Remembering Monty

Monty with a beautiful Dall Sheep.
Monty with a beautiful Dall Sheep.

I WAS GOING THROUGH some old files one day when I came across a folder containing several letters in it. Many were from friends and acquaintances over the years, while others kept for legal purposes. One, however, from Monarch Longbows, made me stop and reminisce. It was a letter from a good friend of mine, Monty Moravec, long dead now. With a little hesitation and some deep thought, I slipped the weathered paper from its envelope and began to read the words hand-written across the pages.

The beginning of the letter said it all: “I guess a little of your talent rubbed off on me at the Longbow Safari in Canada this past year. This is my biggest bull and black bear yet.” I glanced at one of the images of a large 6-point bull elk, Monty smiling broadly from deep within the Montana wilderness. The other showed a large black bear, Monty straining to hold the exceptionally large head up.

Hell, I thought, I don’t have that kind of talent, much less luck. I stared at the images of huge animals and one of my good friends. I could hear his voice and see his quirky little smile as I read the letter. Then I sat back to pull out all the best — and some of the worst — memories I had of this strapping young man, a man who left this world much too soon.

I FIRST MET MONTY in July, 1989 at the North America Longbow Safari in Golden, British Columbia. In addition to his fuel servicing business, he was working for Byron Schurg, who owned Monarch Longbows out of Missoula, Montana. At the time he was shooting a massive 75# longbow he had made under Byron’s guidance. We hit it off right away shooting longbows and sharing campfires with other longbow enthusiasts and made plans to hunt together the following fall.

We spent the next few years hunting whitetails in the fall and sharing other hunting experiences. He was a great friend, fun to be around, and always getting us into strange predicaments.

At the Traditional Bowhunters Exposition in Hastings, Michigan, in January 1992, Monty asked me if I would like to come and hunt black bear with him in northern Idaho that spring. I agreed, and ordered a custom tulipwood longbow from him at the same time. I figured I needed a new bow, and what better way to break it in than on a hunt with the bowyer who made it for me?

I arrived in Missoula that May and we traveled over the border into Idaho where Monty had already set up camp and had a few working baits. There were other friends of Monty’s there, as well as Byron Schurg, who had sold Monarch Longbows to Monty recently.

That first night, after we had returned from an evening hunt, Byron and the others had a huge campfire going so Monty and I joined in the camaraderie.

“You like gin and tonic, don’t you?” Monty asked me. A rather dumb question, if you know me at all.

“Of course, I would love one,” I replied. He pulled out a fifth of Tanqueray and poured two drinks: one for him and one for me, in very large glasses.

The last thing I remember of the evening was Monty and I crawling back to his tent. I awoke with the worst hangover I have ever had, as well as having the strong desire to relieve my swollen bladder. Naked and not feeling well, I rolled out of the wall tent to meet several of the other campers sitting around. Not batting an eye, I stumbled through the group, across the dirt road, and relieved myself before stumbling back through several horrified people.

When I entered the tent, there was Monty laughing uncontrollably with his video recorder on. “I got the whole thing! From the time you woke up to now!” He said. I looked at the table between our cots. The gin bottle was empty. He made exactly two drinks with one fifth.

On his third solo float trip down the Moose John River, Monty took this magnificent bull moose.
On his third solo float trip down the Moose John River, Monty took this magnificent bull moose.

WE HUNTED HARD all week sitting in treestands over bait, stalking bears in the woods, and finally doing a honey burn on the evening before I had to fly back to Seattle. We had set two treestands next to each other but on different trees so he could film me. With a Coleman Peak 1 stove burning, a 1-pound coffee can with about two inches of honey was placed inside a crib made of pine logs. Now it was just a waiting game.

We sat there as the honey spitted, spat, and finally caught fire. I was just about to bale out of the tree when the fire subdued and the fuel ran out of the stove. Not five minutes later a bear appeared far down the hill. Then another slightly larger bear came walking in from directly in front of us.

“Too small,” I whispered toward Monty.

“That’s a big bear, T.J.,” Monty said back to me.

It was my last night and I had seen some huge bears, one of them we got on film that was twice the size of this one. When the bear walked over to the logs and dipped his head into them, I went on autopilot and let fly. At the release the bear reared up and the arrow took him in the spine. The roar was defending as the bear zipped down the mountain dragging its hind legs.

“Terrible penetration,” I said.

“I think you spined him,” Monty whispered back.

We sat there until dark and went back to camp. It was a long night and when the sun finally appeared we had all my gear loaded in Monty’s truck and were headed up to find the bear.

It was easy to follow the trail — a large swath of knocked down plants, trees, and grass descended almost 600 yards straight down the mountain into a box canyon of cedar and pine. At the creek, which was rushing heavily, the grass was matted down where the bear had laid down. All of sudden Monty looked up and said, “There he is! He’s coming for us!”

I glanced up and saw the bear not 20 yards away on the other side of the creek, growling and rising up. The next thing I saw was an orange shaft take him square through the chest as he folded into the grass.

“T.J., that was the finest shot I have ever seen!” Monty said to me. I was impressed as well, as the first arrow was something less than perfect.

Pictures, skinning, and boning complete, we packed the bear up the hill after finding a log on which to cross the roaring creek. I made it to the airport with less than 30 minutes to spare. As I walked into the gangway, I turned and Monty was standing on the other side of the glass wall smiling back at me.

A week later I received a phone call from Noelle, Monty’s girlfriend, asking how I felt. I told her I felt fine, and then she told me Monty was in the hospital fighting for his life with viral encephalitis.

Apparently, sometime on our bear hunt either a mosquito or a rodent bit Monty, transferring the virus to him. After I had flown home nobody saw or heard from Monty for three days. Finally, Byron Schurg went over to Monty’s house and found him incapacitated in bed. A trip to the emergency room and the virus was discovered, a virus that causes the brain to swell resulting in damaged brain cells and death. Since there is no cure for a virus the doctors at the hospital could only treat the symptoms.

I got a call from Monty about six days after he was admitted and we talked briefly before the nurse made him hang up the phone and get some rest. He sounded tired, but was in good spirits and was only worried about me. After nine days in the hospital he was released. Little did I know that this viral bout would change Monty forever.

THAT WINTER we hunted whitetails in Montana in sub-freezing weather out of Lincoln. He didn’t really seem the same as before, but I just figured it was residual trauma from the virus. Although we didn’t kill a deer, we had a blast.

