Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Unauthorized Biography of Mike Oscar Hotel, by the B&A Stowaway

Today in the News:  Well, during guest writer week  I tried to keep the attention off of me. I guess the B&A Stowaway didn't think that was acceptable.  Everything he writes in the following is true.  I have no secrets with this guy!

Link of the Day: - I've had the chance to chat with this gentleman a few times over facebook.  He's a good egg.  I like his writing style and his interests.  He has a great article on Dutch Oven cooking up on his blog right now.  Check it out!

Partridige on the Pinnacle Road, (the Unauthorized Biography of Mike Oscar Hotel) by the B&A Stowaway

“He’s bonafide. He’s a suuuuuuuuuuuuuuiter!”

One of my favorite movies of all time is ‘Oh Brother Where Art Thou’. In it, Ulysses' wife is marrying another man. His daughters are listing his virtues, one of which, is that he is ‘bonafide’. Proven. Genuine. Authentic. The real deal.

 Nowadays, there are paying websites that you can access to find out if someone is for real. You can find out if someone’s business is on the up-and-up, or if their reputation is all sorta stove up [Editor's Note - "Stove Up" in Maine speak = screwed up]. As someone who has grown up with Mike Oscar Hotel, I can vouch for this yahoo. He isn’t telling you half the stories of what he is up to. I remember a few years ago, me and another County Boy [Editor's note - County Boy = someone from Aroostook County, Maine.  We use the term proudly to identify ourselves throughout the state, whereas the rest of the state identifies us as being inbred if we're from The County] stopped in to his office to hang out for an afternoon. We sat around and told some stories, and his co-worker’s eyes got bigger, bigger, and bigger. It turns out that he hadn’t bothered to tell many stories about his upbringing, because ‘civilized’ types don’t believe what it’s like to grow up in the woods. They’ve never had to shoot to eat. They actually have the luxury of ‘comfort zones’.

I’ve seen this blog editor pull off some shenanigans. Due to this being a blog about rustic simplicity, however, I will stick to those sorts of facts. I won’t mention the laundry list of offenses against laws in multiple states and two countries, blatant disregard for his own safety, and catching a BB in the lip the night before he was an usher at a wedding, leaving him with a fat upper lip in all the wedding photos. We were in a band together, as well; he and Christopherson were both musically talented, and I had enough money to buy a bass guitar. So I was in! Mike Oscar shoveled 6 [Editor's note - it was actually about a foot and a half] inches of turkey turds off the floor of a turkey bin in his barn to set us up a band room. Most of our band practices would peter out after a few songs, and we would wander off to drive field bombers, snowshoe, hunt, or on one memorable occasion, pee ‘HI RYA’ in the snow for our friend Ryan, the Bragadoon Bomber. A few more Dews and we would have completed the ‘N’.

Mike Oscar used to ride a Nighthawk 750 over 200 miles, one way, every Monday for work. He would stay up in the County, then run back down that 200 mile stretch of road to be with his girlfriend. His bargain-basement leather jacket had seen so many bugs, rainstorms, snow, and road tar that he couldn’t hang it up, he would leave it standing in the corner. He also drove the bike the 150 miles up to Mount Carleton Provincial Park in New Brunswick, Canada. The miles might seem less, but you have to figure 60 miles of it was nearly one lane, and the only other souls on the road were long haul logging trucks, and they aren’t so picky about where they are driving. And the moose, deer, bear, fox, eagles, wolves, coyotes, and any other animals that enjoys darting out in the road. Then, there was the 15 miles of dirt road to the cabins. And the rickety foot  bridge to the cabins. Brass balls, my friends.

The view from Mt. Sagamook, Mt Carleton Provincial Park, New Brunswick, Canada

These camps were for introducing underprivileged kids to the great outdoors. I’ve seen Mike Oscar hike 70 degree grades, haul a fully loaded Bean backpack, with sleeping bag and tent duct-taped to the bottom, and hike 5K like this, to set up camp. All the while yelling, cajoling, and prodding buttock on a dozen mouthy city teens. He’s dealt with moose tripping over tent ropes, bears on the trail, snakes in the cabin, bats in the cabin, mice stuck in the doorknobs, and one camper nearly setting fire to the woods with fireworks. On one memorable occasion, he narrowly avoided a fast-moving forest fire by hurtling these same woods roads with a van full of girls in town for a fiddle camp. See why you don’t [expletive edited] with this guy?

I remember our Canadian names, VISTA shogun and Ruby Booby, as we canoed the little Tobique. Mike Oscar once pulled me out of a spring-flooded waterfall runoff, five seconds before I drowned. I owe him for that one!

This guy knows where a .50 caliber aircraft gun is buried in oilcloth, in a hidden garden. Guess who I am hanging out with when the zombies show up? I’ve also helped him pick up raccoon carcasses before they had gotten themselves perished, they were tearing up the porch, so he walked out with a revolver in each hand and opened fire, and nailed a fair number of the buggers too. I also helped him take care of the raccoon that soaked up a full clip of .22s, and then tried rushing Mike Oscar, only to eat a shovel swing that started at about China. That looked like a Batman comic; kaWANG!

I’ve been to hunting camp with him. Not just any hunting camp: one his grandfather and grand-uncle had built. It had two lovely skylights that had been installed in with a chainsaw, Plexiglas, and roofing tar. Once, due to a washout, we had to crawl our trucks over a dry stream bed. I’m not talking a sandy, polite, ‘chuckling’  stream bed, either, but a glacier carved, boulder-strewn gully, with vicious lobsters and yard-long leaches behind every stone. Once, he cooked a pizza in the camp stove, only to find that a mouse had died inside the oven, and was helping to flavor the pizza. Thankfully this was figured out before the first bite, but it WAS all they had to eat, and it was discovered after it had cooked. Another time, he cooked the nastiest concoction of ravioli, beef stew, beans, and I forget what else, then proceeded to sip his beer while the rest of our crew hit the Heinekens hard. You thought that mess looked rough going down? Let me tell you, it looked much worse when it came up: especially when Geoff decided to yack in the snowbank outside the door, the one where our deer steak breakfasts were keeping chilled.

