Sunday, November 25, 2012

Driving On The Other Side ( Part 25 )


Bender reaches Christchurch around mid-day, Billy is stunned by what he see's . Homes, stores, schools, Apartment building all in ruins, destruction in all directions, he is glad his destination is out and away from town, and, the congrete jungle that has fallen to ruins. Transportation in and out of town are at a stand still, the Airport is shut down, along with the Rail lines, the only means of travel is the road system, and it is bumper  to bumper all through the city. Bender is trying to make his way to the southern part of the city to join Highway 73 and drive 12 Kilometers west to the Hunters Farm, but it is slow going, and at times at a complete stand still.
Directly to the East,  Jane and Kelly are making their way south towards Te Anau, traffic is very light, and the girls are not completely aware of the devastation that has occurred on the other side of the Island. They have been driving for a couple of hours when Kelly ask Jane " so, what do you think Billy was up to staying in the wine country". Jane turns to Kelly and replies " I don't know , and, I don't care, Billy is going to do what he wants, so , why should I worry about it ?" Before Kelly could say anything , both girls were looking hard at a hitch hiker with his tumb out , standing on the side of the road. Jane, " is that Mark from Montana without the sexy swede ?" Kelly boast, " I believe it is, look at that, could be our lucky day".  Jane turns to Kelly with both eyebrows raised and ask " Who's WE whiteman, remember the deal, you said you would be happy with the sexy swede, and I had dips on Mark, RE- MEM- BER?" Kelly sighs and with a pathetic look on her face  and begs " com'on Janie I'm ready to pop, I'm soooo ready, coul, oh hi Mark , funny to find you out here all alone, by the side of the road". Leaning on the drivers side of the landcruiser Mark sticks his head into the vehicle and announces, " ladies, you have no idea how good it is to see you two, I have been out here for hours, man I'm I hot" .With a devilish smirk, Jane pipes in with"  Throw your pack in the back and climb aboard, with a muffled voice adds, your not the only one who is hot, and then leans her head way back and laughs".
Billy, after what seems like hours driving through Christcurch finally is heading West on highway 73, traffic is flowing on this secondary road, most people were heading  south just to escape the nightmare. Bender is heading straight toward the Snowy Mountains, and with each kilometer he see's an improvement  in the realm of reality. It appears like east of Christchurch was for the most part, spared from all the devastation that Bender can see in his rear view mirror. The fault line moves in a North -South direction, most of the damage was along the fault, Bender knew he was driving in the right direction. At  kilometer 11 Billy slows to look at mail boxes with hopes of seeing the name Hunter written on the side, no need, just ahead is an entrance with a large wooden gate , and on both sides of the gate are two matching , 14 ft tall  de-barked trees trunks, there is a 3 ft tall banner like wooden sign  that connect the two trunks that reads " HUNTER", pretty hard to miss. Just inside the gate is a small house made of stone and wood with a dark Blue Metal roof, as Billy approached the gate, out popped a Maori looking women carrying  a large set of keys, she smiles with a total of five teeth showing, and ask , " are you Mr Bender?" Billy nod's his head. The women holds the gate open as Billy drives through, Bender stops to thank the gate keeper , and she adds, " stay on the main road for about 3 kilometers, the road follows the river to the main house, you'll be right , no worries", Bender smiles, says thank you , and then continues on a well maintained gravel road that indeed follows  just above a beautiful spring creek like river that Billy soon finds out is named, The Hunter.
With Montana Mark sitting in the back, both girls attack with questions, firing like machine guns during an assault. First Jane ask ," So, where is the sexy swede?, are you two still together?, are you heading down to do the Milford track?, how long do you plan on traveling?, when did you leave the States?" Montana Mark is smoking on the small pipe that Jane handed him as he entered the  Landcruiser, with a breath holding, "well..., exhale, so many questions and so much time,  wow, that is so nice, that hits the spot, thank YOU, now, Anna and I split up that day I met you two! In that small hut, remember, there were two other backpacks, well , it turns out, that two young, really cute Aussie girls were the owners of those packs. After you two hiked off, these two walk into the hut, completely naked, I didn't mind , but Anna thought it was a bit much, she got pissed off, then looked at me and said , "lets go". So, we hiked out  about 30 minutes behind you two. When we got out to the road, Anna told me she was heading North, and as you know, I planned on doing the Milford Track  to the far south, so, she went her way and I went mine." Kelly turned toward the back seat and said" Poor little Anna, don't worry we will take care of you"'

