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The Gearboat Chronicles

A wee bit gusty

Wallowa County had us a freight train wind last week, y’all. It was so windy it put the roof back on a few barns that never got fixed from the last storm. It was so windy it blew the skirt up Marilyn Monroe-style on the bronze lady statue on Main Street, Joseph. So windy I couldn’t sleep and went outside at 4 am to find a @#%* tree on my truck.


The best part about discovering the big Christmas tree on the Toyota was being momentarily distracted and letting the dog I was supposed to be taking care of slip outside and take off for Canada. The dog in question is great, for the record. But prone to the occasional self-guided walkabout and not terribly interested in my commands to Sit or Stay when there’s a howling wind storm to go investigate. On the plus side, chasing that @#$% dog around town  at 4 in the morning while roof shingles whistled past me was a nice distraction from my truck being under a tree.

Sometime after daybreak, I got an interesting text from Paul at Winding Waters headquarters with an update on the sign and mural haven taken to the winds.


I would have gone to help with the mural hunting, except for the whole thing about my truck being under a tree. Luckily I have other vehicles. Basically own a small car lot so I could just . . . well, hold on just a tic. What do we have here?


What in tarnation do Engelmann Spruce trees have against me and my cars? Why, Engelmann Spruce? Whyyyyyyy? One tree took out my entire classic car collection. 1966 Ford F100 Custom Cab pickup in maraschino cherry condition: smooshed. One sweet 1967 Buick Electra with 430 cubic inches of Wildcat Power under the hood: also remodeled by tree branches.

Carnage was widespread. Here’s a look at Wallowa County landmark Terminal Gravity Brewing. Specifically, their iconic aspen tree shade grove that’s such a joy to sit beneath in summer. Tipped right over.


But at least I still had . . . nope. Those are gone, too. I had six (6) trees come over on my place. Took the powerline out for the second time this year, both times from my trees. So my neighbors just loooove me. Notice in this next photo how the root ball on that sideways juniper pried my footbridge out of creek. Insult to injury, is what that is.


What’s that? Can’t quite make it out? Want another view? Okey-dokey.


You can’t really tell from these angles, but the creek is running higher than normal, probably due to warm weather associated with the Chinook wind and also THE RIVER OF SALTY TEARS COURSING FROM MY EYEHOLES BECAUSE MY BUICK GOT SMASHED. But that’s all right.

Aaaaaanway. Most of the Winding Waters mural did get recovered. We’re still missing one panel, if you happen to find that in your yard in Wyoming or wherever it landed.

The windstorm sparked a new tourism industry of people driving around to see how bad things got hammered. I heard all sorts of reports, but according to my most reliable source the wind got up to about 85 hurricanes per hour at the gustiest.


In other news, it’s super beautiful now. Blue skies. The rivers have dropped back down and steelhead fishing is the place to be. Unless you have a yard full of trees to clean up.

Also, thanks to everyone who came out to the Frostbite Film Fest last week. Had a nice turnout, a good crop of movies and a theater full of nice folks.

Give us a jingle-lingle-ling if you come across those missing sign and mural panels. This great weather has got me thinking it might be a good idea to, I don’t know . . . maybe go rafting. Yeah.