Category Archives: Personal

Promise Keepers PKIndy

It was the spring of 94, and I was living in Cincinnati working for Hewlett-Packard but was in the process of moving to Indianapolis to switch to the PSO Division of HP. Friends of my wife were talking about how their husbands were going to the Indianapolis Promise Keepers Conference later that summer. They gave me a application for that event that I sat on for many weeks procrastinating as to whether I wanted to go. However, I did have tension in my life that God could help with. I was taking care of some computer issues for the Michigan Department of Education in Lansing, MI when one evening at the hotel I felt that I should give this PK event a try. So I filled out the application and had the front desk fax it to PK for me. I got a ticket and later found out that I was probably one of the last men to get a ticket. 

Now living in Indianapolis, time came for the PK Conference and I was reluctant but forced myself to give it a try, at least for the first Friday night session. Well, I was impressed, you could feel God’s presence with great speakers and 60,000 men singing praise songs. I was in agreement that men needed to step up as spiritual leaders of their families but it was speaker. Rev. Jeffrey Johnson, pastor of Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church, who helped me to connect with another theme that resonated within my soul, and that was the issue of Racism in America. Promise Keepers had taken a stand for racial reconciliation and called men to unite as brothers. Rev. Johnson captured that for me with his statement; “If God is your father, then I am your brother”.

Bill McCartney

Promise Keepers traces its origins to a conversation in 1990 between then Colorado head football coach Bill McCartney and friend Dave Wardell while the two were driving to a meeting of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Pueblo, Colorado. During the conversation McCartney stated his desire to see large gatherings of men come together “in the name of Jesus, worshipping and celebrating their faith together”. Bill McCartney, University of Colorado Football Coach, had just come off a very successful season. He was at the top of his coaching career when he announced he was retiring in order to focus exclusively on building the Promise Keepers movement. I suppose this got my attention as much as anything causing me to give PK a chance.

The Indy Conference had created all kinds of discussions in my mind about my relationship with Jesus Christ. During the following weeks I had a lot of time to think about all of this on my drives to and from Lansing, MI. It was during a drive north while listening to praise music CD from the conference that the song  Purify My Heart finally hit home. With tears in my eyes, I pulled my car off to the side of I69 near Ft Wayne when I rededicated my life to Christ.

Getting Involved

One of the first things I did was to follow up on my concern for racial reconciliation. I saw that Eastern Star Missionary Baptist Church was holding a men’s conference of their own, which I decided to attend. That was an interesting evening spent with a full church of black men praising God. I think there may have been a couple other white men there, but it must have been obvious that I was there with an open mind and heart. At the intermission, some of the leaders came up to me and asked if I would come up front to say why I was there. I guess God was starting to use me. In my own church, I got involved with an accountability group where the foundational book, “Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper” laid the groundwork for how to be a Promise Keeper.

Seven Promises of a Promise Keeper Book

When I am inspired, I want to get involved and that is what began to happen for me with our Men’s Ministry program at my church. I also visited the Promise Keepers offices and struck up some strong relationships with Ray Hilbert and the PK leadership team. This also included meeting Bob Buckner who was starting LoveINC, Love In the Name of Christ. I basically asked what could I do to help. Through the next year these connections and commitments grew, but I also used some of my computer skills to create the website PKIndy.

PKIndy Website Header, GIF image – 13 KB

This was 1994 and websites were a relatively new form of communication, but luckily the Internet provider SurfICI donated the hosting of the site. I used PKIndy to be a focal point for PK and Men’s Ministry activity in the midwest around Indianapolis. I became a PK Ambassador and was also asked to be the Housing Coordinator for the 1995 PK Conference.

Housing Coordinator

Promise Keepers was in serious growth mode in 1995. Many new conference sites were added and I believe all were selling out. Serving as the Housing Coordinator was a fun job allowing me to communicate with many men who were not just looking for a place to stay, but who wanted to create the ultimate experiences for the men’s ministry groups. I was relying heavily on the housing option provided by local high school athletic programs that would open up their school on Friday night providing a floor to sleep on and the athletic bathroom and shower facilities for bathing. One great story that I remember occurred at Crispus Attucks High School. This option for high schools was a great fundraising opportunity based typically on the men making a donation to the athletic program. However, at Attucks there was renovation work taking place that was not completed when expected and caused the high school to not have shower facilities available. I’m not sure how it happened but the school offered the men the option to shower using the sprinklers on the football field. Well you can imagine how much fun 100 men can have playing in the sprinklers on a football field.

Volunteer Coordinator

Volunteer Organization Work

Moving into 1996, I had gotten more involved with PK and they asked me to be the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator for the upcoming Indy Conference. This was a little daunting in that we had to help find over 3000 volunteers for the many conference assignments dominated by ushers, store workers, and food distribution. PK was implementing a new computer database program to manage the volunteers and I remember that my IT experience was needed as we debugged the program. Finding the volunteers was not difficult but slotting them into the roles they desired became the real challenge. By 96 I had involved a number of men from my IT staff at IUPUI. Marc Wilson and his wife became valuable store managers and Emil Luca helped me a lot with the database. I was also heavily involved with my own Church Men’s Ministry which birthed a number of PK related events and a weekly Wednesday morning gathering at Perkins. One of the Men’s events that meant a lot to me was getting the hero of the 1987 Indiana Hoosiers NCAA Basketball Championship, Keith Smart, to be our guest speaker for a church full of Indianapolis men.

My original passion for racial reconciliation was continuing to be emphasized with various interactions of Indy black churches. I remember many accountability meetings with Chris Reeder where we found ways to serve the Indy community through LoveINC. But my most cherished involvement came from getting a group of white brothers from my church to venture down to the inner city every Saturday morning to seek out pickup basketball games. We would find a court in some of the roughest neighborhoods where we would just start pickup basketball games. A group of white guys playing basketball here was obviously out of place, which generated interest from local guys to come by to question what we were doing there. These introductions allowed us to invite the local men to play and learn about Promise Keepers. It was during one of these basketball mornings when I had my vision of Jesus. It was a misty wet court where black and white guys had a great game going on. It was spirited basketball and I was out front on the point when I saw a vision of Jesus in sandals elbowing for position under the basket. I remember I kind of went into a trance for a few seconds, it was very real. That vision epitomizes my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Promise Keepers was really starting to get noticed by 96. Conferences were selling out and donations were pouring in to make PK a powerful voice for Men’s Ministry in America. The anticipation for the 97 conferences had exploded. Tickets were grabbed up quickly by church men’s groups. Local PK activities were also growing with the PK designations of Point Men and Ambassadors trying to help church men’s group grow and be more effective. As I remember, serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for the 97 Indy Promise Keepers Conference was not about finding volunteers, but more about trying to appease everyone’s desire for certain assignments. However, there was a memorable crisis at the 1998 conference that I had to navigate. On the Saturday of the conference we needed to feed 60,000 men within a small window of time for lunch. We facilitated this by contracting with a food service contractor that provided box lunches delivered in refrigerated semi truck trailers. All I had to do was find 50-75 volunteers who would be willing to unload the box lunches to make them available for the thousands of men to walk by tables and grab a box lunch. These volunteers were typically women from a few large churches who were free to com down in the morning to prepare this distribution.

It was about 10 am when I got confirmation that the primary provider for these volunteers was not showing up. So here I am, the guy responsible for volunteers who had no volunteers to unload 60,000 box lunches in the next 2 hours. I think I contemplated my option for a few minutes before I settled on going out into the arena to find men willing to volunteer. However, I distinctly remember telling my team that we did not have time to randomly ask men to volunteer due to the lack of time and lack of organization that we had available to us. So I looked up at the men around the stadium and noticed groups of men with the same T-Shirts on or same hats. That is when I decided that I needed to go to one of these groups, find out who their leader was so that I could ask them if they would be willing to rally their men to save the conference. Well you can imagine that the response was exactly what I was in need of. One large group of men that essentially represented a large Church Men’s Group said,” heck yes, how can we help?” I just said to him to follow me and the day was saved.

The culmination for Promise Keepers in 1997 was the Stand In The Gap, A Sacred Assembly of Men.

This gathering of more than a million men on the National Mall in Washington DC on October 4th, 1997 was the pinnacle of the Promise Keepers Revival. This event was significant, but I got the impression at the time that news coverage was tempered because it was a Christian based movement. I heard that most every charter bus in the eastern part of the US was taking men to Washington DC. No, I did not go but I assumed I would until I realized that my wife was to be ordained as a new minister during that weekend. So yes, this was the pinnacle and PK began to fade away over the next few years. I feel that one of the major reasons for the fall was the decision by PK to make all conferences free from then on. A wonderful thing to do to make sure that anyone could attend, but that is not how men operate. Men want to provide a benefit, not receive one. The stage was set for the largest conference schedule yet for 1998.

In 1996 Promise Keepers held a special conference in Atlanta exclusively for 40,000 Pastors from around the world. This set the stage for PK to present regional Pastors Conferences in 1998, and Indy was scheduled for February 19th. Well by then we had a very competent local team able to facilitate a Pastor’s Conference that was held at the old Pacers’ Basketball Arena. I remember it was a high energy event with great speakers, but what I remember most was the healing that was needed for our Pastors. I remember it was time to get Coach Bill McCartney to address the conference but he was serving the needs of broken pastors in the prayer room. When I found Coach, he was on his knees hugging a pastor who had completely broken down. It was obvious that the conference was going to wait so that coach could help heal this man. That is when I truly saw God working through Coach Mac.

A Friend of Jesus

I want to tell you about a friend of Jesus, whom I got to know through volunteering for the 1998 Indianapolis Promise Keepers Conference. Early in the week of the conference, we were starting to put together the infrastructure that would help manage the many volunteers that would make the conference a reality, Becky Minglin, the most wonderful Volunteer Checkin Supervisor that a conference could have, introduced me to Art Remington. As you shook his hand and made eye contact, you knew you were in special company. His prominent nametag among his conference security credentials simply stated “Art Remington, Friend of Jesus“.

Through the rest of the week, I was blessed by getting to know Art better. Art had been serving our Lord as a minister in California when his life took a turn. His wife went to be with God and then our Lord instructed Art to get involved in some sort of traveling ministry. This traveling ministry turned out to be volunteering for every Promise Keeper Conference since her passing. The Indianapolis PK Conference was like the 50th conference he had worked. This really had an impact on me regarding his commitment, when I saw the old red pickup truck with a camper shell that had over 200,000 miles on it! He called this his home.

It quickly became apparent that all of the PK staff regulars not only knew Art, but felt a sense of ease knowing that Art was there. I’m sure there was not a job that Art had not performed at a PK Conference. I was blessed because he was actually focusing his time to support my group, the Volunteers. Art was to be the Volunteer Staff Representative, VSR, for the upcoming Omaha PK Conference, so he was working with us in final preparation. Yes, Art was invaluable to us, if there was a problem you called Art. You may have seen him driving around a yellow flatbed cart that became known as the Art Mobile. I’ll never forget the time Friday evening after things started to calm down a little. Art had been out on Capital Street with a bullhorn redirecting men with registration problems, as well as recruiting more volunteers. I called him on the radio just to ask how and where he was. The reply came back, “I’m writing another chapter of my book out here on Capitol Street”. Art was ministering to a group of brothers, amazingly, he always had time for that.

I’m sure Art could write many books with all of his PK experiences. But I want to convey more about Art then just the service that he provided. Art is not only a friend of Jesus, but more like one of Jesus’ Disciples. Whether it was working side-by-side with him, talking about basketball, or just looking into his eyes, he affected you for the good of God. I know the prayer he gave to our Volunteer Check In team after we closed down Saturday was straight from our Father. I stayed late into the night on that Saturday, working with Art, just so I could have more time with him. Archived Web Page referencing the 1998 Indianapolis PK Conference.

Final Conference

We had another PK Conference in Indianapolis July 9-10, 1999, which took a scary turn for my involvement. A few days before the conference began, I woke up to find that someone had thrown major rocks through the back window of my Ford Taurus. It was also obvious that the vandals had urinated on the back of the car which was parked in my driveway. My Taurus was easily identified as a supporter of Promise Keepers as well as for the upcoming Billy Graham Crusade to be held in Indy later that year. This brought everything into perspective. Satan was not happy with the progress being made by these movements. This act of violence did not influence my involvement, however, I was not going to let my family stay at home without me. This actually turned out to be a blessing for my family, who came down to the conference, and helped serve throughout the weekend. I do believe the experience was quite meaningful for them. I then understood how important it was that hundreds of women prayed over every stadium seat in the arena before every conference.

Promise Keepers had given me my Born Again Christian start which steered me into various faith based ministries. I helped start a chapter of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship at IUPUI. I was also actively involved with Tres Dias Weekends which spawned the creation of New Hope Great Banquet with an emphasis on serving men from the inner city. As I was finishing up my Masters Degree from Indiana University I started looking for a new university where I could serve as the CIO. Nothing was really clicking until I told God that what I really wanted was to serve at a Faith based university preferably in the West. The next day I responded to CIO opening at Carroll College in Montana and George Fox University in Oregon. I ended up at George Fox where I thoroughly enjoyed working for a true Christian University. Plus I helped start a new chapter of LoveINC in Newberg, OR.


I had gotten involved with blogging to document my various backpacking trips which are relied on by other backpackers in this unique community. I have also created an occasional blog post about other activities in my life which eventually grew to a point where my blog is really my life’s diary. It has become my written legacy for future descendants. This post on Promise Keepers has been in development for many years and became even more important as I realized how little was documented about this Promise Keepers Revival of the 90s. Well this post has found its way to various brothers in Christ who have enjoyed the reminder of Promise Keepers. However, I was especially encouraged by reconnecting with Art Remington, “Friend of Jesus” who I mentioned in this post. Art is alive and well living in Pennsylvania, still serving our Lord. We had a great conversation by phone where I discovered that Art has been involved with Promise Keepers all this time. He mentioned the release of the Documentary “Stand In The Gap 25th Anniversary Celebration“. This documentary reminded me of how PK really got it right. There cannot be any political or denominational agenda associated with a true revival that is ordained by God. That is what made PK so powerful and is why it would be so difficult to replicate in today’s landscape. But that does not mean that we should not try.

Promise Keepers Today

The Promise Keepers organization does still exist after a few restarts. It is just a shell of its glorious past, but the message is still on target and as important as ever. They have excellent resources for men’s ministry which includes a powerful PK Mobile App that adapts their message to our current digital world. They have various Bible course study options that can be facilitated by this app or in your men’s ministry group. And they have held a few large gatherings of men that can be reviewed via their website.

Eagle Creek Park Red Trail

Red Trail Marker

I have relocated to Indianapolis for a while and to satisfy my need for nature and hiking I took on the Red Trail at Eagle Creek Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. This Spring hike showed hints of foliage and flowers as well as some impassable muddy sections. The Red Trail Loop is approximately 7 miles with a 270′ vertical change that takes you around a portion of the lake and past all of the parks amenities. I parked near the 71st entrance and hiked in a counterclockwise direction easily finding the conveniently marked Red Trail Markers. The trail is very well maintained. You quickly get a good view of the lake as you proceed around and across it on a land path bridge. I was also impressed with the conveniently placed benches for rest and observation of the wildlife.

