Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two codgers on horseback from Paradise to Idaho's Snake River


Back in June 1990 Loyal McCammond and his friend Bert Lefevre told their wives they'd be making a 700-mile horseback ride from Paradise to Glenns Ferry (where Bert's brother-in-law lived) near the Snake River in Idaho. Loyal was 50-years-old, Bert 70, and the two set out with three mules and two horses and not many smarts.

When it was over, Bert wanted to write the story of the 27-day trek but passed away before the project could be completed. Loyal took up the task, recounting their misadventures in Bert's voice and in so doing introducing readers to a plain-spoken man with an eye for beauty, given to understatement and deadpan humor. Bert comes alive in "We Poked A Hole In The Wind: The Story of Two Old Codgers Fulfilling A Dream" ($10.95 in paperback from JADA Press) by Loyal McCammond.

McCammond, who now lives in Orland with his wife, will be signing copies of his work at Lyon Books in Chico this Wednesday, June 29 at 7:00 p.m.

The trekkers "crossed the Skyway at the Lovelock Inn," says Bert, "and, oh man how I wanted to stop for a beer. I've always been a very reliable beer drinker, and I sure wanted a beer mighty bad." But it was not to be. There were deserts to cross and parts of four states to traverse. So no beer--until they, uh, pulled into the Inskip Inn.

But now onward! Along the way the travelers meet a succession of nice folks, people who provide a place to crash, food for the animals and the adults, and a bit of trail guidance. Bert and Loyal don't hew to roadways if they can help it, and sometimes there's not much of a trail. Here and there they find lonely windmills still pumping fresh water, abandoned barns in which to take shelter, and even places that serve beer.

Preparing to cross into Nevada, they spend the night in an empty cabin. The next day, says Bert, "when we were about five miles out from Wemple's cabin, I made a terrible discovery. I had either lost my teeth or left them in the cabin."

Intrepid, Bert soldiers on, leaning forward, living the dream, poking a hole in the wind.

No comments: