Pepperoni, Watermelon, and a Chainsaw?


Forrest copied me on this colorful tale, so I’ll share it for those of you who haven’t seen Scrapbook Forty Six on Dal’s blog, Thrill of the Chase.  It’s so Fenn!

“October 2013

I never go shopping…     

But I was in Kaune’s grocery store with five items in my cart. Just a few things I needed to watch the Broncos play the Cowboys: pepperoni, bologna, Tabasco, salami and horseradish.

As I approached the check out counter, a shapely twentyish-looking woman raced past me. Her pushcart was loaded with six-packs of Corona beer. She wore tight shorts and slosh sandals, but it was her large hair – garish red and full of curlers – that struck me. The curlers were mostly white but a few were brown, and her piercings and tattoos introduced me to a world I had rarely seen before. I told myself I had to get out more.

As I slowed my cart to prevent a wreck, Mz Fashion Maven gave me a grin that said my 83 years were no match for her youth and exuberance.

The checkout line moved slowly and the delay gave me time to observe Mz Maven, who seemed to be annoyed by my preoccupation with the objects that decorated her hair. As we stood there looking at each other, I politely asked, pointing to her hair, “How many stations can you get on that thing?”

Zowee, I quickly regretted the question as the color in her face started to match her hair tint. Suddenly she looked like she had an itch in a place she couldn’t scratch. It really bothered me when she yelled, “How dare you…!” (expletives deleted) in a loud and commanding voice.

When all of the shoppers started staring at me, I wanted them to see that my hands were in my pockets and had been there for a long time. I was embarrassed and slowly backed away. Outside I watched from behind a truck of watermelons until Mz Maven loaded her supplies beside a chainsaw in the back of her pickup truck. As she pulled out, I saw she had a bumper sticker that read: Practice Beauty & Random Acts of Pleasure.

I munched on saltine crackers while the Broncos beat the Cowboys by three points. I’ve decided to stay at home more. f “

Heated curlers in Schenzhen, China

Heated curlers in Schenzhen, China (Photo credit: Pondspider)

I told Forrest it sounded like a chapter for his next book.  Title?  How about “If You Are Brave.”

(Do the saltines mean he left without the health food?)

English: Curlers in Innisfail, Alberta. L-R ba...

English: Curlers in Innisfail, Alberta. L-R back row: Mr. Fairley; Billy Wilson. L-R front row: Mr. Agnew; John A. Simpson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where It’s Not — Part Three

IMG_0172In the morning, I drove through the tunnel, past Mummy Cave, and the BB Dam again.  About the time I stopped to pay my entrance fee to Yellowstone Park, I was struck by a blaze —  the blinding kind you get before a migraine, if you’re subject to auras.IMG_0231

At home my remedy would have been to boil water, brew green tea with half a capsule of feverfew, and hit a dark room with an eye mask.  On a 2-lane winding highway, I popped a cola for caffeine and downed Excedrin, and took a time out at a pull-out.  IMG_0258Then I spent more time at the ranger station/stuffed animal museum.  In the shade.

IMG_0240The ranger called the lone bison I’d seen a “fed-up bull” —  fed up of fighting the young bulls in the herd, and at an age where he prefers to go it alone.

IMG_0242There were 5 fires burning in Yellowstone Park at the time,  a few pull-outs were closed, but no roads closed that day.   I remembered the summer of 1988 and the massive fires in Yellowstone.  We could smell the smoke all the way over in Minnesota.


Fishing Bridge

So far, going solo hadn’t been a problem (except for getting creeped out by a guy in a van who asked me where I was from.  He had just been staring at my license plate, so I thought it was not a real question.  This happened back at the Oregon Trail ruts and Register Cliff where we seemed to be the only tourists out in the 105 degree weather.  Not a good sign.  Maybe it was nothing, but  I didn’t like being followed.)

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake

West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake

Another reason I’m going to bring Mr. W next time came about at Isa Lake.

Lily Pads at the Continental Divide?  Is there a frog?

Lily Pads at the Continental Divide? Is there a frog?