The following spring we again headed back to northern Idaho for a bear hunt, but this time we rented a cabin at the Lochsa Lodge on the Lochsa River. The owners, Gus and Gerri, made us a special deal as they always did for Monty. In their lodge were several pictures of Monty in his kayak from many years earlier when he pioneered the Selway and Lochsa Rivers for kayaking. He was the first to do all the northern rivers alone in a kayak, and the photos of him in the lodge were of legendary proportion; every new river runner had Monty to thank, and Gus and Gerri made sure everyone knew it.

The hunting was lousy so we spent much of the time looking at property to buy along the river and spending time in the cabin talking. Unknown to me until then, Monty had lost his sense of smell and taste after the bout with the virus the year before, and eating was just something he had to do. He always complained that the only thing he could smell was the odor of electrical insulation burning. He also suffered from constant headaches that made him irritable and hard to be around.

One evening some of the young kayakers who knew Monty came to our cabin and invited us to a party they were having up at an old slash camp. Always one for adventure, Monty agreed and we drove up later that evening. When we pulled into their camp there, right in front of us on a flatbed truck with another truck’s lights illuminated it, were two strippers … in the middle of the wilderness, of all places!

I went off to talk to some of the kayakers I knew and grab a beer while Monty grabbed his wallet and walked over to the flatbed. When I returned, there was Monty, a dollar bill rolled up and placed in each of his ears, and two more stuck in his nostrils, and he was lying on the truck bed with a smile on his face. That image of Monty is forever burned into my mind, and I smile every time I think of it.

That summer I was attending the Great Lakes Longbow Invitational in Brighton, Michigan. Monty had flown back with several dozen bows and had rented a van. Every night when the dealer tents would shut down we would head over to this old restaurant called The Log Cabin. Two old Greek cousins ran it and their special — every night — was a 24 ounce marinated porterhouse steak with all the fried potatoes and Greek salad you could eat, all for only $16.00.

One evening after dinner we were heading into town for a drink and to visit with some friends when a possum ran across the road in front of the van.

“Go catch it, T.J.!” Monty yelled as he slammed on the brakes. I dove out of the van not even thinking about what I was doing, ran after the possum as Monty turned the van’s lights into the woods, and grabbed that critter’s tail. I mean to tell you, that thing was like a gyro in my hand, turning, spitting, and growling as I ran back to the van and tossed it inside. Everybody flew out of the van except Monty who was laughing his head off. “I didn’t think you’d do it!” He said. It took a few minutes, but we finally got the possum out of the van and off we went to town. Things like this happened all the time with Monty. He just loved to play jokes and kid with people.

IT WAS SOME TIME in July, 1995 and I was packing up for a business trip to Oklahoma City and thought I would call Monty and see how he was doing. He would call at least once a month, usually every other week, and we’d talk for over an hour. He loved to stay in touch with his friends and we enjoyed each other’s company so much that expensive phone bills were part of the relationship.

But this evening he was quiet and short, and did not want to talk.

“How’s it going?” I said.

“OK,” was his response.

“What are you doing this evening? Anything exciting?” I asked.

“Building bows,” he replied — short, curt, and to the point … not like the Monty I knew at all.

I assumed he was having a fight with his new girlfriend, Barb, since I could hear her in the background, so I told him I was leaving for three weeks and he could reach me at my apartment in Oklahoma City. All he said was, “Ok, bye.”

The next day was long as I flew from Seattle to Denver and on to Oklahoma City. When I checked into my apartment there were six messages waiting for me. One was from my wife who said that Monty had passed away the night before. I was stunned. I had just talked with him … what could have been so bad that would have caused him to die? The next message was from Rich Unger of R & J Enterprises with the same message. In fact, each and every message was the same … and then the last one was from my good friend Jay Massey.

“T.J., I didn’t want you to hear this from me, but you need to call me. Monty committed suicide last night.”

I was devastated, and just sat there for half an hour before I could even call Jay back. The sense of fear, loneliness, and loss were just too much for me.

WHAT I WAS LATER to find out, which was verified to me by the Ravalli County Coroner in a telephone call three weeks later, was that some time after Monty and I had hung up, his girlfriend left for an out of state trip and he proceeded to his bedroom where he placed a shotgun to his forehead and pulled the trigger.

No note. No goodbye, no kiss my ass … no nothing. He left the party and never told anyone why. Oh, there were lots of conspiracy stories: he was murdered (the Coroner proved that false); he was robbed; he had money problems … all the normal denial reasons of which I had several myself. I, nor just about everyone I knew, had an answer, and we never will.

Monty’s family had him cremated, his ashes deposited some place … I have no idea. Monarch Longbows was sold to Monty’s good friend and bowyer Chris Landstrom, who stills builds them today.

The tulipwood longbow Monty made for me sits in my home office. I know I should take it out and hunt with it again, and maybe someday I will. But for now it is one of the few reminders of my friend — the laughs, good times, hunts, and other not so telling things he was known for. And the bear I shot with him at my side resides in a place of honor in my living room, saved in a life-size mount, which reminds me of our great hunt and the ultimate devastation that resulted in the loss of one of traditional archery’s great guys.

I WAS HUNTING mountain goats in October of 1995 in central Washington. It had been a hard two weeks being alone when I finally killed a goat. My first thought was to call Monty. He always knew how this unique animal held a special place in my life. But it had been several months since he had died, something my mind still had not come to terms with.

I was sitting in camp, looking at the goat horns, when a blue grouse lit into a tamarack tree behind me. I quickly brought the bird to bag, then started a fire and roasted it. All I thought about that evening was how much fresh roasted grouse meant to Monty. I hoped he was watching me as I savored every last bite of that wonderful meal.

Monty on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. He was one of the finest whitewater kayakers I ever knew.
Monty on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. He was one of the finest whitewater kayakers I ever knew.

IT HAS BEEN A DECADE since Monty died, and the pain and sense of loss are still with me. I often wonder what I could have done that night so long ago, if I had only known, to prevent such a terrible tragedy to such a young and wonderful man, my friend. If I had only known … I could have flown over right away … I should have kept him on the phone. There are so many things that I just don’t know.

“The disease killed him, Tim,” Noelle has repeatedly told me. “He was gone the day he came out of the hospital, and there is nothing you, nor anyone else, could have done. Quit beating yourself up over it. You were his best friend, and yet you never saw it coming either.”

I think of Monty often, and look at what few pictures I still have of him with his Dall sheep, moose, bear, elk, and several huge whitetails. But two pictures I hold dear exist on my home office corkboard. One is of Monty in a kayak on the Lochsa River doing what he loved to do best next to bowhunting. The other is a black and white photo of Monty holding a deer mouse that he had baited with bread and shot with his bow one night while we were hunting bear, his grin as wide as can be.

