Tag Archives: Whitewater Center

Two letters for the price of one …

Trust me, the fallout from the ‘missing persons’ case is mercifully at an end. It garnered far more attention than it deserved.

Still, there were a couple of loose ends to tie up – including a surprise follow-up visit by police officers involved in the case. (What? You think they could possibly escape being on the receiving end of a letter? Dream on. Scroll all the way down to read my note of thanks.)

May 30, 2017

Ellen/Reid: There was one final bit of residue from the missing persons case. I was in the kitchen last week about noon when two police officers walked onto the back road behind the unit. I knew right away what was up and raced down to the garage and opened the door. I said “you guys must be  looking for me, and one of them said “are you Dave?” Yeah. One was Evan Akers and the other a Ms. Bajic. Both had visited the house during the disappearance and they were just stopping by to make sure I was still around. It really was good to meet them. We had a laugh about all of this, and they took a moment to remind me to make sure someone is told the next time I go on any extended excursion. All that’s coming up is the Bridger and Spain.

Come to think of it, I’ve got to get cracking on the Spain trek. The guidebook arrived last week but am chagrined to say it’s yet to be opened. Tom Bohr has nickel and dimed me with tips and ideas and that has been a real shot in the arm for planning. He and Vince are my tutors for the trip. I’ll tap into another local friend, Richard, for his thoughts too since he and his wife walked the Camino a few years ago. All that help is just what’s needed.

Sort of a quiet week otherwise. Had a small group of 12 over on Sunday for smoked pork shoulder and brisket and ribs. The smoking starting at 3:00 a.m. since it required a 13 – 14 hour process. The earliness cut into my sleep time but I napped a few times in a chair in the garage while babysitting the Weber. Tim’s advice really helped me and the meats turned out just great. There was enough to feed a small army. Much of it is still in the fridge even though as much as possible was given away as people departed. The best move of the night was to relocate the proceedings from the garage – the hot sun poured right in – to the breezy and shaded common area behind the house. We moved everything; tables, food, chairs, coolers. It all went. That really helped. We capped off things with a small fireworks display of very small fireworks. The store had a display of weak, puny North Carolina approved fireworks so it was a total impulse buy although I was reminded that I could head over the border to South Carolina for some real explosives. Hey, a few sparkly fountains and some sparklers were about all the group could handle.

A young woman from Des Moines is here for the week as she goes through raft training at the U.S. Whitewater Center just northwest of Charlotte. Eva is the daughter of Mike and Lisa LaValle of Des Moines, and she’s really a treat. Bob Furstenau made the arrangements and I was only too glad to host her.


Eva was a low – make that no – maintenance house guest while she toiled at the Whitewater Center for her rafting certification. And she earned it.

Eva arrived on Sunday just in time for the party and she fit right in. You just can’t find a lower maintenance guest that Eva. You can hardly tell she’s here. She’s in town to earn some sort of raft guide certification so she has to be out there every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Her parents, particularly her dad, Mike, are true chefs and have been in the DSM high-end restaurant scene for years but I sense her heart is on the water or in the mountains. As for the Whitewater Center, it is really one hell of a place, and it’s changed a lot, Reid, since you were here all those years ago. They’ve worked in more trail riding, yoga, trail running, zip lines, live music, etc., to jazz the place up to draw more people, which it certainly has.

Looks like no fishing in Charleston this week. Just no time for it. I’ll watch Sondra and Jody’s new dog, a sweet little azure eyed Aussie named Masie (sp?). She’s still a puppy so my hands will be full. She and I will go to the Whitewater Center for music on Thursday then I’ll park her at a kennel on Friday as I golf up in the mountains. I’ll retrieve Masie early Saturday then we’ll just sort of veg the rest of the weekend. That makes her my kind of dog.

Love, Dad

May 30, 2017

Officers Bajic and Akers: On a severity scale of 1 to 10, my alleged ‘disappearance’ probably rated a 2 but that’s almost beside the point given how you guys responded to the call for help. I’m not sure if a missing persons report rates a badge of honor or not. Probably not.

I’m still trying to piece together how events led to your inclusion in the manhunt yet my kids (Ellen in St. Paul, MN and Reid in Chicago), and the other searchers, were very grateful for your involvement and professionalism. (Honestly, I’ve tried to put the topic to rest since every time I talk to the kids about it they use the opportunity to climb all over me and let me have it, again.)

Still, you two and anyone else in the police department who abetted the search really demonstrated what you do on a day in, day out basis. You all have an admittedly tough job and minor flare ups like the one I subjected you and a whole lot of other people to is no doubt par for your course.