Driving On The Other Side ( Part 24 )


On the  West Coast  at Lake Brenner the damages from the great Quake were minimal, registering a mere 3.3 on the Richer scale. Inside a lake side cabin, Jane and Kelly are simultaneously awakening,  not because they want to, but rather due to a penetrating and powerful early summer sun, beaming  through the large east side window that looks  out on the lake . " Did you feel that movement last night "Kelly ask Jane. " No, what are you talking about, what, movement? Kelly, sweetie, we will get you laid , I promise, just hang in there", Jane says laughing,  laying in her double sized bed, the sheets pushed down to her feet. "Janie, no I'm serious, there was like an earthquake or something, you didn't feel it" ask Kelly as she rises from bed and heads to the coffee maker. Jane, " no, I can safely say that I did not feel a thing until this morning when I noticed how dry my mouth was, and how hot it is in here". Kelly replies,"Well, I'm telling you, the earth moved last night and it had nothing to do with my dreaming about that hunky, blonde, Aussie stud Alex last night. Jane laughs and says, " what ever, it is just a beautiful day, we should pack up and head down to the Milford Track and start our hike".
As Billy drives out of the driveway and on to the main highway towards Christchurch, he is stunned to see the amount of debris on the roadside and the road itself. There are men in blue jump suits and yellow hard hats with chainsaws, cutting trees  to be moved off the tarmac. There are men working about every three Kilometers, cutting and moving branches , and fallen trees, Billy notices that even some stone and brick walls have fallen over from the horrifically strong  Quake. There is destruction everywhere, it is a disaster of the worst kind, and appears to be getting worse as Billy drives south  towards the southern capital, Christchurch.
After a light breakfast, the girls load the land cruiser, and start the drive South to start the two day hike on the Milford Track. Driving through Moana they spot a super market, and decide to buy what they will need for two nights out while camping . As they enter the market there is a newspaper stand , where the two notice  huge letters in the Headline, "CHRISTCHURCH DESTROYED" Quake 7.2, destruction all over the East Coast, 200 plus hospitalized, death count now at 32 and rising. " I told you "says Kelly," it was in the middle of the night, the room was just rolling, of course you were snoring." The photos show buildings  completely destroyed, homes crushed, cracks in the ground, destruction of the worse kind. Jane holding  the news paper firmly on both sides, drops it downward, then looks up at Kelly  and with a look of dis- belief and  shouts , " Billy, shit, he's in Christchurch, I've got to call him". Jane is shaking and having a difficult time dialing, there is no answer, She tries again , no answer, " Shit , shit , shit, I can't believe this", comes from the pacing honey blonde. Jane keeps trying, nothing,  Kelly then says, " Janie, try a text, maybe he is out of range some place, but he might get a text". Jane does send a text, she is waiting , and waiting, nothing,  the two girls decide to shop for food since they were right there. While trying to decide on which cheese would do better for camping, Jane's phone  makes a soft sound of a guitar strum, it's a text, " Janie, I'm fine, spent the night way north of CC in the wine country, hope your OK , my best to Kelly, miss you, Billy". Kelly with raised  eye brows  says, " Wine country, Janie I don't think you even want to know..." Jane with a look of discuss says " Well , at least  the SOB is still alive". The two girls finish shopping, load the bags and start the drive to the Milford track, Jane pulls out the small pipe and the interior of the Land Cruiser fills with the sweet white smoke, it's a beautiful day on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand.

