Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Navy SEAL, a Broke-down Car and Karl Malone

9 September 2015

Today I hitchhiked from Salmon, Idaho to Hamilton, Montana.  It seemed like it took a long time to get out of Idaho.  Some days are slow, some days are fast.

I got a ride from Salmon north on U.S. 93 to Tower Creek.  From there I walked for a while and then got a ride to North Fork (north fork of the Salmon River).

At North Fork, I got a hamburger at the local cafe and then started walking again.  I must have walked three or so miles when this guy in a tractor-trailer pulled over to give me a ride.  His name was Marvin and he came up from Texas a couple of days ago.

Marvin and I had a good chat.  He told me that his dad was a veteran of World War II and Korea.  After coming home from Korea, his dad and his family lived in the woods until 1974 when the U.S. Forest Service burned them out.  Marvin's dad liked being alone---that is why he spent so much time in the woods.  I told Marvin that I have met a number of veterans who suffered from PTSD and the common denominator with these guys is that they like to be alone and away from society.

Marvin told me that he was a Navy SEAL from the mid 1980s till the mid 1990s.  He was involved in an operation in Panama in 1989 where his helicopter was shot down.  He was wounded a few times and some of the SEALs were killed---the enemy knew they were coming.  They were pinned down on this beach for three days.  No help was coming, so they had to swim back to the ship.

Marvin was later sent to Lebanon.  He got out of the Navy and started hitchhiking.

Marvin was hitchhiking in Alaska when he saw this guy trying to fix his broke-down car.  Marvin walked up to him and asked him if he needed any help.  The other guy said, yeah.

So Marvin fixed his car and he got a ride to somewhere in Alaska.  The guy with the broke-down car was Karl Malone.  Malone was a power forward for the Utah Jazz; he was a two-time MVP in the NBA in 1997 and 1999.  For the next six years, Karl and Marvin would go on hunting trips in Montana.  Karl also owned two commercial fishing boats in Alaska and he took Marvin on a fishing trip.

You never know who you are going to meet on the road.

Marvin dropped me off in Hamilton and told me that he was heading into Idaho on U.S. 12.  I walked to the library and read some inspiring words by John Milton and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

At a Cafe in Merriman, Nebraska

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