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Have Bucky, Will Travel: 1970s

We asked our Badger Insider readers to share their favorite college travel stories. Here are the memories we received.

Bucky Badger standing next to the Eiffel Tower.

Have Bucky, Will Travel

By Badger Insider Readers

Between my junior and senior years, I spent the Summer of 1970 at the University of Oslo. It was a six-week program and all six credits earned transferred back to the UW so I wouldn't be at risk to be drafted. After Oslo, I had a two-week Eurail pass and covered an area bound by Bergen, Vienna, Pompeii, and Paris. I slept nine nights in a row in the first-class train compartments, waking up to a new foreign city every morning. Flew on a SAS charter flight out of JFK; got there from MSP on Northwest Orient Airlines. It was my first time flying. On the SAS charter back, the demand for alcohol was so high the stewardesses just let the liquor carts open for self-serve. Things got nasty towards the end, and a few kids passed out in the aisles. All of the above was done for less than a grand. Yes, I had a copy of Europe on $5 a Day along with a must read at the time, Mario Puzo's The Godfather.
Thomas Schmidtknecht ’71
Walnut Creek, California

One of the best travel experiences I could ever imagine were two spring break Badger Bus trips to New York and Washington through the university YMCA. In 1967 the topic was the urban crisis; in 1970 it was the environment, one month before the first Earth Day. In each city, we met with great speakers and organizations from a prominent inner-city Newark church minister to the attorney general, Ramsey Clark, David Rockefeller, and an overnight at the Audubon Society. We toured the new town of Reston, Virginia.
Craig Laronge ’70
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Summer ended, and I worked my way through my fall semester classes toward completion of the MBA program. Then one day as I made my way past the chest-high snow drifts and walked into the Union, I noticed a poster. Over the semester break in January, Hoofers was sponsoring a student ski trip to Switzerland. That trip would be the perfect reward for a year-and-a-half of hard study. When I got back to the apartment that evening, I said to Barb, “Let’s go skiing in Switzerland with Hoofers in January!” After an instant of shock, she said, “You’ve never skied.” “I know, but Hoofers is having a class on a hill near here next week and I’ll learn.” She realized how ridiculous that statement was but offered the next argument, “We don’t have any money.” I had already worked out a solution. “We’ll just add to my student loan.”

That was it. We signed up, borrowed the money and a few months later were on a Hoofers-chartered jet to Davos, Switzerland, loaded with college kids. While I never learned much on that hill near Madison, I figured I could develop my snow plow technique in the Alps. The unexpected high point of the week in Switzerland started with an ambitious plan to ski with another couple, Wes and Jean Wiedeman. After lunch, we started a 12-mile run from the summit of Parsenn, one of the peaks surrounding Davos, bound for the little village of Kublis. While my snow plow had improved after several days in Switzerland, we traveled slowly and as night began to fall, we had not completed the run. By luck, we found ourselves in front of a quaint Swiss chalet. After arranging lodging, the innkeeper called our hotel, told them we were OK and they could keep the St. Bernard in his kennel. The innkeeper prepared veal cordon bleu for dinner, and we spent the night in a remote spot in the Swiss Alps. The next day we made our way slowly to Kublis, then took the train back to Davos.
David Brezinksi ’71
Lake Oswego, Oregon

My college travel was limited by summer jobs and usually working over breaks. But I managed one great travel experience and even earned a credit for it. Spring break 1972 I took a one-credit forest resources practicum course that included a field trip to learn about southern forestry practices. We camped to reduce costs in national forests and national parks. Stops included: Kentucky, Daniel Boone National Forest; North Carolina, a wildlife refuge on the outer banks, an industrial forestry operation, and forest products factory; Georgia, a U.S. Forest Service national watershed laboratory; and finally the Great Smoky National Park. I still have a photograph of me on Clingmans Dome high up on top of Old Smoky. After graduation, I ended up in industrial forestry in South Carolina and later as a forestry professor at Clemson University in South Carolina. That one credit away-from-UW experience ended up having some consequences for me.
Thomas Straka ’72, MS’73, EGRPR’78
Pendleton, South Carolina

Back in the day when post-season bowl games were but a dream for the football team, the Badger band was treated to one road trip a year. I was fortunate to march in the band under Mike Leckrone and perform at games in Ann Arbor in 1977 and East Lansing in 1978. Sadly, the Badgers were shut out by Michigan 56-0 in ’77. However, the following year at Michigan State, the Badgers jumped out to a 2–0 lead on a safety and spirits were high. Unfortunately, MSU responded with 55 unanswered points, for a final score of 55–2. My favorite memory? For the rest of the day, band members could be heard on the streets of East Lansing proudly chanting “We scored first!” As for the band’s performances? As most alumni and fans know — they’ve never had a losing season!
Don Reck ’79
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

