The Man Who Wasn’t There…

toledo

Toledo skyline

NOVEMBER 2018
by dal…

 

I hadn’t intended on searching in Utah. Please let me state, for the record, that I knew the chest wouldn’t be there but I didn’t want to let Ike down.

I first met Ike about 46 years ago in the control room at a Toledo TV station. I last saw Ike about 40 years ago. He had recently turned 55. We were at a table in Brenda’s Body Shop, a strip joint not far from the station. It was a mirror clad bar with a rotating reflective ball attached to the sparkly, star studded black ceiling, There were three small stages scattered around the floor. Brenda served pretty good sandwiches, played loud country music and employed a squadron of sweet gals trying to make a living using what god gave them. A good place for a lunch break if you worked the 4p to sign-off shift like me, Ike and an eclectic collection of downtown Toledo night shift workers.

In 1972 running a TV station took one enormous amount of electricity and a bizarrely skilled swarm of human beings…lots of them. There was no such thing as automation…color TV was in it’s young years and even broadcast quality video tape recorders were a relative novelty. TV technology was fascinating and growing like a Labradoddle on steroids. 

At that point in my life I aspired to direct live soap operas in NYC. General Hospital, As the World Turns, that kind of thing. Everyone’s got to have a dream. Live melodrama and all the bizarre accoutrements and technical challenges that accompanied such a lunatic concept appealed to me. In the mean time I was directing news, talk shows, commercials, kids shows, religious shows, political programs and what ever other humdrum fodder made up the daily program schedule on every mid-sized TV station in every urban, blue collar town across the USA. I dreamed of bigger venues, not knowing how ill-suited I was to prosper in them.

On my first day in the Toledo studio, Buddy, the program manager escorted me to the control room door and then got way-layed by a question from someone in the hallway. I waited politely for a few moments but when the discussion lingered I cheekily walked into the control room on my own to introduce myself. 

Studio control rooms in 1972 were not the comfy, lounge-like, creatiive environments they are today. They were utilitarian, technical, stark. Often narrow, cramped, and as dark as the inside of a submarine recently hit by a depth charge and headed to the bottom.

Studio control rooms were built for rapid accessibility to the guts of the complicated and often esoteric racks of electronics and miles of wires it took to keep a TV station on the air in the 60s and 70s. Accessibility was vitally important since every electronic module was either broken, breaking or being repaired. These control rooms were manned by often eccentric technicians of the pocket protector variety and had an atmosphere more industrial-like than den-like. There were steel gray racks of humming electronic devices that did “who knew what” emitting glowing red shafts of light, lots of heat and a very subtle vibration and hum. The room smelled of warm lead solder and warmer bakelite. The racks of electronics displayed white signs with frightening black skulls, even more frightening exploding lightning bolts and text that read, “Danger, High Voltage”. But to the pocket protector clan, it was home. 

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’69 Saab Sonnet

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Vintage HAM Radio station.

These guys were geeks before geeks were a thing. Many drove shark-like Saabs that were more airplane than car, had HAM radios they built at home and bought Hammond tonewheel electnic organs so they could tear them apart and remake them to meet some arcane sound standard that could make your ears bleed. I had, and still have, the highest respect for them.

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Hammond B3 Organ

I entered the control room, climbed the two steps to the operating level and headed over to the empty chair at the center of the studio control console. This would be the director’s position. To my right was the sound engineer at his knobbed audio board. Turntables, cart machines, a patch panel and an audio tape library of music and sound effects cluttered his space. Nick was wearing brown wing-tips, argyle socks, brown dress pants with inch-and-a-half cuffs, and a white, short-sleeved shirt with plastic pocket protector. Nick was fast asleep, head in hands, elbows on the console. My entering did nothing to disturb him. 

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Vintage broadcast audio console

By 1973 I had been working in TV for several years and I was pretty acquainted with control room life. It was like sailing a yacht across the ocean blue. Moments of absolute adrenaline pushing pandemonium followed by hours of mind numbing placidity. Although management rarely knew what the control room crowd was up to in their moments of calmness, the comfy warmth, the quiet hum of charged tubes, the absence of glaring lights suggested a quick nap.The real surprise was the large hearing aid Nick was wearing.

