|Ron and Kathy Fowler at their home on Johnson Lake|
I spent my first rest day of 2012 at the home of Ron and Kathy Fowler. Even so there was a little bit of forward momentum. After enjoying some waffles Ron had cooked for breakfast I knocked out the three miles between the Cenex station and my hosts' home.
The Fowlers are recent retirees in their late 50s whose working lives took place in Kearney. They decided to move out to Johnson Lake, where Ron's family had long owned property, when they realized working for the man was a terrible way to spend their lives.
Sitting on the patio furniture and drinking pina coladas is not in their nature, however, so both of them have kept very busy out at the Lake. Kathy works for the Lexington Chamber of Commerce (the reason for her absence at breakfast) and Ron is a key member of the Johnson Lake Biking and Hiking Trails committee. A path already exists on the western half of the reservoir, but Ron is working to make sure riders can safely circumnavigate the body of water in its entirety. In addition, he has put up signs for the ADT all through Gosper County. Next door Dawson County has so far refused permission for him to do the same there.
Also on our tour I learned from Ron that Johnson Lake is used for irrigation and also provides some electricity. The lake was constructed in 1939 and integrated into the Tri County Canal. The whole system is operated by Central Nebraska Power and Irrigation.
The lake is named after George Johnson, the head engineer on the project. The company donates significant funds each year for the Johnson Lake Chamber to use towards improvements on the property.
Once our whirlwind tour was over, we went next door to the house of Dick. A neighbor of Ron's, Dick is also working hard towards the improvement of the bike trails. Tonight was Mallard Cove's Thirsty Thursday, an event which involved the kind of licentious behavior I don't care to discuss within the realm of these pages. We'll just say I was forced into a primitive male bonding ritual involving Manwiches and copious amounts of Crown Royal.
My arrival at Ron and Kathy's could not have come at a better time. I was in need of a relaxing day after going a bit overboard yesterday. I could feel my sore body healing as the hours passed by and the pack stayed safely stored away in their basement. Thank you just doesn't seem like a strong enough phrase to explain my gratitude.
If you'd like to contribute to the Johnson Lake trails project:
Johnson Lake Trail Fund
PO Box 422
Lexington NE 68850
or contact me at email@example.com for Ron's info
3 miles/ 2121 total miles