Trial Balloon

A Secret Mission

Posted at 4:39 AM on February 9, 2009 by Dale Connelly (20 Comments)

Thank you everyone for your kindness during my absence and for imagining all sorts of good things happening to our little three person family during this trip.
I'm sorry there was so much secrecy, but it was necessary given the exotic nature of the mission.
There is still very little that I can reveal because the information I gathered is being distilled and assessed. At this point I am only permitted to issue specific and carefully worded denials to keep the speculation under control.

(However, there are no restrictions on posting photographs!)

Cruise Ship small 2.jpg

So I want to absolutely clear - I'm not saying we were put in luxurious Wall Street banker year-end-bonus level quarters aboard a mammoth cruise ship.

Hot Tub small 2.jpg

Our suite did not have a huge deck and a hot tub.
None of this was funded with money I should have been paying in taxes that I somehow forgot to hand over.

Segway small .jpg

I was not trained by a special agent to operate a specially modified off-road Segway through an alligator infested swamp.

I would never ask my son to help with, or even witness such a reckless adventure.

Shock and Awe 2.jpg

Alligators small.jpg

Guys on holiday small 2.jpg

We most certainly did not have an excellent time.
Other than that, there's very little I can tell you.

Comments (20)

Morning Dale! Yes, it went smoothly last week - Mike did a fabulous job keeping everything going. Although I have to say that it was a little surreal to hear you during the show, as if you were really there, when the bloggers knew you weren't. So welcome back - we missed you! Any "Mission Impossible" or "Secret Agent Man" in Jasper's memory banks to commemorate your mission?

Posted by sherrilee | February 9, 2009 6:08 AM

Welcome back Dale!
To think that I already own a grammy-winning CD!
You are a good sport to post the candids - great pics. What's it like riding a segway? Did it fulfill its ad statement? -"Discover all the benefits of using a Segway Personal Transporter. At Segway, we are devoted to moving you easily, efficiently, intelligently and simply."
I'm just glad to see that you were surrounded with water and sunshine (my intuitive guess from the start).

Posted by donna | February 9, 2009 6:40 AM

Welcome back. You've returned just in time for the thaw. :-)

Posted by elinor | February 9, 2009 6:45 AM

welcome back, Dale! looks like you didn't have any fun at all. we made it ok while you were off being exposed to that pile o' 'gators, thanks to Mike and your hard work preparing for your absence.
goat barn update: fairly peaceful but because Dodger is very, very crabby (pregnancy, you know) i had to divide the big pen into two - putting Dodger in with the two boys. now she can only try to butt Dream and Alba but can't reach them. (i think she just wants them to go get her some ice cream??) and she doesn't like the boys because she can't boss them around (they won't get her pickles - oh! not your pony! Dodger's not that bad!)
so, could you please play "Don't Worry Be Happy" for her? her hormones are raging...... thanks

Posted by Barb in Blackhoof | February 9, 2009 6:48 AM

Thanks for the comments, Sherilee and Donna.
I'll try to get "Secret Agent Man" into the show today, though I only have an instrumental version by The Ventures. You'll have to sing the words on your own.
And yes, the Segway delivered. It was a hoot to operate, once I got the hang of it. It helped that there were not actually any alligators nearby. Gravity was enough of a challenge.
One helpful thing is that tourists on Segways are fully outfitted in helmets and pads, a quick and easy way to alert everyone that this person may lose control of the machine at any moment.

Posted by Dale Connelly | February 9, 2009 6:53 AM

Welcome back, Dale! The pictures of your trip tell a happy story, even though your blog entry makes us aware of the danger of your mission: restoring alligators to their natural habitat by herding them with Segways, driving them to your hot tub aboard the yacht, and finally, wrestling the creatures back into the swamp. OK - no Stetson, but a mighty fine looking helmet! Say, don't 'The Bobs' do a song about helmets?

Mike did an excellent job in your absence, and JASPER wasn't half bad, either. Hope your trip was most enjoyable.

PS - Pickles thanks you for playing "Prairie Sun" this morning.

Posted by Teri in Zimmerman | February 9, 2009 7:10 AM

Greetings Heartlanders:

Dale, thanks for sharing your photos -- looks like you had a most wonderful vacation. Even though you sounded like you were here, we still missed you. Mike and Jasper kept everything going smoothly.

Welcome back to Spring!

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | February 9, 2009 7:27 AM

I just wanted to echo Teri in Zimmerman's request for the "Helmet" song by the Bobs -- probably my favorite group of all. You and your son look so dashing in those cool helmets!

Posted by Joanne in Big Lake | February 9, 2009 7:32 AM

Good Morning!

Welcome back Dale! I'm glad you didn't spend the week padding around the house in your robe and fuzzy slippers and I will cross vacation planner off my list of possible future occupations.

