1972, Michael & Stonewall, he was one huge Airedale.
Fletcher doing some fishing in Tern Lake by the house
The night (Tis Alaska, don't be fooled by the daylight) we brought home 700 pounds of salmon.
Shirley and Nancy Hyde
Cindy & dogs
Unhappy campers, as we were going to cut hay, by hand no less.
Sonny getting shod, best hunting horse I ever owned.
Ony horse we could trust Brenda on, he was an old rodeo bucking bronc, but gentle as a lamb.
Ginny & Fancy,, Martha's ;little appy
Snooze time on a warm day during spring breakup
Rusty, Cindy's little Yukon horse.
Little moose calf at Tern Lake near the house
Ginny, Michael's horse.
1974, off to a school funtion with Brenda and Cindy to Moose Pass
1974, off to a school function in Moose Pass with Brenda and Cindy.
Alaska 1975. Brenda and Cindy saddling up Sonny & Rusty for a ride. Odd, with their own horses, there never seemed to be a shortage of boys hanging around.(:>) Hang in there Pat & Mike.
Transferred down from Alaska to Cody Wyoming in 1976, worked in Cody until 1980, when was then transferred to Wamsutter WY.
1978, at home on Heart Mountain, Cody Wyoming
Foxy Lady and who hit John
<---Why the solemn faces to the left?
Four deer we took one Saturday morning. Cindy took her first deer, (age 14) right between the eyes at 100 yards with a .54 muzzleloader. And it was the biggest deer of the day. Our basement was starting to look like a slaughter house.
1977, sans beard
Cindy and Foxy when she was just one day old. Cindy and her friend Myrtle.
Front view of home we built on acreage out at Heart Mountain. We had just barely got the deck done, when Marathon transferred me down to Wamsutter WY in 1980.
Brenda and Foxy
Martha and Foxy when were building barn.
Rear view of house, sure loved that full basement we were finishing off.
Martha's little flower garden, she struggled to get one going, never knew when the frost would take it out.
Martha over to pick me up on crew change day, when we choppered back into Kenai. I worked at a remote land facility and on offshore oil platform, week on, then got a week off. Was nice though, pay was great and every other week was like a vacation.
Cindy & her first elk.
Martha and I off to the annual Buffalo Bill (bison billy) Ball in Cody.
A rare oddity, the kids caught their own
rainbow here in the valley one misty day.
Alaska, 1969-1976 We had it rough for a while, I had worked various jobs before going to work for Marathon Oil Co, we lived on part of an old homestead we had bought, six miles from the little hamlet of Moose Pass on the Kenai Peninsula. In 1976, got transferred to Cody WY, and from there to several other places. I never complained (Martha and the kids sure did) for Marathon was a great employer.
There were the Hydes, the Beaudoins, and us, we worked for hours, cleaning, wrapping, and putting into freezers. By the time we got our third all ate up, the kids and I never knew there was 101 ways to prepare salmon, but Martha, (bless her little "waste not, want not" heart) she thought of them all. (:>(
When their Grandma Chambers was up visiting, she and the girls decided to give Fletcher a birthday party. His bib reads, "I am a little lamb." NOT
Brenda and Fletcher
Here I am taking off for a week, and she had the audacity to wish me a nice day.
And bye bye for another week.
Martha said, what, you woke me up and want me to clean these things
Brenda, Foxy, and Bonita, Foxy was now growing fast and a real sweetheart, she was a people horse.
So, what do parents do during those cold snowbound Alaskan winters? Hey, what else, have snowball fights with the kids.
Winter & summer. In pic at right, weather was moving in and was trying to get hay off the ground before the rain hit, didn't make it. 1977
Martha & Crystal, she later sold her and was not a happy camper a couple years later (at right) to find she had foaled a mule.
Fancy, Martha's little appaloosa.
Tri Jingles, an Appaloosa, he was Martha's pride & joy & a big gentle baby.
