If the wind could just blow ‘em thataway

One day of acting like more of an outdoorsman than I probably truly am gives me a couple of things to talk about.


I’m not an economist — in fact, I’ve never even played one of TV — but there are plenty of them out there with widely diverse opinions, especially since this is an election year. So, I shouldn’t comment on the overall state of our economy. In a roundabout way though, I feel I can comment on one segment.

Say what you want about the overall state of the economy, but I think the trucking industry must be in pretty good shape. I’ll vouch that they are at it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you don’t believe me, try what I did last Saturday. Find a group of Boy Scouts in a makeshift campground located not much more than 100 yards from Interstate 80 and camp out with them for the night. It won’t take you long to realize that the large semi trucks are running down the road all … night … long. And they aren’t able to do so quietly. I think a couple of them might even have taken a detour through my tent.

When I stepped out of the tent for a 5 a.m. — ummm, nature hike, yeah, let’s call it a nature hike — I was tempted to each out and high five the drivers as they went by.

Anyone who’s ever been associated with Scouting in this area knows about traffic noise. Camp Augustine, the Scout’s own camp, is about a half-mile or so off the Interstate between Hastings and Grand Island. You don’t go out there expecting a quiet night, which is compounded a little by the fact that many of the trucks are hitting the brakes to pull off for a nearby truck stop. But this past weekend was a special event at a different location near Kearney. The trucks sped right past, but much closer than at Augustine.

Fortunately, following the Scouts around all day Saturday as they took part in activities made me tired enough that, well, I could almost sleep right next to the Interstate. Which I did, but as with most campouts, I still woke up at least every couple of hours. And our trucker friends were there to greet me each time.

I guess next time I’ll have to bring ear plugs. Or maybe talk them all into going to Crystal Lake. It’s much quieter.


One nice thing about last weekend’s camp location, it was far enough out of town to get away from city lights. And while evening clouds denied many the main benefit of the darkness, the aforementioned late-night nature hike made up for it. By then the clouds had gone away, yielding a sky full of stars brighter and more numerous than many of us usually get to see.

Living in a town the size of Hastings, we usually don’t think we fall victim that much to “light pollution,” but it just takes a quick trip to the country for a dazzling pinpoints of light show. So even if camping isn’t your cup of tea, I’d recommend a stargazing drive sometime before it gets really cold. Who knows, you might even have the good fortune of seeing a shooting star like the one I saw last weekend.


If we have to have the wind that we’ve been having the last couple of days, is it wrong to ask for it to be from a certain direction? And if I’m not asking for a specific direction, is it at least OK to ask that it be different from day to day?

My reasons are simple, but I just want these gales that blow through to be of just the right direction to blow leaves out of my yard. Between feeding fuel to grass fires and blowing enough top soil around to fill the valley, could we just have this one positive?

There are plenty of empty lots and fields around me. So I’m not wishing leaves on my neighbors, but if they blow out of here so I don’t have to pick up the rake, then at least it’s not completely an ill wind that blows.

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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