There are so many stories I remember about my friend, like the time he created a one-tree forest fire while trying to do a honey burn and ended up bailing out of the stand at 15 feet. Or the time he walked out of our cabin as I was asleep and returned with a blow-up doll that he placed in bed with me and took pictures, and then threatened to use as blackmail if I didn’t get up and have a beer with him … it was two in the morning and he couldn’t sleep. He wanted to talk about hunting, girls, and what we should do in the future when we got too old to crawl around in the hills. Or the time he was on his second of three solo raft hunts down the Moose John River in Alaska when his pepper spray accidentally went off in his pants while fishing. He spent the next several hours sitting in the river, unable to stand up because of the burning. It wasn’t funny at the time, but he and I laughed about that for many, many years. He was just such a joy to spend time with.

Once a year I pull out two of his videos he made for me, make a drink, and sit alone in my den watching them. One is of our bear hunt in 1992 when he contracted the viral encephalitis. The other is a series of vignettes of a year in the life of Monty the bowhunter, from early season bear and deer hunts to out of state hunts, a 9-day backpack hunt for elk, to finally treeing a lion in December only to break his bowstring and let the cat go.

But the one thing that always stays with me was where in the video, after he has taken a few grouse, he says, “There’s nothing like the taste of fresh grouse roasted over an open fire.” That was my friend.

TONIGHT I AM SITTING AROUND A CAMPFIRE, on a ridge somewhere in central Idaho, scratching out these words about my friend into my notebook. I stalked two bull elk this evening without getting a shot, but managed to slip a Zwickey through a blue grouse, which has been roasting in the Dutch oven with several Angel Wing mushrooms I picked from a rotting aspen stump down in the valley below. The oven is removed from the coals and allowed to rest before being opened. I make a drink, stoke the campfire with another pitch log, and settle down to eat alone in the darkness. The wind has picked up and the temperature is dropping … a front is moving in. I zip up my wool coat and sit back to enjoy a meal — alone, as usual — taken from the mountain.

As I stare into the flickering flames of the campfire, I think back on all the good folks I have met and had the rare pleasure to share a campfire with along life’s strange trails, many of whom are no longer with us.

And I remember Monty.

(Excerpted from Campfire Reflections)

Ranch Life and Propane Wars

Living out in the high desert, one has the option of electricity or propane for utilities, as there is no such thing as natural gas anywhere near here. And since electricity can be quite expensive to heat and cool a house, I opted to put in a 1,000-gallon propane tank when I built this place to use for cooking, hot water, and heat pump back up.

Looking around at the time, the closest propane company was Suburban Propane in Boise, which had agreed to sell me a 1,000-gallon tank and bury it. When the time came to install it, the company changed their mind and said they were no longer selling tanks. Rather, all customers had to rent them … $180 a year opposed to $3,000 one-time cost. So, being stuck due to time, in it went. The original cost of filling the tank was $1.45 a gallon, which was more than in town, but still reasonable.

Over the next five years the rate per gallon continued to escalate. It was bearable, but the final straw was August 2012, when they came out and filled up the tank with less than 350 gallons. When I got the bill, I went through the roof: $1,498, which was about $4.30 a gallon. Not a mile from me, the truck stop, which is 20 miles from town, was selling it at $2.79 a gallon. The resulting call to the billing office of Suburban Propane was less than cordial, and the final straw was being told that that was the delivery price. I said I was done, and was promptly told my contract stipulated that I must buy gas from them if I was renting the tank.

That’s when I started to look for an alternative supplier.

Since I had already paid the following 12 months rent, and was told in no uncertain terms that it was non-refundable, I moved to find another source. Lo and behold, four months before my rental contract was due for renewal, I found V1 Propane in Mountain Home, about 30 miles from the ranch. Mary, the lady on the phone, said yes, they sell tanks and offered me a smoking deal on a 1,000 gallon above ground tank: $2000. But, I could also rent it for $120 a year, which was a $60 savings over the inflated Suburban Propane’s rate. To seal the deal, she quoted me a price of $1.79 a gallon. A call to Suburban Propane and I was told their delivery price was $3.59 a gallon. That was the last straw. I asked Mary to send out a rep.

The next week, Bryon, the regional manager for V1 showed up. I told him I needed to have the existing 400 gallons removed from the Suburban Propane tank, have him install a new tank, transfer the gas, and fill the new tank. He said no problem. All I had to do was dig up the old tank at least half way down and he could rock it out.

No problem, my ass. That sucker was 16 feet long, 42” round, and the top was some two-foot deep.

I told him I’d have it done within two weeks.

Soaking the ground around the tank. You can see the access tube sticking up from the ground.
Soaking the ground around the tank. You can see the access tube sticking up from the ground.

For two days I watered around the buried tank to soften up the hard soil that is normal for this area. When I thought it was moist enough, I outlined where I thought the tank was and started in. It wasn’t more than half an hour and I realized this was going to be a big job. So, I offered a neighbor’s son the opportunity to make some money digging the tank up and he jumped at the offer of $150. But after less than five hours work, he lost interest, so I paid him for his time, and went to work myself. It took two days to get the tank uncovered half way down, and the only reason it didn’t take longer was the simple thought that one eats an elephant one bite at a time. So, one shovel at a time, break for tea and a swim, and back at it. I was ready for the new tank.

Bryon showed up with his lift truck and another guy in the gas truck. We ran into problems getting the gas out of the buried tank, as the six-foot height made it slow. But out it came and by the time it was empty, the new tank was installed on blocks. Bryon was able to lift the buried tank and set it beside

After a day's digging, the tank starts to emerge.
After a day’s digging, the tank starts to emerge.

the new one, and his partner transferred my gas into the new tank and we hooked up a temporary line until I could did a trench to bury the line.

It needs to be stated that Suburban Propane was going to charge me about 25¢ a gallon to transfer the gas; V1 did it for free. In fact there was no charge for anything: labor, old tank removal, new tank install, transfer of gas, or hooking up new lines. And with a credit of $738.71 for pre-paid gas with Suburban Propane, I had enough to fill the tank for another year. The only problem was how to get my money back.

