Welcome friends, my name is John Reitmeier and I've been so fortunate to have experienced a lot of travel starting back in 1972. It's time to put the memories in some sort of order, and to add text and pictures to share with our friends and the many listeners to our radio programs. Thanks for coming along on this ride!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Today we leave for points Northeast. Not so far to go, but really a world apart from the flat openess of the Red River Valley and home. Thief River Falls, and Middle River Minnesota have done something that I haven't noticed nearby cities do any place that I've been. Thief River Falls, (the big town) is the home to Digi-Key and Artic Cat, two really big employers. Along with that there are a multiple of smaller manufacturing companies which give the city a large tax base and attract workers from about a 60 mile radius. Not only do they work there, but they also tend to do a lot of their shopping there, which makes for a vibrant and thriving community. They've even got themselves a big Walmart, along with a rash of motels and eating joints. It's out of the Red River Valley, so it's got that typical Minnesota farm country look with a little roll to the land and a lot of mature trees scattered in all directions.
Then we have Middle River, (also known as the little town) reporting 319 souls in 2000 and probably pretty accurate today. There's two places to eat in town, no places to stay, and an old fashioned General Store that's a landmark, full of narrow aisles and one of everything that a household might need, and a whole lot of stuff the nobody needs! But this town is at the gateway to some of the best water fowl area known in North America. There are big swampy lakes nearby, with lots of reeds and shallow flats, the perfect stopping point for 10 bizillion water birds heading north in the spring, and back south in the fall. Throw in a little government protection of the area, a hundred moose or so, the potential of mosquitos in such numbers that they can lift small children out of baby carriages, and you've got the perfect place for duck and goose hunters, sort of a musty smelling Valhöll (Valhalla, Norwegian heaven in Norse Mythology).
These two cities have the perfect symbiotic relationship although which one is the host and which is the freeloader is yet to be determined. It's a great working relationship that truly brings two communities together. FAM trips, short for familiarization journeys, are the staple of media fun. The Minnesota Governor's Fishing Opener is without equal to being thee number one media event for hundreds of radio, Television, newpaper, magazine, and other advertising and promotion folk. Taking place at various spots around the state and attended by as many as 400 guests, it's a way to get a lot of bang for the advertising buck. If you added up all the newspaper and magazine articles that are written, throw in a few regional and larger TV stations, and add an uncountable number of Radio Station guys doing advance, "it's coming" segments, then hours of, "we're live with the Governor" and finally, "wow that was some trip" there isn't hardly enough money in the Washington Bank Bailout to purchase that much advertising exposure.
So it's really a wining moment for all sides. The manager/owner of two stations that carries my radio shows has not missed a year in over 3 decades, and plans to go every year till he's permanently horrizontal. It's a time to meet old friends, to enjoy first class treatment, have some fishing fun and get away from the "grind" every day that is part of being in the media. Whether you're in the written, visual, or audio part of media, just like every job, it does become just a job after a while. Occasional breaks like this are what turn the corner and make up for all the downsides of being on the radio day after day with lots of calls from people who know that you have to answer the phone so they've targeted you as their best friend. And for them you are because you're in their life 3 or 4 hours every day, but from the media persons side it's like, "who are you stranger?" Getting away on a media trip is as good as a week in Hawaii for regular people.
This is an easy trip, 45 miles from home, just 2 night so not so much packing, and excited to hook up with folks who you never see except at these kind of events. Although it's within an hours drive TRF is not a familiar town to me. Back in the youthfull period it was always a stopping point on the way home from hunting or fishing because it was close enough to home to almost be there, but it was far enough away so that Dad could justify stopping and spending money rather than waiting and being late and hungry when we got home. So my only real memory is the inside of the REX Cafe. More Tomorrow...