S4:E7 – Montana’s Most Wanted

What happens when you get pulled over in the middle of the night by what feels like the entire police force of Missoula, MT? It’s a Driver’s Ed segment featuring three dads from upstate New York who, for a few hours in 1993, found themselves in the kind of situation they never expected to be in when they had left home for a northern Rockies backpacking trip 40ish hours earlier.

This story isn’t just about one of the scariest things that happened to these three. It’s also about friendships and inside jokes that last decades. And it’s about memory – how our minds highlight some events while glossing over others; how memory is often a collective, shared experience.

This episode was written, recorded, edited, and produced by Lisa McNamara.

Theme music by Michael Kobrin from Pixabay. Drivers’ Ed intro music by Ahmadmusic from Pixabay.


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(music starts)

This is Road Tripping in America, a podcast about life on the road. I’m Lisa and I’m Paul.

We’re exploring the US in a pickup truck with a camper – we named our setup The Bobs. We’re in search of off-the-beaten-path adventures and new experiences. Join us as we share our stories from the road.

Today, what happens when you get pulled over in the middle of the night by what feels like the entire police force of Missoula, MT? It’s a Driver’s Ed segment featuring three dads from upstate New York who, for a few hours in 1993, found themselves in the kind of situation they never expected to be in when they had left home for a northern Rockies backpacking trip 40ish hours earlier.

Tom: “That’s when it really got scary.”
Bob: “I was sitting in the cop car when Derf popped his head up, and I really thought they were going to shoot him.”
Derf: “Yeah, we were probably the most wanted guys in Montana that night.”

(music ends)

This is series four, episode seven: Montana’s Most Wanted

(Drivers’ Ed intro)

Today, we’re talking to three people I’ve known my whole life – my Dad and his college friends Derf and Tom.

These guys were my first real-life adventure heroes. I loved adventure stories growing up, so I had plenty of fictional inspirations. Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins, Jim from Treasure Island, the hobbits from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the kids from Goonies. But I didn’t really know anyone else in real life who did anything that could be considered adventurous, in the outdoor sense.

Anyone who knows my Dad knows that he is seemingly impervious to pain and cold. He considers bushwhacking up a mountain or through a dense forest a quick, fun hike. His snowshoe excursions are notorious. His trail mileage estimates are always short of reality. Derf and Tom were always down for the same stuff, as you’ll hear.

I could never, and will never be able to, go as hard and as intense as they can still go in their 70s. But these three were an inspiration for me to fearlessly go do wild things, once I learned how to do them my own, less intense way. I was really excited to catch up with them on this June day.

L: It’s really good to see you all!

B: I’m Dad, aka Bob McNamara. I’m a self-employed graphic artist or environmental interpreter.

L: Just a heads up that Derf and Tom both call my Dad Mac, not Bob or Dad (obviously). Mac is short for McNamara.

D: Derf, aka Fred Wilhelm. Semi-retired land surveyor.

L: Derf, of course, is Fred spelled backwards.

T: I’m Tom Backus. No nickname. I’m a retired forester working with DEC. Right now, I haven’t been doing anything of worth for the last fifteen years.

(all laugh)

L: How did you all first meet?

B: We met in Syracuse at ESF.

L: ESF is the college of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. This was the late 1960s. Which means they’ve been friends for more than 50 years. This conversation isn’t just about one of the scariest things that happened to these three. It’s also about friendships and inside jokes that last decades. And it’s about memory – how our minds highlight some events while glossing over others; how memory is often a collective, shared experience.

B: We were all roommates at the Roosevelt, an apartment building that was way off the beaten path. It was like a mile and a seven hundred feet elevation difference from our place to the campus. We had four to five people in these flats that used to be apartments. And they had what was probably a living room and a kitchen and two bedrooms. But the living room became two bedrooms. And the kitchen was a bedroom, which Derf stayed in. Right Derf?

D: That’s right, I had an electric frying pan and a little tiny refrigerator there. And a coffee pot that I used to make potatoes in. I boiled my spaghetti and my potatoes in a coffee pot. And I had an electric frying pan. Yep. But that’s all – I had a bunk in it, a desk, and a, kind of a table that I could use for cooking on.

B: Derf and I were in the same room, but Tom was not. He was in the same building but in a different room with different roommates.

T: I didn’t show up until two years later. I went two years at Paul Smiths College, and then I transferred in to Syracuse. And at that point, we had a mutual friend, Jeff Gutshall, who was kind of a bridge between the two apartments. And we got to know each other and started going on trips together, hanging out.

