Monday, March 31, 2008

Cave Drawings

Back in the early 70's I had buddies who lived up near Yellowtail Dam. They were familiar with many obscure places up in the Big Horn Canyon. We boated in on Yellowtail Reservoir once and then hiked up the canyon to a hidden group of caves up the canyon wall. There is a series of caves up a narrow drainage. A very long treacherous climb was necessary to get to the caves. The last 30 feet was nearly vertical and one slip would see a person falling 500 feet or more down. Upon entering the caves you are confronted with a group of drawings. If you look very closely at the lower part of the top photo you will see a group of drawings.
Drawings in this photo didn't show up well but there are markings here as well. The series of caves are all connected by very narrow crawls. They go down to a number of levels. The last cavern in one series has the walls & ceilings covered in crystal . A few stalagmites and stalactites are also present. Someone had broken a lot of them off as souvenirs.
This exit hole is quite small. I took the photo as the light was striking coming out of the darkness. Not til I developed the photos did I see the eagle head outline. Another exit hole comes right out on the canyon wall with a sheer drop down and straight up looking above. The hole was just big enough to squeeze through. This cave area is now restricted to non-tribal members. It is very hard to find unless you know right where it is. Not visible until you are right to the entrance.
On another 5 day expedition we snuck up onto reservation lands and hiked way up Big Bull Elk Canyon. Spent a number of days fishing and exploring. Found Elk antlers just laying around where they were shed. This photo shows a 450 million year old Crinoid fossil I spotted in a large house size boulder which had fallen from the canyon wall eons ago. I sent this photo to a university professor to get it ID'd and dated. It looked like a piece of vertebrae. I leaned a piece of dead fall wood up to hide the specimen so some one wouldn't destroy it. Wonderful pristine country up there. Only trails were game trails. We saw a number of bears on the trip. We risked getting arrested sneaking up there. One of my buddies was 1/4 Crow Indian but not an enrolled tribal member. Very much untouched country with no signs of man. I'm too darn old and rickety to backpack back up there again. Glad I was able to do it in my younger years.
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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Favorite Cages

I was always a motorhead. My higher education consisted of Automotive Technical School and the "School of Hard Knocks". Just always had to have a few car projects in the works. Always played with them for a few years then passed them on to someone else. Never made more than a few bucks profit. This 1940 Ford Sedan Deluxe was purchased for $500.00. Had a 53 Merc. Flathead and Naugahyde(?) interior. It was someone elses project back in the 50's. It was my weekend cruiser, beer drinkin mobile when I was a kid. Sold it for $1200.00 in the mid 70's. Wonder what it's worth now?
I always wanted a Vette and passed up a 59 for $1000.00 at one point. Decided to buy a "poor mans vette" instead. The Opel GT's always caught my attention so I restored this one in the early 80's. Parts were hard to find so I bought every junk one I could find. Ended up with 7 or 8 of them dismantled in my basement. Ran a mail order parts supply in the winter when I was laid off. My wife didn't like my basement salvage yard very much. I wonder why? We loved the little car a drove it all over the country. It never once failed us. Electrical glitches were the norm but I always weeded through them.
This 1967 Camaro SS 350 was my 2nd car. Bought it in 1971 for $13oo.oo and a 1964 Volvo PV544 as trade in. It was the first car that GM ever used the 350 motor. Was a basic Super Sport with only the SS option. No power anything and a single leaf rear suspension. I commenced to remove the nice stock "wood" steering wheel and add the "cool" 10" foam/steel wheel. Great steering it with no power steering. I threw away the original steering wheel. I recently saw someone offering $500.00 for the same wheel in Hemmings. Who'd a thunk it! I can't believe I never killed myself in that car. A lot of horsepower for a punk kid. Paid it off a few dollars at a time working in the local grain elevator when I was 16. Sold it for $900.00. Makes me a little nauseous when I see them go for over six figures on the Barrett-Jackson Auction.
This little 1969 Spitfire was my wife's topless commuter for a few years. Not a good winter car but fun to drive. She spent a winter hand-sanding it in the garage and the body was pristine. I sold it out from under her while it was still in primer so she never got to see the results that a new paint job would have offered. She wasn't very happy with me. Her arm still hurts from all that sanding.
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Is it Time?

