It certainly was an inopportune time to need to drive from Tacoma to Spokane in order to catch the next morning flight to Chicago in order to drive to Louisville.
But such was my fate – 18 years ago – May 18, 1980.
Seems like only yesterday. It is one of those days indelibly etched in my mind.
I was trying to qualify for the National Mixed Tournament by finishing high in the Washington State Finals in Tacoma, Wash. Then Mike McPherson of Colfax and I were headed to the National Men’s Tournament in Kentucky to catch up with the remainder of our teams who paired each summer and traveled to a myriad of high-stakes events round the Country.
After glancing up at the television I noticed in passing night-like conditions and ignited street lights in Yakima, Wash., enough information to stop me short and ponder our next move.
I was born on the Columbia River in Skamania County in a tiny hospital in White Salmon, a cross river from Hood River, Ore. And heard a share of stories of Harry Truman, an iconic character who lived in the shadow of a dormant Mt St. Helens.
And early word that he refused to leave and pictures of the plume’s altitude convinced us we were headed east post haste. Ha little did we know I-90 shut down early paralyzing the state and it wasn’t until the following morning, Monday, that we opted to sneak over the North Cascades Highway to drop into Spokane at the top of Sunset hill.
Of course it also was closed but only barricaded and we surmised that authorities would be busy enough on the crucial truck route than to worry about a couple of bowling junkies.
True enough as we crept through town after town much to the chagrin of the locals amidst confusion because authorities advised either to wet the ash or not; to scoop it with s little dust as possible; not to breathe it because it was acrid; oh yes or just leave it alone and stay away.
My blue 1979 Luv pickup not only performed admirably and ran about another 100,000 miles after the adventure which screeched to a stop as the WSP stopped me inquiring just what I thought I was doing.
Boldly producing press ID I told him the bags were full of film when actually it was all bowling balls.
Busted we waited out faith but the Trooper directed us down the Interstate to our respective exit with a stern warning about lying to the Man – yeh that Man.
Finished for the day but not deterred we conspired next edition with the anticipation sweeping you into the weekend, just sayin’