As I’ve mentioned previously, Raph is one of Mike and Bernadette McGowan’s seven children. I first got to know the McGowan family in Goulburn, N.S.W., where Mike was the principal of the primary school at which I taught from 1988-1993. Before relocating to the U.S. in 1994, I taught two of the McGowan children – Jeremiah (in 1989) and Tess (in 1992).
I’ve stayed friends with all the members of the family ever since our time together in Goulburn, and I always try to catch up with as many of them as I can each time I visit Australia from the U.S. (See, for example, the previous Wild Reed posts: Travelin’ South, Return to Wagga, Travelin’ North, Newtown, Return to Ellenborough Falls, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, A Day Roving the Mid North Coast, A Bushland Wedding, Angourie, and Yaegl Country). Earlier this year, rising flood waters stranded Raph and I and members of his family in the Australian town of Maclean.
Back in 2004, Raph came and stayed with me in the Twin Cities for four months. It was a great time. We visited Minnesota’s North Shore; took a train trip to Washington, D.C; and flew out to San Francisco.
Raph most recent visit to the States saw him spend about two months cycling the Trans-America Trail with two friends. Then, after spending time with relatives in Tennessee, he journeyed to Minnesota for a week-long visit.
Above: Raph, amidst the colors of a Minnesota autumn!
Left: Raph snapped this photo of me as I was preparing for the "Welcome Back to Minnesota" soiree I hosted for him on the evening of October 12, 2011. It was a great night, as the following images attest!
Above: Liana, Curtis, me, Phil and Raph – Hare House, October 12, 2011.
Above: Jenna, Raph and Jim.
Above: Paula, Phil, Noelle, Kathleen, Brian and Bob.
Above: Joey, Kathleen, Raph and Phil.
Right: Kathleen and Brian.
Above: Phil and Raph.
Left: Paul and Michael.
On the afternoon of Thursday, October 13, Raph and I took a road trip to Red Wing, MN. We traveled to this picturesque river town via Prescott, WI (right), and scenic Highway 35, which runs south along the Mississippi River through rural areas all the way to La Crosse. Before then, however, it provides access to Red Wing, MN, via US 63.
Above: Well, hello! . . . Raph in Prescott, WI – October 13, 2011.
Left: The Hit and Run Bar in Prescott, an establishment I highly recommend as a place to stop in for lunch!
Above: "It remains a mystery"! . . . Wisconsin's "Bow and Arrow," which can be seen in the distance at the top left of this photo.
Above: At the overlook above Red Wing, MN – October 13, 2011.
For photos from a previous visit to Red Wing, see Climbing Barn Bluff and Remembering a Very Special Time.
Of course, Raph's recent visit proved to be a "very special time" too. Not surprising, really, given that he's one of the most thoughtful, inspiring, fun and generous people I'm honored to have in my life! Thanks, Raphie! And see you sometime soon, I hope, back in Australia!
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Australian Floods
"Flooded In but Loving Life"
In Maclean, An End to the "Siege"
A Bushland Wedding
A Day Roving the Mid North Coast
Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast
Return to Wagga
Travelin' South (Part II)
Travelin' South (Part III)