STATS – Day: 92 | Distance: 11,126.2 miles | Location: Billings, Montana | Money Spent To Date – Gas: $1,136.47 | Food: $1,298 | Play/Misc: $617.41| Lodging $1,511.02


This is a story of Randy and Mabel.

Randy I first met while in Caputa, SD sleeping in the loft of a barn for a few days. The barn had a yellow-jacket problem, and being deathly allergic to bees made it a “me problem”.

On my last night in the loft, a yellow-jacket had flown and attached itself to my shirt.  I was trying desperately not to panic and walked outside hoping it would fly away.  It crawled over my hair and on to the back of my shirt.  Crap!  Somehow, this twig appeared in my hand.  I must have picked him up from somewhere.  I used him brush the back of my shirt, I walked around some more, sending positive vibes to the bee to LEAVE, and then came back inside and slowly removed my shirt and inspected it for bees.  Then I did a mental check of myself to make sure I hadn’t been stung.  Of course, I’m sure I would have known from the tightening of my throat swelling shut, but still, I checked.

The twig lay quietly at my side on the bed while I did this.  I looked down and said “Thank you Mr. Birch” (thinking it was a birch twig).  As I laid down to sleep, I was very scared that I would get stung by having a bee fly in the covers or have me roll over on it in the night.  I started crying.  Mr. Birch was there again, so I picked him up and put him on the pillow next to me and asked him to help keep me safe.

He did.   We slept.

The next day I gladly packed up my stuff and loaded the car, getting ready for my next stop. Mr. Birch was there and seemed to want to go with me.  He wanted an adventure.  Okay Mr. Birch!  An adventure you shall have.  So I took him and placed him on my car visor and away we went.

During that day I’d ask him “how are you doing Mr. Birch?” and one time he said “My name is Randy, well Randall, but I prefer Randy.”

Strange I know.

But I have been having more and more conversations with trees, water, air, rocks, the earth since I’ve been on this trip. I think I’m just now able to SEE, HEAR and EXPERIENCE things more that have always been there.  I’ve been too busy or dis-believing in the past to understand. Not any more!


So Randy did a fantastic job at looking out for the car, Lucy, and all my stuff while I was in DC.  When I came back we hit the road again, visiting Greenwood Village, CO and Cheyenne, WY and Casper, WY.  On the drive to Billings, MT I had to pee.  So I asked the Universe for a place to pee, preferably with a real toilet and a place where I could get a beautiful picture of the water against the red rocky cliffs.  I came to a State Park access where the fee was $6 for day use.  Okay, I had to pee!

After relieving myself, I saw a path along the rocks down toward the water.  As I was walking something caught my attention, I don’t know if she made a sound like “hey, down here” or if the Universe made me aware.  There was another twig on the ground!  There were actually thousands of twigs on the ground, but this one stood out to me.  She asked if she could come on an adventure.  I though it would be nice if Randy had a buddy, she said her name was Mabel.  Well Mabeline.  I said, “Wow, like the cosmetics” and smiled.  “Okay, Mabel!  Let’s go!”

When I got back in the car, Mabel said she needed water.  I said “Okaaay…”, thinking that water was going to splash all around and this wasn’t part of the bargain.

I found a small water bottle among my “reusables” and filled it with water.  I put Mabel in it and then added Randy.  They fit like they were hugging each other.  Then they told me that they knew each other. Maybe it was like when two lovers meet for the first time, or maybe they were from the same tree and got separated.  I didn’t care.  They were together now.  I said “okay, Randy and Mabel, let’s see how this goes”….and Fred.  And Fred?  It was the WATER in the bottle!

Well, that makes sense I guess.  When a baby comes from its mother it is a separate person, so why wouldn’t water become a separate self once it was removed from the jug.  “Okay, Fred!  Your job is to make sure you don’t splash out of that bottle.  I might be taking tight corners, hard stops and rough roads.”

Off we went…Me, Randy, Mabel and Fred.  We made it to Billings, MT and Fred did a great job at keeping all his bits in the bottle.  At night they looked after the car as I slept at my Airbnb stay.