Yet another time, we were travelling down a narrow woods road on our way to a gravel pit. We were going to shoot off our new potato gun, and then go partridge hunting. On the narrow road to the pit, we came around a corner to find a partridge standing brazenly in the road, knowing full well that the bushes were too close for us to get the truck doors open. While I started searching for ammo, Mike Oscar just started loading up the potato gun. Thankfully, I found the ammo and skinned out the beer window in time to shoot the bird: otherwise, that woods-chicken woulda been dead and stuffed with one shot.

I’ve been with him (but didn’t watch) when he [edited] peed in the radiator of a field bomber car, because we were miles from any water source, and overheating like crazy.

Then there was the time we welded van captain’s chairs onto a Nissan Pathfinder hood, tied it onto the back of a 4-wheeler, and left a train of sparks up and down a back road. It was his idea to tie the ropes onto the back of a pickup, tie a C-clamp onto the rope, and tow each other around in plastic Parris sleds (although it was Smitty who didn’t bother to watch the speedometer when it was his turn to pull. Hitting a log at 50 mph gets you more dizzying airtime than any Charlie Sheen broadcast).

He suggested that we take a kayak down a 45 degree mountain, one that was groomed by a snowsled club. The trail was so steep that it could only be dragged uphill; downhill would send the groomer out of control. It worked well, but blindingly fast!

He finagled the K-car we used as another field bomber, the one with the exhaust leak that we noticed after a few hours. Mike Oscar also had the brilliant idea to toss a mortar into the stream up to Moody Siding to see what would happen (it still blows up, and tracers shoot around under the water, and sleeping ducks [crap] their pants, is what happens.) He painted a coyote purple with a Brass Eagle paintball gun once. The coyote had previously thought that the snowbank was insurmountable, but when a blue Caprice Classic swung up beside him, and the window rolled down, and about 20 ‘marks-a-lot, non-wipeable’ painted him lilac, he decided he could make it up and over after all.

He was in charge of the fort when we charged it. We had turned a huge sawdust pile (viewable from google satellite) into a paintball field. We had opened lines of fire in the woods, built bunkers, piled logs for shelters, and dug into the peak of a hill of sawdust, which we lined with rusted sheet metal, to be our fort. This was supposed to be a workday, but it soon devolved into a paintball game. Since we were not planning on the game, Mike Oscar’s team was in the fort was low on ammo. When I noticed their fire slackening, I called to my teammate, “They’re out! Charge the fort!”

Mike Oscar is never out.

What followed was a deluge of sawdust clods, shovels, car doors, paintball guns, rocks, empty paintball canisters, empty CO2 canisters, and at one point, I believe a downed combatant. The lesson I learned was, don’t bring a paintball gun to a Mike Oscar fight.

A few years after, he moved to a state with a lot less woods and many more mountains; the state he currently scares mountain lions out of, and slaughters buffalo in. He didn’t lose any of his wily ways, he merely refined them. I recall one adventure, when he, Machine Gun Dwyer, and myself decided to take a shortcut. Seems harmless enough, right? It was the week between Christmas and New years, and there was some snow in the area. We decided to take Gunella Pass to knock some time off of our snowboarding sojourn. Sounds fine, right? Well, we were driving Olga, Mike Oscar’s trusty white ancient Volvo with the stove-up side, so a simple pass should be fine. And we had just stocked up on Hobbit’s Weed, an excellent pipe tobacco. But it turns out, the pass hadn’t been plowed in parts. OK, rear wheel drive, we are fine. It also turns out, there were switchbacks; that is when the road goes into a Z formation. You start the top of the Z a couple hundred yards from where you end the Z at, catch my drift? And I am talking about VERTICAL yards. Nosebleed section to the orchestra pit. Ever foot forward is a foot downward. OK, snowy roads, steep inclines and declines, bag of trail mix and good pipe baccy, no sweat. Oh, you mean there are a couple fully tricked out SUVs coming the other way, with no regard for simple driving laws, like sides of the road? (There is a myspace video with Mike Oscar uttering the famous line, “THANKS FOR TAKING IT A LITTLE WIDE, [explative]!
We made it to the end of the pass only to discover that the road had been closed down, which was why we weren’t encountering any other traffic but adrenaline junkies willing to brave it in their 4X4s. Oh!
I could tell you of many other adventures, mostly illegal and ill-advised. Many of them have little to do with Mike Oscar’s ‘keeping it simple’ blog, so I will forbear. Suffice it to say, when he talks about where the bear [craps] in the buckwheat, make sure you aren’t wearing sandals when you step into that field.

With this Northern Redneck, I’ve been on motorcycle tour across the coast, the highest point in the Maritime Provinces, sensitive military installations, inner-city Providence, RI, runways, gunfights, railroad cars, kayaks, and many other places that are hard to describe. If he told me to show up in the middle of the night with a shovel and a pickax, I would.

He’s bonafide.

Watch Out Where Those Huskies Go and Don't You Eat That Yellow Snow,

The B&A Stowaway


If this man is ever required to testify against me in court, I'm screwed. :)

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike, Oscar, Hotel......out.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to know that in a world full of wannabes there is still one man with the bark still on. Here's to you, brother.