I made several calls to the local Suburban Propane dealer, but never got a person to pick up. So, after two weeks I drove down there (stopped by Cabela’s to pick up more Ak47 ammo first) and

The mini submarine is finally exposed and ready for removal.
The mini submarine is finally exposed and ready for removal.

walked into the office. Two women were there and I told them I had bought my own tank and was no longer interested in renting from them and needed them to come get it. The one lady in charge asked, rather snidely, how much gas was in the tank? I told her zero; it had been transferred for free by another supplier. The look on her face was priceless. She then said it had to be dug up, to which I said it was, and that the same new supplier had moved the tank to where her company could come and get it. I also advised her, showing her my last statement, which stated they owed me $738.71.

She became rather flustered, and said, “Do you still want automatic delivery?” Dumb question, for sure, and I told her no, I was going to shop around for the best price now. At that, she said, “We really appreciate your business and want to keep you as a customer. Can I have the district manager call you and see if we can make some sort of deal with you?”

“Sure, but I doubt you can match $1.79 a gallon, can you?” She got that deer-in-the-headlight look. She then made a copy of my statement, handed it back to me, and said she would have the manager call me.

The new above ground tank is set and ready for gas.
The new above ground tank is set and ready for gas.

As I walked out the door, there was some guy grilling hot dogs, handing out sodas, popcorn, chips, and water; it was Suburban Propane Customer Appreciation Day. Right. So, I loaded up with couple dogs, grabbed some Cheetoes, and two water bottles knowing it was pittance for the amount of money they had stolen from me over the years. It was bittersweet, but still enjoyable to take something back from them, albeit cheap, and not very good for me.

It was over two weeks later and yet they still had not come for tank, nor did I receive my check for prepaid gas. I sent a second email to them stating that I had no intention of ever buying propane from them again, that it had been two weeks since they told me they would come and pick up the tank, and I had yet to see my refund check.

After the propane was removed, Bryon lifted the in-ground tank and set it out where Suburban Propane could come and get it.
After the propane was removed, Bryon lifted the in-ground tank and set it out where Suburban Propane could come and get it.

No answer. No answer the next day; however, while having coffee the following morning, a Suburban Propane crane rolled down the driveway.

The kid was young, energetic, and quite pleasurable. He went to work right away getting the tank loaded up and asked if I had bought that other tank. I said yes, but they are lending it to me for free for a year. After a little small talk, I told him that I couldn’t afford Suburban Propane and they had been absolutely gouging me for years. He said he knew this; they had been losing customers left and right the last few years. He even said one guy chased him off his property with a gun, telling him he better not come back.

As I was signing the paperwork for his retrieving the tank, he asked if the manager had called me. I told him he had left a message, but never called back, and I had no intentions of dealing with him. “They owe you $738.71, so I’ll write it on the receipt so you’ll know if they try and short you.” Good man, for sure, and feel sorry for him working with such a corrupt company.

So, the tank is gone, I have already talked to a neighbor down the road who is going to switch, and am going to find as many people as I can to dump

Transferring propane back into the new tank.
Transferring propane back into the new tank.

Suburban Propane. Besides, I get $50 gas credit for everyone I send to them!

Karma, baby, karma.

Now … where’s my check?


About two weeks later the refund check showed up in the mail; however, there was a note saying the charge to come and pick up the tank was $90. Looks like I will have to hit a few more Customer Appreciation Days …



Saying goodbye and good riddance to the old tank, and the corrupt Suburban Propane.
Saying goodbye and good riddance to the old tank, and the corrupt Suburban Propane.

High Desert Cool Wraps … Just in Time for Pronghorn Season!


Just in time for pronghorn season! High Desert Cool Wraps are

The Cool Wrap is ideal for hunting pronghorn during the blistering sun and heat of August and September.
The Cool Wrap is ideal for hunting pronghorn during the blistering sun and heat of August and September.

the best way to keep yourself cool while hunting, fishing, bicycling, jogging, or any other outdoor recreation during the heat of summer and early fall. These wraps, when tied around your neck, use evaporation to keep the blood cool as it flows up and back down your neck from your head.

Simply soak the Cool Wrap in cold water for about 20 to 30 minutes, and occasionally spread the expanding gel through the contained part of the wrap so it expands evenly. Tie it around your neck to feel instant cooling relief from the heat. If you notice it’s not cooling anymore, simply rotate the tube so the outside now touches your skin. You can rehydrate with a small amount of water or soak it again after a few hours. When you are finished using your cool wrap, hang it to dry completely (this may take a day or two) and store it away for next time.

High Desert Cool Wraps in both green and desert camo.
High Desert Cool Wraps in both green and desert camo.

These can be used over and over again.

I first started using them about five years ago and now use them all the time, from working around the ranch, to hunting, to riding my Harley during the summer. It is the best way to keep yourself cool during the heat of the day, no matter what you’re doing.

They come in green and desert camouflage, and can be found in the Products section above.

Stranded in Kazoo

Living In Hell


Living in Hell


I hate flying.

Honestly, I hate flying. Ever since 9/11, air travelers have been subjected to myriad abuses by the airlines … all of them.

Take the first action: no more meals. Not that they were ever tasty, but the excitement of seeing what culinary disaster the air line chefs (I use that loosely, as calling them a “Line Cook” would be doing line cooks a great disservice) could produce was … well … something to look forward to. Eggs and mystery meat, canned fruit with some preservative/flavor enhancer spewed on it … maybe a stale cookie … it was, at least, something that helped ease the pain of the cost of the ticket.

So … no more gruel, and if you want something other than a dozen and half peanuts, a bag of diabetes-inducing salty pretzels, or … if you are so lucky … a small package of air cookies (no other word comes to mind to describe these strange chemical bars), you have to shovel out $5-$10 for a “Snack Box,” which is something not very desirable. I think I will stay with the peanuts.

The second move was to cancel many flights, as the airlines wanted to fill every seat, and not fly half or partly empty. No more open seats, where you could sprawl out and relax while traveling the friendly skies … another misnomer.

Following on the heels of fewer flight options was overbooking, which is the problem I am faced with today, but more on this abusing business practice later.

Advance screening techniques, better know as the Naked Scanner, were implemented, blasting poor air travelers with low — but now considered dangerous — millirads of radiation. This practice will be ending this summer, as the new studies (why they were not vetted BEFORE we were forced to succumb to this radiation bombardment is a question no one has answered) have shown there is danger in this practice. No shit? And here I thought it was to help protect us. Huh … silly me.

