Total Pageviews

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Cold Turkey

                                                               A sad..., sad message

 No…, not by choice.  An early morning lightening storm over a week ago Wednesday (8/10/22) caused a loss of CenturyLink phone and internet service here on The Ranch.  I am still not sure how big an area was effected…, with no phone or internet access we couldn’t determine if it was just our place or if there was a bigger problem. On a trip to town for mail and groceries I asked a convenience store clerk, grocery store clerk, post office clerk, public utility district clerk, and hardware store clerk if they knew anything about the CenturyLink outage…, to no avail.  That evening Julie had her daughter use her cell phone to call the CenturyLink toll free number and we found out via automated response, that there was “an outage in our area” and it was estimated that it would be repaired by the following morning.

No big problem…, we thought.  But by Friday afternoon we still had no phone or internet access.  I generaIly spend a few hours on the internet every morning with my coffee…, checking the weather forecast, stock market, oil price, Google News, email, several blogs that I follow…, and of course…, Facebook.  I really did not want to miss my Friday Nite Video song posting on Facebook.  I do it regularly because I don’t post much or share much during the week.  So…, I went to town to the local library and asked to use a computer.  I showed them my 20+ year old card…, that I was actually surprised that I still had in my old wallet.  On the CenturyLink website I was only able to get the “canned” response of…, “sorry, there is an outage in your area” and the estimated repair date was…, you guessed it…, “tomorrow morning”.  I wanted to communicate with someone in person so I could find out how large an outage and just what the problem was.  Yeah…, right.

I really didn’t expect the problem to be resolved over the weekend…, but nothing Monday…, or Tuesday.  I began to wonder if maybe the big problem was now solved…, and maybe we had a personal issue.  One lightening strike was particularly close and lit the place right up.  I was afraid that it had fried my computers…, but the power surge just shut them down.  It did knock out the phone and internet service though.  I was missing the internet…, but my biggest worry was the phone.  A month or so ago Julie’s doctor called a couple days after an appointment and said the the lab report on her blood work had come back…, and she should get down to the hospital emergency room right away.  It proved to be unnecessary…, but something like that or a family emergency could occur.  So we went to town to our friends house and Julie’s friend said that she had called five or six times and left messages and was beginning to worry when Julie had not returned any of the calls.  I got on their computer and got the “canned” response again…, “sorry, there is an outage in your area” and the estimated repair date was…, you guessed it…, “tomorrow morning”.  There was a link for…, “if you are not satisfied with our response, you can complain further”.  Of course I hit the link and got a little testy with the verbiage I used.  I got a little automated “canned” response that I didn’t care for…, so I submitted another even more testy “complaint”.  

Luckily…, I have an email account through another service provider that I can check remotely from another computer…, so I did that.  Sure enough I already had a response ”signed off” by some titled person…, the exact same form letter for both complaints.  Yeah…, more automated “canned” responses.  And an email from the veterinarian who had come out to The Ranch to geld our little stud horse, Charlie.  I had told her in a previous email when we were scheduling Charlie’s procedure that we also had an old mare that could probably use a teeth floating.  She had spaced that out…, but went ahead when I told her that I had indeed mentioned it previously.  But she said in the email that she needed a little more information about the old mare before she could submit the invoice.  She had sent the email on Wednesday…, the day of our outage.  I suppose she was thinking that I was stalling for nearly a week.  I was able to respond to her email and explain what had happened.  I hope she understands.

So…, I figured we better get some kind of communication device before there were even worse matters missed.  I had a cell phone briefly 25 years ago when I was just “on call” for the new job.  After I got hired on permanently I forgot about the cell phone and dropped the coverage.  I went to the city…, sixty miles away and got a cheap cell phone and cheap plan.  I don’t know what a $1000 I-Phone can do that the $40 one I got can’t do?  It appears I can do anything I want…, once I figure out how to use it.  It even gives short massages when I activate some features…, I just haven’t dialed in just which features they are so I can get a deep healing massage.  But before I got those massages…, I find out that when you buy a cell phone because you have no phone service…, you need a phone to activate the damn cell phone you bought because you don’t have a phone.  I guess I should have taken a class in logic or something.  Anyway…, after many frustrating hours…, it is off to town to seek our friends help once again.  We tried the phone number with no luck…, but we managed get on-line and things were moving along well…, until…, it asked us to put in the pin number on the plan card I bought.  I had somehow left it at The Ranch…, 10 miles back home and 10 miles back to town we finally got it activated !!!  I decided to check the CenturyLink site again on the friends computer…, and it now said…, “there are no outages in your area.”  Go figure.

