One of the things that really excites me is the opportunity to build decks for the tipis as well as the other buildings for WindWalkerCamp.  We are sitting on 45 acres of raw land, and all that we have done with it so far is clear two acres for a flying field and a place to organize our building site.  When we figure for sure where the Main Lodge is finally going to sit we’ll put in the well.

I have spent summers at Boy Scout camps that were built by the WPA back in the ‘30s and added on to over the last seventy or eighty years.  I have visited church camps that were generously funded by wealthy folks’ wills.  I have been to special-purpose camps with the newest everythings funded by hospitals and charitable foundations.  Jeez-ola-peaches!  How can I ever compete with these places?

Well, I really can’t.  So I flat-smooth won’t.  Because the WindWalkerCamp of my vision is not like any of these other camps.  It has a different focus, a different ethic, a different reason for being.  WindWalkerCamp is a synergistic system planted in the Missouri Ozark foothills.  We’ll have road trips to the rest of the world, but the thrumming heart is outdoors under Missouri oaks, and walnuts and blackjacks and sycamores.  Not to mention fresh, sweet air and clouds fresh back from the laundry.

This coming Thanksgiving week, Kathryn and I will be out there (with Galahad the cockatiel) double-checking the freshness of the winds, the audio of the trees, and building the initial two tipi decks.  While our long-term plan includes a sawmill to make lumber from our own trees for our main lodge and other major structures, the original decks are treated Southern Yellow Pine.  The Decks will be 20’ x 20’ square with the 18’ diameter tipis sitting more or less in the center.  We will not have fires inside campers’ tipis even though we have nationally-certified flame retardant canvas.  Not even going to go there.

OK.  So let’s figure the first two tipi platforms are built.  I had the foresight to order three sets of poles when I ordered the two tipi covers (those bears cost more to ship than the covers).  The question then becomes: “What do I want the camp buildings to look like?”  After all, form follows function, according to Mies van der Rohe.

Woodshop design idea flow:

Well, heck, let’s just put up a corrugated steel Quonset hut.  Those are quick and easy; you only need a four-inch concrete floor, after all.  It’s quick; it’s there; it’s not too expensive.  And besides the early aircraft factories (hand-built airplanes) over in Wichita, Kansas, were basically Quonset roofs on stem walls.  Shoot fire!  Let’s put rolling doors on the front and big pockets to store the doors in, and it’ll look like those Wichita hangars.  Holy cow!  Sky Captain’s hangar looked like that.  We can modify the WindWalkerCamp logo with some wings and put it over the center . . . Cool.  Woodshop and aircraft building and rockets.  Rockin’.  Oh, man, we can even put up a couple of Rohm towers for ham radio in a couple of years, and we’ll be in a Time Warp.  Call the Doctor!  Who?  Yes; him.  Call him.

But then, of course, I watched Star Trek: First Contact again, and I figured hangars like Zefram Cochrane’s would be every bit as cool.  And we could alternate metal panels with translucent fiberglass panels for additional light.  Still keep the sliding door at the front.  Oh, wow; the kids who’ve seen the movie will catch it . . . sort of a cultural literacy test and inside WindWalkerCamp joke.  We could even show the movie one night (after Taps?) and let the kids realize the shop looks like Star Trek.  That would be truly wicked.  I don’t know where we’ll find a Huey helicopter for Sulu yet.

Then Kathryn and I went out to Roswell for the annular eclipse this past May.  That was a terminally fine bucket-list item checked off, even with the drive across the backside of beyond – wrote a lot of haiku, though.  Did you know there’s a replica of Robert H. Goddard’s rocket-fabrication shop in the Museum there?  Robert Goddard? Oh, he’s the guy that actually built the first working liquid-fuel rocket.  NASA flies on his patents.  He and his team hand-built each one of thirty-one rockets he flew out there in his white-painted-wood shop.  He and his crew trailered them out to the launch tower and punched serious holes in the sky.  A lot of those holes had “skywriting” and lots of smoke and shrapnel in them. No question any more.  We’re going to build Bobby Goddard’s shop.  Maybe.

Does anybody else agonize this much to invest the doggone form of a woodshop with the magic and “medicine” and aura of history and space and airplanes and science fiction and 1940s comic books?   Dad burn it; stuff like that’s important.  Everything from stained glass to checkerboards to rockets is going to be built out there, and the woodshop is the cocoon, the chrysalis . . . it’s important.

Well, we’ll building our stuff on the covered deck this summer.  with a canvas drop cloth down to catch the small rolly bits.  I still have some time before I have to finalize the woodshop’s design.  Aren’t you glad?

Go to the website: http://www.windwalkercamp.com for details on dates and rates and discounts and stuff.  The latest, greatest word will be here.  Every night.

Thanks for reading.

Uncle Pat

What the hands learn the mind cannot forget.

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