D: I think backpacking is what got us going. We all backpacked together and had something in common, and we tried to get up in the hills as much as we could after that.

L: The hills – the Adirondack Mountains – are three to four hours by car from Syracuse, New York. Adirondack Park was created in 1892 and is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, covering over six million acres.

L: How did you get up there in those days? Did anyone have a car or did you hitchhike?

D: Mac had a – I guess you could call it a car. It had wheels on it and it moved.

B: It was a GT6.

L: A Triumph GT6, an English sports car that seats two comfortably and two others much less comfortably. It would have been fairly new at that point. GT6s were made from 1966 to 1973.

B: And yeah – I actually drove that up into the Adirondacks in January one time and met Derf up there. And we hiked up Mt. Marcy.

L: Mt. Marcy, at 5,343 feet or 1,629 meters in elevation, is the highest point in New York State.

B: It was probably, I think, the second trip that we ever did. The first on was Algonquin. Right? And Jeff Gutshall got us to go on that, I think.

L: Algonquin – that’s the second highest point in New York State.

D: Yeah – but they were all in winter.

B: Yeah, it was January.

T: Yeah, that was the first trip I did with you guys, in the winter.

B: Yeah, me too. That was the first trip. And it was crazy – that was the one where we hiked with full packs right up over the top of Algonquin and down the back side and camped at Lake Colden and had no idea what we were doing.

D: Right, and blue jeans, rubber boots.

L: I bet you had some cold feet!

B: Yeah! Derf’s sleeping bag – the zipper broke, so he couldn’t close his sleeping bag. Tom fell into a spruce cave on the back side of Algonquin. Took him about an hour to get out. We waited for awhile for him, then we just said – we’re going.

D: I remember your pack, Mac, was so small, you had to carry your sleeping bag in your hands – do you remember?

B: Yeah! Bound up with bailing twine.

T: I remember getting to the top of the peak on that. We went up one side, and when we got there, there was no sign of the trail going down the steep east side and I was all in favor of going back down the way we came up.

B: The sensible one!

T: But Mac and Derf decided they knew where they were going and they proceeded down through – I don’t know how they found the trail, it was not obvious to me, but I followed them.

D: We bushwhacked a bit, I think, but we got down! It was cold, though.

B: Yeah, we got down to Lake Colden and the sun had set and it was just starting to get dark and we didn’t have any stoves or anything, so we were dependent on having a fire. So we had to scrounge up some firewood. And I don’t know, I guess we probably ate that night, didn’t we? We got a fire going and we ate something, I think? I don’t know.

L: Tom, how did you get out of the spruce cave?

L: A spruce cave is formed when a dense stand of small spruce trees gets completely covered with snow. The small trees bend down under the weight of the snow and large open pockets are created underneath. It actually can be a pretty dangerous situation, like falling into a crevasse in a glacier, though nowhere near as deep. But you can get trapped in a spruce cave and have a really hard time fighting your way out.

T: Well, they didn’t totally abandon me. I don’t know if I could have gotten out of there by myself or not!

D: He’s so tall, he can pop out of that kind of stuff, you know?

L: That’s a hazard of winter bushwhacking that I never thought of before!

L: So their mutual appreciation of suffer-fests aka backpacking started in college, but it didn’t end there.

B: We all hung out together for a couple years at ESF. And finally Jeff left, and Derf left, and Tom left, and I was there all by myself for a year. We got to be good friends there. And then, when Gutshall moved out West, we always made a point to stop in and see him whenever we were traveling.

D: We tried to go out one year, then he’d come out here the next. We were pretty steady for a few years. And then we had families, and kids, and bills. Well, I had bills. I don’t know about the other two guys. I had to work.

B: We did it for quite a few years, and boy, we saw some amazing places that we could never get to again, right?

L: What did you do on those trips? Because it seemed to me like – you’d always pick the hardest goal possible and then do it!

B: Yeah – we would do too much (laughs). Nothing is a better example of that than when we drove straight for 40 hours, or whatever it takes to get to Yellowstone, and then finally got there in the morning, so we got a permit for the backcountry and so we loaded up our packs way too heavy, and we hiked way too far, in way too little time. And set up camp at this remote lake somewhere, I can’t remember where. But uh…it was great! (laughs)

T: The reason our packs were way too heavy was, Mac always brought about 20 pounds worth of camera lenses and camera equipment.