End of story right…, yeah…, in my dreams.  I get back to The Ranch…, and no phone or internet service.  It was getting late and I was more interested in consuming more than my daily quota of beer than trying to diagnose the problem that evening.  Julie made a few calls on the new cell phone to let some friends and family know that we weren’t snubbing them and we hadn’t been snapped up by aliens or government goons.

The next morning I thought maybe the phones got fried…, so I dug through the fire rubble in an old closet and found an old phone and plugged it into the company phone box…, and I got what I interpreted as a “busy” signal.  But when I punched a button it stopped and let me call our number and leave a message.  But when I plugged the old phone into the splitter device that has a DSL port and a Phone port…, there was no service.  I found out that when I plugged our regular phone directly into the box port it worked too.  I tried plugging the internet line directly into the box port and it would not work.  So…, I figured that the splitter thing must be bad.  I leave our regular phone plugged into the box port and head to town…, after Julie informed me that the beep-beep-beep was not a busy signal…, just a signal that we had phone messages.  And yeah…, there was a phone message from the veterinarian from last week too…, requesting more information so she could complete the billing process.  Neither hardware store had a splitter that I needed…, but one clerk said…, with a laugh…,  I could get one for free from CenturyLink Customer Service.  I found out what the laugh was all about when I got back to The Ranch.

I am sure that I don’t have to describe to you the “phone tree” bullshit these days.  When I finally got through to a “technician” after about a half an hour…, it took a lot of explaining, but I finally convinced her that I needed to replace the splitter thing first…, because it was no doubt stopping the phone from connecting and mighty likely stopping the internet connection.  She kept wanting to try to diagnose the internet problem and said Customer Service would have to supply the splitter and she could not contact a service repairman in the area to stop by with one.  She said she would transfer me to CS.  The transfer didn’t work, so I had to call and go through the phone tree…, and wait for a “representative” to come on while I listened to the automated spiel about going on-line to quickly solve my issues.  When I got a person on the phone he said I needed to contact the tech/repair branch.  I told him that I had just talked to them and they said the CS had to provide me with the splitter.  He asked me to hold for a minute while he checked that out.  About a half hour later the operator came on with a “if you would like to make a call…, hang up and try again” message.  I called again…, phone tree…, wait for “representative”…, “your call is important to us”…, “you can go to the website to solve your issues”.  I finally got another real person…, explained my problem again and he said I needed to contact tech support…, I told him I had already talked to them…, he said he would put me on hold and check it out.  I didn’t wait for the operator to come on this time…, after 10 or 15 minutes I hung up…, and dialed back in.  Actually I went and got the cell phone and was connecting with Amazon during the “wait time”.  I don’t see how people can use those damn cell phones…, when I finally logged in and searched, I found the splitter on the second search…, for $7.99.  I hit shopping cart…, and wanted to pick the fastest shipping speed…, regardless of the cost…, but the font was so small…, I had to just guess which one to pick.  Anyway…, same story waiting for a human on the real phone…, but this guy listened to my story and said he would check it out…, and get back to me.  I thought…, yeah right.  But he did come back on and said I was right…, they would send one right out for free !!!  So I got one splitter coming USPS and one coming UPS.  I hope !!!

I sit here typing this on Friday morning (8/19/22).  Doesn’t look like I will be posting a Friday Nite Video song on Facebook tonight…, or wishing Julie a Happy Anniversary tomorrow…, and I doubt I will be able wish my dear old Dad a heavenly happy birthday on 8/23 either.  But I will get this piece up on The Quillayute Cowboy Blog…, when we know…, as Paul Harvey used to say…, “The Rest of the Story”.  