The sound guy was wearing a hearing aid. 

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A 70s era TV station control room. Video switcher is on the left.

To my left was the video engineer’s position. This is the area that you generally see in any photo of a control room. The massive video switcher with countless rows of warm glowing buttons and a wall of cathode ray tubes emitting images from every device that could make pictures including cameras, film chains, video tape machines, network feeds, field microwave units, character generators, waveform monitors, o-scopes and one monitor with text that said “Technical Difficulty, Please Stand-by”…always at the ready. Ike was the video engineer. He was slouched back in his chair. Feet splayed out in front of him. He was snoring. He had on a pair of dark sunglasses and a white cane with a red tip was hanging on the armrest next to him. 

The video guy was blind.

My position at the console had a few clocks and timers a couple of monitors, lots of desk space for scripts and notes and a big double paned window overlooking Studio “A”. We all had headsets to communicate with one another and the additional collection of geeks in other parts of the building, video tape, film, the announcer, the stage manager, the camera operators….and so on. Right now we were on the NBC network feed so the crew was free until the network show was finished.

I looked at Ike, sleeping…and then at Nick, sleeping. I smiled…I had a plan…this would be a career defining moment that would allow me into their confidence They would be indebted to me. I would prove myself a worker-bee equal rather then a company guy rat. I had to wake Nick and Ike.

I set the big analog timer in front of me for 10 seconds and let it go off. Very loud buzz. Ike and Nick both jerked in their chairs and looked, first at what was on-air, then at me…pretty much a glower. 

“HI.” I said.

Silence. Glower.

“Buddy is right outside the door and he should be in here anytime.” I said, showing my ace in the hole.

Nick grabbed his hearing aid off his head and shoved it in a drawer while Ike took off his sunglasses and hung his cane where it wouldn’t be seen.

Silence but no glower.

Nick said, “I’m Nick”, and held out his hand.

“Dal” I said, wondering if Nick could hear me.

“Ike”, said Ike.

Then he picked up a white paper cup next to the switcher and spit some of his chew into it.

He held it up and said, “Can’t smoke in here, You smoke?”

“No”, I said.

“Good”, he said and put his cup back down on the console, folded his arms across his chest and turned to watch what was on-air.

End of introductions.

For days I was thoroughly distracted by the hearing aid and cane…

I never saw those appliances again. Even though I saw Ike and Nick daily. It wasn’t til after I actually got to know those two that I decided to ask Ike about it.

“We heard a new director was coming by so Nick and I thought it would be funny if the sound guy wore a hearing aid and I looked like I was blind. So we got those things and put them on and waited. You was late. We fell asleep. We thought it was pretty good  that you didn’t let Buddy catch us.”

So it was. Over the remainder of my time in Toledo Ike and I carved out a pretty good relationship. We worked well together but we also played together sometimes. According to Ike, we hunted rabbits and ducks, although I cannot recall ever doing that. We had sandwiches at Brenda’s, chilli dogs at Tony Packo’s and burgers at Ted’s or Kewpee’s a hundred times.  

Ike stayed at the TV station until he retired. I moved on after a couple of years. I probably worked at a dozen TV stations and production companies across the country between then and now. I lost contact with everything and everyone each time I moved. Then one day a year or so ago, I got curious about Ike. I looked him up. There was a Toledo news story about his WWII exploits that mentioned his work as a spotter-radioman-gunner on a bi-winged aircraft off the USS Witchita. I remember Ike telling stories about those days. He had managed to join the Navy at 15 in 1939…before the war even started. 

ike

Ike

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The USS Wichita during WWII. Note the biplanes on the catapults at the stern.

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A Curtis SOC “Seagull”, scout plane like the one Ike worked from.

“We’d catapult off the ship, zero to 80mph in 40ft! That could clear your sinuses.”

After some light digging around on the internet I found his home phone number and called.

Ike was 95. Still telling stories and still living in the hand crafted home that he built with his own tools when he came home from the war. But what surprised me most was that he remembered me. His eyesight was shot. The world was a dark blur. He kept falling down and at least once he couldn’t get up and had to lay on the floor a couple days til a neighbor came by. His beautiful wife had died a few months earlier. He missed her deeply.

