Author Topic: Mountaintop Adventure!  (Read 1751 times)  

Offline Tyler Danann

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Mountaintop Adventure!
« on: October 05, 2014, 07:55:50 am »
This story chronicles my return to the mountains of Wyoming, where I have a small section of land and the intent to build it up into a holiday home / hunting cabin / Summer / Winter Retreat etc.

Next-door is the legendary Mountain Man Mike who is busy completing his cabin, I'll help him and he'll help me but it'll still be one heck of a challenge.

There are three major factors: It's at 9.500 feet and I / we only have a short 4 month window to build on AND the land is Lord of the Rings steep and partially inaccessible.


So it begins...

The flight from the UK was smooth enough, the vid screens buzzed with Pax Americana.
'Sit back and enjoy the ride!' said the automated air hostess cheerily while their live counterparts went through the motions.
The video screens were set into the bulkheads and there was no turning them off, thankfully a chatterbox woman was next to me and our ramblings breezed away the hours. On my other side a Portuguese fellow fiddled and diddled with his psp videogame -- the old ways and the new I thought during my musings.
We landed at Chicago and once off the plane the fun and games really began. Some women ushered us all into the DHS lanes -- one of them reminded me of a Hispanic grandmother, hard bitten and mean. The other was like something out of King Herod's harem -- all dusky and beguiling with her professional reserve. I didn't have time to chit-chat and I went forward for the rigmarole of fingerprinting and questioning.

'What is your purpose of visiting the USA?' Asked the oriental man in uniform as the questions came thick and fast. He viewed my passport as he did so.

I told him my doings.

'How long do you plan on staying?'

I responded.

'How much money did you bring with you?'

I answered truthfully once more and placed my fingers onto the scanner as directed.

SLAM

A big stamp slammed the appropriate months of stay into my gleaming new passport, complete with embassy approved visa

A big red circle was made around a section of my immigration form and I was waved on through though and the arrival / transfer ritual common to international airports unfolded.

A carousel with all our bags open turned on and after collecting my jumbo-bag and backpack I trundled them towards the next set of Gatekeepers who barred the way ahead.

Upon reaching them they perusing my immigration form and directed me sideways to the dreaded secondary inspection zone!
It looked like I was going to have to have another barrage of inquisitive questions...

As I rounded the corner I faced two mega-sized cargo canners and a long steel counter against the wall. All three areas were manned and occupied by others being inspected via baggage or words.

I waited for one of the three areas to become free.

Another oriental man of the DHS calling was at the counter and he called me forward.
I couldn't help but notice him to be not unlike a character out of one of my short stories -- a Jade smuggler lord called Mr Paeng in this case. However, instead of being shrouded in opium fumes with his own army of henchmen to call upon it was three DHS folks who toted sidearms and uniforms.
I showed him my immigration form and he deciphered the various notes and jottings the previous DHS guy had written on there - I hoped it was nothing negative...

Churning information from the bowels of DHS / NSA / CIA and-who-knows -what-else blared out onto his screen as he began tapping in keys.

A silence set in.

'So Mr Dannan why do you come to America?' Asked Mr Paeng in pigeon English.

I answered with my reasons, showing this and that from my docs folder. He made a few clicks with his cheeks the way some Orientals do when mulling something over.

'So have you brought a firearm with you this time?'

I responded I had not, the shenanigans at Manchester airport had put paid to that avenue.

The area was quiet now, as only I remained and the other DHS forces loomed in towards me, curious no doubt at this European man with a jumbo bag at my side and a huge military backpack on my shoulder.

Of the two other DHS dudes one was a Wasp and the other a Celtic mix.
Hearing the word 'firearm' they became excited.

'We should put his bags through to see if the alarms will go off.' Said the Celtic-looking one with a mischievous vibe about him.

I made some banterish responses explaining my past doings in the Americas.

'Fill this in' Mr Paeng said sliding a customs form declaration towards me.
He didn't offer me a pen so I reached for my pack and pulled one out.

As I wrote it out Mr Paeng asked more questions and the two DHS folks behind me drifted away to attend to fresh meat wandering in bewilderedly with their bags.

I explained all the reasons while I filled it out.

I handed it back and Mr P seemed satisfied, he returned my passport and allowed me and my baggage through unmolested.
I walked forwards and two big security doors opened before me.
The way into America was open and I was now free to continue...