I am a bit concerned about this Cold Turkey internet quitting.  The DT’s haven’t been too bad…, yet.  It has aged me considerably though…, as you can see from the before and after pictures below.  But I have been to Alcohol School…, and learned that when a real addict relapses…, he doesn’t got back to where he left off…, no matter how many months or years…, he goes back to where he would be if he had continued to drink all that time.  That is why so many folks end up dead when they fall off the wagon.  Well…, it has only been a week off the screen for me…, so far anyway…, so the relapse shouldn’t be too severe…, I hope. 

Before the internet outage

After the internet outage

The Rest of the Story

Friday Afternoon 8/19/22 :  Well…, that didn’t take long.  I thought I was seeing a mirage…, the UPS truck pulling up to the gate at the end of the driveway…, but the dogs convinced me that it was real…, so I gave a holler to him that I would come down and pick up the delivery.  I began to immediately think about taking back some of the bad things I had been thinking…, and saying…, about CenturyLink.  They had sent me…, the package…, that I assumed would be the “splitter” as I described it.  Yeah I was thinking…, they are the greatest phone company of all time…, sending the “splitter” via overnight UPS Express !!!  Then I opened the package.  Need I tell you…, it weren’t no “splitter”.  It was a “Single Port Inline DSL Filter - PT-DSL-ILF”…, single being the operative word…, hard to split a single…, I needed…, and asked for a PT-DSL-ILF-“T”.  Was it an honest “failure to communicate”…, or was it a…, “This asshole has been hounding and harassing us for days now…, let’s f-with him some more”?


                The faulty one I had on the right…, the replacement they sent on the left.

I thought that whatever the intention…, the one port filter would let me connect to the internet…, and Julie could survive a few hours without a phone while I ignored porn on the internet.  But the new filter…, filtered out any connection at all…, I guess.  When I clicked in directly…, my modem/router would blink the DSL light…, like was at least trying to connect.  If I “filtered” it with the new one…, I got no blinking lights?  Go figure.

Yeah…, you know the drill…, phone tree…, “request representative”…, for crying out loud.  Luckily…, it only took one beer…, or was it two, errr…, ?  Before I got to talk to a lady who promised to send out a technician…, next Tuesday…, and took $50 bucks off my bill…, she said.

So…, here I am Friday Nite, and you without a Video song…, I thought it was going to be “Stairway to Heaven” when the UPS driver handed me the package…, but I have suffered bigger disappointments in my day…, I just can’t remember…, exactly…, when.  Things like that happen when we age…, I guess.  I sincerely apologize for CenturyLink letting you down…, beyond my control…, I guess.    Oh well…, I won’t have to use one hand to handle the mouse…, I can double fist the beers tonight !!!

The Rest…, of the Rest of the Story 

Sunday Morning 8/21/22 :  I had hoped The Little Green Guys would be gone…, but they are still here.  Yeah…, they showed up late Friday night…, I thought it was just a bad dream…, but when I came to Saturday morning I had to face reality.  They let me get coffee, then insisted that I try to connect to the internet.  I told them that I had tried every combination of hook up available to me…, but they firmly insisted that I try again.  I went through the direct hook ups and the two filter hook ups and unplugged and reset the modem/router with no luck and explained that we would just have to wait for the repair man to arrive on Tuesday.  OH MY GOSH !!!  All hell broke loose…, The Little Green Guys were climbing the walls and threatening me with physical violence and torture that would make waterboarding look like French tickler treatment.  I tried to explain that I had chores that needed done…, but they would have none of it.  They made it clear that getting back on the internet was more important than ANYTHING else and I would be dedicating my efforts full time to that.  So I sit here typing this…, telling them that I am trying different codes…, then running out to try the different combinations of hook ups again…, and again.  I would start on the beer this morning…, but The Little Green Guys have drank it all up here in The Library…, and I haven’t been able to slip out to The Saddle Bar to replenish the supply.  I hope I can survive long enough to get this posted to The Blog…, if I ever get the internet back.

