It is August of 1980.
We are barreling down a dirt road in the Okanagan Wilderness: Me, Aaron Todd, my brother Jimmy and my wife to be, Judith.
It is already dark, we are in a hijacked car with electrical issues and we left two guys tied to a tree back at the Fire Creek trailhead. It isn’t good.
“You know there’s hardly any gas in the VW and there’s no gas station open in Winthrop now and we don’t have enough fuel to get over the mountains.”
“I guess we’ll have to stay in Winthrop”, said Jim.
“I guess so.” Right now we were mostly thinking about what we would eat and drink at the saloon in Winthrop since we had been in the woods for four days. I was thinking a beer and a cheeseburger.
Fucking fly rod broken, I can’t believe it. I got it from John Purple of Trout Unlimited when I took a class with him in 1972. I had just gotten out of the Navy and I was doing my best Ernest Hemingway interpretation of a war torn human. I would reclusively fish the Battenkill River near the Vermont border.
We approached the lights of Winthrop, not a large town but with a little action.
We parked in front of the saloon and walked in. It was pretty crowded with a variety of locals and tourists.
Judith got on the pay phone and called the sheriff and reported our ordeal.
She then started calling local motels and hotels with no success.
We were now drinking Rainier beer and wolfing cheeseburgers.
We were animatedly discussing our options for the night when a woman at the end of the bar said, “You can stay at my place.”
Judith said, “Really?”
“Yes, I have a newly finished cabin ten minutes from here and I can go stay with my boyfriend. There are fresh ranch eggs for breakfast and a variety of dehydrated veggies. You could make a great omelet in the morning.
Give me fifty bucks and here’s the key.”
The deal was struck.