Where’s Bildo?

categories: Cocktail Hour



Been getting some flack for this picture but it is related to yesterday’s Bad Advice post.  I want to look at the town of Vernal from all sides, and write a portrait of a boom town.  This is part of it….

Or as I said yesterday:

Of course I am not just here to visit, not just a tourist.  I am here to make something out of my visit.  The visit then is raw material, and my job, much like the oil workers I am interviewing, is to extract raw material. My tools are slightly different than theirs: journal, micorcassete recorder, camera, a sometimes unreliable brain. Here in Vernal I am actually double dipping: I am writing a story on fracking for OnEarth magazine (due Decemeber 10th—yikes!) and also gathering notes for a chapter on boomers and stickers for Properly Wild, my Abbey-Stegner book.  So like my fellow workers (I can hear them right now through the walls of my Econolodge room, getting up and heading out to their trucks right now) I sleep less and work harder while I’m on the job. It’s tiring but fun, lots of adrenaline pumping.  Last night I returned to the Dinosaur Brew Haus, and, tired from fourteen hours of travel and a little let down that the guy I was supposed to interview couldn’t meet that night, I decided to have a quick dinner and crash. But that was before a guy named Rich came in.  Rich is a former ski instructor who now works in the oil fields both driving rigs and instructing workers how to drive ATVS.  We talked for a long time, mostly he talked and I listened while deciding that it would be okay afterr all to order one or two Hop Risings IPAs, and by the time he was done I had learned not just a decent chunk of his life story but the fact that tomorrow–today that is–is his day off.  And so it turns out that Rick and I are going to meet in about three hours so that we can show me how to drive an ATV.  I’ve been critical of the machines so the least I can do is try to understand the appeal.  In short: more raw material.







  1. Peter Peteet writes:

    I only sent friendly “f(lack)”-and in the hope of a little back.It’s nice to see you now on snow and I freely admit having given all manner of monster machines a go(that raw material excuse ready in my mouth along with the one of tools and their use/abuse). Tommy ,I don’t think the age excuse stands up-what would Muir say?Of course my last “camp out”was on a pad we drove to in an SUV(7 hrs.!)so the bed I’ve made has as many carbon mattresses as yours.Also in three weeks(unless I’m stuck here on jury duty),I will be on Colorado slopes,one of my companions a petrochemical engineer doing gas drilling out there.The beautiful bruises from the pea are certain signs of nobility,as long as you have the calloused hands of labor with them you’re welcome in my half-breed house where it’s always”okay afterr all “to have a drink,cuss and dis-cuss.It’s almost noon here and that’s when they open the taps on Sunday so Happy Cocktail Hour!

  2. Tommy writes:

    Remember the days, Dave, when you’d ride those roads, silently on your mountain bike, and the wildlife that you scared wouldn’t know it until you were right on top of them? The reality is, I guess, as we get older, we need a little more assist to get out in the wilds, either that, or we stay closer to home. T.R. would be proud!

    • Tommy writes:

      Oh, how much dust do those things throw up? When I watch the old cowboy movies and there’s more than a few of them running hard down the road, I’m always happiest for the one in the front, who doesn’t eat dust.

    • dave writes:

      I’ll be mountain biking on saturday in cali. I criticize ATvers a lot. Seemed smart to know a little more about what I was talking about….