The helmet song by the Bobs would be great but I think "Happy Days Are Here Again" would be an appropriate welcome back tune.

Thanks for the pics, it looks like you had a great time but I am particularly impressed that you brought back, not just pictures like the typical tourist but, warm weather!

Posted by Mark | February 9, 2009 7:53 AM

Welcome Back Dale!
I've been waiting a week to tell you and all the Heartlanders all about my cruise experience, I hope yours was as delightful.
The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise is a life-changing experience to quote Ana Popovic. For a blues lover it was Heaven on Earth. A week of almost constant music. I chatted with Taj Mahal in the breakfast line, James Hunter in the elevator, and Kim Wison somewhere. Sang Iko-Iko with Terence Simien and 10 others in the piano bar at 4:30am. Highlight-the group Trampled Under Foot, winners of the 2008 IBC award. For anyone interested in more info, go to or search for and watch LRBC videos on youtube. As many others say-it is the best 7 days of the year.
I couldn't have given myself a better retirement present.
Welcome back to reality!

Posted by Kathy in Wisconsin | February 9, 2009 8:22 AM

Hi Dale...missed you, but Mike did a fine job filling's late, but is there time for a "hunker down in preparation for an ice storm" tune?

And I want to tell everyone in Radio Heartland that Jearlyn Steele and her brother Billy gave one of the all time best concerts I have ever EVER been to...high energy, laughter, great music and if they come to anyone else's neighborhood on their MPR Troubador concert tour...DON'T MISS IT if at all possible. All I could say all the way home was "WOW!"

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | February 9, 2009 8:24 AM any Jearlyn on cd or from Prairie Home Companion shows to share? thanks.

Posted by cynthia in mahtowa | February 9, 2009 8:25 AM

Welcome back, Dale! We missed you, but you already knew that! I think Mike got tired of talking to Jasper in your absence. Loved the photos, but am very glad there are no photos of the gator-wrestling portion of your mission. That's way too stressful to think about this time of the morning!

Posted by Amy in St Paul | February 9, 2009 8:43 AM

Wow Kathy! Sounds like you had a marvelous time - and if you wanted to, you could write a new resume that has listed in OTHER INTERESTS - "Sang blues with Terrence Simeon". But then, this was a retirement cruise. Happy Retirement to you!

Posted by Teri in Zimmerman | February 9, 2009 9:00 AM

The vacation pics are lovely - and like everyone else, I'm glad you are back (though Mike, this doesn't absolve you of adding your two or three cents to the blog from time to time - fun to hear from you, too). But Dale, did you really need to remind me of my age and post pictures of the kid? I mean, he's all grown up - and in my mind he's still about ten, maybe twelve (he got lodged at about that age when he did a couple guest spots on your show...and there he will stay until I decide to admit to my own age).

Posted by Anna | February 9, 2009 9:14 AM

Welcome back, Dale. Looks and sounds as if you had a wonderful vacation. It took me a while to believe you were really back - mentioning the Grammy winners and the current weather convinced me.

Somebody walked into my office and started talking to me just as you were mentioning Kathy in the breakfast line with Taj Mahal. I knew Kathy was excited about telling her cruise stories (I'm SO ENVIOUS!) and I missed your reply, darn it. Could you ask some techie there to set the "Listen" link for the 8-9am hour of today's program, so I can catch it?

I'm now saving my money to go on a future blues cruise. It sounds amazing!!

Posted by Gail in Wisconsin | February 9, 2009 9:16 AM

Thanks to the techie!

Posted by Gail in WI | February 9, 2009 9:20 AM

Thanks for posting the pictures of Max. I haven't seen him since he autographed my Morning Show cap (along with you and Jim Ed) at a Carousel Park broadcast during the great Minnesota State Fair. I think it was the year Ann Reed was composing a Back to School song. Anyway, he was getting pretty good at the DJ role by then. Is he ready to join you and your worldwide audience on RH?

Posted by Lu in Plymouth | February 9, 2009 12:05 PM

Welcome back Dale.

I liked Teri in Zimmerman's description of your information gathering activities. Herding alligators on a Segway is probably easier than herding cats but more dangerous. How nice to be a part of the restoration of the Everglades. Thank you for sharing your pictures.

Posted by Susan H. | February 9, 2009 1:45 PM

Saw you in line at the Pahang Skyride last week, but being a Shy One I decided against tapping you on the shoulder since you were clearly on vacation.

Next time though, our family is heading to a closer destination for winter foliage and sunshine.

Do you know of a jetlag song? A fighting-to-stay-awake-at-work song would do too!

Posted by MN in Mpls | February 10, 2009 12:43 AM

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