Driving north in our RV (Ya Rex, I'm one of those assholes) from AZ. a couple of winters ago I had this little gem come and pay me a visit. Meeting a semi truck I realized I was eye level with this coming right at me. Luckily it lost some altitude and came in a bit low. It came through the the windshield, deflected off the instrument pod and bounced back, breaking the windshield from the inside, skipped across the dash, hitting the passenger side windshield before running out of gas where it's seen above.

I always used to cringe a bit when meeting a semi on my motorcycle, now I cringe a bit more.... This is a prime example of "when your time comes, it comes. Just wasn't my time...............Two years ago on my BMW motorcycle I was heading towards Cody Wyo. from Yellowstone Park. I was day dreaming (a cardinal sin) on a straight stretch and suddenly realized a herd of 10-12 deer were crossing right in front of me. Early /5 BMW's don't have much for brakes so that option was out.... I picked a gap in the herd and went for it. Nearly wiped one deers nose with my right grip and nearly wiped one's ass with my left grip. Don't know how I missed them, not quite my time..............

As a 10 year old kid, I wasn't yet familiar with the science of combustibles. On the 3rd of July my best friend and I were playing with fire crackers at his dads construction yard. We threw a fire cracker in a 5 gallon bucket and it sounded cool. There was an old 55 gallon burn barrel so that was the next target. The explosion of the fire cracker sounded even cooler in that bigger barrel. We looked across the road and there sat the pictured big "cans" My buddy said "Wow I bet a fire cracker would really sound cool in one of those cans". Well not one to turn down a dare, I decided to be the one to do the deed. I approached the above "can" and proceeded to light a fire cracker near the opening. The next thing I know, WHOOOOOOOSH........ I have been blown about 30 to 40 feet back and I'm flat on my back. The noise was deafening like a rocket motor. Flames and smoke were billowing up. I remember watching the whole scene and seeing myself lying on the ground, looking down from above. Next thing I know I am getting up. The right half of my shirt was burned nearly off. The left front pocket of my shirt was stuffed full of loose fire crackers and luckily didn't go off. My face, hair and front right side upper torso were pretty well fried. Oddly I felt no pain, there was burnt skin hanging from my right arm and chest and I curiously inspected it. My buddies eyes were as big as saucers and he was speechless. I calmly walked down the street and headed towards home. The explosion was heard all over town and people were showing up thinking that a jet plane had crashed at the nearby airport. People saw me but no one offered me any help and I just walked down the street, obviously in severe shock by now. Finally I was picked up by someone and hauled to the hospital. During the explosion the empty tank (50000 Gallons) had rotated upwards and moved backwards ten feet or so, kinda like a big motor with all that thrust. You can see the deformed tank above and the row of tanks around it above. The tank looked like a big pillow compared to its neighbors. It blew the seams out (above) and flames shot out between the rivets too. Just wasn't my time...............I have over half a dozen more "not quite my time" stories in my 30 year construction career. Hopefully I will keep up the track record, as I get older the law of averages kinda starts to concern me though....................

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I really thought I had seen everything.......I'm not real sure what kind of scooter is living (or Dying) underneath this assortment of
dead animal heads, horns, jaws, antlers and skins. I couldn't see one square inch of paint exposed.

I wonder what kind of shampoo would be recommended on wash day? You'd need a comb, toothbrush, hairbrush,
curling iron and blow dryer. I bet it would be a sorry sight after a day running in the rain. Would smell like a wet dog....or bear or badger or coyote or?

Tying down gear would sure be easy, I see plenty of tie down points, but wouldn't want to be within a mile of this guy if he went down, It would look like a rendering plant explosion.

I never got to see the fellow riding it, I'm kinda glad cause it leaves a lot to the imagination. Maybe he is a taxidermist, or a hunter, or a scavenger, or an animal lover, or deranged zoo keeper, or maybe he just hauled ass through a zoo and this was the result.........
Well one thing for sure, he doesn't need to worry about hitch hikers (or anybody for that matter) hitting him up for a lift.
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Babes, need I say more.......