And then along comes the notorious and disgusting bag fees, which add anywhere from $25 to several hundred dollars to get luggage from one place to another. And to toss kerosene onto the burn, how about dropping the 75# limit to 50# … or we get hosed with another usury charge. And what did this cause? For starters, every idiot now wants to bring all of his or her luggage on board, which means that all the overhead space is getting filled with suitcases, preventing the latter passengers from being able to put a handbag, computer, camera gear, or small packages in the overhead. Well, do what I do when I come on board and find the space designated over my seat filled with the suitcases of some idiot sitting five or ten rows away: I call down the flight attendent and ask him or her to gate check the bag. Really pisses off the clown when he finds out at the end of the flight.

Is it any wonder the airlines are now more profitable than before?

The last few years have seen a rash of pilots freaking out when the plane encounters any slight turbulence, initiating the seat belt sign if someone farts too loudly in First Class. All this because a lady on a jet a few years back ignored the seat belt sign when there was real turbulence, was tossed from her seat, broke her neck, and was killed … all her own fault, but like the current lunacy of trying to ban certain guns, which have virtually no record in mass murders, the airlines are now worried about being sued for someone’s stupidity. We are, indeed, a litigious society these days.

And what is with the idea that 80+°F is OK for the Coach cabin? It’s winter, and someone up in First Class whines that it is cold. Never mind she had the flight attendent hang her coat up before the flight. Now she wants the heater turned on. And the rest of us sitting back in Coach have to suffer, what with the extremely poor and damn near inhumane practice of recirculating the Coach air. Take the flight I was on from Salt Lake to Dallas two days ago. It was a 2-hour flight, and everything was going great for the first hour and a half. Then all of sudden someone decided we needed to take our clothes off, as the heat started blasted from above the seats, through the overhead vents and adjustable vents. Within minutes, my thermometer on my computer bag passed the 82°F mark, and everyone around me was trying to shut off their vents.

The flight attendent finally came back after several call buttons were pushed and when asked to turn the damn heat down, she said it was freezing up in First Class. Never mind that twenty passengers were about to storm the First Cabin to find who the idiot was who was cold. It was damn near a mutiny before we could get someone to turn the heat off. Exiting the plane, as the Captain thanked me for flying Delta, I eased a few words out about remedial training on how to manage the environmental controls on the jet. He gave me that deer in the headlights look as I turned and walked up the jetway.

Which brings me to this weekend’s traveling fiasco and the common practice of overbooking.

Every year for some 17 years I have flown to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to attend the Traditional Bowhunters EXPO. This year was epic. Left home at 5 a.m. on Thursday with a schedule to make Kalamazoo by 3:30 p.m., which allowed time to get a car, check into the motel, take a shower, and hook up with friends for dinner.

Wasn’t going to happen. And what happened would provide enough fodder to write a novel about the evilness of air travel, incompetent airport personal, wicked gate clerks, and horrendous scalping by hoteliers.

Wheels up out of Boise was scheduled for 6:30 a.m. There had been some freezing rain, so the plane needed to be de-iced. No problem, there was only one other plane ahead of us and it was already half done. Well, after about 35 minutes the Captain comes on the squawk box to say that the ground personell had run out of de-icing fluid and had to go back and refill the rig. No idea where the other unit was. Another 30 minutes goes by and same Captain does the redux on the squawk box, telling us that the refilling of the de-icing unit took longer than expected, so not the ground crew had to go back and redo the de-ice on the other aircraft before they could de-ice us.

As the minutes ticked by, it became quite evident that we were in the midst of people who were illy prepared to do the job. After almost three hours of sitting on the plane at the gate, we finally pulled back and spent another 45 minutes getting de-iced.

Wheels up at last, heading to Salt Lake, when not 125 miles from Boise said Captain makes another voice appearance … this time to tell us we must divert because Salt Lake decided to shut down the airport after a Frontier pilot took an off ramp too fast and slid off the runway.

Three more hours on the ground in Twin Falls, Idaho, where out every window were myriad black angus starring back at us as we were sequestered on the plane until Salt Lake reopened and we refueled (I know; 125 miles from Boise and we need fuel?). As the time ticked by, my connection in Salt Lake came and went, and the jet left, but we were still not authorized to take off and land. Go figure.

Arrived in Salt Lake City at about the same time I was supposed to touch down in Kalamazoo, half way across the country. My phone started beeping with updated flight information, and what it said made me go non-linear: rebooked the following morning, some 18 hours later! NO, WE CANNOT GET YOU OUT TODAY! SORRY! WE HAVE OVERBOOKED ALL FLIGHTS!

If you have ever been stranded in an airport for any length of time, you know how irritating and maddening it is, so I tried to find a hotel/motel/friend where I could crash.

It just so happened that there was huge outdoor sports show firing off in Salt Lake this week, as well as the Sundance Festival, so every hotel/motel in town was booked solid. I asked to be on a waiting list for the nearest Holiday Inn, a place that normally rents for $89 a night. After several hours, I get a call from the motel saying they had a room open up due to a cancelation and if I still wanted it.

I said yes.

She said it will be $259.

You don’t want to know what I said after that, but I could not spend 16 hours in an airport with 10,000 delayed and pissed off travelers. It will be expensed out.

Next morning, the new itinerary was a hop through Dallas, then Detroit, where the flight to Kalamazoo was delayed three times until it was becoming a real threat that another night in an airport may happen. Finally, though, the flight was secured and I arrived at the hotel at midnight. Lots of friends were already there, and quite drunk, so … well … Crown Royal was dinner, with a special thanks and toast to my dear friends Amy and Greg Darling for rounding up the people and refreshments.

Two days of show, a wild night out to sushi with the gang, and a quiet dinner last night, I was hoping this morning everything would run smooth. Flight out of Kalamazoo at 8:05 a.m., arriving Boise about 1:30 p.m., just in time to pick up Molly and head to the ranch.

I was fueling up the rental car when the damn phone starts chirping with updates from Delta: flight cancelled, next four flights overbooked, next available flight in 11 hours.

So much for getting home today, as it appears that even if I can get out of here I’ll be trapped in Detroit all night.

Anyone who has followed my trials and tribulations in the air industry knows I have a dark pall following my every step. I have lost more luggage than is feasibly possible, been delayed for days is exotic places, and ended up once in Namibia with all my luggage being passed around in Amsterdam. You would think that after all the troubles I have had to endure while flying I would be numb to by now. Not so. I am still seething as I pound out the keys on computer right now.

With any luck, I may still be home by midnight; however, I have not illusions that this fancy thought will be dashed once again by an industry that seems hell bent on making my air travel as painful as possible.