Driving On The Other Side ( Part 23 )


At the Pub, both girls start feeling worn out, Jane tries to block a yawn and Kelly see's this and cannot cover her mouth fast enough, both start laughing and giggling. Finally, Jane says " Kelly, I have got to hit the hay, I don't know about you, but I'm beat". The surfer dudes look anxious, Alex barks out, " girls, it's really early, we can go out dancing later, but the disco doesn't  open for two more hours, com'on, don't split yet". Jane stands and pronounces," I'm going to bed, long day for this gal, I can't wait for my head to hit the pillow. Are you coming with me Kelly, or are you waiting to hit the disco with these two young men?" Kelly grabs her bag that was strapped hanging over the back of her chair, stands, then tucks her wavy red hair behind her ear and announces " Janie, I'm with you girl, let's hit the hay, I am baked, sorry boys , you picked some old ladies"."Ooohhh " came from the mouths of C and Alex, the boys felt like it was their lucky night, but they were wrong, it just was not in the cards.
After sitting alone for sometime on the back veranda watching the Moon rise and the trout feed on top of the placid lake surface, Billy starts to feel his eyelids become heavier and heavier, until he catch's himself snoring on the couch. 'OK, " Bender was thinking that he indeed, needed to go to bed, tomorrow will be a very interesting day, thought Billy.
Bender laid in bed fantasizing about Kate Granger, her smell, her smile, which seemed to turn up just slightly at the corners of her seductive lips. He was thinking how nice it would be to run his hands through her dark red, thick hair from behind and caress and kiss her long elegant neck. Bender was just starting to nod off when he heard his watch and some coins on the night stand start to rumble and move. Then, Billy could feel the bed start to gyrate and shake, at first he thought that someone was trying to awake him, but the whole room started rolling, like being on a small boat on a rough sea. The door to his room opened quickly, with a panicked Kate Granger  holding on to the door knob, " Billy, it's a bloody Earthquake" exclaimed Kate. Bender sat up covering his privates , but his hairy chest fully exposed. Kate was wearing a sheer sleeveless silk nighty cut short and barely covering her lady parts. Billy did not have to wonder what Kate wore to bed any longer, the reality was better than his wildest  imagination. Another big roll from the center of the earth planted  Kate stumbling atop of Bender and into his bed . " Billy , I hate these earthquakes, please hold me, hold me tight". What seemed like an hour of  horror in reality lasted  around 2-1/2 minutes, when the shaking subsided there was a eerie quiet, Kate and Bender laid in bed looking into each others eyes, and then, began to lightly and slowly kiss.
The next morning, Billy and Kate both awoke in each others arms very early. Kate kissed Bender with a short peck on the lips , then got moving quickly toward her own room. The Inn was a huge mess, things had fallen off of shelves, off of tables , there where cabinets that had tobbled over nearly breaking all contents. There were broken bottles of wine in the dinning room, and food all over the kitchen floor. It was just a mess, and now it needed to be dealt with, quicker the better. The staff  got going as soon as they knew Kate was awake, not wanting to disturb her. On the Tele was news about the Great Quake, 7.2 on the Richter scale, a huge earthquake. The anchor on the news was speaking very excited and was saying that  Parts of Christchurch are demolished, that the epicenter was right in Christchurch, and hundreds are hospitalized  and the death toll was close to 22 people, and the count would most likely rise.
Billy walked into the dinning room to find Kate and the staff scurrying about cleaning like small tornado's. "Oh Billy this is such a mess, I'm so sorry, I'll get your breakfast" came from a obvious shaken Kate Granger. Billy blurts out " can I help?" "No, no, please be seated, I'll have your breakfast in just a minute", came from an apologetic Kate Granger." I have bad news, Christchurch was at the epicenter, and the damages are extensive, building have crumbled, houses destroyed, many are in the hospital, and the death toll is 22 and rising, it's a bloody huge disaster" came from Kate.
Billy sat eating breakfast with Kate, when Kate jumped up and blurted, " Jack and Heddy, I'll call them right now, I hope they are alright, they live only 12 kilometers out of Christchurch, my god, what a disaster". In less than five minutes  Kate returned to say that the Hunters were fine, minimal damages, and that they are expecting Billy later that day. They were expecting Billy anytime, that Ann was unfortunately called to Auckland to meet with a photographer who is setting up a shoot in Australia, but she left word that Mr Bender might be coming , and to make sure he is well taken care of. Billy's cell phone rings  and it is Ann Hunter," Billy are you alright? Where are you? I didn't know if you were coming down or not, I have to fly to Australia for a photo shoot, I'm so sorry." Bender, " No worries, I'm fine , there was minimal damage here, I'm staying with Kate Granger, I just decided to spend the night here in the wine country, and it turns out you both know each other",  " Katie, put her on", the two women banter back and forth , there is laughter, giggling, some serious talk, then Billy is returned the phone.  Ann says , "Billy, if you would, please  go and stay at my parents farm, they are expecting you, and they may need an extra hand, there is an outside chance that I may get some time off , and if I do I'll be back home in three days, I'll call you tonight, gotta run, talk later".
Bender  packs the Taurus wagon, then head into the Inn to thank Kate for everything and to square up on the bill. Kate is behind the counter, making sure there is some physical barrier between herself and Bender.  It is awkward for both, there is something between them, but Billy is heading south. "I just want to thank you for everything kate", comes from a stumbling Bender, Kate smiles, Billy adds, " so what are the damages? Oops maybe  the wrong term, how about how much do I owe you", they both smile and Kate says,"nothing your welcome here anytime, if it doesn't work out with Ann, remember, I'm here all alone" Billy leans over the counter and very softly kisses Kate Granger on her luscious lips, then turns and walks to the car . Billy waves, then starts yet another adventure driving south towards the demolished city of Christchurch...

