Thursday, July 23, 2009

Our Road Trip To Wind River Canyon

"No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow."

Photographs by Kilroy_60

The Last Road Trip - Part 15

About seven weeks ago (7 June) my buddy Al committed suicide.

A few days later, after his memorial service, Al's wife said that he, at some point, had told her I would know where to spread his ashes.

Three days later (14 June) I hit the road with my partner in crime The Master Baiter. We had no destination in mind and no timeframe in which to get to...wherever we were going.

We wound our way through 10 states in 39 days.

We went to the Badlands of South Dakota, explored the Rocky Mountains, traveled along the Pacific Coast, checked out the Grand Canyon and visited an area in Utah with the greatest density of natural arches in the world.

Tuesday, our third day in Wyoming, we arrived at Wind River Canyon. Wind River Canyon is a Wyoming Scenic Byway; it's located between the cities of Shoshoni and Thermopolis.

When I pulled off the road I asked The Master Baiter to plug the coordinates into his GPS. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that we'd found the Right place to spread Al's ashes.

We pulled out the quarter ounce of Purple Haze I'd stashed in the freezer and two six packs of Rolling Rock that we'd been saving. We envibed while listening to the CD I put together specifically for the occasion

About two hours later we spread Al's ashes here...

It was my sophmore year at Park College when I met Paul and we became fast friends.

I was shooting pinball (playing a game called Meteor) and he dropped a quarter on the glass to reserve the next game. When the ball drained, after I turned the machine over, I told him I was likely to be on for awhile and asked if he wanted to play along.

By the time I finished that game I'd put 10 free ones on the machine so I told him to put the quarter in his pocket. We went on to play for a few hours and never put in any money.

When we went back to my room to drink a few Rolling Rocks and get high I found that we'd met before. Three years earlier, it turned out, we'd gone to see The Eagles together at Three River Stadium. (The Eagles played with Fleetwood Mac and Boz Scaggs)

There were a dozen people who went to the show together including Paul who was one of my buddy's friends that I'd never met before. I never saw him again until we met in the snack bar.

Not long after that we went to see The Blues Brothers movie. We were both big fans and soon I was calling him Jake, because he had build similar to John Belushi, and he was calling me Elwood.

It wasn't until years later, when Graceland came out, that I, and our other mutual friends, started calling him Al. Graceland was one of his all-time favorite albums and he seemed to always be singing along with You Can Call Me Al.

It's funny, even after his name became Al, to all of us, he continued to call me Elwood. Nobody else called me Elwood, but everyone knew who he was talking about.

The last six weeks have been difficult, but I'm happy to have been able to fulfill my buddy Al's wishes. I miss him.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Nice piece.

crys said...

Thank you for the brief history of how you two met and became friends...
To share that bond with us is a privilege for us as voyeurs into your friendship.
The saying that time heals all wounds, is not exactly accurate, but time does soften the pain, the ache of such wounds.
I wish you and your friends and family the best.

Global Patriot said...

Finding the final resting place for a dear friend must be both emotionally challenging and spiritually satisfying, as we all wonder how our friends will react when it's our time to go.

The spirit you've shown throughout this journey is exceptional, and sets a good example for all of us to follow.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful and peaceful resting place for Paul. The Wind River mountains are magical & healing. Bless you Kilroy, you took such great care of your friend. It is an honor to know someone like you x0x

Gerald Weber said...

Really sorry to hear about your friend but it's very cool you found a good way to honor him. Good job!

Unknown said...

what an amazing tribute to friend i am sure Al is pleased with the results of this roadtrip--the world needs more people who are friends like you!

Keith H. Bray said...

You are obviously the type of friend we'd all like to have!

Anonymous said...

It's absolutely beautiful and I'm sure he's happy with the spot you picked.