Balta 44 at Garmisch USA near Drummond Wisconsin

Following are the series of emails that host Jim Crandall sent out to the Balta email list about the Wisconsin reunion which was held in the first week of October 2014 at



In about eleven weeks you’ll be swarming to Garmisch Resort on Lake Namakagon in northwest Wisconsin.  By then, we should have had a good frost and the leaves on the trees around the lake will be in full color. Fall is a great time of year in the north.

It’s been a wet, but lush summer.  I read of drought out west, but we have had plenty of moisture here in Drummond.  The garden is thriving, plus there has been sunny, growing weather.  There are daisies in the hayfield, along with red clover and white trefoil blossoms. The cows are fat.

If you are flying in for our event, the simplest place to land is at MSP in Minneapolis, which is about 3 1/2 hours drive from here.  Closer yet is DLH in Duluth, which is only 1 1/2 hours from Lake Namakagon where the resort is situated.  Duluth is simpler to fly out of, since it’s a one-horse type operation and the TSA lines may stretch at times to, say, 6 people.  Flying into either provides a scenic drive, with little traffic, both coming and going.

If you are driving, it’s about 5 hours once you hit Madison or 4 1/2 hours from the Iowa/Minnesota border. Coming from the east, up and across the UP of Michigan is a particularly pretty route. It’s about 7 hours from the Mackinac bridge.  In any event, it’s worth thinking about getting off the Interstate system once you get into Wisconsin because the state and county roads are usually as good as the US routes and almost as fast.

There are 40 confirmed so far. Recapping what I sent out earlier: arrival is on Thursday afternoon.  I have reserved a pontoon boat so you can go cruising until dusk. Food and drinks will be on tap in one of the four cabins we have engaged.  Friday is for field trips and going to Apple Fest in scenic Bayfield with dinner back at the resort. Saturday will be a good day for going pontoon boating on the lake or hiking until the afternoon, when we will have a cookout, hayride and bonfire at Crandall’s spread. (Maple Tree Farm is about 15 miles from the Garmisch resort.)  Sunday is Bauern Frühstuck and Aufwiedersehen.

Any of you thinking of coming in before Thursday can stay at the Maple Tree Farm guest house.  First come, first served.

If you didn’t get this email, let me know.



Some random thoughts with about 6 weeks before this year’s event:


Coming up highway US 63 is Spooner, Wisconsin (about an hour and a half from the Garmisch Resort).  Check out the Railroad Memories Museum and/or the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum, which are two interesting places.  There is decent coffee in the Alley Cats Coffee shop.  From Spooner north you will be following the bed of the Namakagon River which springs from the lake on which we will be staying.  The Namakagon is designated as a wild and scenic waterway and can be canoed from Lake Namakagon all the way to the Mississippi and on to New Orleans.

Further north is Hayward, Wisconsin (about 45 minutes from Garmisch) which hosts the Fishing Hall of Fame and the world’s largest plastic fish.  Back Roads Coffee has good coffee and West’s Dairy has great ice cream.  There is a brewpub called Angry Minnow, which has good food and some good local beer.  Hayward, itself, is the quintessential northwoods tourist town.

Less than half an hour from Garmisch is Cable, Wisconsin.  The Cable Natural History Museum is worth a stop.  Grocery & hardware store (where we shop), bookstore/pizza pub, bank, post office.

Coming up from the Madison area:  If you want to get a real flavor of the boondocks in which Mimi and I live and are coming up from the south, come up US 51 through Wausau, across on US 8, taking Wisconsin 13 north from there.  Be sure to stop at Fred Smith’s Wisconsin Concrete Park in Phillips.  It’s quirky, but amazing. From there you turn west on Wisconsin 77 beyond Glidden to Clam Lake and on to County M and Garmish Resort.  You may be lucky enough to see one of the elk herd that is in that area.

If for some reason you come through Drummond, there are three taverns (Uncle Ryno’s is my favorite), a sport shop/gas station and bank.  The Drummond Public Library is a modern facility and houses the Drummond Historical Museum.  The museum has a very good history of the logging era that built the town.


