Saturday, March 5, 2011

In Search of Elk Antlers

The day began like any other. (fussing over this and that) We finished up with our normal morning of Bed & Breakfast tasks and determined that we must go in search of, No, Not a geocache, but Elk Antlers !

Now mind you that at several points during the day I thought to myself that it was crazy to be out going thru all that we did just to find Elk Antlers ! But I kept telling myself that for over 4 months and alot of miles across the country Mike has been patient while I was searching for geocaches and I tried to pretend to be excited.



Only moments from the house my little jeep began to steam up and smoke from under the hood. Yesterday the huge pot hole there as you leave CVS pharmacy was more than it could take. What was probably a crack in the radiator before this moment was now a full on hole ! The little cachemobile was down.  (Mikey & I inside calling for help) Repairs were made by Mike, the trusty husband who is not exactly what I would call "handy". One of the most intelligent men I have ever met. THE worlds greatest father. A fantastic salesman. A brilliant thinker. But "Handy" he just aint !!! lol

So with my looming reservations about repairs that he made himself already as the day began I made my usual nags. He insisted and within 5 miles of the house, The smoke came pouring out from under the hood. Pouring almost like the rain that was falling from the sky !!! The rain that I didnt want to be walking home in !!!

The fussing began about there. Lets turn back. Why must we continue I pleaded my side of the fight !

Out of the jeep standing in the rain, He scratched his head, looking at the steam coming from beneath the hood. He looked almost as if he understood something, anything, about what made the engine run ! Only again, "Handy"  he is NOT !!!

We had a fresh jug of radiator fluid that we put inside. The second jug that day. Why could this be happening ? If only we had a "real repairman" I fussed.

With my arms crossed and his stubborn determination now driving us we continued on into the distance. (I was very certain at this point that it was going to be an unpleasant day)

Mikey is now upset because the Ipad has lost its charge and we have driven long into Martin County on roads that were so wet and muddy that a four wheel drive jeep was buried up to its door panels in mud. Not only now are we once again sitting in a cloud of smoke from under the hood but we are MILES and MILES from anyone, the rain is pouring and we are stuck in a ditch of mud that he just slid us into !

Okay, first things first, We managed to work our way out of the ditchline and get ourselves turned around and heading in the right direction. We pulled over, raised the hood, let the rain fall on the engine to cool it down because now we are overheating. Standing there, with our heads wet and with mud up to the back of my knees, complaining about how "I TOLD YOU" we should have turned around !

Now at this point I have to tell you that my frustration didnt come from his lack of knowledge about how to repair the jeep. My frustration came from his inability to admit that he didnt know how to fix the jeep ! LOL

We again filled the radiator and he continued to drive further into the No Cell Service, No People, No Help Zone that we were in. 20 More miles and at the top of a mountain, we got out again to inspect the radiator and why it was loosing so much steam and overheating the jeep when we realized that he had not put the cap back on it when filling it with fluids !!! Ya know, Mr "Handy" had forgot to tighten the cap :) I just crossed my arms. I said calmly to him. "I dont mind the mistake. But what I mind is your inability to admit that you are not "Handy" !!! LOL

Now on the road with the radiator doing its job (atleast for the moment) we continued to search up hollers for elk. In a holler, Up a side road, back out, up another road, to this coal mine, then out and down another road, for hours. For 8 hours we searched for Elk.

And finally I reached over and said, STOP THE JEEP !!!!



There standing no more than a hundred yards away in the field off to the right was the most beautiful, the most proud, the largest dang beast of an animal. Easy, be very still and enjoy ! We did it. We found a herd of the most beautiful Elk.

He said to me, I will go around this ridge line and I will walk and move them up the ridge so you can see them. Now excited myself at the thought, Mikey standing in the seat looking out the "porthole" window we waited as he walked thru the field behind the massive herd of 13 Elk. None of them with antlers atop their heads. This is a good sign I thought to myself as he walked.

And then he did it. He bent over and off from two hundred foot away he smiled. I saw his body change. I saw the joy take over him. I saw him shrug his shoulders and come up with the most beautiful set of Elk antlers in his hands !



Excitement filled me as I jumped out and went toward him with the camera in hand. Most people live their whole lives and never walk in a field behind a herd of wild animals larger than my jeep. Most people are lucky to ever run into them and most people are certainly never going to bend down and pick up a freshly shed Elk antler. I was so proud of him. He got into the car and I insisted that he go look one more time incase there were more closeby  so we would have an extra one to gift to Pastor Chuck. No luck but we tried. The three of us now searching in the pouring rain for just one more antler !!!! lol

In the jeep now heading off the mountain I was going on and on about how proud I am of his find. Oh my Goodness I cant believe you found them. Most people will never ever find a set of Elk Antlers in the wild. I was bragging on him and praising him and felt such joy over his find. He was proud of himself and the jeep was running smoothly and we were smiling and laughing and enjoying our day. We even managed to find two geocaches while making our way back out. (always a good thing)

He said to me, Did you see how fast we went from fussing to praise. You never know what the day is going to be he said. We were driving and along side the road at that moment was a huge, bigger than Mikey, Blue teddy bear covered with flowers and crosses in a memorial made there by the road where someone had lost their lives in a car wreck.

I couldnt help but say, That person thought that they were going home. They thought that they were gonna live forever. Atleast they thought they were going further than the curve along side the highway.

Our days never seem to turn out like we think they will. Some days we fuss and some days we say things we dont really mean to say. Somedays we search for Elk Antlers and somedays we search for geocaches.

But today we learnt that sometimes you think you are going after one thing and you find another. I thought we might find antlers but it never crossed my mind until pulling in the driveway tonight that what we really found was a place where we agree. What we really found was a fun adventure. I have said many times to my friend Kelly that I would rather die out on an adventure than die sleeping in my bed.

What a wonderful day of fussing and breaking down and antler finding we had :)
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