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My Girls,The Avid Sportsmen

As you can see from the photo my girls are true fisherman. Don't let the looks of abject terror fool you, to this day they have no mercy for our gilled friends. Treena (on the right) evens the score in the form of an occasional shrimp or lobster. Darian(in the middle) bravely takes down a Long John Silvers Fillet without hesitation. Jenny(on the left) kidnapped and held three goldfish captive for years. Paybacks a bitch isn't it.
Julie (the girls cousin on the right) joined the girls in Mexico for a sample of their world renouned petroleum flavored Cotton Candy. Diesel Fuel must have been a key ingredient. The stuff looked so good could have run your cars engine on the fluffy mass. Luckily, they disposed of it before it could spontaneously combust.
Passing through San Diego the girls single handedly wrangled a stray camel. They always dreamed of riding horse back down the oceans beach. Couldn't find a horse or a beach so a camel ride down an alley had to do.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

When men were men - 466th Bomb Group

My Dad, always the adventurer, didn't shy away from a sidehack ride either. Just had a hip replacement a few months ago but at 92 years old, he still was game for a cruise.
He had a few trail 90's and rode a 4 wheeler when he lived in the Montana Mountains,

Dad enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942 and was trained as a navigator.
He flew out of Attlebridge England with the 8th Air Force, 466th Bomb Group, 785th Squadron. He participated in 35 bombing missions over Nazi Germany with Crew #555, flying B-24J Liberators. They also hauled gasoline in their
bombers into France to fuel Pattons Army during their advance into Germany.
They flew into hair raising anti aircraft fire, flak and tangled with Nazi fighters .
Their plane took many hits during many missions and they managed to make
it home each time. Sometimes with more than one engine shot out. Had to land on a small
steel mat English fighter aircraft field on one occassion. Damn near ended up
in the "channel"
Dad volunteered with the Air Transport Command in March 1945. They flew night missions in
black painted ,unarmed, unmarked B-24's into Stockholm Sweden. They flew as
"civilians" on these clandestine solo night missions, hauling arctic gear into Nuetral Sweden.
This gear for the 10th Mtn. Division was ferried overland into Norway in
support of war efforts there. Dad remembers being pursued by radar equiped Luftwaffe night fighters and flying at wave top level to evade the pursuers over the North Sea. This photo was of Dad as a "civilian " in Stockholm in April 1945.
They were laid over due to weather conditions.

Happy times as Dad made it home and got back to the business of being a real
civilian. His war experiences became dormant for many years and only in the
past few years have the numerous experiences been told. An avid fisherman,
I figure this photo was taken at one of his favorite trout streams.
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Biker in the Blood

I recently asked my mother (87 years young) if she had ever ridden in a motorcycle side car. She said, "Yes,first time in about 1939". Her twin brother Fred Fitzgerald was an avid biker in the 30's & 40's. She is pictured with her twin on their birthday in July 1949. Her brother unfortunately passed away exactly one year after the photo was taken. He was a kind, loving person and I've felt protected by him throughout my life even though he passed 5 years before my birth. He has been an angel on my shoulder and has watched
over me. I have always felt a connection with him and visit his grave site on occasion and let him know that his sisters' family is well. My older brother introduced me to motorcycling at a young age (12 or 13). I commenced to crash his nice Hodaka 90
into his new Olds 442 in our driveway on my first ride. The loving brother that he is, rather than slap me up, he took me out into the hills the next day and made me get back on and ride all day long. I was scared to death after my first experience but he insisted that I keep with it. I quickly overcame my fears and have been riding ever since. The years of riding since that time have brought me more joy than one can express.

Uncle Fred is pictured here (on the left) with some of his riding buddies in the 40's near Worden Montana. They rode their bikes up into the Beartooth Mountains on bear hunting trips, camping in an old ww2 surplus pup tent. They tied their rifles on the bikes. Packed a big cast iron frying pan and cooked over an open fire. Don't know how they would have hauled out a bear carcass but you can bet they would have figured out a way. No chase cars for these guys! ..........Back when men were men...........

Here's Mom a few weeks ago at 87 on a little sidecar outing around Yuma AZ. We spent an hour or so tooling around the area. I think it made her feel a little younger. There was definitely a little sparkle in her eyes when we returned home. She told me she once rode on Fred's bike to a graduation in Bozeman and back to Worden. Said she road in his sidecar with her little boy (my older brother) when he was just an infant. I think those rides must have somehow engrained the biker into my brother who, bless his heart, passed that onto me.
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Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.