At some point, on one of our phone calls, Ike asked me what I was up to. I told him I was still working in TV and then told him about Forrest and TTOTC. He was curious and asked me to read the poem to him. I did. When I finished reading it he said, “Again”. So I read it again.

“Again!” he requested excitedly. I read it again.

“Again!” he demanded and again I read it to him.

“What are you hearing?” I asked him.

“So was this Forrest character a radio engineer?” Ike inquired?

“He was trained as a radioman in the Air Force but he lost interest in that line and became a jet pilot. Flew F-100s in Vietnam. Got shot down a couple times.

Silence.

“There’s code in that poem.” Ike stated.

“That’s what a lot of people think.” I said.

“Radioman and then pilot, eh!!”. He said. “You ever hear of North Wash?”

“Nope”. I replied. “I have no idea what that means.”

“It’s in the poem.” He explained. “It says ‘North Wash at 95’”.

“That means nothing to me”. I said.

“Well you look it up because that’s where something important is.” he replied.

“What else do you see in that poem?” I asked.

“There’s more in that thing, that’s for sure. But you figure out North Wash at 95 first.”

“How come I’ve never seen this “code” your seeing? I asked.

“I dunno. Your not the brightest star in the sky. You’re a director for chrissakes. I’m surprised you can read it, let alone decode it.”

“OK, Thanks for the splendid analysis Ike.”

“Well I don’t know why you can’t see it. It’s right there big as day.”

After a few more minutes of talking , we said goodbye. I promised to call him back in awhile, and hung up.

Eventually, I came around to the idea of fooling around with “North Wash at 95”. But I had other things to do before I could think about Ike’s advice. There was my job, the blog and the grass needed a mow and Ezy’s oil needed changing and there were dishes in the sink and a “honey do” list that was growing…so I stalled around for a few weeks before I started in.

I looked at a lot of things when I finally got going on the words. It didn’t really matter what I looked at though because little, if anything, opened up any doors.

I started with the obvious. I looked for 95 mile lake, zip.

I looked for hwy 95 and found one in CO that was about 14miles long heading north out of Denver, also known as Sheridan Boulevard.

I found another through Glenrock, WY that is about 20 miles long.

US 95 traverses the continent North to South but doesn’t touch any state where Forrest’s box is located.

NM 95 is a 14 mile road that runs from Heron Lake State Park to Tierra Amarilla….That’s a possibility!! But Cynthia and Michael and Desertphile have turned over every rock in that country. I’ve looked in that county too but my searches there had nothing to do with a North Wash and after examining the Rio Arriba county map with a magnifying glass I could find nothing named North Wash…Stymied!!

Over the next several weeks I would reluctantly and randomly do a little more searching around in the dozens of map indexes and atlases that I own to see if I could find anything that could be associated with “North Wash at 95”. After that, I forgot about it.

Then in August of this year Kathy and I headed out on a vacation to visit her relatives in Missouri. We went the scenic route through ID, WY, NE, KS, OK, AR and up into Missouri. On the way back we bee-lined to Santa Fe to say “hi” to Forrest and Peggy and then headed northwest to home. Ezy had a breakdown in Cortez, CO and I had to leave her there for a new engine transplant. In October I returned to Cortez to pick up the born-again Ezy. While I was in Cortez I was talking with the nice folks at the Tomahawk Motel where I stayed and they asked how I was going to head home.

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“I don’t know.” I said. “Hadn’t given it much thought really. I’ll take the blue highways I guess. I don’t want to drive Ezy over 60 for the first thousand miles on that new engine.” 

“Well,” the motel owner said. “You should think about taking the Bicentennial Highway through Utah from Blanding up to Hanksville. It’s probably one of the most scenic roads in the country and there won’t be any traffic this time of year.”

“Sounds perfect.” I said. 

“Take it to Lake Powell and then it follows the North Wash pretty much to Hog Canyon….”

Silence

“North Wash?” I queried.

“Yeah.” she said. 

Back to my room for some quick map checking and guess what! The bicentennial Highway is Utah Route 95. North Wash at 95. Look HERE.

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UT-95 from Blanding to Hanksville in Southern Utah.

“But it’s Utah.” I decried…No one heard me.

