From Swabbie to Cyclist

After BHS, my summer jobs included work on land and sea:  maintaining the northern Long Trail with Dave Rice and Rob Hirss; and as a swabbie on the University of Rhode Island’s research ship Trident, which sailed to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge to dredge rocks that recently (geologically speaking) had oozed as magma from below as the European and North American tectonic plates drift apart. One highlight was a dive off the ship north of the Arctic Circle, near the island of Jan Mayen.  I also worked one sugaring season at UVM’s Proctor Maple Research Farm on the west slope of Mansfield with Janet Duchacek’s father Howard.

My favorite courses at UVM were rhetoric, French, and etymology taught by Libba Gilleland’s father.  But I graduated in botany.

I worked 31 years at the Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, NH. Botany got my foot in the door, but I soon moved to mechanics and physical science. The work took me to DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line radar stations at the top of the Greenland ice cap, and to Norway, Germany, Canada, and Alaska but, alas, not the South or North Poles (where many of my coworkers had research programs).

Most of my recreation has been on bicycles, skis, or feet. My first date with my wife (Mainer Jennifer Davey) was a long day on skis, and on our first bike ride I ran her off the road.  Despite this incident, we did our honeymoon on bikes, and we ain’t planning to stop pedaling yet—though we now plan our overnight stops well in advance.

A memorable cycling adventure is recorded here: It’s my story of riding in the Paris-Brest-Paris randonnée.

My activities now include volunteering, painting (oils), restoring an 1850s farmhouse—if super-insulation and solar panels qualify as restoration— and keeping the cat happy.

Dave Fisk



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