Monday afternoon 8/22/22 :  Julie had a prescription at the pharmacy in town to pick up…, so I of course checked the mail.  YEAH…, a package from Amazon !!!  I had to rein in the little Tacoma on the way home…, to keep from obliterating the speed limits.  The splitter worked perfectly…, for the phone portion…, but still no internet connection.  At least the DSL light was blinking on the router/modem thingy.  So me and The Little Green  Guys are all climbing the walls…, waiting for the repair man to show up tomorrow…, sometime between 8am and 5pm.

Tuesday morning 6am :  The Little Green Guys have me up and on the computer trying the same things again…, and again.  And asking every 10 minutes…, What time is it?  When is he coming?   Can’t you call him?  WHERE IS HE???”  

11:15am…, he finally calls and says he is about five minutes away…, and shows up about 10 minutes later.  He tests out the connection and finds that the Chinese Amazon “splitter” is not letting through as good a connection as it should…, a new one is letting through the proper connection…, but the modem is still not processing it.  He says my old modem is bad and he can replace it with an up to date model for no charge…, and we are back on line after he dials it in.  I make sure I can connect to Pandora on my Grace radio via the CenturyLink WiFi and that my C. Crane radio can connect with my Belkin WiFi router…, and let him proceed on his merry way with many thanks.

Wednesday morning 6am :  There was quite a celebration yesterday afternoon and evening…, after I got to The Saddle Bar and replenished the beer supply for me and The Boys…, but this morning it feels more like I drank all the beer myself last night instead of sharing it with The Little Green Guys…, who have mysteriously disappeared.

Monday, April 18, 2022

A Pirate Looks at 70 !!!

 Well…, I graduated High School in 1970…, and now some 50 plus a couple of years later…, I am turning 70 on my birthday.  Yeah…, I figured that I should retire at 70 to secure the top level of Social Security dividends.  A few hundred extra dollars a month may not seem like much…, unless you need it…, for food or meds or beer.  But as important as that stipend was…, the fact that Julie and her health problems would be 65 years old and Medicare eligible just a couple of weeks after I turned 70 were a major financial consideration.  I planned to keep the job and the medical coverage it provided until then.  But our WA state governor decided that it was within his authority to mandate experimental “vaccinations” for COVID-19 for state employees by October of 2021…, or termination.  It cost us over a thousand dollars a month to keep the medical coverage in effect and a few hundred a month off SS retirement and probably less than a few hundred in reduced WA state retirement benefits from the early retirement.  And that isn’t all…, unused annual leave is paid at full rate…, and I could have garnered close to three or four thousand extra dollars for six or seven more months on the job in addition to the decent salary during that time period.  Sick Leave was only reimbursed at 25%…, it would have added a few hundred dollars to the stash that already measured nearly 15K.  Yeah…, I didn’t abuse…, or even use much sick leave over just short of 25 years…, little things add up.  It was put into an untaxed medical account that we have been using to pay the extra medical insurance premiums that the “early” retirement has cost us…, and there will be a little left over now that Julie will be Medicare covered in less than a month.

Yeah…, refusing to bend over and take the jabs cost Julie and I a pretty penny…, but I am feeling better about it every day.  If you voluntarily took the jabs…, and now the "boosters"..., or if you were forced to…, I recommend that you don’t read a certain book by a well known deceased political figure’s son.  It scares me for all of you…, but I want to make clear that I hope with all sincerity that he is as wrong as the main stream media and the powers that be who are shielding you from his investigation by censoring coverage of the book and labeling it “misinformation” and "propaganda"…, even though it is meticulously footnoted for authentication.

Back in 2017 I signed off on my birthday blog post…, “Now…, let’s all hang on…, and I do mean hang on tight…, and do our very best to enjoy our remaining rides around the sun.”  And three years later I started my birthday blog with…, “Well..., you can’t say I didn’t warn you to hold on tight three years ago..., when I last updated The Blog.”  I commented on the medical healthcare system, climate change, The Chump…, and COVID-19.  I said, “Yeah..., take some common sense precautions if you are healthy..., and more precaution if you are at risk..., but I don’t believe that there is reason to panic or carry things too far.  The thinking that we can keep this lockdown and mask up routine going  until they find a vaccine is pie in the sky hopium.  We have never found a vaccine for the common cold virus and we won’t find a miracle cure for this one.”  I’ll stand by that statement…, but I ended the piece with this warning…, “Oh..., and don’t forget to hang on tight..., this ride is going to be one to remember.” 