I had to go home somehow. That was as good a way as any…better than most…

I stopped along the way to grab a few photos and even though I’d never admit this in writing, I stopped a few places where the road and the wash were particularly close and I searched.

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I looked for warm waters halting…I squinted…I touched…I asked Ezy about it…nothing…

I hiked slowly up a few blind canyons. Rocks and creeks and color enough to dazzle my brain. I saw ruins of prehistoric settlers. I saw petroglyphs. I saw magnificent scabbed and canyoned country as jaw dropping as any on this planet.

It’s the most dramatic landscape I’ve ever stared at…red, brown and purple rocks torn from the earth’s guts…raw and belligerent… while others formed by wind and rain were domes and hoodoos and arches. Not a flat piece of landscape in any direction except the winding asphalt of Rt. 95. Who was brave enough to live here?

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I called Ike to tell him I found his place…but he didn’t answer the phone.

I settled for a few calendar images of the magnificent rock and color and continued on my two day journey home.

A couple weeks went by before I would call Ike again. Same old reasons.

I got a note from his neighbor that old Ike had been moved to a nursing home. 

That’s the worst. When they don’t let you live in your own home anymore.

I tried to get hold of Ike but it was fruitless. No one answered in his room. Sleeping I figured. Probably turns the ringer off.

Finally I did get him, “Your dime!” he answered. I laughed. But then the bad news.

He wasn’t Ike anymore. He didn’t know who I was. He didn’t know who he was…

Good god, spare me that phase of life!

I told him I found his place and it was beautiful.

“Thats good.” he said and then hung up.

Note to self: “Don’t procrastinate!”

So I don’t know anything more of Ike’s Code, which is okay because Forrest as much as said there are no codes needed…and it’s not in Utah and…and…and…

But I’m really glad I travelled that way..on Route 95 along North Wash. Really glad…

Thanks Ike…not bad for a blind video engineer.

-dal

92 thoughts on “The Man Who Wasn’t There…

  1. All of my friends from that generation are gone now.
    I used to go driving around the area near Ennis, Montana with one good friend He had been a cowboy on the ranches near Three Forks before joining the Marines during WW2 and going to fight in the Philippines. He wouldn’t talk about that part of his life. We liked to drive up the Madison and Jefferson rivers. We would look at the scenery, and he would point out the buffalo runs old camps, and ranches where he worked. We would talk about life, religion and philosophy. Once he quipped:
    “Kids these days don’t even know how to hitch a team.”
    It took all the inner strength that I had to keep from laughing. I held it in. But, I can laugh now. He was a good man and we had some good times.

  2. Dal;

    What a great story, a deaf audio man, and a blind video man – Fun – Fun.

    Loved your photo’s. Went that way once – BEAUTIFUL!!! Thanks for sharing.

    Sorry about Ike. Age gets us all. 🙁 JDA

  3. I used to have a ‘71 Saab Sonnet, it was a blast. Mine had flip up lights that were activated by a large t-handle under the dash that you pull. The seatbelt was a fancy hook that clipped onto a u-bolt that was between the seats. It was also front wheel drive with a smooth bottom that allowed you to “ski” over drifts.

    • Mark-
      I myself had one…a ’75 I think. Competition orange. The headlights would always freeze in the down position when it got cold and the gas tank was directly behind my head while I was driving down the road…scary little vehicle but fun to drive…

  4. Excellent, excellent read Dal!!! Thanks for sharing! Made me miss my radio days even more…
    You are an exceptional writer. 🙂

  5. I truly enjoyed your story, Dal. I’m glad you were able to reunite with your friend. Your note to self is one we should all take note.

    • Unfortunately procrastination is something we all do to some degree…I certainly wish I had procrastinated about the lawn mowing rather than getting back to Ike…

  6. Dal,that was an interesting story,my husband in the early 70s,used to fix old tvs,they were the kind with the bulbs,and pc boards.he loved it.those pictures were pretty,glad you went.tell mr. forrest we need a story from him,if he can.I miss that.things seem to be getting boring lately,need a pick me up story.I can’t figure out forrest numbers or jennys treasure hunts.your blog and jennys is what I want to stay with.there is too many blogs that has popped up and can get you confused.