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgaBTu_T61k" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgaBTu_T61k</a>
« Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 08:33:24 am by Tyler Danann »

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    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #1 on: October 05, 2014, 07:57:39 am »
    An Auspicious Landing

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRRyBJnRlpQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRRyBJnRlpQ</a>

    Leaving Chicago for Denver was without note, but on nearing the infamous Denver International Airport a ferocious thunderstorm and tornado came out of nowhere and for about an hour the airport had to close.
    As the plane I was on was (for whatever reason) low on fuel, it had no time to circle at a distance, instead the pilot announced he'd be heading for Colorado Springs where he'd refuel and then fly us back to Denver.

    Here's a picture of Dan Dan the Petrol man fueling up the thirsty wings.



    The delay of about one hour didn't bother me, but the crippling altitude sickness began to send me reeling. No amount of eyes-closed, resting, deep breathing would subdue it. Days later it's hard to describe the impact but it felt like wave after wave of nausea from my belly up to my head.

    The plane was back in the air again after about 30 minutes but by the time we'd reached Denver the sickness was getting worse.

    I managed to stumble through the airport, get my bags then stagger about for the next twenty minutes finding where the shuttle bus zone was. I managed to get my ticket to the Greeley Grotto (GG) and waited in an airport cafe for my bus to arrive.

    The Star Spangled Banner anthem was playing for some hockey game on the TV in there, while it's jovial, jingoistic vibes raised my spirits a few degrees the sickness lingered relentlessly.

    I got on the shuttle bus though without incident, the driver on board took one look at me.
    "Have you just flown from a low altitude area?"
    I responded that I had indeed.

    "You've got altitude sickness man, but don't worry it'll pass, you gotta tough it out." He said and rambled about a few things. I conversed as best I could, toughing out the urge not to vomit in his nice bus.

    I arrived at Mountain Man Mike's location in GG without puking and my sickness had begun to abate. The next day I had a busy few days to get through but more on that later.
    « Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 08:20:57 am by Tyler Danann »

    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #2 on: October 05, 2014, 07:59:17 am »
    Rolling Out!


    The next morning there was no time to waste, my last transport vehicle, the Wolverine had broken down thanks to a busted transmission and Mike's bang-and-rattle, Blue Beast was nearly as old as fred flintstones rattle wagon!

    Once again I would have to procure a vehicle and hopefully with more fortune than last time.

    I scoped out the classifieds using the high-speed internet at the fast food place. Within about 4 hours I'd narrowed down my search to 3 pickups with one being a keeper.

    After a few phone calls I was on my way to the first location.

    It was a fancy area, All-American suburbs, fresh buildings surrounded us. The GPS guided us right to the door where the gutsy white pick-up that had caught my eye now waited

    The Chevy Pickup with extended cab had the right stuff about it.
    It was in very good condition, clean interior, with new air-con and a service history. The cargo-bed had a custom lockable cover which was handy and it came with two winter-tyres with studs. The 6.5 ft cargo bed was not the longest one (at about 8 feet) yet it wasn't the shortest (4 ft) either.
    Like the vehicle, the owners of it were an All-American family - 2 parents, 2 children, all blonde and brunette with that oh-so-innocent attitude so common to trusting middle-America.
    I was already using my profiling ways to build up a picture of ownership. He looked the careful type, bedrock middle-class doing the White Flight thing to the outskirts of the city.
    Compared to the shady dealer I got the Ford Explorer from 2 years ago, I wasn't dealing with deceptive ways but a fairly open stance...

    The Chevy it had high mileage too at 261,000 miles and lacked 4-wheel drive. Yet the engine was powerful; a 5.7 V8 engine. It also had a looked-after feel to it, all the equipment on it worked, no damage.

    I went through the checks - apart from the seatbelts having what I reckon to be a faulty inertia reel lock it was good. The owner had used it for a couple of years in the mountains of Colorado where (according to him) it had coped with 2 foot snow drifts no problem. Prior to that it was a ranch vehicle in Texas so was likely used on flattish terrain and in a dry climate. Probably towed some stuff about but with a 5.7 liter V8 engine that would not have been a hardship.

    The fuel economy was probably like that of an armored car, I asked the owner and he reckoned about 15 -- 16 mpg on the highway, that's half of what my Nissan Skyline sports car used to get! Thankfully fuel is as cheap as chips here (compared to rip-off UK anyway).