When I was in the kitchen the other day and saw you two patrolling out back, I knew in an instant who you were and why you were there. It had me chagrined a little that you would take the time to stop by and case out the joint to see if indeed I was still around and among the living. That was a nice touch of follow up on your parts but in some ways I’m sorry to have subjected you to it. When I found out that people considered me a goner and on the AWOL list, one of the first calls I made from my car on the way home was to the 3-1-1 line to have the search called off. Of course, the operator bucked me, appropriately, to the 9-1-1. The dispatcher said it wasn’t as simple as just making a call; when I did get home another call would need to be made so an officer could stop by and see for him/herself that it was me in the flesh. Since I was hosting a dinner for friends that night, it would have been morbidly fun to have an officer stop by in the midst of the meal to check things out. Fortunately (for you, most likely) a friend who formerly was in law enforcement was able to set things straight. But I was only too glad to meet you when I did.

So on behalf of my kids, my friends and other worried folks, thanks again for doing what you did. Sure, on the severity scale, maybe it didn’t even rate a 2, but to them – and eventually me – it’s not the number that counts, it’s the result and how all of you responded together that really counts. Trust me, this likely won’t happen again. If you knew how my kids blasted their old man and how my friends used the chance to pile on, you’d know what I mean. Thanks again for your effort and service.

Best regards –

Dave Bradley


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#1 reason behind ER visits: penne pasta with sautéed chicken …

Penne pasta with sautéed chicken and pesto doesn’t normally trigger a visit to the ER, but then again, most things aren’t normal around this place these days. I can attest that endless pokes, prods and jabs have not gone out of fashion for such visits.

The kids were apprised of what went on over several mid-morning hours and as it turns out, I was no worse for the wear (that happens when the bills begin to pour in). Ellen and Reid read about it here and got updates via the phone, too.

September 6, 2016

Ellen/Reid: Who needs a gall bladder anyway? We’ll find out next week when I meet with the surgeon. There have been no more episodes in the ER since then and I’ve been feeling pretty good. That deal came out of the blue; I’ve never had any issues at all. I didn’t mean to alarm you with that text from a gurney but thought you ought to at least know what was going down. The weirdest part of the whole ordeal was initially while in the Urgent Care office. Their first concern was a ‘cardiac event’ but when they dismissed that, they said to go next door – literally, 25 yards away – to the Emergency Room. But since I was still experiencing abdominal pain, their protocol was to transport me in an ambulance. An ambulance? 25 yards? The nurse didn’t even smile as she described how long it would take to arrangements. Incredulous, I asked if there was a waiver and they allowed me to sign one. So I left the Camry were it sat and walked down one flight of stairs to the ER (where I was the only patient). I’ll bring you up to speed next week after my appointment. My preference is to keep the organ and my hunch is they will allow that in the absence of other symptoms or persistent pain/discomfort.

It was, and will be, a week with doctors. Had my routine physical the day before my trip to the ER (everything good); later last week saw a guy about my knee. An x-ray revealed only patella tendinitis and he prescribed some stretching and a pressure strap for the knee when I walked or golfed. The strap seemed to work okay in initial field trials. In about an hour I see the dermatologist and then the dentist on Thursday. Medicare, don’t fail me now.

Ellen, great before and after pictures of tree removal around your new house. That seems to really open things up and will ultimately be better for the lawn. Good for George to be there to help Tim out on that rugged job. Send more shots of the house inside and out.

I’m inching closer to my deal. Gave the garage a good going over last week and it’s in fine shape now. The downstairs living room, kitchen and upstairs living area, guest room and two of three baths are as good as they’re going to be. The &^%(*#$ Harley has still seen no action. It’s very unsettling to have the bike not sell. One guy called on the color and leather/non-leather bags but he didn’t call back. Not sure what next steps to take with it. It may well make the trip with me or be put into storage. We’ll see.

Going to have four friends over for dinner on Friday. The menu is still coming together but it will be a daunting task to perform in front of such a crew; both parties are very accomplished cooks. So I’ll have to be on top of my game. Burgers might be an easy way out since if I opt to go high cuisine, that opens up my culinary skills for silent scrutiny. Risotto or a tenderloin are other options. But what the hell. We’ll just play it by ear, serve a lot of wine and they’ll have no other options other than to be polite about what they’re served.

It was really fun to have Marge, the Labradoodle, for the long weekend. She is really a good dog. She’s not used to being around a lot of other dogs, however, and the concert was very unnerving to her; she got into it with a couple of dogs during their sniffing encounters.


Marge was pumped on the way to the concert at the Whitewater Center.

I’m not sure why that was and very uncharacteristic of her usual demeanor. Perhaps she was nervous but it made me wary of putting her into contact with other dogs. There were fireworks afterward that scared her to death. She pulled and pulled to get away from the noise but there was nowhere to run or hide. I felt badly for her.


The enormity of the concert and crowd, plus lots of strange dogs, were a bit too much for Marge.

The poor dear slept really close to me on the bed that night. It would be a great thing to have a dog, but what our three day weekend showed was that you have to be around for the dog most of the time, and my schedule doesn’t necessary fill that bill. Still, a surrogate pet is better than none.


Love, Dad

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