Family and Friends Odyssey in the Midwest - August 2022

We made a family and friends odyssey during August 2022. We traveled to Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin in the Moving House. The catalyst for our journey was a planned gathering of the extended family in southwestern Minnesota. It had originally been planned that the Norwegian cousins we’d met at Fjällbacka, Sweden, in 2018 would visit in 2020 and the American cousins would gather to greet them. Lyon County in Minnesota was chosen as the location because that was where the first relatives - Andrew, Otto, and Alfred Holm - had settled and because the Minnesota Holm family had a tradition of gathering there on alternate years. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit and all our plans were scuttled.

By 2022, Covid seemed to be dying down so the gathering was rescheduled. Sadly, the Norwegians relatives cancelled because of illness in the family. Others who had planned to attend also cancelled during to planned surgeries or other planned activities at the time. Nonetheless, a dozen of us committed to attending.

Gail and I decided to make a vacation of it. We scheduled a stay near the Twin Cities to get together with family and friends. Then we headed to Marshall, Minnesota, for the gathering. Next we spent some time in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to have quiet time and to visit family and friends still living there. Finally, we visited another friend in Madison, Wisconsin, and then we headed back home.

During evenings when we were not otherwise occupied, we watched lectures about Homer’s Odyssey by Elizabeth Vandiver distributed by The Teaching Company.

composite Google map showing our route

We were away from home for twenty-five days, and were traveling during eleven of them. We pulled the Moving House 3,137 miles and drove locally another 781 miles.

“ Getting there is half the fun.” Really?

In previous years, we often drove as much as 400 miles each day, but we are a little older now and more accustomed to napping after lunch. During our first leg, we started out tired and then drove three days for more than 300 miles each day. That was tiring. During the middle part of the journey, our distances were smaller but we still got tired. We drove longer distances again coming home. Our longest day was 369 miles during which we had an hour delay due to an accident blocking the Interstate ahead of us.

In northern states, summer is road repair season. That’s why people use GPS systems to let them know how to avoid delays. We have a Map/GPS application on each of our smart phones as well as an old Rand-McNally stand-alone GPS unit. The problem was knowing what algorithm each unit was using to select routes. Sometimes they might select shortest distance, sometimes shortest time. Sometimes they might avoid any freeway, sometimes they only wanted freeways. Sometimes they would reroute us from the obvious route because future road work was planned. Drivers need to be in control of their own destiny!

Willow River State Park

Gail at the Willow River Falls
TBD We scheduled a stay near the Twin Cities at the Willow River State Park in Hudson, Wisconsin. The park has nice roomy camping sites, a scenic water fall, a lake for swimming and boating, and plenty of hiking trails. This section of the Willow River also was the subject of an important 1898 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Willow River V. Frank Wade that required navigable rivers to be “forever free to all”.

From our campsite, number 126, the trail to the falls was not long, but it was very steep. It was easy to get there, but not so easy to get back. There we saw a flock of Cedar Waxwings darting about on the other side of the river, probably feeding on insects.

Our first day at the park, Bill, Gail’s long-ago supervisor at the University of Minnesota, visited us. He, with his wife, son, and grandson, even brought the makings for dinner.

The second day Eunice, Al’s third cousin, treated us to a delicious lunch of Swedish meatballs, potatoes, green beans, cake, berries, and ice cream. That evening, we joined Gail’s brother, Guy, and his family at their favorite restaurant.

We enjoyed our camping and visiting, but the next day we had to hurry off to southwest Minnesota.

Julie, Michael, Bill, and Peter Burke with Gail and Al Holm An immature Red-Headed Woodpecker
The Burkes and the HHolms posing  alongside our Moving House

The 2022 Family Reunion and Camden State Park

In southwest Minnesota, we stayed at Camden State Park, next to my sister Terri and brother Wayne. This park was sandwiched between a busy rail line and a state highway, but managed to cram in nice camping sites, a river, a small lake, and plenty of hiking trails in varied environments.

