This Week In Tamer History …….

Here’s a few notes that crossed my mind in Tamer history –

Just last Sunday morning (being that history is about events past) a number of Tamers got a good start on the Northwest Off Road Expo Obstacle course.  At 7 AM – I even saw Gary and Casey (usually a pair of later morning slug-a-beds) showing up at the gate at 7 AM sharp!  It took a phone call to get the code to the gate and a few moments later we were in. Jeff had already started working on the easy and hard lanes in the “spectator’s gallery” a low slot between two high bark banks.  The morning started cloudy at 7 – but in a few minutes – the sky cleared, and the sun started its rise from the fields to the east.  It was the stuff of future Tamer tales – to hear the quiet in the fields with the morning mist wafting through the flat valley in Snohomish – and see the clouds of vapor rising from the bark piles as Jeff started to peel into them to set up a mighty nifty OB course.  And – in another 15 minutes – in the morning stillness – hot air balloons took their ascent in the background – adding to the magic of the morning.

Which is to say – by noon – we had set up a good part of the course and test drove it – and we saw that it was good.  If you haven’t yet planned to come out to the off road event now about a week and a half away – you should change your mind and come join the fun.  I think it’s going to be a good event – and of course (being biased) the Tamer OB course is going to be the highlight!

PS – yes – in testing the course – I got 2 tow fees and Rudi 1 for getting high centered on an obstacle we didn’t quite have dialed in yet!

The OTHER thing I remember this time of year is Operation Shore Patrol in the Ocean Shores area.  OSP (as we call it nowadays – in our social media driven age driven to minimalist jargon) this is year 44 or 45 I believe.  I joined the club 19 years ago – and it took me maybe a year before I got out to OSP – first year in my first club wheeling rig – a 1986 Jeep J-10 pickup.  The event was usually been a high point for the Pacific Northwest 4 Wheel Drive Association (PNW4WD – which is a whole lot of letters by today’s standards – more colloquially now called simply “PNW”) to clean trash off the beach on the 3rd weekend of September.  Some years there had been over 200 people attending, with over 100 rigs on the beach – cleaning during the day, with the Tamers putting on a big steak dinner Saturday night with a poker run (kind of a games with stations type of run) as a night run after what felt like the interminably long raffle drawing.  We could mob the state park and had a bonfire made with just about anything burnable pulled off the beach.

Over the years – you might have seen one of these thing happen sometime during OSP weekend – (All actual occurrences recounted below…)

A little rogue wheeling on the rocks on the jetty south of town (yeah – it was the habit of one of our more wild young members – it was wrong then, and even MORE wrong nowadays.  Don’t even think about it.)

Or working with the park rangers in a special dispensation to pull a Jeep out of one of the rivers that had been driven in and sunk a year or so previously.  I was wondering why I was having problems pulling that out with Moosenstein – until I realized 4WD works better when I engage my front hubs….

Or one trick for those geared low enough – that they could get out of their rig, and let it idle up the beach behind them while they picked up trash so they didn’t have to keep walking back and forth to bring their rig up.  The most amusing occurrence was the rig that decided all on its own to get hung up on a stump, and almost roll itself.  The lockers engaged – and with driver side hung up on a rig-sized stump and the 2 passenger side tires digging – it slowly started to angle itself over before the driver got back to it.  We had to put a strap on it for him to back off without putting his rig on its side.  The smell of cow-bell hung thick in the air.  There was no rush by any of the observers to tell the driver that his rig was about to roll itself – and we were somewhat saddened that the only penalty was a tow-fee and not a cow bell.

One year – the most unique find was a beer bottle with 3 drowned mice in it.  They apparently got inside attracted by the smell of beer, then couldn’t get out.   (Yes – apparently – drinking CAN be bad for your health.)

Or you might hear me singing a signature OSP song (to the tune “That’s Amore”)

“Pulling trash from the sand – and an eel bites your hand –

That’s a moray…..”

Or seeing Casey display her shrunken head “Kelp Man” from an antenna on Miss Creant.

Or having 4 Tamers team up to pull a class A mega-mondo RV sunk to its axle on the beach back to more solid footing.

As if cleaning the beach isn’t enough reason to come out and enjoy a fall weekend camping and hanging out – there is always the possibility of another adventure that might be waiting with your name on it.  So if you hadn’t thought about coming out – think and again and come join the fun!

Given that we are at the 15 year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 – I am reminded of the shore patrol that happened a few days after.  I initially hadn’t even planned on being there.  My wife at the time and I had planned what was going to be the closest to a free trip to Hawaii we were ever going to get.  An aunt had provided a week in her time share on the big island at no charge, and we were planning on taking our “parents-of-a-United-employee” free flying benefits.  And in 2001 – you could still pretty much always get a standby seat on a plane – sometimes even getting a seat in first class.

Well – you recall the chaos after the attack – including all planes being grounded until it was figured out what was really going on.  So – there was no way we were getting to Hawaii unless we planned to swim.  The closest place to paradise was going to be with friends doing shore patrol at Ocean Shores.

So we corralled some friends, my good buddy Bill and his wife Annette – got a room at the Best Western for the comfort of the ladies – and Bill and I hit the beach in “Mangy Moose” – my CJ-5 and predecessor of Moosenstein.  The ladies kept track of all of the talking heads on TV trying to make sense of the attack.  I really wanted to get some air and drive up and down the beach a bit and check in with other club members over at the state park.