When a fellow art student spoke up in a drawing class back in 1970 and asked if anyone was interested in going to Europe that summer and traveling for a couple of months, taking in all the art we could, my hand went up.
With two other women joining us, we four young ladies jetted off for a fabulous adventure - traveling with our Eurail passes to nine countries, self-guiding ourselves as we visited galleries, cathedrals, historic homes, gardens, restaurants, and more. We actually were able to do what the guide book said and spend only $5 a day on food and lodging. Witnessing the art we'd seen in textbooks and in classes up close and personal was amazing, as was sneaking a photo of Klimt's Kiss while my pals watched for guards. We threw our coins in the Trevi Fountain and two of us have returned!
Sadly, on the way home, aboard a flight filled with fellow Badgers, the pilot announced that Sterling Hall had been bombed. A rough ending to a magical escapade.
Jerilyn (Ja-Ja) Howe ’72
Madison, WI

I am a proud alumna of the Wisconsin sailing team. We drove to every regatta most weekends fall and spring: Iowa, Ohio State, UW–Oshkosh, Ohio Wesleyan, Drake, Indiana, Michigan, etc. One trip to Michigan we had a big squad. I didn't feel 100 percent, but could always dig down and pull it out. We were well into Michigan and stopped for a fast food dinner. Waiting in line, I passed out. The team helped me out to the van. I asked for and they got me some food; that helped. Then we were on our way. I napped. Arriving in Ann Arbor, we stopped to get our housing assignment. It was a fraternity house with two big bunk bed rooms. I was too ill and tired to care and slept the night through. We raced and didn't do so well. I went in for one series of two races and didn't do well either. Slept away the Saturday night social. Watched Sunday racing. Slept the trip back to Madison. Why, you say? Monday morning trip to health service brought a test that revealed mononucleosis! I was out for two weeks to recover. Crazy memory.
Gail McCarthy Turluck x’78
Richland, Michigan

I was selected to join the mixed group of mainly U of Michigan and Wisconsin students to study at Aix-en-Provence. It was clearly the most important year in my life. I actually began to speak and write French quite well. I witnessed firsthand the politicization of French migration policy. This set me on the path to migration scholarship, an endeavor that UW students have led.
Mark Miller ’72, MA’73, PhD’78
New Castle, Delaware

During my in-state tuition undergrad years, I took an exotic trip every summer. I drove from Monona, Wisconsin, to Gardner Baking Co. on East Washington Avenue to load trucks five nights a week with fresh bread, breakfast rolls, and French bread. My summer “vacation” hours were from 5pm until we finished the job...usually around 7am. I was lucky. My father would pass away in my junior year from heart disease but Gardner’s paid me union wages and I was able to pay for 100 percent of my cheap (state taxpayers provided 55 percent of the UW’s operating budget) in-state tuition, books, and living expenses. Years later, after my UW MBA, I worked and lived in Europe for five years and was responsible for Canada, Southeast Asia, and South America during another four-year span of my career. Those paychecks from Gardner Baking Co. bought me the “ticket” I eventually used to go around the world many times over that 10-year span of my career. I’m still a very grateful Badger.
James Neupert ’75, MBA’78
Atherton, CA

In my junior year, a near stranger and I who roomed together decided to take spring break in San Francisco. It was each of our first trips to California. We drove the friend's beat up old Ford. We stayed at the frat house in Berkeley that aligned with the “frat house” we lived in Madison. No one there grasped that the “frat house” in Madison had been converted to a market-based apartment building. Anyway, the punch line was housing was FREE to a few broke students from Wisconsin. We did all the tourist type things. Everything FUN in San Francisco. Separately, we each decided we needed to be back in Madison ASAP. So we drove non-stop from San Francisco to Madison. Only stops were gas, candy bars, and bathroom breaks. I personally drove straight from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Madison. Quite as stretch! One on my more memorable vacations!
William Rauwerdink ’72
West Bloomfield, Michigan

During the summer of 1969, I spent a month or so on a National Student Association tour of Europe. Two memories stand out: One was listening to a radio account of Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon while I was riding on a tour bus through Munich. The other was visiting Prague a year after a Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia crushed the Prague Spring and Czech hopes for more political and cultural freedom. I noticed a long line of plastic bags leading from a doorway down a sidewalk. Each seemed to have a piece of paper in it and was anchored to the sidewalk by a rock. Our guide told us this was a government office and that the pieces of paper were lists of names of people who were, in effect, waiting in line for visas to leave the country.
Barry Temkin ’70
Skokie, Illinois

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