Driving On the Other Side ( Part 22 )


Friday, December 30, 2011


Driving on the other side ( Part 22 )


At the Pub in Moana, Jane is direct and asked the two red eyed surfer dudes, "so, just how old are you two"? The two blurry eyed boys look at each other with a look of surprise, "Uh, my name is Alex, I'm 24 and I'm from Sydney, this is my mate, his name is Christian, but you can call him C". Earlier, Jane in her haste to get some food in her, slipped on a pair of panties and a short, loose fitting white sun dress that was adorned with small colorful flowers. Her honey colored hair was pulled back in a pony tail, she wore no make up, she slipped on a pair of tan clogs and was ready. As usual Jane looked incredible, without any effort Jane Greenfield could turn a man's head at 100 yards. Kelly looked playful, she was a much more attractive women then she gave herself credit. It was the lack of attention for so many years from her ex that broke down Kelly's confidence. Kelly was lightly made up, she wouldn't dare go out before putting her "face on". She wore a short, dark brown skirt, and a tan, tight fitting, sleeveless cashmere top, and 2 inch tan pumps, she looked hot.  Kelly's shoulder length red hair was just combed out,  naturally wavy, both girls had a look of being sun kissed from returning from their hike earlier. Jane leaned forward with a serious look, exposing her enormous cleavage and invited the two Aussies to join them, the boys could not find their chairs fast enough, Alex signaled the waitress for drinks all around, "my shout", exclaimed the obviously excited surfer dude.
Bender realized that he was completely under dressed for his dinner date with Kate Granger, but Kate's warm smile eased his worries , as Kate reached out with a quarter filled large glass of red wine, she said, " It's our best Pinot Nior, I hope you like it. Please , be seated", came from a smiling  and elegant dark red haired beauty. The small wooden table was adorned with two crossing long white linen banners that left the rest of the wood exposed. White linen napkins were atop-ed with sterling silverware, and in the center piece there were three tall white candles, and, salt and pepper shakers, both in Sterling. In front of each large China dinner plate was a small arrangement of local Spring flowers, on the right side were matching small salad plates. Billy helped Kate be seated and then sat and said ,"Kate, wow, this is much more than I expected, this is wonderful, thank you ". Both raised their glasses and took a sip of wine, before the put their glasses down, out from the Kitchen came two uniformed, white gloved wearing young women carrying large bowls that had extra large silver serving spoons that were protruding off to each side.  Kate was served first, she adds," tonight we are having red stag medallions in a brandy cream sauce, boiled potatoes, basil-ed carrots, and Spring salad with a balsamic dressing, all grown here on the property, I hope you enjoy".
The food is exquisite, perfectly prepared, Bender has seconds on the venison, Kate barely eats a thing, but does manage to finish the salad and Vegi's. The conversation is polite and casual, Kate suggest to have dessert out on the back deck, it is a warm evening, and the moon is nearly full. The two move out to be seated on a small couch on the back veranda that over looks the lake. The moon is just rising and reflecting off the placid small lake, it is a rare Spring evening in the southland of New Zealand. Kate looks surreal in the light being reflected from the Lake, like a Bond girl on the big screen. Kate starts to light another cigarette, when Billy ask, "would you like to smoke something besides a cigarette"? Then from his upper shirt pocket displays a hand rolled looking cigarette. Kate with a look of surprise, tosses her thick red locks backward, exposing her long elegant neck then laughs. "OK, it's such an unusually warm, windless evening, and this is such a unexpected pleasant surprise, why not"!