Our purpose in this part of Minnesota was to attend a grand, multi-family, multi-nation gathering of descendents of Olof and Eva Andersson and of their children: Anna Maja Longstrom, Carl Johan Holmberg, Andrew Holm, Fredrik Olofsson, Alfred Holm, and Otto Holm. Andrew, Alfred, and Otto immigrated to southwest Minnesota. The children of Fredrik immigrated to Canada and the United States. Some children of Anna Maija and Carl Johan also immigrated to the U.S. Olof and Eva came to the U.S. in their old age, but he died shortly after arriving.

Seventy-four years earlier, in 1948, my grandfather had traveled to this region of southwest Minnesota to reunite with his uncle Otto Holm and cousin Gustave Longstrom.

Then the Norwegians cancelled because of illness in the family. Others who had planned ot attend also cancelled during the summer due to surgeries. Still other cousins had other planned activities at the time. Other factors stifling interest were a resurgence of Covid-19 and the increased cost of travel as inflation took off. In the end, our grand reunion had only a dozen attendees, representing descendents of Andrew Holm, Fredrik Olofsson, and Otto Holm.

We started off on Saturday, August 13, in Marshall, Minnesota. Mark hosted us in his antique-filled home. He displayed old family memorabilia, photos, and history. Others contributed some photos and stories. After dinner at Key Largo, a traditional meeting place for the Minnesota Holm reunions, we traveled to Bethany Lutheran Cemetery in Lake Sarah Township where our common ancestors are buried.

Our next day activities began with lunch at Bitton’s Roadhouse in Garvin, another traditional Minnesota Holm reunion place. From there we visited the Hoiland Lutheran Cemetery, the Rialson Cemetery, locations where Andrew Holm’s family members had lived, and the Wheels Across the Prairie Museum, where they had Eunice’s grandmother’s wedding dress on display.

Descendents of brothers Fredrik, Otto, and Andrew
with their family members gather in Mark’s backyard in 2022

Otto Holm with Fredrik Olofsson’s son Victor Holm and
Anna Maija Longstrom’s son Gustav at the 1948 family reunion
Descendents and guests are standing in front of Mark’s little house, 
           a converted garage where some of his antiques are displayed The people at the reunion are outside, with some sitting in a 
           row of chairs, others standing behind them, and two young girls
           on the ground in front.

Mark with a framed photo of the children
of his great-grandfather, Otto Holm.

Copy of a photo of our great-great grandmother Eva Anderson
taken in Tracy, Minnesota
Mark is holding a gold-framed photo of the five surviving children
Eva Anderson is sitting in a rocking chair and holding a book in both hands

Gravestones for Eva and Olof Anderson, our common ancestor

The descendants of Olof and Eva Anderson who attended the reunion
Eva 1824-1907 and Olof 1815-1892 Norma, Mark, Wayne, Eunice, Cynthia, Albert, and Mike

Eunice addressing her cousins at Bitton’s

Eunice beside her grandmother’s wedding dress
Eunice is standing at the far end of the table with the other
             attendees sitting on bothh sides of the table and looking at her

For a more complete report from our reunion, click here.

Eunice is standing to the side of a mannequin wearing the dress

Terri could not attend most of the reunion events because she was looking after her newly adopted puppy, Teddy. We did get to visit with her over Friday evening supper, long, leisurely breakfasts, and a Sunday evening after reunion.

Teddy really, really wants to be your friend Gail, Terri, and Teddy, who has found a stick
Curly furred Teddy is lunging at the photographer Gail and Terri are watching Teddy playing with his stick

When she was a little girl, our daughter, “Carrie”, had enjoyed the Little House on the Prairie stories so we had to visit Walnut Grove where the Ingalls family had lived twice. There is a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in town as well as the site of the family’s dugout a little north of town

All that remains of the Ingalls’ family dugout is a dip in the ground

Plum Creek, on whose banks the family lived
Nothing remains but a slighht depression in thhe soil and a large sign The water in the creek is low due to draught

Up North to Bewabic State Park

After southwest Minnesota, we headed to Bewabic State Park on Fortune Lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, stopping in Chippewa Falls and visiting the Lienenkugels Brewery along the way. In the UP, we visited Al’s sister-in-law, Ruth Ann, nephew Chris and his wife April, and niece Melissa with her husband Mike. They gave Al custody of some family treasures that Al’s brother Carl had preserved until he died. We also visited our friends the Brennans and the Campbells. We had a little time left over to hike on the trail in Bewabic Park and on the Apple Blossom Trail. Gail even got in a little swimming.