I really wanted to wade into the lily pads to see what was at the end of an under-water marker, but a couple (searchers??)  from Salt Lake City was kinda killin’ time, like they were waiting for me to leave.

I won, but then realized, typical female, I didn’t have the right shoes.  IMG_0277

Also, I saw strange underwater bugs, a possible fluke-wiry worm, and a very fast little pond-hugging, mole-nosed rodent running towards me.  The picture that was supposed to of him is a blur of me jumping out of his way.



I don’t think I screamed.

From there, not far but too far to walk, I arrived at Old Faithful at the perfect time.  People were streaming towards it so I parked and joined them.  Another geyser was putting on a show at the same time.  Serendipity strikes again.

And then, something else.  Remember I left home without a GPS?  The only place I might have needed it this trip was in the parking lot at Old Faithful Lodge and Visitor Center.  It’s changed in the last 15 years apparently.  IMG_0292  The other thing about migraines is the mental shadow they leave you with.  It took me an extra 15 minutes (or so) to find my car, and then I scared a poor family picnicking next to it when the alarm went off.

IMG_0294I passed another lone bison as I continued west.  My heart goes out to the old and lonely.

On to the much discussed Firehole River and Canyon.  Is it “Where Warm Waters Halt”?  I couldn’t say.


And then, of course, the much touted Madison River, which had lots of giant boulders lying around.IMG_0327

I tarried as much as I wanted that day.  I had a reservation for that night in West Yellowstone, so no need to hurry.  Just tried to absorb the beauty and if a potential solution to one of the TTOTC  9 clues presented itself, all the better.  IMG_0321

No treasure yet, but so far, so good.  Any day that doesn’t involve a trip to the hospital is a big plus.

Wandering in Wyoming (Part Two of Trip One)


My sights were set on Montana, but I had time to check out (parts of) Wyoming.  The state is a collection of mountain ranges and basins.  I knew I couldn’t cover it all.  Had to scratch off Como Bluff and it’s dinosaur bone house—but it’s not open to the public anymore.

I planned to cover the Big Horn Canyon/Yellowtail Reservoir on my way home, but there was a huge change of plans along the way.  So, where did I leave off?  Worland. IMG_0149

In the morning I headed for Cody.  First up, the Buffalo Bill Dam in Shoshone Canyon where I met Buck, a volunteer at the Visitor Center.



Wonderful, interesting, happy guy who served his country well.

IMG_0190After that, back into Cody to visit an historic church which the gracious man of the collar opened to me.  It has an ancient Wurlitzer organ, of interest to few, but special to me.  I told myself I wouldn’t refer to the church by its nickname, but there it was, on a bronze plaque right outside the door….IMG_0188

Downtown for lunch at the Irma Hotel.  I gazed in the mirror and looked quickly down, to no avail. IMG_0195 I also picked up a neckerchief in case that would be of help in some deciphering I’ve been trying to do.


After lunch I hit 4 out of the 5 museums at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center where I saw a fetching Fechin, the pre-sale artworks of many talented people, Plains Indian artifacts, natural history exhibits, and so forth.  I skipped the Firearms Museum this time as Mr. W wasn’t along.  (Been there, done that.)

English: Main Entrance to the Cody Firearms Museum

Supper.  A double rainbow.  Discovered it was FF’s birthday, so I sent him best wishes and a note on my (lack of) progress.


Next up?  I had reservations in West Yellowstone, the Gallatin Valley, and a certain hot springs over the next few days, but . . . .

Related articles

To Go or Not To Go . . .

I knew I would regret it all winter if I didn’t get out West for my first TTOTC search, but where was my back up:   my husband couldn’t get away;  a brother just laughed;  my friend needed more notice.

(Really a diaper bag)

(Really a diaper bag)

So, I just did it.  Found a back pack that could easily carry a bronze box, water, and bear spray.  Flashlight.  Check.  Whistle.  Why not?  GPS.  No.  Forrest’s book.  Definitely.