1980, goodbye Cody, hello Rawlins and Wamsutter.
House I bought in Rawlins, caught hell from Martha and Cindy, as I bought it sight unseen by them, big mistake, but had no choice, no listings to choose from, we came in on the boom, and left on the bust, (:>( but thats another story. They were still in Cody selling off livestock and home place there. They liked nothing about it, in town, no acreage, etc, etc, etc. Cindy was especially upset, jerked out of her senior year of high school in Cody, etc, etc. Such is the life of oil field trash. (smile when you say that stranger)
Billy, (groom) Brenda, & friends.
1980, Brenda's wedding day. Cindy, Brenda & Cindy's beau at the time.--->
Beautiful country we lived in, cleared a bit of ground and had our own little piece of heaven for a few years. Martha and I cut and hauled poles over in the Kenai Burn and built the rail fence around the back acreage. Too old now I know, but, even yet today, I miss and yearn for the freedom of Alaska.
Cindy got into such a gloom and doom funk, she took up cross stitching. But the pink panther at least brought a smile from her.
The first thing I learned about Wamsutter operations, was do not, I repeat, do not, do a snow $ budget forecast based upon costs for a couple of previous relatively mild winters. Unless you enjoy the odious of going a hundred grand or so over said budget, not a good thing. Wamsutter operations consisted of far flung combined oil & gas production, spread out over South Central & Western Wyoming, North Western Colorado, and North Eastern Utah. I made the circuit at "least" once a month to oversee operations and ongoing projects. Had good Marathon and contract employees that made the job much easier though, they were a great bunch of guys to work with.
Martha would sometimes come to visit me when I was away from home for extended periods. At right, she said she was now the company hand for the rig and I could go home. (:>)
I literally came to hate that Pipe Line Crossing 1-20 well though. I left home one morning, and had two days off in the next three months. It was a problem well for completion from the start, and only got worse from there. I had a suite at the Little America Motel on I-80, came to know all the employees by name, and could order any meal by number without looking at the menu. When a rig is working on a well, there are no Saturdays or Sundays, daylight or dark, it is just 24/7
Rig Roughnecks were some of the hardest working and toughest men I have ever seen, they would work for hours pulling a wet string of pipe with temperatures below zero, with rain gear aside, still get soaked with heavy water, (calcium chloride) and never bitch or complain.
1984, Cindy and Greg's wedding. Reception was at the Irma (Buffalo Bill's original) Hotel in Cody. Not the best pic, but a funny one of Martha spooked when Greg pops a champaign cork. With those big rimmed tinted glasses, she looks like a red eyed raccoon. (:>)
1985, Martha & I at one of the contractor's picnics.
January, 1986, got word I was being transferred to Bakersfield California, was afraid at first it was to Santa Maria on the coast, but Marathon was selling off those properties. So I was going to SCLU Unit Gas plant as maintenance supervisor, was glad to hear that. Being a production supervisor was fun & interesting, but things mechanical & such was always my first love. The SCLU gas plant was a refinery of sorts, all marketable liquids , such as natural gasoline condensate, propanes, butanes, iso butanes and etc were stripped out of the natural gas throughput. No gas fired turbines, but as it was an old plant built back in 1942, had steam turbines & pumps, lots of the old gas fired low RPM heavy recip integral compressors, electrical generator sets and other mechanical equipment.
Real bummer though, the domestic petroleum industry throughout was in a real recession and things were in one hell of a mess. (has not recoverd to this day) After all the work and money upgrading the house, we took over a 20 grand loss, would have been much worse if not for Marathon's policy of, if you could not sell on the open market, they would have three appraisals done & then purchased your home for average of the three. We came in on the boom, and was going out on the bust, in 1980, you could hardly find a home of any sort on the market, in 1986, Rawlins was a sea of for sale signs. Some poor devils really took it on the chin, lots of ads in the papers of people willing to pay potential buyers 5, 10, or even 20 thousand dollars, just to take over the payments on their homes.