If you haven’t checked it out, Garmish Resort is every bit as charming as the website shows.  Alas, there aren’t any buxom young maidens in dirndls carrying liter steins of beer.  Check-in time is 3:00 p.m., so you might plan your trip accordingly.  I have been assured that all of the accommodations where we will be staying have wireless WI-FI.  Cell phone service may be iffy, depending on your carrier.

I am working on the chow list. If you have any special food needs or allergies, let me know.  It’s gonna be a good time.




About a month to go before BALTA 44 in NW Wisconsin.  I will forecast the weather for our event weekend in a couple of weeks, but in the meantime, the rain gauge read 6 1/2 inches in the past week and it’s raining again today.  Our drought, which lasted 10 years, has not only been broken, but submerged.  The woods is like a jungle this year.


Thursday, October 2nd, (arrival day).  Check in is a 3:00 p.m. at Garmish.  Thursday afternoon we have reserved a pontoon boat for cruising on Lake Namakagon with it’s miles of shoreline and many bays.  Pontooning and beer are good pursuits on a fall afternoon in Wisconsin.  Dinner will be at The Beetle cabin that evening.

Friday, after breakfast, I have a bus to take us to Apple Fest in Bayfield, leaving at about 10:00 a.m.  Depending on our route up there it takes about an hour or so.  Bayfield is a picturesque town on the big lake.  We’ll head back to Garmisch after about four hours, in time for cocktails in the Blarney Castle.  Dinner will be a traditional Wisconsin fish fry in the lodge’s main dining room, which overlooks one of the bays.

Saturday after breakfast, besides reserving a pontoon for half the day, there are nature trails close by, as well as a portion of the North Country Scenic Trail for hiking, Copper Falls State Park about 40 minutes away and Cable, Wisconsin close by.  Saturday afternoon features a hay ride, tailgate party and bonfire at Maple Tree Farm (that’s the Crandall estate in Drummond).  You will have the opportunity to cluck with the chickens, moo with the cows, split wood, carry water and drink beer/whiskey. There will be Nikolashkas around the roaring fire. Designated driver service back to Garmish will be available.

Sunday morning is Bauern Frühstuck at the resort, the anticipated selection of the next year’s host and site, and the tearful farewells.

Time for your final deposit on this grand weekend.  If you have sent two thirds of your money already, the other third is due.  Send it to Crandall, 10860 N. Loop Rd., Drummond, WI  54832.


Liebe Freünde,

Our first frost was a light one, here at Maple Tree Farm.  It only touched the tops of the pole beans, but everything has slowed down growing.  The weather forecast for next week says sixties during the day, forties at night. That’s typical for this time of year. So, the following week is anticipated to be close to the same.

Clothes planning for this trip should include a jacket for evenings outside and, with the wet weather this year, bring some rain gear.  It has been dry for the past three days, but we have been getting hit with wetter weather this year than usual. At Apple Fest, it could be sunny, but if there is a breeze off Lake Superior it will feel pretty cool.

We have four houses at Garmisch Resort:  The Beetle will be our HQ, along with Blarney Castle, Rhinelander Cabin and Bean.  Bedroom assignments are as follows:

Beetle – Wilhelm, Crandall, Kron, Hog, Smoller, Nolan, O’Connell, Brother/McMickin

Blarney Castle – Simonson, Forrest, Cotler, Mills/Carroll, Hoben, Pfeiffer, Flippo/Davis, Pier

Rhinelander – Baer, Beeching, Dunn

Bean – Fool (?), Pearson, Stemple, Gitt/Cavender

Wally Knox will not be here: he’s working on his primary campaign for a seat on the LA city council.  Raven called to say that Granny Ruth is not doing well at 103 years of age, so he can’t make it.  Fool was set to drive with Raven and is a nil heard as of late.

Garmisch is located east of Cable, out County Highway M.  It’s about 10 minutes from the center of Cable to Lakewoods Resort and just past Lakewoods is Garmisch Road.  Turn onto it, and put it into country, slow gear.  On Garmisch Road, follow the curvy, rolling road until you reach the stone pillars of Garmisch Resort.  Turn in and figure out where your cabin is.  There may be changes to the room assignments, though. Check out the website:

Don’t call me on my cell phone.