D: That’s right! And a tripod!

T: And distributed it between Derf and I!

L: That’s nice friends!

T: Yeah! We were his mules.

B: My Sherpas!

L: Who had to carry that giant 500 millimeter lens?

B: I would take that. Yeah, that’s unbelievable. I would take that, and I remember, one time in particular in Algonquin Park, Derf got stuck with it, hiking from one lake to another looking for moose. And he didn’t like that too well.

I remember coming back from that trip, in Yellowstone, and we were thinking – oh man, that was really bad. But, we got up to Gutshalls, and we were going to go on another trip. And so we were really careful, we cut everything down, we whittled all the stuff down and distributed it all perfectly until we had 35 pound packs. And that was ideal. So the next trip was much better.

D: Yeah, we got rid of all that dumb stuff, like water (laughs).

L: When you planned your trips, was the ultimate goal to find wildlife, or was it more about hiking, or what?

B: It was both. I mean, I was trying to find wildlife, but, just get to the top of some peak somewhere too was definitely a goal. Just get as far as we could back into the wilderness.

D: I just wanted to get some place I’d never been before. Had to see what’s over the next hill, around the next corner of the trail. But your Dad was really into the wildlife. He lugged a lot of camera gear.

L: I sense a little bitterness still about this!

B: I don’t remember making them carry much of it though! I thought I carried most of my own junk, most of the time.

L: What was your favorite place you ever went?

D: I’d say Banff.

B: Boy it’s tough, yeah.

D: Or Jasper? Jasper was great.

B: I’d say Kokanee Glacier.

D: Yeah. What was that provincial park…

T: Don’t forget Valhalla!

D: Oh yeah, I gotta agree with Tom. Valhalla.

B: Valhalla and Kokanee.

D: In British Columbia, right.

T: In other words, we like Canada better than the good ol’ USA!

B: Well, those British Columbia Provincial Parks were just amazing. Valhalla was where Lucifer was – Lucifer Peak. That really rugged, wild area. I’d say that was my favorite.

D: And the huckleberries…

L: How about least favorite?

B: Allen mountain.

D: Yeah, Allen in the Adirondacks. We took two or three trips up that, and the snow was deep every time. It was cold. We had to break trail every step. By the time we got up there, all it was was just trees.

B: Yeah, and we were standing – it was January probably, and we were standing on top of Allen mountain. And we were looking way back down the valley to where our campsite was, which was probably four miles away, and it was dark already. The moon was coming out. And it was cold, way below zero. And so, yeah, that was a rough slog back to camp that night.

B: I’ll be right back – gotta take a quick break, I’ll be right back.

D: I knew that was going to happen!

L: Let’s take a break too. When we come back – we’re headed to Montana and a certain McDonald’s.


L: And we’re back. Let’s go back to summer, 1993. Three college friends in their early 40s are driving west from northern New York to Glacier National Park in Montana in a grey Ford Econoline van.

L: Where were you?

B: We were in Missoula to start, and it was after we had driven all the way across the country. Each guy would drive four hours, because it took four hours to burn off a tank of gas. So we’d stop for gas and then we’d rotate – somebody would sleep in the back and a new person would drive. And so there we were finally arrived in Missoula, and it was around midnight. And it was Tom’s turn to drive. I had been driving and Derf was sleeping in the back.

D: I sleep really good when we’re moving. I sleep really good in the car. And then you guys stopped, so I woke up and I looked out the window and I saw you walking around the parking lot, doing jumping jacks and stretching. And then I looked inside the restaurant – I didn’t even know what the restaurant was – and I saw Tom, and he looked like he was lost. He was walking around there, looking at the building, inside the building. And then he came out and I went back to sleep.

And then, awhile later, we got pulled over. And, well, I heard this big loudspeaker, like from a cop car, that said, “hey you, driver. Throw the keys out of the car. Keep your hands where we can see them.” And then Tom got out – didn’t he put his coat over his head or something? They had him lay down, then they started yelling, “hey you in the passenger seat – passenger, put your hands where we can see them.” And then you got out, and I said, “oh, poop. They’re going to want me to get out too.” And so I sat up, and when I sat up, I heard the loudspeaker yelling, “there’s another one in the back! There’s another one in the back!” And then they yelled, “you in the back, put your hands up where we can see them.”