    I took it for a test drive and decided that this would be the new Mountain Cabin transport wagon. Some may call this cavalier but sometimes you gotta go with your instinct. Before parting with the cash I haggled using the seatbelt issues as leverage, the owner was adamant but knocked $100 off the price.

    The next two days saw the truck legal and ready for the road. All being well this should see good use at the mountain land for the next 5 years before replacement.

    Behold the White Wolf!


    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #3 on: October 05, 2014, 08:32:00 am »
    Mountain Entrance - The Way In
    [/u]

    From this:



    To This took a week:



    In that time I explored about a bit.

    Utah:





    Idaho:





    W. Yellowstone:



    Yellowstone Park.

    I entered Yellowstone having paid my $25 for a seven-day pass.

    As I drove through the Yellowstone Highway every now and then a line of cars were just parked up witnessing some spectacle of mother nature.

    I saw three elk, ducks and at one point a small brown bear that scuttled across the road so quickly I had no chance to get a picture.





    Biscuit Basin:



    The Legendary Old Faithful geyser.



    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNjo7MpTyMQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNjo7MpTyMQ</a>

    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #4 on: October 05, 2014, 08:37:58 am »
    Back at the entranceway a week later I gingerly drove on in...



    Driving through it I stifled the notion of the wall of snow suddenly cascading down and drove deeper into the gulch.

    Once again though the obstacles of fate appeared. This time a tree lay in my path, lacking the means to shift it at that time I went around the ways coming in via the rough-rider trail.



    This is a dangerous part of the Hold, one person was injured and another sadly slain when their ATV went tumble-down on a corner. I took it slow and in manual gear and was soon facing into the fabled Mountain Hold.

    Look how much snow is still about the place! Its nearly July and still snow lingers in great drifts and clumps!



     I did a quick recce for bears, predators, signs of intruders etc but found none thankfully. This done I scrambled about getting things pre-prepared for later arrival. I had a cabin to build and what's more a mystery guest was due to arrive in about a week too.



    Nice and cool at the underground storage area too:



    The drifts may not have looked steep but believe me I had to use my tough boots and lots of scrambling to get up them otherwise you'd slip and tumble-down them...



    After about 3 hours of lazily, carefully and gingerly sliding about, climbing over and across the vast snowdrifts I was ready to tackle the tree barring the way in directly.

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnWB6QbrVS8" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CnWB6QbrVS8</a>

    The interesting thing about the tree was it wasnt like most that fell over due to snowpack but it was quite neatly snapped about a quarter of the way up. Perhaps it was a sudden gust of Wyoming wind or a lightning bolt? Whatever it was I got the proper rope attached, put her in manual top gear and began hauling ass!
    The massive 5.7 V8 didnt miss a beat and those bad ass tires I'd had put on it helped a lot. Within less than a minute it was all over and the way to the Hold was open once more...

    I might return later and chainsaw the tree into log-sections, unless someone beats me to it that is



    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #5 on: October 06, 2014, 02:23:11 pm »
    This how much stuff we crammed into the White Wolf getting up to the Mountain-Retreat:

    Rammed



    To



    The



    Gunnels


    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #6 on: October 20, 2014, 07:59:13 am »
    Making a mallet for the up-coming cabin build!



    Here it is drying in the sun, the wood was from a recently felled tree during the winter so it needs to dry off a bit:


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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 04:56:26 pm »
    That's a heavy mallet! Good luck with your build... sounds like the result of a lot of careful planning.
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    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #8 on: January 19, 2015, 07:54:45 am »
    Some buzzy updates:

    Tree Felling


    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3k_pUXCm58" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3k_pUXCm58</a>

    Fun at the range.

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoZ6U6cQxlo" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoZ6U6cQxlo</a>

    Year End Report

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0Ms4g6Cysw" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0Ms4g6Cysw</a>

    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #9 on: February 26, 2015, 05:28:30 am »
    Buzzzing!

    To the top once more!

    Offline Tyler Danann

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    Re: Mountaintop Adventure!
    « Reply #10 on: November 14, 2016, 03:13:49 pm »
    Here's the 2015 Year I can show you what I got up to in my Mountain Top Adventure! :)

    <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tA-w616Uio" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tA-w616Uio</a>

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