I was more worried about the world financial situation and the “growth at any cost” neoliberal capitalistic push…, and it appears very near now.  In the 2017 piece I said, “And the military industrial complex…, or as I refer to it…, the Bomb and Bullet Builders, are about the only economic engine still firing these days.  I have always contended that the Wee Bush drug us into the Iraq War with lies about weapons of mass destruction and mushroom clouds on the horizon in order to ‘get the economy going.’”  Still true today…, we poked the bear with a shape stick for so long he had finally had enough and no choice but to turn around and confront the stick.  We don’t care…, we will just supply our surrogate with more sticks and we won’t have to wield them ourselves…, but our “defense industry” will reap the profits.  Not to worry…, the folks screaming nuclear war don’t have a clue.  The “shot callers” are only in it for the money…, and nukes would end that game.  Yeah..., I have been making fun of the big bad bear stories since 2016…, but we have finally managed to to poke him to the point we think we can blame him for the consequences…, and it is sad that so many have bought that line.

Well…, I guess your take away on this birthday post could be…, OH MY GOSH…, things are still getting worse…, climate change, medical coverage, COVID-19, war games and financial manipulation…, or you can say that none of those things have killed us yet so I am just a screaming Karen and pay no attention to me when I say again…, “Hang On…, Hang On Tight”.  

Yeah…, these ’20’s have not been kind to us personally…, a house fire in the middle of winter in 2020…, lost an unforgettable partner in late 2020…, lost my only brother in late 2021…, and now a forced early retirement in 2021.  But we are hanging in there and are as happy as we can be and looking forward to better times ahead here on The Ranch…, and wishing you all the same…, better times that is.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

 MY BROTHER - Larry Spence

Born       February 7, 1954

Passed   October  5, 2021


                                  This picture is a little water damaged…, but I believe it is the one he would want

                              posted…, sitting on the old Skagit with a perfectly spooling mainline drum.

Well…, the pain, misery and medical problems that plagued him these last few years are at a merciful end for my Brother and Best Friend Larry.  He passed away peacefully after his boys, Keith, A.J., Bert and their significant others, Chelsea Spence and Rebecca Brackett helped make that transition as meaningful and pain free as possible at his longtime home in Weippe, ID.

The High-Powered Spence Boys (and Hailey Kay)..., Scott R., A.J., Keith, Brother Larry, Hailey Kay, Bert..., and the Red Headed High-Baller..., Reid.

A few years ago, in an attempt to rescue a small child next to him, when a stunt riding motorcyclist lost control, entered the crowd watching and the high revving and hot cycle landed atop the toddler.  The effort on Larry’s part saved the little girl from more severe injury…, but cost him a nearly disabling broken ankle.  Then while on the mend he went to work before the doctor had released him to return…, and a heavy pipe dropped on the same ankle causing another year long recuperation and pain.  He was also suffering from diabetes and losing teeth…, most of which he pulled himself.  He made it clear that he felt there was no longterm bright future ahead and was ready to face whatever was to come with dignity and courage and not fight what he felt would eventually be a losing battle from some hospital or nursing home bed.  So he made out his will with the help of his boys and made them promise to stand by his wishes to remain at home until the end…., and as tough as it was for them.., they honored that wish.


Larry was born to That Good Lookin’ Al and Wanda Spence and lived in Weippe his entire life, He went to school there and eventually graduated from the consolidated Weippe-Pierce High School of Timberline in 1972.  

                                                                Me...., Larry

                                                                Mom - Wanda..., Dad- Good Lookin' Al 

He then went to work for Bill Maki of Maki Manufacturing, Inc. for several years.  He always considered that experience as one of the most fruitful and fulfilling of his life and considered Bill his lifelong mentor.  I was fortunate enough to witness, on many occasions, those skills as Larry and I worked for Carney Pole for a few years and then bought an old Skagit SJ4 RT swing yarder and became contract loggers for about eight years.  There is no doubt that Larry’s mechanical abilities learned under Bill’s watchful eye were a major contribution to the success of both ventures…, and the most meaningful of the last visitors Larry had was Bill Maki.