If you come a day or two early or stay a day or two later, we have places in our guest house.

Anybody have a scanned picture of the last Drummond Reunion in 1979?



Weather looks good for BALTA 44, if you are gullible enough to believe any forecast of the future.  Highs in the 60s, low in the 40s.
When you arrive, check in at the Garmisch Resort Office.  Final room and cabin assignments from the office when you check in.
HQ is the Beetle with cocktails upon arrival and the pontoon boat warmed up to do some cruising and socializing.  Dinner will be at 6:30 p.m.
For those that are concerned about connectivity over the weekend, Garmisch Resort avers that all cabins for our stay have wi-fi.  Cell service is iffy, depending upon your provider.
Radio junkies:  coming up here, tune into 88.9 WOJB for community radio with good tunes or alternatively KUMD at 103.3, 89.9 for Wisconsin Public Radio classical.
Travel safely.
Amigos,We all probably look at the same weather sites, but I’m sending this alert anyway.Bring a good coat.  Saturday is forecast to have a possibility of snow and a high of 42.  Brrrr.  Of course, it may be warmer, but not a lot.

There is an opportunity for going fishing with a local friend with his boat on Saturday.  If you are interested, let me know ASAP so I can confirm it with him.


Friends,My pals are gone for almost two weeks now.  We’re still eating on the leftover food that went into the freezer after you all left.  I’m still drinking the leftover beer that went into my pool room refrigerator.  There are several random bottles of whiskey and other spirits that sit on the shelf waiting for me to work my way through them.  Our BALTA members don’t eat and drink like we used to.Of course, the weather has turned to two weeks of gorgeous, sunny, warm (60s) Indian Summer here in the north. The aspen trees are starting to lose their leaves, that cover the driveway like golden coins.  Too bad we couldn’t have had this kind of lovely fall weather two weeks ago.  You experienced what we call “Applefest weather.”

Some random thoughts on BALTA 44….

Larry and Jenny stayed over Sunday evening and helped clean up the party site and then we went for a walk in the woods.  We needed to get the kinks worked out.

Dancing Bear showed up at 10:00 p.m. Sunday after an odyssey of driving Kathy to Duluth and then to Minneapolis (where she finally was able to get a flight to Louisville) and back to Maple Tree Farm.  He spent three days helping us do all those chores that were put off during preparations for the reunion.  We had a nice time. Thanks, Bear, for helping fill next winter’s woodshed.

Captain Hog’s reunion poster is great.  I especially like the ’73 and ’14 fire photos together.  Right, Dee, we really have had 44 years of old and fast friends getting together for a party somewhere in the country once a year. It is a strange phenomenon, isn’t it?

Thanks for the jellies, Heidi.  I’ll open them and taste them on a cold winter’s day.

Thanks, Carl, for a copy of your new CD.  You have some great arrangements, but I like the cuts with your voice and acoustic guitar best of all.

The tape across the bridge into the house was not to keep any of you out, but rather to keep someone from slipping on it until I get a chance to clean the surface of it before winter. It gets slippery when wet.

“Jimmy’s Pool Room” is put back together and our neighborhood pool league has been getting together again.

There was some money left over after all expenses were covered, so I made couple of donations to worthy causes. There was a case of wine left that may be coming to California if we make a road trip of it.

Hog and Dave O’Connell had equally horrendous experiences with their flights home.  Both ways were a disaster, in fact.

In ’79 in Drummond we had Crandall grown pig over a spit.  In ’14 we had Crandall grown chicken and beef.

I’m still looking for a group photo of the ’79 reunion.

While both Mimi and I enjoyed being hosts, I certainly prefer to go to a reunion than host one. Our time together was so short.

Love and hugs, Cranny.


One Response to “Balta 44 at Garmisch USA near Drummond Wisconsin”

  1. connievre Says:

    looks like you all had a great time! Beautiful resort! Connie Vanderpool, ABR, CRS, CDPE, CIPS, CRMS Re/Max Gateway-Arlington Office licensed in Virginia, District of Columbia, & Maryland since 1989 Re/Max HALL OF FAME Cell 202 262 7062

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