Packed the car.  Took off.  It’s amazing how much ground you can cover at 75 mph.  The vast, flat, empty Nebraska disappeared in a blur.  Made it to Ogallala the first night.  Then came eastern Wyoming.  Hillier.  Also mostly barren.  Until the mountains start looming up out of nowhere.Chugwater, Wyoming

I headed north and stopped in Chugwater, site of an old buffalo jump, a museum (closed), and the state’s oldest soda fountain.

Oldest soda fountain in Wyoming

Since it was 105 degrees F, I indulged in a delicious chocolate malt after wandering the outdoor exhibits.

From there I headed for Buffalo and the Big Horns via Casper.  On the way I took a quick peek at Register Rock and the Oregon Trail ruts near Guernsey.  (See Stephanie’s coverage at her blog ‘What’s A Chase’.)

I passed the reservoir at Glendo, water low, where many ancient layers of rock are visible.  Saw a couple antelope roaming, and a couple raindrops made it to my windshield.  Fort Fetterman was Closed as was the GlenRock Museum.  (It’s not even Labor Day yet, folks.  Not that I minded the lack of crowds on the highways, etc.)  I also saw the bright red gash where they’re cutting Red Mountain for the rock.

At Kaycee I took in the Hoofprints of the Past museum, which had an outstanding number of arrowheads on display.  Down the street was a large bronze of a rodeo rider/singer.IMG_0072

I picked up a book on Wyoming’s geology at the museum in Buffalo.  Also, helpful was the museum in Worland, Washakee.  I tried to memorize the various ages/layers of stone by color and texture. ( Like, where are the dinosaur fossils, the oil, the ocean beds–a visible geologic clock.)

Tensleep Canyon

Tensleep Canyon

The most stunning visually is the Tensleep layer, a swirly red and cream, which I saw coming down out of the Big  Horns.  BTW, there’s a beautiful Meadowlark Lake up there in the woods.

Meadowlark Lake

Meadowlark Lake

Are the Big Horn Mountains part of the Rockies?  Until I hear otherwise from Mr. Fenn, I’m not ruling them out.

[To be continued. . . .]

Today Show TTOTC Clue Update

It sounds like Forrest and the Today Show people have been in touch.  Just waiting on Matt Lauer for the timing of the next clue.  Getting ready . . . .

People playing Cluedo, a deduction boardgame

People playing Cluedo, a deduction boardgame (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“One of These Things Is Not Like the Other”


SESAME STREET*Google (Photo credit: COG LOG LAB.)

I’ve got that Sesame Street song in my head.  It’s been laying tracks for a while now–the subconscious working on the conscious.  

“One of these things just doesn’t belong. . .”

TTOTC book jacketResult:  I’ve come to the conclusion that no way were the Fenn’s hungry enough to eat meadowlarks during the Depression.  The father had a college degree, steady employment, and apparently, plenty of fish and potatoes.  Besides, who would go to all that trouble.  I’m going to attribute that to the 15% of the memoir he made up, and add it to the list of questions I’d love to ask him someday.  Like, when I drop off the bracelet.  (I wish.)

So.  Why is that story in the book?  Four meadowlarks and a scissortail.

“Can you tell me which thing is not like the other . . .”

Full houses in poker

Full houses in poker (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why are four cards and a joker mentioned?  Why are there four nuggets and a frog, and a coin, sitting on the map?

“. . . Before I finish my song?”

English: Pot of gold under post! Consolation p...

English: Pot of gold under post! Consolation prize after a soaking. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Or at least before I head west for The Thrill of the Chase.

Chasing Idaho

The Fisherman

The Fisherman


Not a long post.  Just wanted to mention the 2 new pages on this site:  Flywater, filed under The Book, and Idaho, filed under The Diagrams.    (A great and future destination.)IMG_0028

Okay.  I have mixed feelings about crossing Idaho off my top three TTOTC list, but that’s okay.

Raspberry Trove

Raspberry Trove

There’s so much to be done.

Count all the bees in the hive.

Pick another batch of berries.