  7. Dal,
    Quick question for ya. If I remember correctly earlier this year(April-ish) you had mentioned something about Peggy not doing well. Since you stopped in to see Forrest and Peggy is there any way you can give us a simple update on how they are doing? I think we’re all more than concerned and the fact that your comment towards the end of the story “Note to self:..“Don’t procrastinate!”” takes on a new meaning, possibly.

    I understand it’s kind of a personal issue but seeing as how you had mentioned it earlier in the year(If I remember correctly) maybe you could give us an update? I for one would make a more concerted effort if need be but I’m looking to order OUAW-Revised and then give it a go. It’s more than a confirmation bias reading for me but it would be nice to get some kind of an update if at all possible.

    Don’t chew on me too hard. I’m nobody special but it would be nice to hear some good news if at all possible.

    Thanks

    ByGeorge

      • Dal,
        Thank you for that! If I remember correctly it was around April or so but I guess I could be wrong on the person whom mentioned it on here but it doesn’t matter as long as Peggy is doing well, and of course Forrest. 🙂

        Thank you Dal for all you do for us! Your hard work and determination to keep a solid blog is much appreciated! And the story was a bit refreshing and the pictures are the bomb! So much beautiful country to see in God’s country!

        Carry on Dal!

  8. Enjoyed the story Dal! When reading about a deaf audio man and a blind video guy, I found myself recalling the scene from “Murder By Death” between blind butler Alec Guinness and deaf maid Nancy Walker (remember the old Bounty quicker pickerupper commercials?) Talk about a failure to communicate, and of course hilarity ensues…

    • Zaphod73491,
      In regards to the “Bounty” commercials, and hilarity ensuing? And before that Mrs. Cogburn speaking of a “Doofass”? And you pointing out how when the Dizzy Dean SB-188 came out, how it fit your solve. Could it be YOU in which Forrest speaks of with the “falure to communicate”? I just wonder how many claim that SB was aimed their way but don’t want to claim the DOOFASS / Failure to communicate? SMH. Maybe we need to get NDKarl to do some more posting so we all have a better chance to end this on a positive note? 🙂

      And I’m not trying to be a jerk. Just pointing out a valid fact if it’s YOU. And don’t forget the “Map” on Rooster’s post as well. You said “Thanks Forrest”, am I correct? If it’s you then isn’t that kind of ironic? It’s YOU in which he speaks of? The way I look at it is you can’t take credit on one hand and deny it on the other, right? Where’s NDKarl? We need some INPUT on the matter!

      Carry on Zaphod73491!

      • ByGeorge: hmm, speaking of a failure to communicate! I only mentioned the Bounty commercial for the benefit of people who might not know who Nancy Walker was. The funny scene was between Guinness and her, not a dumb Bounty commercial. None of this has anything to do with the Chase — I was just sharing a movie that Dal’s story reminded me of.

        “Could it be YOU in which Forrest speaks of with the “falure to communicate”? I just wonder how many claim that SB was aimed their way but don’t want to claim the DOOFASS / Failure to communicate? ”

        I have no idea what you’re referring to with “failure to communicate” or doofass — if it’s some new SB that’s come out or a new MW Weekly Words, I haven’t seen it.

        As for SB188 having any hints, Ken asked and I answered honestly: that there was something in it that worked for my solution. I also said it could be illusory as I recall. When hints are subtle, confirmation bias runs rampant.

        • Zaphod73491,
          Thanks for the reply! 🙂 You covered everything but the MAP that “Mrs. Cogburn” posted and you said it needed to be rotated 90 degrees and then in your comments you said “thanks Forrest” and Lugnutz even pointed out your words to you if I remember correctly?
          It’s no big deal. I’m just pointing out some things is all. I’m also just playing with ya. Run Logan Run! And how about that NDKarl? No mention of him either young man. 🙂 I get a knot in my stomach when I see him post also but it’s a yummy knot. 🙂

          Carry on Zaphod73491!

          • The map rotation business sounds familiar and definitely like something I would say, but my memory fails me on the specifics. Hard for me to search for it on my phone (which is all I’ve got for now). Was it a month or two ago and involving a map near the Colorado border with hand-written comments on it by a searcher? If so, I think I can find that…

          • Ahh: found it. SB 193. I see I never got a reply from Rooster as to why she rotated the Google map 90 degrees from north-up. Any further commentary about it should go there.