Once across the lake you get a nice winding trail through the trees until you end up at the recreational equipment rental facility which also has a nice little snack concession stand.

The trail then comes to the Earth Discovery Center. Turtle Turtle

Next you come across the Go Ape Treetop Adventure area. This appeared to be quite popular even on this rather chilly Spring day.

The trail again leads out to a lake view and then you start heading back to the beginning. Lots of nice little Gullies, which I’m sure are very lush later in the summer.

You then approach Lilly Lake but this is also the area near the ice skating pond where the trail gets really muddy.

I then came across something familiar but foreign to Indiana. From a distance I see this huge tree trunk that I knew could not be from here. And low and behold it was a Douglas Fir Tree Trunk from Oregon.

I end the loop with more views of the lake.

I will be living right next to Eagle Creek Park for a while. I have a feeling it will offer the trail exercise that I will need. The Adventure Continues

Colorado Ute Chemist

Historical Posts representing Adventure Continues: Second Quarter

I did have a degree in chemistry so I was checking out job opportunities and wouldn’t you know it, I landed a job as a chemist for Colorado UTE Electric Association’s power plant in Craig Colorado. I was probably never thought I would work as a chemist, but then again, this was not serious chemistry. A Chemist for an electric generating station had to perform basic water, coal and emissions testing that really just required some knowledge of chemistry and the aptitude to learn. Plus they did not pay very much so they were definitely looking for novice chemists. But it was a real job, working for a real company, so I had to adapt to this new culture.

Craig Stations 1 & 2

When I started work in late 1978 there was one new 400 MW plant in operation and a second 400 MW plant about ready to be started up. Colorado Ute was sort of a conglomerate of rural electric associations based in Montrose providing electricity to the western slope of Colorado. However, the power plants planned in Craig were more about satisfying the electricity needs for California. Plus new environmental concerns were forcing electric utilities to be more responsible about the dangerous emissions that had been polluting our country since the industrial revolution. I had no clue how electricity was produced, but it sure did look exciting. This was all happening in Craig, CO, because of easy access to fairly good coal.

Accepting this job ushered in all sorts of new responsibilities. Where to live? Craig was a boom town now with no available housing so Colorado Ute built a mobile home park on the outskirts of town and that was the only option.

Our Mobile Home and Subaru in Craig, CO 1978-9

We went to Denver, bought a 14×72′ furnished mobile home for $14K that would be delivered to Craig. For my first week of work we stayed with friends in Steamboat Springs, however, I never made it to work on my first day. It 49 degrees below zero and my car was totally frozen. It was devastating for me to make that call to my new employer telling them that I could not start my car. Our mobile home was delivered at the end of that week, however, utilities would not be hooked up until the following week. Connie and I went to Craig to check out our new home that weekend and decided to actually sleep in the dark cold trailer one night. We were a bit naive thinking we could be warm enough sleeping on our new bed when it was below freezing outside. I swear the trailer felt 10 degrees colder inside. But we were excited about this new life, it was truly going to be an adventure.

Access to Steamboat sure did Help

Work as a chemist was fairly easy to learn, we were mostly concerned about calcium in the water/steam that could plate out as silica on the turbine blades along with the BTU and sulfur content of the coal we were burning. ColUtePeopleMagazineCover79

I was rather surprised when I appeared on the cover of the Colorado-Ute magazine highlighting an “article about what life was like in Craig, CO“. The startup of the second generator was exciting as there is great concern and optimism associated with such an engineering feet. Here is an article from the Unit II Dedication about our Environmental Effort that I am mentioned in. Overall I was into this sort of professional life. Connie worked as a bank teller but then doing research for a local Title Company.

View of Power Plants from our Land

We must have assumed we might stay in Craig because we bought a 5 acre plot of land that we planned on building a log house on someday. Craig, CO, was a unique experience, good people but also a bit rough. I played in a basketball league and a flag football league where I was the quarterback until I got my jaw broken.

I got to ski a fair amount in Steamboat and definitely took advantage of the surrounding wilderness for hiking and fishing. Oh yes, we added another animal to our family. A local rancher, Joni Voloshin, who worked with me offer to give us a beautiful Red Australian Shepard if we agreed to let her have a litter of pups. The local ranchers were trying to increase the population of Aussies so to help prevent them from being stolen.

This job as a chemist was good in that I now believed I could do so much more. Our lab’s new Varian Atomic Absorption machine opened doors for me especially thanks to the HP 85 Computer that controlled it. I discovered that I could program these new micro-computers to do so much more. CoUteLabVarian

I was becoming restless and believed that I should make more money as a chemist so I applied for other power plant chemist jobs all around the country. I got an offer from NIPSCO, Northern Indiana Public Service, to work at a plant in Gary, IN. I was young and into the Adventure but who in their right mind would move from Colorado to Gary, IN?

