We had a 'few' beers to cut the dust, then a great 'ranch' dinner and early to bed.
Next morning - up early, coffee, brekkie, MORE coffee, then grab the rifles, shells, and lunch, and head S to a particularly 'troublesome' field (that I had helped clear something in excess of 650 gophers from, LAST year) of somewhere between a quarter and half-section, and start 'culling'....
As the day ran on we saw clouds forming N and NE, while the radio mentioned showers overnight, rain tomorrow. Not good news, so we continued our 'cull'. By the time 1800 rolled around we estimated that we had sent about 1,000 gophers to their 'happy hunting ground', unloaded our rifles and headed N for dinner.
As we started onto the gravel there was BIG sign indicating that "GRAVELING IN PROGRESS"....
I asked Harry if he'd mind if, as soon as we got to his house, I 'suited-up' and rode my V down to his feedlot (to store it in one of his buildings), he following to pick me up, and he said he would do it. I had visions of trying to tackle DEEP, wet gravel after a night of rain (so far I have ONLY one DS tire on the GREEN HORNET TOO, a Shinko 705 on the rear, while the front Dunlop 222 is anything BUT a DS tire - and waiting on a front 705 shipped to Oroville, WA, a few hours S of my home) which I did NOT want to do...!
He planned to leave 5 minutes after me, so on the 'pegs and heading S, so far no deep piles, tho' they DID start appearing about half-way down, and at one point, standing on the 'pegs, the bike started to oscillate scaring me pretty good, but I managed to dampen it (saying a prayer...).
I was in the shed, turning everything off when he appeared, so I jumped in and we headed back N. (His pickup was handling the deep gravel MUCH better than the V had....
We arrived back to a great feast of beef from one of his cattle, a few more beers to wet our whistles, watched a movie about some fellows from Texas A&M who bought wild mustangs, then, over several months rode from the Mexican Border to the Canadian Border via the Grand Canyon and Glacier Nat'l Park, just to name a few, then off to bed in the solitude of the Porcupine Hills, the southern foothills of the Canadian Rockies.
Thursday dawned early, the land wet from the continuing overnight showers, and we chatted about whether there was any point to try gopher hunting in the rain, but after a couple of cups of "joe", we decided to give it a 'go'.
As we drove thru the deep, wet gravel, I again thanked him for helping me to move the bike early....
Soon we arrived back at the same field, the one that was at least 1,000 gophers shorter in number than it had been..., and you can imagine our surprise when we saw what looked like a field that had NEVER been hunted...!
We got started right away, firing our .22s, (in the rain...!) eventually heading back to his ranch house around 1800 again, agreeing after looking at all the empty shell boxes, that we'd PROBABLY sent another 6 to 800 gophers to 'heaven'... - or WHEREVER...!
Another great evening, early to bed, then up Friday, the ride to Lethbridge via Fort Macleod now shortened to about two miles of wet gravel before hitting pavement, and I was soon on my way, "Goodbyes" echoing in the damp mountain air.
Back in the early '60s I had had my first motorcycle trip w/ my best friend, from Edmonton, Alberta S thru Kelowna (where I now reside) then Seattle and down the coast to Crescent City, CA, where, seeing that HALF our money was gone, we turned and headed back N.
I hadn't seen Gerry since '62, had learned he was in Fort Macleod and so arranged to stop and renew our friendship. Rode in w/ rain-gear on, spent an hour and a half reminiscing, then back on the V, again heading E.
Got to Lethbridge around 1300, my wife's flight arrived at 1400, then we spent the rest of Friday helping the set-up for the birthday party the next day, had a few beers, then to bed.
GREAT celebration Saturday, then my wife flew back EARLY Sunday (0540, I seem to remember...), and I helped clean up w/ the friends, after my morning walk, where I saw these, about a mile down the road...
Seems the fellow that used to live there had been an RCAF fighter pilot, flying the F-86 Sabre jet (which we called the "Swords"), and had taken plywood to make the horse and driver for the wagon, and the FULL-SIZED F-86 in profile...! I'm pretty sure that this Sword had particular significance to him, and I hope to trace down its serial-number, maybe learning his story....