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I'm starting my summer travels/vacation next week. The plan is to leave northern Virginia late Tuesday morning...and need/want to be in North Dakota by Thursday evening.

Friday starts the greatest softball (slowpitch) tournament ever. This year is the 42nd Annual Sam McQuade Sr Softball Tournament, in Bismarck and Mandan, ND. It's all about softball, sun, beer, and of course helping out local charities. Three days of it. Last year there were 452 teams playing (both men and women playing on 40 different diamonds in two cities). It really is something...everytime I've been deployed, I would try to schedule my leave (when I was allowed leave) so I could be home for this tournament.

In addition to the actual tournament, the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team play a few exhibition games as well as plays in the tournament. It is amazing to see the athleticism of these guys, just incredible. There is also a Home Run Hitting contest and a Special Olympics Exhibition game and a pitch, hit, and run competition.

Guys/Gals if you are in the area I suggest you come out. I'll post pictures of the adventures and if you need a place to park (because you will), just let me know. I've played on the same team for about 15 years. We've won our division a few times, and that is the best - heck, just to make it to the trophies is great! That gets your team an "invite" to the after party.

I'll stay in the Bismarck-Mandan area to recover from the previous weekend's adventures and help my mother out around the house - I am sure she has a "honey do list" for me. By the time I finish the list, I've recovered and it's time for another big celebration in Mandan. 4th of July...Mandan Independence Day Parade, 4 days of rodeos (1-4 July), fares, carnivals, food trucks, crafts, and of course fireworks!!

During the whole trip I'll also be taking my van out for a night here and there, do some paddle boarding and just hang out by a lake or on the banks of the Missouri River.

I'm not sure when I'll leave to come back, but I need to be back to work by 10 July.


Pictures and tales of adventure to follow...
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