home a good hour after sundown, and totally worn out, but I did break my record!! My new record was 82.44 miles for the day. My goal was to someday break 100 in one day, but I decided that if I was to ever come near that, I would have to leave before 1 pm, because I found that the sun eventually always goes down whether we are ready for it or not!!!

On November 18th, 2006, my sister and I met an amazing Christian family bluegrass band at Barnabas Coffeehouse, the Ottersons. I am not sure why I decided to put them on here, but I guess they made a major impression on me. They are good friends of ours to this day.

December rolled around, and I figured that if I had a good strong truck, perhaps I should look into purchasing a snowplow to make short work of the snow removal process! On December 6th, I made the purchase of a used 8 foot Hiniker plow, and after that, my truck was ready for anything! The next summer I scraped the rust off of the plow and repainted it. I found that if I counterbalanced the 700 lb plow with about 1000 lbs of field rocks in the back of the truck, there wasn't much that could stop it! I even constructed a special slatted box to hold the 1000 lbs of rocks, so they wouldn't be rolling around!

- 2007 -

I had been exhibiting my photography recently in the Spring Art Show at the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls, and since the exhibition fee was drastically lower if I was a paid member of the Heyde Center, my mom gifted me at Christmas, 2006 with a one-year membership to the Heyde Center. Of course, as a member, I received the Center's quarterly newsletter. In the first issue that I received, in March of 2007, there was an ad that read: “We are desperately in need of more volunteers......If you have had an interest in learning how to operate the lights and sound for events at the Heyde Center, please contact us... We will train you!” Well, I was a bit interested, but I wasn't sure. My mom however, told me that if it was something I was interested in, I should apply! I applied in early April. I turned out to be the only one who applied that stayed on! I got to help with my first show, the Big Top Chautauqua band, on April 20th, 2007. That was a blast and I stayed on! A few weeks later, still not knowing what I was doing, I ended up singlehandedly running sound and lights for an Eau Claire group, Quinn Elizabeth. That was the first show I did on my own, (although I did have a little help from a friend of theirs :) Thus began my crash course and interest in technical sound production!

July 15, 2007, at the fair I attended the concert of another nationally touring band, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. As well as watching the band, I kept an eye on the sound board operators, to get an idea how they managed to run the 54 channel sound console!

In early August of 2007, I took my newly learned sound knowledge and decided to revamp the sound system at Barnabas Christian Coffeehouse. The system was previously characterized by frequent howls of feedback and muffled sound. After my first attempts at reworking the system, things improved slightly. Over the next 2 years, I would frequently tweak the system, adding various components and upgrades to finally eliminate most of the major audio problems of the place.

Another major windstorm roared through western Wisconsin on the night of August 13th, 2007. While similar to the 2005 storm in intensity, it covered a far smaller area, generally affecting a swath through far Eastern Minnesota, and into Wisconsin from about Somerset and New Richmond to just east of Menominee. Menominee got hit the hardest, with significant wind damage.

Throughout the summer, I had been gearing up to take another extensive bike ride, this time again planning to ride down my usual route through Eau Claire, and then down the Chippewa River Trail to about the Pepin Co. line, where I planned to pick up the Red Cedar Trail and ride north, all the way to Menominee. From Menominee, I planned to follow the back roads home. I worked out the best route through town with my brother who lives in Menominee. On September 16th, 2007, I set out on the bike ride, and having learned from previous rides that it didn't work well to leave at 1 pm and still plan on getting home by dark, I left a little earlier. The ride went uneventfully according to plan, and I actually arrived back in my home neighborhood a good half hour before dark!! Well unfortunately, I hadn't broken my record yet, so I simply rode around the neighborhood until it got dark. My new record I set that day of 85.2 miles still stands, as I have since gotten too busy since then to try to break it!

The final major highlight of 2007 was the day that my family finally decided to get internet service. Our new internet service was hooked up on December 21, 2007. Needless to say, that was a BIG day!!! Finally, I had email!

As a matter of fact, I should probably go check it...

>>><<<>To Be Continued<>>><<<


Brittney said...

Wow! Levi was short and cute back then :) LOL

Great reviews, Joel!

JWcountryphoto said...


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