In May, I had volunteered to give a talk about the James Webb Space Telescope in Iron County, but was turned down because their schedules were already full.

Al, Mike, Gail, Ruth Ann, Melissa, April, and Chris
at Ruth Ann’s new home


Al’s grandparents on their wedding day in 1906

We are standing on Ruth Ann’s front porch
In an oval frame Victor is seated and Frida perched at his side

Scene on the trail in Bewabic State Park

Gail on the bench for long-legged people on the trail in Bewabic
Tall pine trees surround the trail along a ridge
Gail is sitting on the bench withh hher dangling feet far from the ground

Al on the trail in Bewabic State Park

Al is standing in front of a tree with a large hole in it

Gail in Fortune Lake; she’s in her element

Who knew that there are Orange-belted Bumblebees?
Gail is  surrounded by only water and waving The top of the rusted tower stands above some trees

Mother loon in Caspian Pond caught a crayfish for her chick

Mother loon with her chick in Caspian Pond
The loon’s tail is toward the camera. She is looking to theh left 
           side with a crayfishh in her beak The adult loon is facing to the left; the chick with duller plumage faces to the right

Al at grave of his grandmother Rose Ducharme Nault Pashlik
in Resthaven Cemetery

Al at the graves of his parents, Carl and Helen Holm
in the Bates Township Cemetery
Al kneels on one knee to the left of the grey Pashlik stone. Al kneels on one knee behind his mother’ss stone. His dad’ss stone is 
           to theh left and the Holm monument behind him

On our way from Iron County to Madison, we stopped to visit Gail’s dear cousin, Rae, and her husband Bruce.

Rae and Bruce have a very nice display of the six all-family photos from the 1998 Busse Reunion.
The framed photo of Johanna's descendents is at the top. 
              Then a frame enclosing the slightly smaller photos of the 
              descendents of each of the Busse branches is below.

Bruce and Al
The white-haired men are in the sun and looking at the camera
Rae and Gail

Lake Farm County Park

On our way back to Maryland, we stopped for two days in Dane County, Wisconsin. We camped at the Lake Farm County Park, which is southeast of Madison, and visited with our friend Maija. On Thursday she took us for a hike in the Toten Creek County Park, where we had light rain and the freshly mowed grass clung to our shoes. On Friday, Maija took us to the Toten Creek Conservancy, a different place and one that she had not visited before.

Friday evening, we visited the Orton Park Festival in Madison to see a Cycropia Aerial Dance Performance. We arrived late, after nearly all the space around the performance area - a huge tree - was taken. We found some space near the bike racks on Few Street, but had a poor view because the flood lights illuminating the performance were pointed at us. Here is video taken by someone who was much better placed than we were. Surprisingly, part way through the performance a young woman behind us asked, “Is that Maija?” She was the daughter of a woman that Maija knows.

Maija and Gail after walking in light rain
at Toten Creek County Park

A Turkey followed by her pullets at Toten Creek County Park

Looking a little damp, Maija and Gail smile for the camera TBD

Viivi wants her picture taken

Viivi also wants some coffee
Maija’s cat's nose is right up to the lens Maija’s cat looks into a coffee cup

Inspecting gravestones at the Token Creek Cemetery

Our view of the Cycropia Aerial Dance Performance
Maija and Gail have their backs to the camera as they look at
               gravestones in the Token Creek Conservancy Many heads are visible in the dark in the direction of the performance area


Some of the places we’ve stayed

Site 126, Willow River State Park

Site 94, Bewabic State Park

Site 23, Lake Farm Park
tbd tbd tbd

Some older structures in Iron County, Michigan

Iron Mine Headframe

Support for a vanished railroad bridge
over the Iron River

Collapsing log house
at US2 and Chicagoan Lake Road
The top of the rusted tower stands above some trees

Iron ore tailings pile

Restroom building constructed by CCC

Ojibwa graves at Pentoga Park
Photo taken in May 11 years ago
tbd tbd tbd

Prepared by Al Holm, 31 August 2022; updated 6 Sept 2022