Next Post:

NIPSCO – Life Changing Time

I decided to advance my career as a chemist by applying for jobs with more opportunity. Somehow I ended up in Northern Indiana working at NIPSCO’s Mitchell Power Station.

Boulder Colorado

Historical Posts representing Adventure Continues: Second Quarter

Boulder, Colorado, was and is a very cool city. Sure it is a college town in a beautiful setting next to the Flatiron foothills, but in the summer of 77 it had its own post Vietnam era independent vibe. Outdoor recreation was a growth industry. Frank Shorter helped to promote Boulder as a Mecca for long distant runners. Celestial Seasonings was evolving as a Tea provider supporting a very popular Red Zinger Classic Bike Race. 78BarneyCatPearl Street was the place to be. And this is where we ended up soon after marriage. We started out living in an apartment at Lake Tantra but soon ended up as the managers for Hill House Apartments at 10th and Marine. We also got our first pet when we got to Boulder, a cat we named Barney. Steve showed up occasionally and we were spending a lot of time playing frisbee, enough that we decided to enter the Colorado State Frisbee Championships that was held at the cU camp in Boulder. Our specialty was acrobatic throws and catches, which impressed the crowds but we did not have all the other disciplines down well enough to be a contender.

Sometime that summer as I was phasing out of Colorado International and preparing to attend Colorado University, I hooked up with Mock Realty Property Management under Ken Mock, which led to our opportunity to manage Hill House Apartments. This deal gave us an apartment and a small stipend for managing the apartments. The better deal though was working for the contractor who was responsible for reconditioning all of Mock Realty properties when their tenants moved out. tulagiI got paid a lot of money for throwing on a new coat of paint in these properties. Connie was working at the Penny’s Auto Center and doing some books for our apartments which all translated into a good enough financial situation to enjoy Boulder. Pearl Street was just a short walk, the Walrus became our favorite restaurant and we spent many a night on the Hill typically at Tulagi’s.

Studying with Barney’s help

Of course the reason for being in Boulder was to advance our intellectual and artistic endeavors. I did take the 2 courses I needed to graduate from Indiana University along with a few other very interesting Chemical Engineering classes. It was Igor Gamov’s course on chemical flow dynamics that actually got me interested in computers. The course allocated a nice chunk of computer time in the CU Computer Center to work on some flow dynamics programs. I think I spent 90% of my time focusing on that small component of the course. I even resorted to begging for more computer time even though I had completed all assignments. However, the seed was planted especially when I overheard a grad student talking about accessing the computer from his apartment via a terminal. That same course also offered some great field trips to experience chemical processing. The visit to the Climax Molybdenum Mine in Leadville was way cool and the tour of the Coors Brewery in Golden ending with an extensive tasting session was a fitting way to end my college time at CU.

Connie was pursuing a degree in Theater at Indiana U. but pulled out with a year and a half to go. However, she utilized this Boulder opportunity to study with Samuel Avital at “Le Centre du Silence” mime school and took acting with Robert Benedetti at University of Colorado in association with the Shakespeare Festival. I guess we both participated a few times in the script created for watching the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Boulder Theater. We also did a lot of hiking in and around the Boulder front range and continued to ski as much as possible. We had a few great nights skiing at Eldora Ski Mountain. Overall there always seemed to be plenty going on in Boulder. 

Barney the cat was working out for us, so we decided it was time to get a dog. We went to the Boulder Animal Shelter in hopes of finding the right dog in need of adoption. As we walked through the kennel there was a Black/Gold/White Shepard type dog that was sitting in silence amongst a kennel full of barking dogs.

We knew this dog was meant for us, however, he was not available for adoption for at least another week. Connie reminds me that I went back to the kennel everyday to sit with our hopeful new pet. When adoption was finally granted we named our new dog “Rusty”. The animal shelter required that we get him fixed but I felt like he needed to experience his libido so we got him a vasectomy. A few years later after too many runoffs for the smell of a female in heat we decided to get Rusty neutered. Rusty and sometimes Barney joined our walks down to the Boulder Creek parkway.


Falls up Boulder Canyon


I still had a connection to my Christian Ministry roots so when I came across an opportunity for a paid Youth Leadership position at Mt Hope Lutheran Church I talked Connie into the commitment and we were sort of put in charge of the Senior High Youth Group. Maybe this was the initial stimulus which led to Connie becoming a Chaplain in later life. The experience was pretty cool culminating with a major effort to take the group to a youth conference in New Mexico. This was definitely a test for us to be grown-ups and I think we did OK. As the school year was winding down I landed a job at Arapahoe Chemical working as a plant operator. They were not hiring just for a student summer job so I failed to let them know that I was a student. This was also when I bought a Honda 550 motorcycle from a friend with plans to ride to Steamboat Springs for a short get-away. I was not an experienced rider so when I hit loose gravel on a turn coming back from Steamboat Lake, off the road and over the handlebars I went. This was one of those times when I believe God must have been looking over me since I was not wearing a helmet and I could have easily hit my head on the many large rocks in the field where I came to rest. I did, however, rupture a kidney which required a hospital visit and many days of recovery in Steamboat.