    • I have to say that as I get older my hearing is getting rougher and rougher and although it was a funny sketch I find myself more frustrated than amused these days… 🙂

    • I rarely tell stories outside the blog except during Treasure Hunting presentations that I give once in awhile.
      When I am in anyone’s company I generally find it more rewarding to listen rather than talk…

  9. Good story Dal, I enjoyed it…. there are so many times over the years when we’ve all said to ourselves “I should have”, made that phone call, took that trip, sent that card.. etc… thanks for reminding us that it’s the little things that are so huge in life and not to procrastinate… you better go check Ezzy’s oil and don’t put it off… until next time… see ya

  10. Wow, I mean really wow. Great story. I feel so incompetent after reading your post. I knew you were a terrific photographer, but this story is a home run.

    After attending the raffle in Santa Fe, my wife and I did the Arches, Canyon Lands, , Bryce and Zion thing and flew out of Vegas back to PA. I’m looking at my photos and I don’t think they quite compare to yours. You set a high standard that is hard to match. So, this past week I decided to treat myself to a Christmas gift and finally upgrade my photo equipment. I ordered a new 7200 Nikon to replace my 40 year old 35mm Nikon FE. I don’t know if I’ll get back to Santa Fe again or do another search in Montana, but if I do, I’m ready. I’m so into this that I even purchased a photographer’s vest. I know, it’s so over the top. Old men like their toys too. I’m no exception,

  11. I liked this story, dal. A very fun read this morning! I’m with you on being intrigued by Ike’s seemingly quick and firm conviction on the “North Wash at 95” being easily apparent in the poem, even though it involves ciphers and points to Utah. This makes me want to look into radio jargon to figure out how Ike may have arrived at this conclusion, but at the same time I’m wary of rabbit holes!

    Perhaps “Wash” is an abbreviation for “Washington”? Plenty of Washingtons all over the map. Perhaps 95 is a shorthand reference to an elevation or a date?

    • Another thought: Maybe Ike was just pulling your leg and having some fun with you, dal? I mean, the man did go through the trouble of pretending to be a blind man (with props!) for the sake of a prank. Maybe knowing that this was something you were obsessing over, he thought it would be fun to toss a red herring in your path for a chuckle?

      If Ike DID seem to know some obvious solution to the poem, did he ever express interest in going to get the treasure for himself or with you? If not, it seems fishy.

      • FWIW, there’s a “Brown’s Bottom” labeled on GE just north of North Wash below the Hite Overlook (Not to mention a “Dirty Devil River”).

        Other 95’s that may lead you somewhere: There are a couple of County Road 95’s in Colorado: One southwest of Wiggins (way in the plains), and one south of Florence (at the eastern edge of the foothills). Maybe one of those will lead you somewhere interesting?

  12. I enjoyed reading this story, even more than those in the noted four search states. Your accomplished story telling was vivid and the photos lent alot to the scenic vision. I had to look up the definition of “wash”, and if instead of North associated with the name of a place … if you use North simply as a direction, e.g., travel North to the wash … may be the key. Also, according to Merriam Webster, a synonym for wash = marsh, and then look further and a synonym for marsh = fen … so there is still hope for Ike’s decoding skills, may he rest in peace.

    • Also, forgot to mention. The last pic posted. My imagination may get the better of me … because, when I look at this pic, I see a bit of Mt Rushmore. I always was good at finding objects on bathroom marble tiles, panelling, wood grain in doors, and most especially cloud formations.

      Until the new search season in 2019. Hope it finds everyone in good health so as to carry on. I had to skip this season due to several hospitalizations. I was just discharged last week from what I hope is the last hospital stay for a while. Time will tell … and as always Safety First.

      In my honest opinion on both posts, mostly the previous one.

    • Wash is what a pilot sees when his propeller in front of him is spinning so fast it looks almost unmoving…like the one above the JF in the drawing on page 99…the blades…

      • What were we talking about??? Ha! That is true too, but he did ask you to repeat a few times. I don’t know, maybe I see where North Wash came from but that 95 is something else.

