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Dunkeldog; Salukis; Skunks; In Your Face! Lincoln Logs? Big Muddy Monster

On Wednesday, we traveled from Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville, to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in southern Illinois. I knew that we were in southern Illinois because I picked out Southern Illinois University on the map. (I can be pretty clever at times.) SIU’s mascot is the Saluki. Until I bought a six-pack of Saluki Dunkeldog dark amber beer, I had no idea what a Saluki even was.

I bought the beer because the dog on the container looked kinda-sorta like our long-haired Dachshund, Rudy.  But then when I Googled images of Salukis, I found two that I really liked. The one at right is the SIU mascot… 

… and the perky one at left is the SIU cheerleader, and she is definitely NOT a dog. I am now an SIU Saluki Spirit fan!

For those musically inclined, perhaps you’d like to whistle the SIU fight song, “Go You Salukis”… here is the actual score… and if there are any Salukis (grads, not dogs) in today’s blog audience, please stand while you sing your alma mater!

There aren’t a lot of benefits from turning 65, but one of them is the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Interagency Pass, formerly known as Prince… oh, sorry, wrong allusion… formerly known as the Golden Age Pass. I think the PC crowd changed the name because the old one made the holder sound, like, well, you know, “Old”. Anyway, we now receive a 50% discount on campground fees, reducing yesterday’s fee from $25 to $12.50. As I say, “That’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick!” We had a campsite right on the lake, and the only down side was that we had to be extra careful of the skunks which frequent the campground looking for snacks. 

In my spare moments of leisure, I mused what would happen if I were to have a Close Encounter of the Stinky Kind with a member of the skunk family (Mephitis mephitis). Would My Lovely Bride help scrub me down to get rid of the offensive odors and welcome me back to her boudoir, or would I be banished to a tent in the dreary woods for a week to allow the olfactory stench to evaporate and disperse? An interesting philosophical question… shows you how far an abnormal mind can drift when unengaged.
Corvette Chick decided that she needed some “prettifying” before we left rural Illinois for the big city (St. Louis). While she was getting a manicure and pedicure in Carterville, IL, the puppies and I recon’ed “The Ville”. While walking around the “downtown”, and I use that term somewhat loosely, I happened upon a sign that caught my attention. This was hanging outside a Pentecostal Church. I have no editorial comment to make about this; I just thought to myself, “Isn’t that interesting?”  
We passed this old house , which had obviously been built more than a decade or two (or maybe even a century or two?) earlier than the bit of modern technology attached to its roof. It made for an interesting juxtaposition (what a great word!)… Could those actually be real Lincoln logs?

Back to beer… while traveling in The Bus from the Crab Orchard Campground to Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, IL, we crossed the Big Muddy River (aerial shot at right, taken from my helicopter). It is indeed muddy, but it’s only a hundred yards or so across, not that big for those of us born on the banks of the Mississippi down in N’Orlins…. The brewer of Saluki Dunkledog Beer happens to be the Big Muddy Brewing Co. of Murphysboro, Illinois. Their motto on every six-pack is “There is beer in Illinois Country and it is good.” That quote is attributed to Fort de Chartres, a British soldier, circa 1785. (It is not known whether this redcoat survived the American Revolutionary War to settle in Illinois country as a new immigrant, or was returned to Merry Olde England to rejoin his family and become a serf again… but again, I digress…)  
Saluki Dunkledog beer is a combination of American dark amber beer and German Dunkel beer, which as the brewery’s web site states, “Aromatic and Munich malts yield a slight sweetness balanced with a hint of chocolate roast. The result is a very approachable beer with a smooth distinctive taste.” Being a “choclaholic”, this attracted me, so I had a wee taste of Dunkledog with pizza… it is a very nice beer, but probably not available in many locales outside southern Illinois.  Another of Big Muddy’s beers is Big Muddy Monster, a mixture of brown ale and India pale ale, named after the Bigfoot-like creature reported by a young couple on a lovers’ lane near a boat ramp on the Big Muddy River near Murphysboro, Illinois, in 1973. (It is alleged by some Sasquatch-naysayers that the young man, Randy… yes, his real name, perhaps quite apropos in this case… made up the story to keep from getting in trouble with his girlfriend’s dad… but I would never suggest that anything inappropriate was going on between Randy and Fair Judy… or that Randy may have “had a few too many” when he saw the 8 foot tall, hairy monster on the riverbank…) 

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