Well, I didn’t have my boots on, so I bent over, and they went nuts when I bent over. They were screaming, but I slid them on, and they had me get out of the car, same as you guys, and they handcuffed me. And then when I turned around and I looked back, there was like four or five cop cars with their lights on – flashing lights and headlights – and they all had these pistols pointed at me. One guy had a long gun pointed at me. They were all young cops. They were psyched. And I think if I’d have put my hand down to itch or something they probably would have thought I was going for something.

They put me in a car, and a guy came along – I think he might have been a detective. He was older, and plainclothes, and he started asking me all of these questions. He asked me where we were going, and I told him we were going to Missoula. And so he asked me again, and I told him we were going to Missoula and then we’re gonna go north to Glacier. And he asked me like three or four times, then he got out of the car and left me, then he came back and asked me again, and I told him again. See, I had been sleeping, and I didn’t know we had already gone through Missoula, and that made him suspicious, right.

All I can remember is that the handcuff on my left wrist was so tight, and I asked him to loosen it up and he said, “no, I can’t do that.” Couldn’t trust me, you know. But then, I’m sitting there and I watch, and they just gutted the truck. They took everything out, all of our gear, and they’re going through it, feeling through the sleeping bags and all that stuff. I guess they were looking for a pistol, right?

B: Or money.

L: What did you think was happening at first? Tom, did you think, oh, I must have been speeding or something, or I must have ran a stop sign?

T: I pretty well knew that they weren’t considering us for speeding, because I noticed one car tailing me a long ways back, and he kept the same distance for a mile or more, until one or two more cars caught up to him, and then they both accelerated quickly, caught up to us, and I knew that, you know, they don’t do that for a speeding infraction. I had no idea, really, what was going on. And things happened so quickly that you didn’t really have time to think about what was going on, other than – we were in trouble.

B: I can remember you, when you came out of the McDonald’s there, you were puzzled, because they didn’t charge you for the coffee, right?

T: Yeah, they – I walked into McDonald’s and there was somebody in there, and I was going to wait for him to go ahead, and then he said, well, I could go ahead. But I was kind of standing back, looking at the display, because they had a sign up that said, five cent cup of coffee. And back then, even then, it was cheap, awfully cheap. I couldn’t believe it was five cents. And I got up there, and I was fishing around I guess in my pockets for loose change, and they said, oh, uh, it’s free. I got my five cent cup of coffee for free.

B: So the guy was nervous, huh?

T: Yeah, he was acting strange. I didn’t really think too much of it at the time. You know, people out at 2am in the morning or whatever it was, you know, they’re kind of strange to begin with. Including those people that are pulling in in a van at that time!

L: In case you missed it, that guy standing in the McDonald’s who let Tom go ahead and order his coffee ahead of him, that guy must have been the robber. Tom walked into an armed robbery in progress and didn’t even realize it. We kind of gloss over this, the first near-miss of this whole experience. Being groggy from driving the past forty-ish hours, probably had a lot to do with it.

B: I remember, when the cops said, “throw your keys out the window!” you said, “whaaaa?”

T: What really – I’ve always had a hearing problem, but what really confused me was, after I threw the keys out, then he said, “show your hands and get out of the car.” Well, how do you do that? How do you reach down and get the handle while both hands are showing out the window? It took me a few seconds to figure that out. They didn’t shoot me when I opened the door, anyway. That was good.

B: So, what did they do to you, when they took you back to your separate car?

T: They put us each in separate cars.

L: The audio gets really scratchy here, so I’ll share the rest of Tom’s answer. Tom said that they put them in the separate cars, “for interrogation, to make sure we didn’t collude on our tale. They probably asked what we were doing and if we had been at McDonald’s. I think they asked where we were from and if we were married and our contact information. I was thinking that they would be calling our wives at that point to corroborate our stories, but they never called our wives.”

T: I guess they believed us after a while.

B: When they took me back into the car, I was telling him that we were just on a backpacking trip. You know, what’s going on? They asked us if any of us had a leather jacket, because apparently the robbers had a leather jacket or something. And I said, “no, we don’t have any leather jacket.” That’s one of the things they were looking for when they were swarming over the vehicle.

D: Somebody must have – because Tom looked kind of suspicious, and you were up walking around that parking lot, and Tom was looking confused inside, and they saw a gray Ford van with New York plates…yeah, we were probably the most wanted guys in Montana that night!

L: When did they start realizing that you weren’t the perps? When did you start figure out what was going on?