About the only thing that Larry liked better than mechanicing on heavy equipment and being a machinist…, was operating a yarder, cable loader, cat or grader..., and by unanimous conscientious..., he excelled in all of the above.  He continued to operate the equipment acquired by Spence Brothers Logging and bought me out after I moved to Forks, WA in 1987.   He went on to acquire even more logging equipment under his business Idaho Crane and Machine.  More than he could fit into his world class dream shop that he finally got built on his Weippe property.  

                                                      Larry's World Class Shop
Larry operating the old Skagit

The Old Skagit

That's Cousin Jimmy Spence watching a big one come up

We didn't always yard logs..., sometimes we yarded loaders or log trucks over the bank  :) 
Brother Larry is far left and I am far right.

We spent several summers on this Eagle Point job..., this viewpoint is about 3000 vertical feet
above the North Fork of the Clearwater River.  This is one of our best crews on a Friday after work.
Jimmy Spence on the left, Jack Smith, Big Jerry Johnstun, Brother Larry and Dave Daniels.

When he was on his own he got a job dismantling railroad                                     trestles between Headquarters and Jaype.  He hadn't                                          started this one yet.

                                        This one is about half way down

                               I don't know who was running the cat..., glad it wasn't me !!!!


                                            Plenty of Work Ahead

In later years he hired on for the Weippe chapter of the Clearwater County Road Department and was well known and highly praised county wide as the best grader operator ever…, whether it was shaping up and maintaining gravel roads or keeping them and many driveways clear of snow in the winter time.  The shop I mentioned now houses lathes, drill presses, milling machines, compressors, cutting torches, welders and tools that I have no idea how to operate,  That “shed” as he referred to it was one bright spot over the last few years…, but not the brightest.

                                               A few beers with friends in the "shed"  :)  

                                   He hadn't finished the walls yet.

                                            Probably because he was too busy shooing  :) 

                                              The walls are looking better now...,

                                            Just getting started on filling it up..., 

The brightest would be the birth of his grandson Reid in 2019 and his granddaughter Hailey Kay in 2021.  

                                                        Reid and Hailey Kay Spence

                                                             Hailey Kay Spence

               A boy needs his own saddle..., so I gave him one..., and he gave his sister a ride.


Larry married twice, neither of which lasted, but the first marriage produced Keith Spence of Lewiston and A.J. Spence (Rebecca Brackett) of Lewiston.  The second marriage produced Bert Spence (Chelsea) of Orofino.  He also adopted Brianne Page (Christopher) and Stacy Wright (Glen) of Orofino and has five adopted grandchildren via them…, Evan, Megan, and Taran and Phoenix and Aevlyn, respectively.  His parents proceeded him in passing but he is survived by the aforementioned children and grandchildren as well as his brother Scott R of Forks,  WA, and many cousins and friends scattered throughout the Pacific Northwest.

At his request he will be cremated and no services are planned.  The family asks that he only be remembered for his kindness, consideration and generosity to everyone who knew him.

RIP Brother Larry.

                                                                    Larry and Me

                                                                    Larry and Me

           I have often referred to this picture as me and my two brothers, Larry and Jack Smith.

                           Larry was big boned and aways a little on the heavy side.

                      He knew that losing weight the way he was, was not a healthy sign.

"Lay down my brother
Take it easy, take it slow
Lay down my brother
Rest a while, let it go

It's a long hard road in the wind and the rain
But you finally made it through
Odds are you'll be goin' again
But the odds won't be ridin' with you

You've been workin' every minute, every hour, every day
Still the work is never done
The life you love is passin' away
But you feel you've only begun"

                                Robert Earl Keen

Friday, September 18, 2020

John "Savage" Thompson

John "Savage" Thompson
Born :  March 18, 1950
Passed:  August 9, 2020

 Well…, he always said, “They’ll never take me alive”…, and there is no chance of it now.  He passed away of natural causes on August 9, 2020.  I thought 2020 was cruel and depraved and sadistic after the fire and all…, not to mention climate change…, COVID-19…, financial Armagedon.., and the political three ring circus running non-stop through this country…, yeah…, “clowns to the left of me…, jokers to the right…, stuck in the middle”… wish you were still here to help pilot me through this quagmire.