  13. Hmmm…
    “I would prove myself a worker-bee…”
    “On the way back we bee-lined to Santa Fe…”

    Utah, the beehive state.
    Nice touch, Dal.

  14. My unending gratitude for the best blog ever! Your stories, along with Forrest’s scrapbooks and other contributions have entertained and inspired me since I found you in 2013. The scenery around Lake Powell is some of the most breathtaking anywhere and it is great to see them in the your story. So thank you for another enjoyable story and thank you Forrest for everything! I feel blessed to have found a family of fellow searchers!!

  15. Cool Read Dal, thanks.
    Brings back lots of memories for me. My first paying job was as a videotape playback operator at a community TV station in the late 70’s. I got to do everything: cameras, lighting, sound, telecine, character generator, field work, directing, color balancing on the vectorscope, cleaning the heads…forever cleaning the heads. We were still using thick reel to reel video tape when I started and monstrous cameras but transitioned to cassette and portable cameras. It would have made for an exciting career to be sure.

    Hilarious about the canes and hearing aids!

    Fascinating that Ike would ask you whether Forrest was a radio technician and that he heard a message in there that is not obvious to us. Thanks for sharing that.

    • Thanks Arg-
      I am sure that whatever other career path you decided on…it was the right one…
      I certainly remember quad tape machines…and head cleaning…and I remember lugging TK43 color cameras up to the top of a few stadiums. Those things were about the size of Volkswagen Beetles…with handles…

  16. Thank you for writing this , Dal! What an interesting career you have had! As for Ike, I always listen up when older folks have advice. They have been on this planet much longer and we can learn a lot we don’t know. Now I have to do some research on radio operations! Take care.

  17. Hi Dal, Great Story. How about if you folded the route, from Blanding to Hanksville, over, a mirrow image, back on to Colorado?

      • Hi Dal, Your friend Ike saw something in the poem, that was familiar to him, based on his professional experience. When Mr. Fenn wrote the poem, He could have inadvertently, included information in the poem that he wasn’t aware of. Some times connections can made, in un thought of ways. I flipped the image of the route , over in my head, on to Colorado, and saw a town called Pinion. I thought it was a surprising coincidence, because of Mr. Fenn saying that he could smell pinion nuts at the hiding place.

  18. That was a fantastic yarn, Dal. You really have a gift for storytelling. And picture-taking. I much enjoyed this post. Thank you!

  19. Well written story, Dal. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    For fun, I had a look at where 95 and North Wash meet and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s an exemplary hoB right smack dab in the middle of it. On Google Maps it’s labeled as “Brown’s Bottom” and is directly across from Hite Overlook.

    Classic…

    • ATT…
      There are so many good avenues to chase when solving the poem…it seems to me that seriously considering this area in Utah as a likely hidey spot is unreasonable.

    • Linda-
      Thanks-
      UT95 is a well maintained, two lane, paved highway.
      I was thinking about my last phone call with Ike when he no longer remembered who I was or who he was. The event haunted me and it reminded me of the poem “Antigonish” by William Hughes Mearns. You’ve probably heard it:

      Yesterday, upon the stair,
      I met a man who wasn’t there
      He wasn’t there again today
      I wish, I wish he’d go away…

  20. Great story Dal,
    I wish I could write like that.
    While traveling a couple years ago, we stumbled upon a Kewpee’s in Ohio. I had never heard of them before.
    That was not only a great burger, but it was a fun experience.