Crazy Snow storm in May of 78

Well, Boulder had been great but that Adventure spirit was rising again. We even considered riding that Honda around the country which is what we told the church as the reason for our resignation. But of course a new adventure always presented itself. This time we were headed to Snow Mountain Ranch a YMCA property near Winter Park.


Next Post: Snow Mountain Ranch

Ended up as a maintenance man again at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch near Winter Park, CO. This was a brief Adventure in very beautiful part of the Rockies as I was considering how my career needed to get started.

What is Backpacking Really about?

It is common to be asked why do I backpack. And there are many times on the trail, typically early in a season, when I ask myself the same question. My family doesn’t get it, most of my friends just think I am nuts, but many do appreciate that I let them share in the adventures. I think we all have dreamed of what we would like to be doing if we had a choice.

My View when I said Goodbye to Steamboat in 1987

For me those dreams were born when I was a young man Backpacking Colorado. I remember my last evening in Steamboat Springs before I was to move to the SF Bay Area to start my career with Hewlett-Packard.  See Post AM San Francisco. I sat on a hill with my dog, Rusty, overlooking the town and ski area and said goodbye to a great life, but I think in my heart I also knew that I would return to that life. That was my Second Quarter, I was confirming my passion as I prepared to pay my dues.

Yes, wilderness backpacking is not for most, but it is for me. When I am in these fantastically beautiful places I think about all the billions of people who are not, who can’t even dream of such beauty. That is when I confirm my passion. We only have so much time on this amazing planet and I want to maximize every minute that is left. You know it isn’t just about the adventure, it is also about the health. It feels good to be in decent shape. I’m 65 and the body does tell me that it is getting old. But to feel healthy is also a beautiful thing.

I am about to kickoff another epic backpacking season, and I am so excited. What gets you excited? Next week I do my annual trek around Mt Hood with a couple of good friends. But then I am off to Norway’s Lofoten Islands and then the Colorado Trail. This is my dream come true. The Adventure Continues

Hip Perspectives on “The Bleeding Edge” Documentary

After watching the documentary film “The Bleeding Edge” on Netflix I thought I should weigh in as a patient who has had both of my hips resurfaced, meaning my hip joints are metal on metal ball and sockets.

My Right Hip done in 2006

My 2006 Right Hip

The film is a very well done documentary that examines the $400bn medical device industry that reviews five products that have exhibited significant failures including the broad review of cobalt based hip implants. This is an important documentary that does expose the weakness of our regulation of the medical implant industry and sounds a needed alarm to those patients who may now be at risk.

I am focusing on hip resurfacing which was lumped into the broad exposure of any metal joints made from Cobalt. The greatest concern comes from these devices that actually operate with a metal on metal joint, and hips are probably the most common. My hips are made of a Cobalt-chrome alloy that is used because it creates one of the hardest and strongest metals known to man. These features are critical for a successful and enduring joint replacement. The premise for using a metal on metal hip as in my case is that the body naturally encapsulates and provides lubrication for the joint movement. The Co-Cr alloys show high resistance to corrosion due to the spontaneous formation of a protective passive film composed of mostly Cr2O3. The minor amounts of cobalt and other metal oxides on the surface appear to be contained by the body’s encapsulation. The documentary does not spell this out in sufficient detail, instead it broadly classifies any device made from cobalt as dangerous.

My History: My family has shown a propensity toward the development of an arthritis that creates some bone deposits in our hips. For me this has been accelerated by a life of sports activity, most notably basketball, that allowed this arthritic condition to wear away the natural lining of my hip joint. Once I understood this back in 2006 when I was 52 years old and in constant pain I had to figure out a solution. I had heard that hip replacements were good for 15-20 years which did not seem to match well with my age. I remember hearing about hip resurfacing in a 60 Minutes type segment on Americans traveling to India for this surgery. So I started investigating this alternative procedure. The allure for me was the fact that you could remain active and if needed down the road I could still get a hip replacement. Fortunate for me there was an orthopedic surgeon in Salem, Oregon, who was allowed to perform this surgery probably due to the FDA’s 510(k) pathway for approving medical devices as mentioned in the documentary. My first hip was his 439th hip resurfacing. I do believe that my second hip done in 2010 was from the same design and stock of the Cobalt-chrome implant.

I guess the point of my post is to let it be known that hip resurfacing can be very positive. So why have I not experienced any cobalt poisoning related medical issues? Obviously the surgery can be positive, however, it is true that many have experienced serious problems. Depuy, owned by Johnson & Johnson, was referenced in the documentary, however, there has been recall activity on cobalt based joints from Stryker and Smith Nephew. My theory for my success is based on the fact that the hips that were used for me were created in the early pre FDA approval period. I have asked who made my hips and I never got an real answer. They appear to be similar to the Smith Nephew BHR and the Wright Conserve systems. Maybe those early test hip parts were done with more attention given to the metallurgy involved. Possibly my success has to due with my lifestyle. I have learned that I cannot participate in physical activity that is based on radical lateral movement such as basketball or handball. What I can do is walk or backpack which I have done to the tune of about 2000 miles since my second hip surgery. So overall I am extremely thankful for this medical hip resurfacing technology.