So, I stare out the window of a lonely terminal, staring through the thick fog, wondering what wonderful things will happen next, and try to make light of such lunacy.

Teej, stranded in Kalamazoo.


Compton Traditional Bowhunters Rendezvous 2012


Another Compton Traditional Bowhunters Rendezvous has come and gone, and what a Rendezvous it was. This year, the 12th Annual Rendezvous, saw the largest attendance to date, the most kids, and the most vendors. And the weather was … well, it was typical Michigan weather for this time of year: pleasantly cool, then humid and sweltering, finally a rain and wind storm, and then sun and mild temperatures again — all within five days. Still, it was an event no one should have missed.

Although Friday and Saturday were humid and hot, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday were extremely pleasant. The chili feed Friday night went the smoothest it ever has, what with Dede Smith commanding the kitchen. She did an outstanding job, and the crowd loved the food.

My buddy Fred Eichler was the keynote speaker for Saturday night, and as usual he kept the 200+ audience laughing with his total enthusiasm for what he does, and for the hunt. At the Saturday evening Campfire Chat, Fred Eichler, Monty Browning, Marv Clyncke, G. Fred Asbell, and Bryan Burkhardt fielded questions from both me, as moderator, and a huge crowd of interested bowhunters well into the evening.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the release of Compton’s first commissioned print, which is an original oil painting by renown artist Jack Paluh. The first in what is to be an ongoing series of commissioned artwork is of Fred Bear. (See the accompanying image.) There is a limited number of signed and numbered prints (300), of which the number one print sold at the Saturday evening auction for around $2,100, and number 2 for $1,300. With over 100 prints already sold, it appears that the total number of these unique, one-of-kind prints will not be around in a year.

As I sit here in my motel room, I am reflecting back on ten years of service on the Compton Board and have bittersweet feelings as I wind my final term as Board member down and finally step off. I think back to the many years and experiences I have had, some bad, but most good: the year the big top came down; watching our campfire float away in a flash flood; cooking chili for event attendees; the many meetings as we shaped and herded the club down the road from its infancy to the well-known, and highly respected organization Compton Traditional Bowhunters has become; the many, many hours of developing and implementing the Archives system … and I am humbled for having the opportunity to serve for the last decade. Yet, although I am stepping down from a Board position, I am not leaving; on the contrary, I plan on staying active in the club, but need a year to come to terms with other issues in my life at this time.

As Glenn St. Charles said to me one evening many years back, as the young kids were playing, shooting bows, and experiencing the Rendezvous, “Such a deal, isn’t it?” Indeed, it was … it is … and will continue to be “such a deal” for decades to come.

San Onofre Outing

Yesterday was an epic day at Seal Beach, with up to five-foot waves and less than a dozen of us surfing. The report was for 1-2 feet, poor conditions; however, we had glassy, big, well-formed waves all day and by the time we pulled out our arms were toast.

Today, many of us from the California Surfing Club went down to San Onofre (San O) for an outing. The surf was great in the morning, but by about 2 p.m. the onshore wind and high tide made the waves mushy. Still, we were able to catch numerous waves and ride them for up to about 100 yards.

Lots of surfers today, and now back in Hunting Beach ready for a shower, dinner, and rest for tomorrow’s surfing session back at Seal Beach. The surf is supposed to get better and higher all week, ending with rain on Saturday … then I must head back north to get ready for the the Professional Bowhunters Society’s Gathering in Portland for five days, followed on by two or three days surfing Oregon, then home, and then off to Kansas City for a two-day meeting for Compton Traditional Bowhunters.

Hopefully, April will be slower!

My Friend Glenn

Glenn and Dene Dogrib Inukshuks in the Northwest Territory. Circa 1993.

The first time I met Glenn St. Charles was in a dark, smoky restaurant called the Butcher Block. He was the guest speaker for the Treasure Valley Bowhunters, a local archery club in Boise, Idaho that I was a member of at the time even though I lived 45 miles away in a different town. Like most bowhunters of the day I had read much of Glenn’s writings and knew him from Fred Bear’s books and articles, the most enchanting ones of the Little Delta hunts in Alaska. But now, here in front of me, was this man I had admired for many years talking about hunting, ethics, and what it means to be a bowhunter.

I’ll never forget the evening. Here was Glenn at the podium in this dark place, weaving stories of hunts and experiences while every now and then Glenn’s friend, Bill “Willie” Vanderhoff, interjected his two cents worth of comments at what he must have deemed the right time. The constant flow of liquor seemed to spur him on even more — and louder — as the night progressed until he was, to me, a stark raving drunk by the time the night ended. Willie, though, was an Idaho bowhunting legend in his own right, having killed more big mule deer in the Owyhee Mountains than any other bowhunter at the time. Years later I would befriend him and stay now and then at his place on Lake Cascade: Silver’s Cabin.

After the banquet ended I was able to sit down and introduce myself to Glenn. Although he was busy signing autographs with other members, he was quite the gentleman and he and I talked for over a half hour until it was very late. I had to drive back to Mountain Home that night to be ready for work at 6 a.m., but we promised to stay in touch.

Glenn was most proud of this Lake trout. He took it home and had it mounted. Photo by Carol Mauch.

Over the next several years I wrote Glenn often, especially when I wanted to know about wood arrows and longbows and all things traditional. Like everyone at the time I was shooting a compound, which was an old wood riser Bear Kodiak Magnum with plastic wheels. Against the objections from other members of our archery club, I had shaved down the sight window so I could shoot off the shelf. Glenn was shooting a compound, too, at the time, and said that there was nothing so impersonal in bowhunting than shooting “that damn contraption.” I told him I was ordering a one-piece Bear Kodiak Magnum recurve and planned to hunt bear with it that spring. He wrote back that he, too, thought he should give up the compound and return to the recurve.

That spring I shot a black bear with the Bear recurve. I was hooked and ordered a custom takedown Bighorn recurve from G. Fred Asbell of Bighorn Bowhunting. Fred was a prolific writer at the time, and his adventures of bowhunting with a recurve and wooden arrows woven through the pages of Bowhunter Magazine brought back that nostalgia I knew of shooting lemonwood longbows in my youth.

Fang, Glenn and Margaret’s dog, and T.J. the Pirate bringing in pies for Glenn’s 81st birthday at the museum. 12/14/1991.

After several years of shooting traditional equipment, learning how to make wood arrows and Flemish spliced bowstrings, the idea of Traditional Bowhunter® Magazine (TBM) was born. None of the other bowhunting magazines were covering what I wanted to know … what almost every bowhunter using a longbow or recurve wanted to know and read about. My first thought was to do an interview with the oldest, most respected person at the time: Glenn St. Charles. The gears were put in motion.