The next day I had to get my bicycle repaired (River, a little puppy in Casper, WY had chewed a hole in my tire). Afterwards I decided to drive to Yellowstone.  Randy, Mabel and Fred were getting in my way constantly, they kept interfering with my gear-shift shifting.  I got really frustrated and asked what they heck was going on?  They hadn’t been an issue yesterday.  They said nothing.

So I headed out and noticed that nearly every place I passed I was told to stop at.  One was pretty cool, so I’m glad we did.  It was at a private residence where they created this garden made all of stone that depicted different scenes or elements from the bible.  But then they insisted we stop at “Donut Nation” which would have been fine (who doesn’t need a good donut) but inside there were NO DONUTS, it was a pizza place “Dough Nation”, not “Donut”.  Luckily at least they had cinnamon rolls, so I got one and left.  Then I caught the hint.  “Should I not go to Yellowstone today?”  “Yes” they answered.  So I headed back and stopped at a farm selling vegetables and picked some up for dinner.  Then Mabel said she needed water.  “Water from a river”.  She wasn’t looking too good, so I said okay.  I put in the address for Riverfront Park in my GPS and away we went.

I passed by a park called “Riverview” park and man did those two kick up a fit.

I said I am going to this other park instead.  I didn’t know about that one and didn’t want to get in trouble for taking water.  We finally reached Riverfront Park and I walked to the water.  It was mucky and I told them I better not fall in!

I poured poor Fred out without even saying Goodbye.  I was sick when I realized what I’d done.  So sorry Fred!  Then I put the bottle in the river and it didn’t hardly fill up at all.  I told them I didn’t think it was going to work because the water was too low.

Just then a current came and pushed the water into the bottle.  I told the River “Thank you” and put Randy and Mabel back in the bottle.  The river water said her name was “Alice” and then she corrected me to the accented “Aleece” (I don’t know how to spell it correctly).


The next day we headed for Yellowstone. Randy and Mabel didn’t interfere with my gear-shift and we made it.  It took us a little longer than anticipated because the pass over the mountain was closed.  Maybe that was why they didn’t want me to go yesterday, it could have been dangerous.  So we entered through the East Entrance near Cody, WY.

Before entering Yellowstone we passed through a beautiful place called Buffalo Bill State Park.  I stopped everywhere to take pictures.  I passed this sign for a “Wayfarer Chapel” and was told to immediately turn around.  I thought, “Okay, this must be a cool chapel” and I drove up there. There was nothing – it was an empty turn-around spot and nothing more.  I looked around thinking that I missed a path or maybe it was a really beautiful view, but I didn’t see anything too remarkable.  So I got back in the car and started to head back down the road.  Then they said “we want left here”, actually I think it was just Mabel saying “I want left here”, but Randy went along.  He was already dead or dying.  I stopped the car to make sure I heard them correctly and had them repeat it.

They said to pour Aleece on top of them.

So I got out of the car and reluctantly laid them down in the grass.  I had an old banana peel and long forgotten strawberry that I covered them with, to add nourishment to the ground.  I poured Aleece on top.

I said Goodbye.

I told the park to take good care of them.  They were not going to grow back into trees, they were dying and were going to feed their bodies to the earth so that it could prosper.  They would become part of the park, just as everything we eat becomes part of us.

I cried.

The Universe said “why cry? they are feeding the earth” and I said “I know, but I’m still sad because they are leaving me.”  It’s okay to cry because someone is leaving, even if it is for a good reason.

 We all go back to the earth.


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11 thoughts on “#TheStory

  1. What a wonderful piece of writing – your best yet. I loved reading it. You sound so wide and wonderful and empathy flows from you. Thank you Pipes. Magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You have a knack for writing, Pipes… It is growing with each entry. Perhaps it is your unique solitude, or the adventurous spirit being reigned by something larger, whichever, your mind is growing and learning. You are expressing sides of you many would not see, may still not see.

    It is beautiful. Maybe when this trip is done, you may have found a new career in writing. Miss you, hugs…

    Love, Bertie

    Liked by 1 person

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