Even though it was a beautiful weekend back in Seattle – the coastal weather more matched the nation’s mood by being gray and cold and windy.  After the morning trash pickup, a group of us from all clubs present met on the beach in the afternoon – not –really knowing exactly what to do with the country in turmoil – but we did have a moment of silence for  those lost in the towers and the planes.  I think we all were also mourning something less tangible – as it seemed certain that some important thing had been lost that would never be regained again.  Then a chorus of “God Bless America” and I think “America the Beautiful.”  Then Bill and I took a slow drive south of town to the jetty, one of my favorite spots – with the top off the Jeep and the windshield down.

As we approached the jetty – we see a group of people walking from the beach access road down towards the water.  I thought it odd that a large group would find this a suitable day for a field trip – with the gray skies and a moderately strong wind.  And then – I spied the bride – a woman in a wedding gown.  And then a man in a tux and a few others in what must have been the wedding party in formal wear and bridesmaid dresses.  Not the best conditions for a wedding, between the pall of the 9/11 attacks and the weather conspiring to make this a memorable event for all the wrong reasons.

But then – off to the left out of the corner of my eye, I see a motion.  There is a man, probably in his 50’s, standing just at the top of the beach in the deep sand of the access with a slim, gray haired, nicely attired women that had to be at least 80 if she was a day.  She was standing with a pained expression and her hand clasped over her chest as if she was having trouble breathing – or worse.  I lean over to buddy Bill and comment, “oh crap – they forgot grandma!”  And indeed – we subsequently found out that grandma (Nanna we discovered was her name) was having a lot of problems walking in the deep sand.

So Bill and I idle up to the top of the beach in the Jeep and approach the pair.  I call out, ”Ma’am – would you like a ride down to the wedding?”

I could see her take a quick look at this lifted Jeep on 36’s with the flowmasters rumbling away, and what must have looked like 2 rough guys sitting in it – and replied, “Young man,  I’d like that.”

So – we drove next to a large beach log that was easy for her to walk up one end, until her feet were about level with the door sill (about 36” off the ground.)  Buddy Bill – being a chaplain and social services director at a convalescent center – knew just how to get her safely transferred into the Jeep.  We wrapped her up in a blanket and buckled her in.

The wedding had already commenced (which I actually thought was poor taste to start without Nanna.)  So we just took a slow pace to the water’s edge so we would disturb the wedding as little as possible.  Nanna was both feisty and cranky.  During our transit down to the water, she recounted how she had been rousted out hours earlier than she usually got up from Yakima just that morning – how everyone was in such a big rush that she hadn’t even had a chance to take her medications, and now the wedding started without her and she was too fatigued to walk another step on top of it all.

Of course – beach weddings – most folks don’t think about how noisy it is – with the waves rolling in.  The wind made hearing even harder.  And I’m sure the AMC 304 with headers and flowmasters added a third component that made the vows and prayers and all fairly indistinguishable and barely audible.

The service was about over by the time we pulled up.  But I did sneak (sneak?) the Jeep in behind the crowd, which turned and started to tearfully apologize to Nanna and exclaim their regret that they had forgotten her.  Knowing that we had no part in the wedding as the crowd began to surround Nanna and the Jeep – Bill and I were about to head off for our own little walk

on the beach – when Nanna turned around and looked straight at me, saying in a loud voice, “YOUNG MAN – GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

Sorry Nanna – your family – you’re on your own for a few minutes.

The crowd started walking back up to the beach, and Bill and I piled into the Jeep and started to get Nanna out to the road.  Making small talk – I asked Nanna if she had ever been for a ride in a Jeep.  She responded that she had not before been in a Jeep.  I quipped, “Always time for a new experience, huh?”

As if my comment sparked some kind of need to reply – for a few moments she was quiet – looking straight ahead, her lips a thin, tight line.   Then turned to me and asked a very surprising question.  “Young man – have you ever been to a – lesbian wedding?” spitting out the last 2 words of the sentence like they were something that tasted very bad in her mouth.

“Ummmm – why yes actually – I have been.”

Nanna’s clipped response, “Well – I never thought I would ever the words LESBIAN and WEDDING in the same sentence!”


We got her back up to the beach and I finally put it all together.  The bride in white was her granddaughter.  The man in the tux was actually the father of the bride.    There was one in the wedding party also in a tux, looking pretty much like your Aunt Matilda who you reflect when growing up that at all the family gatherings is usually wearing comfortable shoes.  SHE was the woman to whom the granddaughter was getting married.

We get up to the road, the father of the bride announces that its time to go to the casino to eat, drink and get warm, and Bill gives Nanna a big hug type lift to get her out of the Jeep.  He and I slowly drive back up the beach just kind of chuckling away of what we were just a part.

Back at camp – I relay this entire story to the Tamers hanging out by a fire.  One, assuming it’s just another one of Moose’s crazy made-up stories, when I get to the end of the tale says, “Mangy – where do you come up with all this crazy crap?”


And that is just one of many moments in Tamer history.  Come on out and pull up or make up  your own little chunk of notoriety.  You never know what little adventure awaits on the trail around the next corner.

Thanks for readin’
And keep on wheelin’!