Pit the cherries.IMG_0091

New Clue –Forrest Fenn on NBC Today Show

“The treasure is not hidden in Idaho or Utah.”—–Forrest Fenn

English: Clearwater River near Orofino, Idaho

English: Clearwater River near Orofino, Idaho (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s the link:

Well.  That narrows it down by 168,469 square miles.  I can cross one trip off my list and write about where I was going to look.

Darn.  It looked like a lot of fun.  Wait.  Maybe I’ll still go down that canyon. . . .

Today Show Clue Delayed

Hard to corral . . .

Hard to corral . . .

Forrest Fenn has notified Dal   that the Today Show clue won’t be given until Friday morning, about 0505.  (Click on Thrill of the Chase  blog for the full message.)

I’d guess that’s Mountain Time zone.

Looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, back to my new decoder ring.  ; )

(Re–(Updated) Clues Blues

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Ches

{Now scheduled for Friday, June 28th at 0505 Fenn Time}

For those of you not familiar with the Chase,  Forrest Fenn has been giving out one new clue a month on the Today Show.  It was scheduled for June 17th but got postponed.  Not for the first time.  Last month they made him get up at 3 something in the morning two days in a row.  “Truck trouble,” they claimed.  (Although I suspect the crew was out searching for the treasure on the extra day.)  It’s now scheduled for June 27th (Not the 28th)according to Stephanie (What’s A Blaze) at Chasechat.

So far the clues have been:

  • helpful.  Like don’t dig up old outhouses (people apparently thought that’s what “putting in below the home of Brown” meant.  Not what came to my mind.
  • common sense.  Like, don’t dig up a cemetery.  Again, not something that crossed my mind.
  • vague/general.  Like, it’s above 5000 feet.  Not a surprise since he said it was in the Rocky Mountains.

Rocky Mountains from a height.

Actually, I  don’t mind the generality of the extra hints. I don’t want to hear that it’s been found already.  I still plan to head West as soon as we get the chance.  I say we.  I’m waiting on my husband to clear his schedule.  He’s mildly amused by my new hobby.  Also, I haven’t exactly figured out the poem yet….

Forrest Fenn says all one needs is the poem, which is in the book.

Meanwhile, enjoy the Thrill of the Chase as you search/seek/solve/obsess …..

Tea with Olga

tea time
tea time (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some things don’t jump out at you until later.

This chapter of The Thrill of the Chase is about a neighbor and friend of Forrest Fenn’s, a bittersweet story. It put me in mind of many things, the line from Robert Frost’s poem, for one, about having promises to keep.

Another was a woman who lived down the hall in the hospital dormitory. She was old, and frail, and worked in the surgery department, as I recall. She was a refugee from the Sudetenland. Quiet.

I dropped off some cherry tomatoes from my Dad’s garden one day. She couldn’t eat them, but insisted on returning the kindness by preparing blintzes for me. A first and best ever for me.

She also shared a bit of her story. I hope I get this right. I think it was well after the Nazi’s had rescued/annexed/invaded the area, and that it was the Russians coming through much later. Either way, soldiers came to the house and demanded that her mother get up to prepare them a meal. Her mother was quite ill and in bed. They beat her anyway. If I knew anymore than that, I’ve forgotten it.

I also don’t know what happened to the sweet woman who made me the blintzes. They closed the dorm, and I’d moved on. She had a daughter in the area.

There are so many stories out there that we never get to hear. Or is it that we don’t “listen good”?

Taos Mtn. from El Prado,New Mexico

So, what did I learn from this chapter of TTOTC? I think it was about making adjustments in the face of reality.

Yes, Forrest Fenn was headed for the summit, the usually icy, snowy peak, but the green of the meadows within the ponderosa and aspen seemed the better choice.

And, that’s why I think he may not have hidden the chest where he originally intended. Just speculation on my part. Like he said, “Indecision is the key to flexibility, . . . .”

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest
Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

But then again, he said he “knew exactly where to hide the chest . . . .”

Addendum — June 23, 2013

I just listened to a WGN interview with Forrest Fenn, not sure of the date, in which he said he’d been very certain of where he was going to hide the chest. You can listen to it and find other Thrill of the Chase info at Shaun’s site. (