I do hope that the FDA is able to improve the overall approval process for medical device technologies and it is good that documentaries are made to help bring attention to these needs. But we must also caution against blanket assumptions made to help sensationalize a documentary, such as all devices made with cobalt are bad for you.



What is in an URL?

I changed my primary Uniform Resource Locator, URL, to a name more fitting for the next phase of my life. Of course I am also trying to move past my Higher Education Technology focus. This change is not really worthy of a post, however, the experience surrounding the purchase and implementation of a new URL did capture my interest. I have wanted to switch for a while but I had not been struck by a name that seemed appropriate. But I have been referring to my blog in the sub title as “The Adventure Continues” and I have drifted around that theme with a number of posts. So I took the next step, checked WHOIS and voila, the name I wanted was available and affordable. I have always gravitated to the .org top level domain because I equate .org with non-commercial and I have no interest in monetizing my blog. For the most part, my blog is my archive of my adventures, so the Adventure Continues with a new blog name and URL.


Image Credit Computerworld

Do you remember when the URL was everything. URL squatters tried to grab up all potentially lucrative names that at that time would typically precede .com or maybe .net. Of course today you can create about any top level domain but us old timers still feel a connection to the early pioneers. The other day I was in a meeting with students reviewing a proposal which had an URL printed in the documentation as a reference. I told the students that they could paste the url into their browser to review the site. One student giggled and said that she could not remember ever hearing someone refer to a web address as an URL. OK, that surprised me a bit. But really that was validation that the URL does not carry that much weight anymore. Content is king because search engines are all powerful.

I reflect upon this because of the emphasis my domain name provider tried to place on the importance of privacy for my domain name registration. They wanted to charge me $8 per year to make my whois registration private. If you have no idea what I am talking about open a terminal session and type “whois”. I have owned URLs from the very early Internet days, back when the URL dictated whether anyone would find your site or not. Public whois registration information was important to validate the integrity of the site and of course let people know who they might need to buy the URL from in case it was highly desired. Unfortunately this is valuable identity information which today is considered an invitation to sell you something, primarily all sorts of help with monetizing your website. Since purchasing my new URL I have received 100+ emails offering me every conceivable service I might ever need to optimize my website. Luckily all of those emails end up in my Spam folder (thank you Google). I suppose I could have avoided those emails ending up in my Spam folder if I had paid GoDaddy an extra $8 per year. Maybe I should pay Google the $8 for making it easy to delete them all “Delete all spam messages now (messages that have been in Spam more than 30 days will be automatically deleted)”.

I can rationalize this decision to brave the dangerous world of public notification but then again, it will create further issues. I have always been good at protecting the distribution of my phone number and to a certain extent my home address, but this information is readily available via the WHOIS lookup. Oh well, I think I will take the risk. After all Life is just one Big Adventure.

Introducing our New Aussie, Brook



At the end of my Timberline to Cascade Locks backpacking segment I was crushed by the news that my beloved dog, Abby, had died unexpectedly. Abby was 12+ and not able to backpack with me any longer, but losing her at a time when I was experiencing a dream that she should have been sharing with me was tough. My wife and I knew we would find a new dog when we felt the time was right. Well this post is dedicated to introducing you to our new dog, Brook, another Australian Shepard who is destined to be my new backpacking buddy.

Brook came from Gearhart Aussies on the Oregon Coast about a month and we have survived puppy training.  Plenty of accidents have been cleaned up and not to much chewing damage has occurred.

Broncos Fan

Broncos Fan

There is a period of time with the new puppy where your lives are not yours. You have to cater to the needs of the puppy at the expense of your own desires. However, you know it is short-lived especially when dealing with the intelligence that comes with the Australian Shepard breed.

Brook is a Blue Merle Aussie with piecing blue eyes. Her color scheme is beautiful with perfect marking of the reddish fur. She has already shown her commitment to being a Broncos fan during last weekend’s AFC Championship. Now we will prepare for the Super Bowl.

We will also hit the trail soon to expose Brook to the discipline needed for backpacking. I like her disposition of displaying initial caution with strangers or unusual activity, however, she quickly evaluates the situation and reacts appropriately.

My wife works in a hospital and would like for Brook to possibly accompany her as a comfort dog for her patients. I think Brook will be perfect for this duty. But the primary job for Brook will be to provide companionship for us, function as a watchdog and allow us to love her unconditionally for the rest of her life. A Dog’s life is so tough.

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Here is a video recap of the Gales Creek Hike in Tillamook State Forest.

Return to the One Room Schoolhouse

I have seen a trend with my STEM connected colleagues over the last 6 months wanting to discuss concepts of adaptive or competency based learning, CBL. These discussions evolved for many reasons such as; lack of classroom space, course scheduling problems or issues surrounding non-tenure track faculty. This discussion is right on target when it occurs with younger faculty, however, now older faculty are asking questions and seem to be contemplating how this could work. Generally there is agreement that it is inevitable that education will move in this direction, but then you start talking about the repercussions of what that might look like to the higher education business model and fear returns to the conversation. I guess what is different is that now there seems to be recognition of the value of the learning model and discussions are tending toward how we might implement it.