Felt odd, Moving with none of the kids at home. Brenda and Cindy married, Michael now long out of the navy and working for Lockheed Martin Aircraft down in Los Angeles. Not much to do for a move, Marathon would send in the moving company, few hours later, the place was bare.
Bakersfield California, March 1986. After the grief of Rawlins, I let Martha do the selection this time, and she picked a new house. The back area was like a blank palette, so gave her carte blanc to do as she wanted, she did, and it turned out real nice.
Missy, our little Welch terrier and I.
Hey, everyone needs a rubber ducky.
Martha doing what she said she does best, relaxing.
1987, Michael and his wife Dana, they were up from LA to spend Thanksgiving with us.
Our fifth wheel & truck, what I was crawling around under there for, I don't now have a clue?
Martha and Todd.
Martha & Jean with James and Jean's friends
Lil Missy doing her thing, killing any and all ground squirrels that would dare intrude into her yard.
My sister Jean, her husband James, son Todd, and their friends flew out for a week's vacation. Was a whirlwind, I am sure they needed to rest up once back home in NC.
Martha and I over at Pismo Beach on the Pacific Ocean.
The late Ralph Moore & I. Ralph & Orlee Moore were good friends of ours down from Alaska. Ralph was engineer on the MV Tustumena, an ocean going ferry for the Alaska Marine Highway System.
Martha was starting to get concerned about her figure. Hey, looks good to me.
January 1991, Marathon would be transferring SCLU Operations over to another working interest owner, so got transferred back to Cody Wyoming as production supervisor in Oregon Basin. Martha loved Bakersfield, but, it was in California after all, so I was not at all sad to get back to Wyoming.
April, 1991, the doctors had found a mass in Martha's chest, it turned out non-malignant, but spooked us enough to reexamine our priorities, did so, and we opted for early retirement, which I took in June of 1991. Never regretted it, the years since have been some of the very best.
The Mort Silas tombstone the guys made up for me at retirement, well, like all such, it has a story behind it.
Out in the Oregon Basin Field, there is thought to be an archeological Indian site consisting of an arrow made of stones on the ground, supposedly pointing up into the Big Horn Mountains to a medicine wheel. Decades ago, Marathon had taken measures to preserve the arrow by erecting a fence around it made of sucker rod. Near this monument are also some petroglyphs on a rock face, the feds at BLM had warned everyone off from disturbing these artifacts.
After coming down from Alaska in 1976, I had examined the arrow etc, but then one day I was riding around with Don Contrell, when found a large size piece of flat face granite. As a practical joke, I took a ball peen hammer and rounded the stone off into the semblance of a tombstone, then chiseled into it the words, Mort Silas, Virginia 1797--1846 R.I.P. Got some iron filings, and took the now fake tombstone to a wash just a few yards from the arrow fence, saw a place there would be water run off from snow melt or rain, dug a hole into the ground, placed the stone there with the iron fillings spread across, thinking the resulting rust would weather it, & covered over with a little dirt.
Aside from telling some of the guys I worked with in the engineering dept at the Cody District Office, I never thought much about it, until. After I had gotten transferred down to Wamsutter a few years later, I got a call from Gene Grant, who dealt with leases on federal land at the Casper Division Office. He said, "you remember that joke you told about in OB, well it isn't a joke anymore." Seems an MOC drilling foreman whom had a propensity for collecting artifacts, had found the tombstone, thought it was real, and taken it home. The feds at BLM got wind of it and were investigating as to bring charges against him & MOC.
I made out a statement of facts, (along the lines of above) had it notarized, and sent it in. Everyone then got a big laugh out of it, with the story being retold over the years and embellished along the way.
I still have the tombstone they gave me, and always smile when i think about it,
Bob, Brenda & Cindy
her kitchen. Actually I made her hold my rifle while I took a pic of her new outfit she had just made.