Plaisted Polar Expedition in New York Times

Plaisted Expedition Team 1968Ralph Plaisted’s “Big Idea” — to travel to the North Pole by snowmobile — was born in Duluth’s Pickwick restaurant in 1966. The New York Times published a fresh account of the story last week.

An Insurance Salesman and a Doctor Walk Into a Bar, and End Up at the North Pole




about 8 years ago

Yeah, this town can drive you to do some crazy shit. I'll probably go around the bend here too if I spend another winter. And ironically it's partially because Duluth doesn't get winter anymore. Maybe it's all towns that start with Duh. I once had an uncle from Dubuque who moved to Alaska. But there's also a weird phenomenon with people from AK moving here. I wish PDD would address that. Mainly because I saw a really cute one from Fairbanks walking her dog on Park Point one time, but she had this friend who dominated the conversation sadly and I was never able to establish the familiarity so crucial to gaining trust in her mammalian psyche. That's why it's ideal to be a master class trainer at UMD (even though you get old there too) and why it's also important to be a good salesman,  so you can keep your day job when the going gets rough, or the press gets involved with your allegations, so you can baby step your way out of it, because you got 'em by the shorts anyway. Duluth sometimes compels you to head to the North Pole or Texas, or even wander out into the forest in January with a bottle.  

Duluth ... because you can't handle it.

Les Locklear

about 8 years ago

Now for the rest of the story and the Duluth connection many don't know about. Roy Halvorson, president of Halvorson Equipment and Halvorson Trees was acquainted with Dr. Aufderheide, Walt Pederson was a Ski Doo dealer for Halvorson Equipment who was the distributor for Bombardier products which included the Ski Doo and logging equipment line among many others. Roy and Dr. Aufderheide were friends as were many of the others. Roy Halvorson kept a regular contact with the Plaisted Polar Expedition from his amateur radio station in his home on Branch Street in Duluth. Much of the radio equipment was supplied by Collins Radio Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Art Collins the owner and Roy Halvorson were acquaintances for many years. A good bit of the spare parts came from the parts department at Halvorson Equipment, which was located at 246 S. Lake Ave. and later at 325 S. Lake Ave. 

I remember Walt Pederson fondly and had many a lengthy conversations with him before and after the trek to the North Pole. Ralph Plaisted was a blowhard and thought he was above talking to common folks such as the people that supported the expedition and worked for Halvorson Equipment. Jean Luc Bombardier was a wild child and a live wire who liked to party. He died at a young age. There was a big party at the Kitchi Gammi Club after they returned.

I was the parts and warehouse supervisor for Halvorson Equipment in those days and remember the excitement created by that event.

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