Personalized Learning

I decided to write this post after a number of discussions yesterday, some stimulated by those who viewed CNN’s airing of the “Ivory Tower” documentary. As we talked about implementing adaptive learning to our STEM courses I was drawn to the vision of the old one room schoolhouse. STEM possibly more then any other academic discipline is based on building blocks or competencies. Math and the sciences dominate this with competency based requirements built into courses as well as with interdependencies between courses. So when I thought of the one room schoolhouse I saw it as similar to the students that we receive. In the one room schoolhouse students have to progress through levels of reading, writing and arithmetic, and they had a built in remediation process. The teacher was there to help at all levels.

How did we get to our current college degree attainment path based on taking a selected number of courses that may or may not actually give you all of the competencies that you or your employer desire? I think we used to have a much more standardized entry path to college. Students from high school, mostly Americans, had very similar competencies due to similar curriculums that could not be supplemented by additional information as is now available via the Internet. The over achievers could go to World Book, but for the most part if a student got accepted to college then they pretty much entered at the same level and the progression through a standard set of courses with a few electives worked fine. That world no longer exists. We have screwed up high school believing that standardized testing validates competencies. Combine that with the financial pressure universities are under to maintain enrollment and you end up with a freshman class that is much more in line with the one room schoolhouse.

Change is coming and it will be heavily influenced by competency based learning and I think STEM may be well positioned to adapt to this. We have been working on this concept in our general ed core curriculums of math and science. At first it was about trying to figure out online or hybrid learning but now we are starting to see how we may need to change the academic business model. The emerging CBL providers such as Western Governors are built upon a personalized learning foundation that allows the student to progress at their own pace. Tuition is based on a period of time not on credit hours, which creates the incentive of “the faster you progress, the more you save”. Maybe there is a hybrid version of this that can work for the traditional residential university.

I’m going to take a stab at what this might look like for STEM degrees. I’m looking at this as realist considering what might be acceptable for our entrenched higher education culture, today’s student and the political and financial forces that will inevitably force the change. The first 2 years of most STEM degrees are fairly similar based on the need to build a foundation of math through calculus, basic concepts for the sciences with English and physics typically being foundational as well. This is true for pre-meds through engineering and it is typically fairly challenging to ensure that we are not wasting our time on the students in the upper level of the degree program. So how about a one room schoolhouse for each STEM discipline complete with a set of competency based learning modules designed with assessments that provide adaptive options to complete each step. We have talented non-tenure track faculty always available and still teaching but not on a fixed lecture circuit. The environment would facilitate collaborative learning along with the necessary lab requirements. The student pays the same tuition, and heck we even keep the semester structure. The advanced students finish early or have more time for extra curricular activities such as undergraduate research or experiential learning options. As the student emerges from this general ed core they enter into the more traditional degree completion with the upper level courses and labs taught by tenure track faculty to complete their STEM program.

I’m going to stop here without digging into the obvious questions and details. But what do you think? I think it might be an improvement.

Reflecting on my trip East so far

I will blame not posting on my transition between jobs but I find myself in a hotel room in Rock Springs, WY on my way across America with some time for reflections. I am driving my beloved car from Oregon to Missouri via Denver where I will take in the ELI Conference on the 4-6. This Western half of the trip brings back many memories for me.
Leaving the Portland area through the Columbia River Gorge reminded me of the trip I took in the opposite direction in 2004 when I came to Oregon and George Fox University. What a dramatic portal it provides to the Northwest. I was extremely thankful that my trip east on a good highway was so much easier then Lewis & Clark had to deal with. I reference this concern because my entire trip in the heart of winter is a bit precarious in an Acura RSX that looks more like a snow drift to the trucks and snow plows that I have been dodging. Yes the Blue Mountains with snow packed roads kept me a bit tense. As I approached Salt Lake City with a plan to work my way down to I-70 for rendezvous with colleagues in Grand Junction, I had to abort due to a pesky storm hitting the area. Luckily diverting to I-80 worked out well and allowed me to reminisce about my earlier life in Mine Engineering and Electric Power Generating out of NW Colorado.
Rock Spring, WY, an oasis for coal miners in one of the harshest environments in the US. It is about 30 F and the wind is blowing 40 mph as it typically does. But there is coal in these parts and rivers to set power plants next to. Now they have added wind powered generators so there is plenty of electricity flowing out of this desolate place helping to light the cities of the West. Tomorrow I hope to make it to Steamboat Springs, assuming their recent 2 feet of snow does not stop me. There are still good friends and lots of memories there.

Continental Divide between I-80 and Baggs, WY

Continental Divide between I-80 and Baggs, WY

Update: I tried to get to Steamboat Springs but turned around at the Continental Divide on the road to Baggs, WY. Glare ice, 40 mph wind and big trucks caused me to reevaluate the risk/reward and decided to drive to Denver via I-80. The next day I did get to go Fly fishing on the head waters of the South Platte near Decker, CO. And yes, I caught a nice trout.

Final update, I did make it to Rolla. Bought a house the first day, love S&T and Rolla, MO.

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