Whoever is calling the shots now days got this one completely wrong.  Not that it could not have happened at other times back down the road on some pretty wild rides.  And I was along on a few of them.  Did you notice the missing ring finger on his left hand on the photo above?  Yeah…, I was along on that ride.  

Happy Hour at The Clearwater Club is over…, we pile into his Mazda pickup with three of wildest of the wild women…, it was a bit crowded and that caused a wide turn and little detour up over the wrong side of the road curb…, that a cop happened to witness and thought he ought  to investigate.  It was just two blocks to his parents house…, and we beat the cop there and Savage headed into Mom’s house…, thee Wild Woman…, who would spend the rest of her life with him .., stepped up and told the cop that it was her that piloted the Mazda up over wrong side of the curb and pulled into John Thompson’s Mom’s driveway.  OK.., this cop is a bit more Andy than he is Barney …, and says, “Look I am sure I saw John Thompson exit this vehicle and run towards the house…, “ and Jeannie says.., “No, no.., it was me.., “ .., and Mom arrives on the scene…, and Andy departs the scene grinning and shaking his head.

HOME FREE  !!!  Thunder Storm brewing…, and The Great Escape executed…. Somewhere near Zan’s Beach on the way to Weippe…, it cut loose …., and so did the traction on the Mazda…, and it didn’t seem like too bad a deal to be upright and perched atop a boulder battling the Clearwater River.  Seemed like a secure position at the moment…. , and nobody was injured…, so Savage was in the bed of the little truck gettting a suitcase…., and I thought it would be a good idea to get the bottle of R&R from under the seat in the cab.  I was about half way inside the cab on my stomach reaching under the seat when the little truck cut loose from the boulder.  It kind of catapulted me over the top of the rolling pickup on down into the river and I remember being on my hands and knees in the water and making a wild scramble to get out of the way of the little pickup rolling my way.  When I made it back up to the highway there was Savage…, with a missing finger.  A couple of friends from up on The Hill made a timely entrance and got us all to the hospital.

That wasn’t the first time we exchanged pleasantries between us in a hospital…, but I do believe it was the last.  The first was after the Blue Mountain Rock Festival at the University of Idaho in Moscow.  Yeah…, it must have been The Russians…, witnessing Savage taking a little nap during the festivities…, delivered a swift kick to the jaw.  The next day I stopped in at the hospital to listen to him talk through a wired shut mouth.  The other time it was he who took me to the hospital to get a split lip stitched up.  And well he should have…, he was the one who took us to the biker gang, Highwaymen’s Club House in Lewiston…, and by the time we left there…, with four of us in an old Dodge Power Wagon…, our driver decided to do a burn out from the stop sign before turning right on Snake River Avenue.  It took us by surprise and the momentum pushed that driver nearly out the door that was not properly secured…, hanging onto the steering wheel with one hand to keep from landing out on the street does not allow you to straighten out the turn…, and we crashed right into the rock wall.  We all kind of went our separate ways…, but managed to find our way back to Savage’s house in Clarkston, WA…., without my 10x Beaver Stetson cowboy hat I might add.  I didn’t think things were that bad…, the bleeding had pretty much stopped and we had opened up a new bottle of 100 proof Wild Turkey…, and after a few shots I let them take me to the hospital…, where my mustache got shaved for the only time in the last 40 some years.