B: Well, we didn’t know for a long time, until they let us out of the vehicles and un-cuffed us. Then they finally said what had happened and they apologized to us. But, they didn’t even put all our stuff back, of course. They just tore all our stuff apart and left it strewn all over the place, and apologized, and took off, and then there we were, on the side of the road, having to repack all our stuff.

L: How long do you think they kept you in questioning in the cars?

D: Oh, probably twenty minutes, eh? You guys were in a little bit longer than me. I kind of made them suspicious because I didn’t know that we’d already gone through Missoula, and I didn’t know that we stopped at McDonald’s. I just knew we stopped someplace.

Later in that trip, when we were up in Alberta – remember, we were looking for caribou? Way up in the high country, and we came across two Alberta provincial police guys – they were camping up there too. And we told them the story, and they said that the Montana state troopers had done everything right. They said they had done exactly what they were supposed to do. I remember when I looked back, when I turned around and I saw those guns pointed at me, way in the distance there was more cop cars. They had the whole highway blocked off.

B: Both directions!

D: Yeah. So nobody was getting near us. How many cars must have been involved, total?

B: I don’t know, but they were from all different jurisdictions. So, we were afraid when we took off, when we finally took off again, we were thinking, wow, there’s an all points bulletin out for us, when we get to the next county, we’re going to go through all of this again. But we didn’t fortunately.

D: When I told other people this story, the first thing they said: “you should sue ‘em!” No, really! Everybody told me that, that I should sue them. But not the provincial police, the Alberta provincial police, they said that they did everything right.

B: I was sitting in the cop car when Derf popped his head up, and I really thought they were going to shoot him. I was afraid, because Derf was goofing off, you know. He wasn’t taking it seriously. And I thought, oh man. So I was telling the cop, that’s just our friend, you know. Don’t shoot him! He was sleeping in the back.

And I think my cop, I think he believed me. He grasped what was happening, and that they shouldn’t get too crazy. But I remember talking to Derf afterwards when we were driving, after we took off, and he was saying that he was thinking about trying to slip away!

L: You were thinking about flight options!

D: I thought, I should at least get in front of the truck! Those guys were armed, and you know, I wanted some protection. I thought about jumping in front of the truck and then I said, well wait a minute, it’s probably better under the truck. However, that would have made them suspicious, I think.

L: It’s funny that you say that, though, because when we had that experience in Mexico with the police, which we called to help us, but when they showed up and they had their machine guns and everything, I went through the same thing. I was like, OK – where can I hide, where can I run, what can I hit them with.

D: I think it’s called self-preservation!

L: Yeah, I didn’t even think it, my mind just went there. So Dad, you didn’t think that at all? You weren’t like, how do I get out of this?

B: Oh no, no. I was just trying to reason with them. I was saying, hey, I don’t know who you think we are, but we’re not them. We’re just on a backpacking trip.

L: What did you do right after they let you go?

B: Well, we were wide awake, I can tell you that! (all laugh) We were just thinking, wow, what’s going to happen in the next town?

D: So they told you – the cop in the car – told you that there was an armed robbery at that restaurant, at the McDonald’s, or no?

B: I don’t think in the car, I can’t remember when they told us that.

D: Yeah, cause I didn’t know what was going on until I was out of the car.

B: They must have let us all out, right, and then we must have all been back together, getting back into the van, and then they apologized to us, and then…

T: I don’t remember any apology. I was struck by the fact that they didn’t apologize and just told us what had happened. They told us why we were pulled over and etc. etc. but boy, I thought we were due an apology.

D: I don’t remember an apology either, I just remember that they made a mess of the truck. We carefully packed everything so that, when we got out of the truck the next morning, we were ready to go, and they kind of threw a monkey wrench in our plans for a bit.

B: I just remember a weak apology, but thinking that it sure wasn’t much. But then I think we drove for quite a while longer, and I think that was the night we just pulled over, and we went across these railroad tracks and we just camped there, somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

D: We did not use a tent that night, we slept under the stars. And I had just got that new sleeping bag, it was really thin. Some high tech material or something. Your two bags lofted up maybe eight, ten inches high, and mine was like, inch and a half and I said, oh man. I got ripped off on this deal! But I was fine.

L: So, on the way back then, home again, did you have to go through the same town?

T: We went more northern route back – I think we came back on route two or something? We stopped at my brother’s place in the UP of Michigan.

B: That’s right. We told them the whole story, they thought that was pretty good.

