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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Digitized photo collection -- a trip down the Midwest's memory lane

If you're of the age when you remember that "camping" meant a sleeping in a tent, cooking over a campfire, and those who had "campers" didn't have water, sewer, and electric hookups, listen up. There's a treasure trove of old photographs from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources that you may want to see.

Recently, 500 photos from the 1930s through the 1970s were digitized and released to the public on the Internet. The collection is part of a group held by the DNR, and its predecessor, the old Wisconsin Conservation Department. The photos were taken by "staff photographers," a position that died out in 2007 when the last official photographer, Bob Queen, hung up his Rollie – or whatever ancient "film" camera he was using at the time.

The largely black and white collection languished for decades, until the DNR tabbed Kathy Kahler, a writer for the Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, to go through the archives and sort out (and pick out) the photo collection for digitization. So far, Kahler has worked her way through 500 of the targeted 2,200 final picks of pics.

Gypsy Rose Lee
There are plenty of 'just plain folk,' in these historic photos. Dressed in anything from scandalously modest bathing suits to heavy parkas and mukluks (depending on the season), there's almost a Rod Serling-esque quality to these images. People who seem so out of time, when compared to our 'modern' society. Among the people you'll also find celebrities: Imagine Gypsy Rose Lee in an inflatable raft that looks like it was made out of a truck inner tube. OK, if the name is too old for you to recall, how about Bart Starr? Ted Williams? Com'on, Herbert Hoover?

OK, even if you're too young to remember any of these folks, here's an opportunity to wonder how it is people survived the great Wisconsin out-of-doors.

Take a trip through time. The collection is available for viewing 24/7 here.

Listen to Russ and Tiña's new Internet program, Your RV Podcast. Click here to go to their Program Notes page. 

All photos Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Roadtrippers for Trip Planning

by Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

Ever since the demise of Streets and Trips, we’ve been looking for a replacement to plan our annual travel route. I really like Roadtrippers, it is a free website – Roadtrippers.com – with companion Apps for both Android and Apple. I used to like the fact that S&T was on my computer and did not need an Internet connection. Roadtrippers does need an Internet connection, but it is surprisingly fast, and the advantages outweigh the negatives for me. It’s real claim to fame is the suggestions for things to do and points of interest which I wrote about in a previous article.

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You can plan your entire trip on the computer, and you’ll have it all with you on your phone or tablet while traveling. It does not offer voice-directed, turn by turn navigation, but it does show your planned route and it shows your current location along that route, silent navigation if you will. Another advantage is that you can share your plan with a simple link. This way your family can know where you’re supposed to be and your friends may be able to meet up with you or offer suggestions of sights along the way.

An extra nice touch, is the ability to write some notes, and add a calendar date to stops along the way. It doesn’t actually calculate the arrival date, just gives you a calendar to enter it yourself.

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Roadtrippers.com with Apps available for iOS as well as Android

Price: Free