Billy and Kate both take turns inhaling the sweet smoke of the Rangatikie Red Bud, and take in the the view of the Moon rising over the far off Mountains that seem to take guard protecting the endless rows of the young grape plant that are attached to wooden post. In the small Lake, Mayflies are hatching, the sound of gulping trout fill the air. Kate turns to Bender and asks, " so, tell me what are your plans, you told me about work, I don't mean that, I mean this week, tomorrow, what are you going to do"? Bender looks into the hazel eyes of Kate Granger  and says," tomorrow I'm off to Christchurch, I met a women on the flight down, she is someone that really moved me in just a short time. I need to see if what appeared to be a real connection is in fact just that. She is someone special, one of the most beautiful women I have ever met, she is talented, successful  she Fly fishes, shoots, we have many things in common, I can't stop thinking about her. Kate asks, " who is it, Christchurch, I know a lot of people from Christchurch". Bender hesitates, then says, " Ann hunter, I'm sure you know who she is". Kate tosses her head back and lets out a very un- lady like laugh, then adds, " Ann, I've known her all of her life, her parents are good friends of mine, of course I know her, she is a lovely girl! Does Jack and Heddy know your coming"? Just then Billy realizes that he'd forgotten to call, "oh shit, I meant to call and let them know I was coming, it completely slipped my mind". Kate says" don't worry, I'll call them in the morning to let them know you are on your way, they are wonderful people and dear friends, no worries"!
The sexually charged electricity that permeated the air all evening , seemed to wisp away along with the thick, sweet, white smoke of the red bud. Kate and Bender both starred at the Moon lit Lake and watched large Brown Trout porpoise in small u's pouncing atop of the lake surface eating  large yellow Mayflies. After a long and awkward silence Kate says,"It's late ", " Billy, thank you for your company, it was a delightful evening, but I'm off to bed, sleep well, I'll see you at breakfast, 7:30 am OK"? Bender replies", no thank you, for everything Kate, your a wonderful host, and it is a pleasure to spend time in your company, 7:30 is perfect, thanks again, sleep well, good night".
As Kate walked off to bed,  a gentle breeze left a light sweet smell of Kate's perfume lingering, Billy could only hear the click, click, click of Kate's heels on the wooden porch as she went off to prepare for bed, and Billy could not help to wonder what Kate Granger wore to sleep, if in fact she wore anything at all.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

End of the 2012 Fishing Season, Missouri River, Cascade MT


A beautiful September day looking down stream at Mountain Palace.
It is always a sad moment when the drift boat is dismantled and put away for the winter season.This past September we had an exceptionally warm month, interrupted in the first week of October with  near blizzard conditions, changing the complexion of the serene, calm, long hot days of September. The first big storm of the Fall, starts (in my opinion) some of the best Dry Fly fishing found anywhere. The hatches of Midges and Baetis ( Grey and Blue winged olives)  are some of the strongest hatches of Mayflies found on any river in the American West, or any river on the Planet.
Large groups of fish referred to as "pods" gather along the current banks and drop off''s to gorge on the parade of the small dull colored mayflies feeding like "Pacman" in a very constant rythem . This phenomenon  occurs daily, sun or clouds from late morning until late afternoon. For those who are hard core Dry Fly fishermen,  this is a "bucket list" must. This past Fall we were lucky to have wonderful fishing up to the Mid-part of November.
I write this the day after Thanksgiving, there is a bizzard on it's way from the Northern Canadian Tundra. Along with bad news is the good news, Ducks and Geese are flying down this way as I write this, the ammo bag is full, the decoys are bagged and ready, my black lab Pearl is rested, and another season begins!