The following spring at the Pope & Young Banquet in Boise in 1989, I sat down with Glenn and told him my plan to publish a bowhunting magazine that would be geared toward the traditional bowhunter, those who shot recurves, longbows, and selfbows. His reaction was incredulous and his support was enthusiastic. To say he was excited would be an understatement. I then said I wanted to come out and interview him at his shop and museum in Seattle the following month. We discussed the magazine, editorial direction, and other things, and then he agreed to be interviewed.

One month later my family and I went out to visit my brother, who lived across the valley from Glenn’s place. I took off one day and drove over to Northwest Archery, which was not only Glenn and Margaret’s home, but also the St. Charles Museum (now part of the Pope & Young Museum). I had never seen the museum until that day, so for many hours Glenn walked me around, showing me things, and explaining the rich history of the artifacts, bows, arrows, quivers, displays … it was an experience I could never have imagined until then. For the remainder of the day I sat down with Glenn and we discussed many things, all of which I recorded on audiotape. Margaret, always the consummate host, fixed us lunch followed by one of Glenn’s favorite deserts: pie and ice cream. I shot pictures and spent hours in the museum with Glenn as he entertained me with stories of his bowhunting escapades. The place oozed the smell, sight, and feeling of real bowhunting history. It was a day I shall never forget.

Bowhunting Friends. Mackay Lake, 1993. Front row, left to right: Larry Fischer, John Evans, T.J. Conrads, Jay St. Charles, and Nathan Andersohn. Back row, left to right: Billy Ellis, III, Glenn St. Charles, Max Thomas, and Joe St. Charles. Photo by Nathan Andersohn.

The following month after I had transcribed the audiotapes into a ten-page interview article I sent it over to Glenn to review and amend as he saw fit. This was part of the deal: I would put down the material in writing, and he would go over it to make sure it was what he wanted in print.

Several weeks passed and then late one evening I got a phone call from Glenn. “You can’t print this. I want to put this in my book!” were the first words out of his mouth. Even though it would be several more years until he finally got down to writing the book of his life, to this day the interview has never been published and the original text and audio tapes reside in my office.

A year after Traditional Bowhunter® launched I took a job with the Federal Aviation Administration, which caused me to move to the Seattle area. Over the next ten years my family and Glenn’s family would spend countless days together, and many of Glenn’s birthday celebrations included my family as well. My wife would always bake special pies for Glenn: huckleberry was his favorite, but any berry pie would do. We’d all meet at their house and share an evening of shooting bows at stuffed animals that Joe would pickup from flea markets, have dinner, watch old 8mm movies of the Wilhelm brothers and other historical films, and then have pie and ice cream. For years my family was welcomed into the St. Charles family, and to this day my children still consider Glenn and Margaret their adopted grandparents. It was, and always will be, a special bond.

In 1993 we had our annual TBM, Inc. meeting in Seattle. While there the staff from TBM was visiting the St. Charles family at the museum when the topic of all of us going caribou hunting that fall came up. The hunt would include about 20 bowhunters, and Glenn said he wanted to go, too. At 83-years old, he said it might be his last time in the field with a bow in hand.

The Board of Directors of Compton, 2008.

The trip was one of memories. The hunting was fantastic, the fishing was outstanding, and the camaraderie unforgettable. Many of us were lucky and took caribou. Glenn managed to land a huge Lake trout, which was the main thing he wanted to do on the trip. He ended up having it mounted.

One evening we had a small party with Billy Ellis making an unusually good drink with southern whiskey and Tang. Many stories were told about the day’s hunt, and we got a rare chance to hear Glenn relate his excitement of the day. He and Jay had spotted a band of caribou that was bedded on a bluff next to the lake. It was the perfect setup for sneaking up on them. Morris, their guide, slowly motored the boat out in front of the caribou and killed the engine. The wind and wave action pushed the boat shoreward, bringing them just under the bluff where the caribou were bedded. They grabbed their bows and arrows and snuck up to within 25 yards of the herd. Arrows started flying, but the caribou just stood up and looked at them. Buck fever hit Glenn and Jay as each shot became more erratic than the one before. Within a minute all their arrows were lying out in the ground behind the caribou.

“I’ll tell you, I’ve never been so embarrassed. I just forgot to pick a spot! I was shooting at all of them at the same time. Man, oh man, I haven’t been that excited in years!” Glenn said. “I’m sure glad that the excitement and feeling of the hunt hasn’t escaped me after all these years, though!” It was a night of fond memories.

Over the next several years my family spent a lot of time with Glenn and Margaret and their family. It was an annual event to spend an evening with them on Glenn’s birthday, Robin always baking a berry pie or two, which was one of Glenn’s weaknesses: he loved pies, so much so that at many of the annual Traditional Bowhunters of Washington banquets he would bid up to $75 to $100 for a pie at the auction. At times, he would actually bid against himself!

Margaret and Glenn were like adopted grandparents to my children. Margaret taught my daughter all about crocheting and other handicrafts, which she still remembers all these years later. Both of my children, grown and gone now, have fond memories of times spent with the St. Charles, both at their home and elsewhere.

Glenn and Jay St. Charles at the Compton Chili Feed, 2008.

Glenn was monumental in the formation of the Compton Traditional Bowhunters, an international organization that works putting bows and arrows in the hands of women and children around the world. He was the driving force to create an organization that promoted the use of traditional archery and bowhunting, not unlike what he did in creating the Pope and Young Club.

Glenn often came to the Compton Traditional Bowhunters’ Rendezvous in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and never failed to entertain the masses of members and their families with his stories. Sitting around the campfire on Saturday evening, he would hold the audience captive with his stories of hunts, making bows, and history of other noted bowhunters he knew. He was a class act, always staying late to visit with people long after the fireside chats had ended. That was what made him so likeable, so personal … he loved people, and he loved archery.

Glenn watching the women’s’ skillet throwing contest at Compton Rendezvous, 2008.

One year Margaret came down ill and passed unexpectedly. It was a shock to not only those of us close to the family, but also to the wide circle of friends who looked forward to seeing her at Pope & Young, PBS, and other gatherings around the country every year. It was devastating to Glenn, and at Margaret’s memorial he sat alone in the front row, weeping uncontrollably. As the plethora of tributes came to an end I moved up and sat with Glenn. He was shaken beyond words and I offered as much comfort as I could, holding his hand as he wept … and I wept along with him.