Hey…, they weren’t all bat shit crazy adventures…, but when he bought the raft…, I went right down and bought a Stearns life vest…, and still have it.  But I never bought a parachute when he bought the hang glider…, and I never went along on any of those rides.  And I am glad that he had provided wet suits that spring day when we rafted the Irish Railroad Rapids of the North Fork of the Clearwater River.  As we scouted the rapids I told his drop dead gorgeous sister Ellen…, that she should position herself with her 35mm camera right below a big flat rock where the main channel was hitting hard…, I told her we would probably end up right on top of it.  Well…, we did slide right up there…, held steady for a moment…, and slide right back into the main channel…, and hit it with a little more force than I was prepared for.  It threw me right out of the raft…, but I managed to  grab the life line on the raft with my free hand…, and kept my beer upright with the other hand.  Knowing the priorities…, Rob Christopherson saved my beer first…, then dragged me back into the raft.  And ever foxy Ellen has the pictures to prove it.  Speaking of Ellen,,., reminds me of the Marshall Tucker Band concert in Pullman, WA that Savage secured tickets for me and her…, thank you brother…, many thanks indeed.  I just could not seem to secure a date with her on my own.

And another big thank you for coming all the way up to Weippe…, tracking me down and taking me to Troy, OR…, for The River Bottom Stomp.  Yeah…, when Credence Clearwater Revival broke up…, John Fogerty found the most isolated place that I have ever been…, and settled in.  But every year they held a little get together in Troy…, there were even Hollywood stunt men there doing flaming dives off the bridge over the Grand Ronde River and rockin’ all night.  I was never a CCR fan prior to that…, but I have been a Fogerty fan ever since.

I am not sure that I had really met “Savage”…, and never could figure out how he acquired that handle…, he was a lot more fun lovin’ and full of laughs and good humor than anything else…  but on the night of The Weippe Rodeo…, I got a little ahead of myself and had to take a little nap…, and a gal that I had admonished a few days before for waking me up on a work night and not performing as she should have…, woke me up again with intentions of making things right.  Well…, as we we headed for my bedroom.., we found it occupied by Savage and another female figure.  And not many weeks later after I knew him better he caught up with me at The Logger’s Lodge…, I was eating a cheeseburger…, in paradise…, and he says that he was just over at my place and the cops were there…,  asking questions.  Well…, I knew that there was some stuff there that I didn’t want discovered.., so I went to a friends house to spend the night.  We had to work the next day so I head to my place to suit up and build a lunch about four in he morning…, when I hear the gravel  crunching of a slow moving vehicle outside…, I peek out the window to see a F-ing cop car!  Well…, I have had some panic attacks in my day…, but if that isn’t the Oscar winner…, I don’t know what is.  I am sure you have all had to double flush a toilet…, and waiting for the bowl to fill back up can seem a little slow…, but when you are expecting the front door to be busted open by jack booted thugs…, time can literally stand still.  Well…, that door didn’t get busted down…, and my heart held up…, but some other stuff went needlessly down the drain.  Found out later that the boys living downstairs were the suspects…, they had robbed the local store for food…, my friend Jack Smith wrote a song about it…, “Weippe Hamburgers Don’t Turn Me On.”

One night up in Weippe we were  in the apartment of my cousin and her friend…, they had managed to ditch us…, can’t imagine why… but they hadn’t locked the door to their apartment…, and there we were…, Savage pulls out his 380 Walther and aims it at the door knob…, I am thinking he is bluffing…, I should have known better.  Well…, no more damage than that Belgein made Walther 380 made to that cheap door knob…, he graduated to a Smith & Wesson Model 59 with a 15 round clip soon after.

Probably a good thing that he didn’t have it when he and another guy got back from a logging gig in AK.  Yeah…, they had a bit of cash and hit Tacoma where some guys were brewing a concoction they called Mescaline…, that tested out to be LSD.  Well…, they did take him alive that night…, and when his partner made it back to Weippe and told the story…, I volunteered to drive back to Tacoma to help bail him out.  I didn’t have the money to bail him out…, his partner did…,but when they told him that if he waited until until he appeared in court on Monday he would be release with a $25 fine instead of a $250 bail.  His partner opted for the $25 option…, I wish I would have had the money partner…, you would have come home with us.

RIP brother…, nah…, raise a little hell…, a lot of hell…, it will make it easier for me to track you down…, and you won’t have any trouble recognizing me…, I will be the guy in the cowboy hat with the orange Stearns life jacket on..., lookin' for another ride!!!

Well..., I am sure he had his boots on..., Whites I am sure..., I can't seem to get the link to work here..., but if you copy and paste the link to your address bar you can get, "Play a Train Song" by Robert Earl Keen.