  21. Good story- old friend of mine, Bob McLaughlin, was a radio technician in WWII. He was a civilian, and I think he worked for Raytheon. He worked his way across the Pacific theatre fixing ship’s radios. When he was done with one vessel they’d send him across by bosuns chair to the next one, a hairy way to travel. Afterwards he was an electrical engineer. I knew him after his retirement. I knew his daughter and we both liked boats, so we got along well. We’d drink coffee and he’d tell me stories like how when he and his wife first came to our town they and their friends liked to drink and get up to mischief. The town undertaker had an old horse drawn hearse with a row of lever action spikes down the middle that was supposed to secure the casket in transit. One night they stole the hearse and went for a joy ride down Main Street, which was a long hill. Some of them pulled on the pole and one lay down on the bed as the “corpse.” Things went okay for a while but then they got going too fast and had to let go- in the confusion somebody yanked the lever and the spikes poked the corpse, who sat up and screamed as the hearse sailed through the intersection and plunged into the trees at the bottom of the hill. After the microbursts of ’91 smashed up our town we met Bob and his wife wandering through the ruins. He invited us to go sailing on his steel cutter (like a sloop) after the hurricane passed. Bob had spent ten years building the boat and I helped him launch it in the spring. A few days later he called me to help him with the boat again. The storm broke the mooring line and the cutter ended up on the rocky shore across from Adams Point. It was too heavy for a tug to drag it off so we spent a day hauling lead ingots out of the hold and dumping them off the boat. The boat was laying at such an extreme angle that I had vertigo the whole time. Any other boat would have been smashed to pieces but the cutter wasn’t even scratched, and Bob floated her at the next tide-

    • The thing about those WWII radio engineers is that they built from scratch many of the TV stations around the country. Although the technology had been around since before the war most of the TV stations were built in the years following WWII…1946-1952 and it was the radio techs from WWII that designed and built them. Pretty resourceful folks…

  22. Amazing story and photos Dal and I am reminded that one of the tricks/techniques I have read about back in the day was that Navy ships would look up frequencies on a chart based on geographic location and time of day. Which definitely could be related to the chase as we have geographic locations and we have 24 lines in the poem. Just Idle thoughts and musings.

      • I also noticed your map of 95 and 191 look rather symmetrical and like an arrowhead (imo). Though I would also guess that if Ike could discern that from hearing the poem then someone else with similar experience should as well. Which makes me think that at best it might help get you to the correct State (with all the pieces) or a general area.

  23. Dal – Wow. Awesome story!!!

    Ike said, “But you figure out North Wash at 95 first”. And Forrest said finding WWWH comes first in The Poem. And the Washburn Party was there at yours/my WWWH first, before it became a National Park. They named lots of stuff and made maps. They probably used Celestial Navigation, like pilots always do. The brightest star in the sky for that is the North Star.

    This was published in 1895 by Chittenden. Read the first few paragraphs. The appendix about naming is interesting, also.

    https://www.gutenberg.org/files/42112/42112-h/42112-h.htm

    I will be reading this over the next few days, and I will let you know if I find anything. So interesting!

  24. Your story reminds me of my days as a transmitter Engineer at an AM station in the early 60’s. Nothing so esoteric as a TV studio, with all of its geeky instruments. It was a great job for a college student. Solo gig, read the meters every half hour – or make the log look like you did – and study the rest of the time. Those were the days, my friend!

    Shortly after that, I got involved in my first treasure hunt. A bunch of guys were going down to search Indian Key (Monroe county, FL), which was an old wrecker’s colony. They needed metal detectors, so that was my ticket for the trip. I built metal detectors.

    We landed, looked, and found every damn pop-top on the island. At the center of the Island, we found an old foundation – several, actually – one of which had a recently re-dug hole about 2 1/2 feet square going down to the water table. It was old- the coral sides of the hole were oxidized gray – but it was newly dug, because the bright chips on the side testified that a shovel or other tool had been recently in contact.

    Someone got something besides dirt out of that hole, and it wasn’t us.

    I’d almost forgotten about that adventure until the Chase came to my attention earlier this year.

    Maybe I picked the wrong career?

  25. Thank you, Dal, for another wonderful story. I apologize for procrastinating writing this comment. I hope to drive that stretch of road someday… your pictures are beautiful.

    For all you folks who read this story and commented on Dal’s incredible writing skills, if you haven’t already read all his stories here on his website, you should. Look under “Dal’s Search Stories” / “Dal’s Adventures.” They go back to 2011… make sure to read Coyote Part 1 and Part 2.

  26. Dal what a great story! It sounds like Ike was a true friend and a card at that! LOL
    I have never driven that particular route but I do love Utah!
    Another thing I love is the Hammond B3 organ when it is teamed with a Leslie speaker!

    Thanks for sharing this interesting part of your life. You are one interesting dude! I certainly hope that our paths cross again in the not to distant future! Tom

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