Not long after Margaret passed Glenn’s son, Joe, became engaged to a lovely lady, Cyndi. When I received the wedding invitation I called Joe and told him I would be there. The wedding was held at a beautiful log home in Big Sky, Montana. I saddled up the Harley and pointed it toward West Yellowstone and, eventually, Montana. I booked a room in a hotel in town, so had to dress up and take the Harley up the mountain to the house where the wedding would take place. Glenn was surprised to see me, especially with coat and tie, on a motorcycle. He marveled that I would make such a long trip for just a wedding, but I told him I wouldn’t miss it for the world — this was family.

The wedding was a lovely outdoor event with many people I knew, and lot more I didn’t know. Glenn took his seat in the front row of chairs and I took the seat next to him. As Joe and his future wife Cyndi said their vows, Glenn started to shake and sob uncontrollably. I put my arm around his and held him while he wept. When the ceremony was over we sat there for a long time until he settled down. He turned to me and said, “Ever since I had that stroke I haven’t been able to control my emotions!” I just smiled and gripped his hand and when he was ready, we walked back to the reception.

The last I spoke to Glenn was a few months back. When I called he was excited, telling me that I was the only one who ever called any more; however, when Asbell or some one else would call he would tell them that he never heard from me. That was Glenn. He treasured people, and as his eyesight and health faded over the last several years he looked forward to visiting and speaking with everyone he could.

One day last month I got a call from Roger Atwood, president of the Pope & Young Club. He told me Glenn had not been feeling well and went in to see his doctor. After a CAT scan, it was found he had lung cancer and he started to fade fast. Andy Carpenter called me and said we should go and visit him right away. I booked a flight for Thursday and had plans to meet with Andy, Rocky Holpainen, and Joe St. Charles and have dinner with Glenn and visit for two days.

The weekend before the trip to Seattle I was hunting antelope in the vast open desert of Idaho. I was reminiscing about images of Glenn and his escapades while bowhunting antelope in Wyoming and Nebraska when a lone buck offered me a shot. One arrow, forty yards, and the work started.

The next day I headed back home, elated that I had finally taken an antelope in my home state. As I came off the high desert and down into the Snake River canyon my phone started chirping. It was a message from Fred Asbell; Glenn passed away at 1 a.m the morning before. I was devastated. The exuberance I felt on my hunt vanished as I aimed my truck to the north, and home, knowing this day would come, but still having a hard time coming to terms with the news. I would not see nor talk to my friend again, and that hurt.

Glenn and T.J. taking a break during the Compton Traditional Bowhunters Rendezvous 2008.

There are many, many other things I remember about my friendship with Glenn, but time and space are short, and many things he shared with me are best kept in my memories … my trophies, as it were. Glenn was a shining light in my life, a mentor who had a profound influence on who I am today. He was a close and dear friend, of whom I will miss immensely; however, I can rejoice in his life, and how he helped shape my ethics of hunting with the bow and arrow.

As I pen these words in memory of my friend I cannot help but remember him wearing a sombrero, eating chili at the Compton Traditional Bowhunters’ Rendezvous a few years back. After the chili feed, Glenn and a handful of friends were sitting by a lone campfire enjoying the evening’s festivities while kids ran around and played nearby. He was excited to be a part of the gathering and as he looked around, he leaned over and said, “Just look at all this! Such a deal!”

Yes, Glenn, it has been such a deal, and you were a big part of it. Being your friend all these years has been an honor, and I am sure going to miss you.


2011 Colorado Elk Hunt

After an unsuccessful elk hunt in Idaho — nine days and saw only three elk, all running like scalded dogs — I headed down to Colorado to hunt with my buddies Greg Jouflas and Nathan Andersohn. The hunting was fantastic. In seven days, we killed five elk and a bear, had wild parties around the campfire at night, and enjoyed fantastic meals such as stuffed elk loin, wild mushrooms, farm-fresh eggs, grilled elk steaks, and myriad other delights.

Since the area is not very large, and is surrounded by golf courses on one side, private land on another, and a small section of National Forest up top, we hunted from treestands and ground blinds up to the end of the season to keep from pushing the elk off of Greg’s ranch. The second to last day of the season, I was sitting up high on the ranch and heard several bulls bugling all around me. So, I gathered my gear and went for a walk.

The wind was perfect as I dropped down the mountain below a bugling bull and began my stalk back up below him. It was near dark … time was of the essence. I finally came to a spot about 75 yards or so below the bugling bull, nocked an arrow, and gave a few cow calls.

There was a chirp, then a sick bugle … the thought of calling in another hunter went through my mind. Then a small cow came out of the stand of aspens above and called while walking straight at me. Then a five-point bull appeared and followed her down, then another … this one a 4×4, the minimum legal bull for this area … and finally a smaller bull.

As the four came down the hill, the cow damn near ran into me, barked, jumped, and trotted off. The 4×4 stopped broadside up the hill, silhouetted against the western sky. The arrow took him low through one lung and the liver marking one of the most successful and fun elk hunts I have been on, with great friends, great memories, and several hundred pounds of delicious elk meat in the freezers.

Now, if 2012 will be so good!

Seal Beach Surfing — Day 2

Great day yesterday, although the surf was only 1-2 feet. Still, had to make the best of the situation. My friend Lori Pritchard and her son Noah met us around 8 a.m., as well as several other friends we have made in the last two days. Noah went out with us while Lori took video and still images. Lots of people, but all great folks in the water. And although the surf was small, it was still better than working!

Today, Lori is going to come out with us … her first time surfing!

All images were shot by Lori.

Surfing Oregon and Beyond …

Early November, I felt the need to escape Idaho and head to the northern Oregon coast for some surfing. It had been over 30 years since I had been on a surfboard, and the storm that ensued while there was not very conducive to great waves. Didn’t matter, though; I went out two of the three days and had a blast.

Today, I am flying to Long Beach, California, to spend five days surfing with my son around Seal Beach. He has never surfed, even though the lives about a mile from the beach in San Diego, so I am treating him to some surf lessons from my friend Michael Pless, owner of M&M Surfing. I rented a fully furnished 2-bedroom apartment a few blocks from the beach from where we will base our trip. Should be a blast, and at least the weather will be better than it was in Oregon last month: 45°F, and absolutely wild and unmanageable surf.

Flight leaves here at 1:30 and arrives Long Beach this evening around 6:30, with a few hours’ layover in Phoenix … hey, free ticket so the indirect flight is of little worry to me!