D: Yeah, that would have been when I got tangled up with the poison ivy, remember? I broke out in poison ivy, and we were going to go to Tom’s brother’s house and he was going to give me some sort of a shot that would help it. But we stopped at a hot spring, we saw a hot spring on the map, you guys snuck me in because there was a sign there that said that you can’t go in if you have a rash. And I was covered. The worst thing you can do, once you’ve been exposed to poison ivy like that – we were at my brother’s, and I was staying away from it. But I started playing with his dog, and his dog had been rolling in it. And so like, three days later, I got covered with it. But I couldn’t take a shower, because we weren’t near a shower, we were in the backcountry. It just got worse and worse on the whole trip.

L: You’re making me itch!

D: On the way back, we stopped at that hot spring, before we got to Tom’s brother’s house, and those guys put towels around me, and we kind of snuck in the side way. About three hours later, it was gone. The poison ivy was gone. It was just as clear as if I’d never seen it before.

B: You left it at the hot spring!

D: Sleeping in a sleeping bag for what, three or four days before you get to take a shower – no, five or six days, is the worst thing you could do.

B: Was that the one – it was way off the beaten path. Well, route 2 is pretty much off the beaten path, but, then we had to go on a dirt road to the north, off route 2, and it was just way up in there somewhere. Was that the one?

D: Yeah, it was real strange, they had a motel beside it.

B: And the girl that we paid and let us in – she didn’t know that there was such a thing as NY state. Do you remember that?

D: Yeah, that’s right.

B: We told her were from NY, and she said NY city, and she was talking about the big city, and we said no, we’re from NY state. And she said, well, I didn’t know there’s a NY state!

L: So they didn’t call your wives right away, right. So did you call them and tell them, or did you wait until you got home to tell them?

B: We didn’t tell them, did we?

D: I didn’t.

T: I had to tell them just before I came down here to set up, because I had to explain what I was doing.

L: No way! That would be really funny.

L: Tom’s audio went scratchy here, he went on to say, “No, of course not. I think we all waited until we got back.”

T: We didn’t have cell phones back then. When we were away for two weeks, we were away for two weeks.

L: Did you think that this just a completely random, one off experience that would never happen again, or did it change the way you traveled going forward?

B: I don’t think it did, I think we just thought it was a fluke.

D: Yeah.

L: Do you ever go into McDonald’s and not think about this or is it more unusual that you would think about it?

B: I never go into McDonald’s (laughs).

D: I avoid that place too. But when you’ve got grandkids, we take them out to McDonald’s probably once a year maybe.

L: You don’t avoid it for that reason though, right?

B: Nah. Because the food’s terrible.

D: No.

T: I do have empathy every time I…

L: Scratchy again – Tom continues, every time “I pass a car that’s been pulled over by two or three cop cars by the side of the road.”

T: I have a little empathy for those criminals now.

L: The last question I’ll ask you – what’s one piece of advice you’d give somebody about traveling?

D: Travel light, don’t carry a gun. And avoid the police as much as you can. Don’t look suspicious.

T: I would say, the main thing is, go with the right people. They can make a trip or they can destroy a trip.

D: There are times you’ve gotta travel with your wife too, though.

(all laugh)

T: It’s probably a good idea to go on a long trip before you get married, that’s good advice.

D: Yeah.

L: I completely agree with that.

D: You’ve got a lot more miles under your belt at your age than we did, so we should be asking you for advice.

L: Oh, I don’t know. Dad, what’s your advice?

B: Well, I don’t know. Travel is different now than it used to be. When we traveled, our goal was to avoid the big cities and just stay in the rural areas where you could camp wherever you wanted to, but I think that’s pretty hard to do nowadays.

L: This was really nice, it was also just really nice just to talk to you all and see your faces after such a long time. I should let you guys go.

D: OK, Lisa, thanks for talking to us, it’s nice catching up with you.

B: Thanks for bringing us together, that was a real nice idea.

D: Tom, let us know when you’re up this way.

T: Yeah, I’ll let you know.

B: Let’s do a bicycle or a canoe or a bicycle and a canoe.

T: Buy a pair of bike shorts, first, Derf.

B: Oh yeah, instead of your blue jeans.

D: Oh yeah, yeah.

(music starts)

L: Bye! Happy Solstice!

D: Bye, Lis.

B: Bye, Lisa.

D: Tom, you’re setting up this trip, so you gotta be the trip leader. Plan the itinerary.

T: Yep, OK!

D: Later guys.

L: Bye.

Thanks for listening.

(music ends)

When’s the last time you got together, all in person?