Castle Roland

The Clone Chronicles

by Steve Williams


Chapter 14

Published: 30 May 16

The Clone Chronicles

Copyright 2003-2016 Steve Williams
All rights Reserved

Day 14

I get us up earlier than normal. I want to travel down towards the Grand Tetons before it gets too warm. After a fast breakfast, and getting a couple of box lunches to take with us, it is off past West Thumb and down the Rockefeller Parkway into Grand Teton National Park. As we pass Jackson Lake and move towards Moran Junction, by keeping our eyes open we actually see three moose in the wetlands by the side of the road.

Stopping, I am able to get a picture of these magnificent beasts while also getting a shot of the wonder on Ian's face. This is why I wanted to leave early.

Moving on, we head to Jackson, Wyoming. I have many wonderful memories of coming to Jackson on various occasions. One time I even drove my mother up here to have dinner and enjoy some old time Cowboy Music from a local group. For a few moments I think about taking Ian to the Ripley's museum in town but decide against it. We do however, stop at the town park and look at the multiple antler arches that adorn this small greenspace.

We then head to Wilson, Wyoming and a short stop at Teton Village. I show Ian the ski runs and we look at pictures of the skiers. There is a trail ride getting ready and they have room so I set Ian and me up for a horseback ride through the trees at the base of the mountains. As we move away from the truck, I remember and quickly go back to get the gun from the safe and hook it to my belt. I am still not to comfortable carrying it but know it must be done. It only takes one slip up at the wrong time to change things.

The closer we get to the horses, the bigger Ian's eyes get. I start to worry that his eyes will get wide enough for his eyeballs to pop out of his head. I do know however, that this is impossible but with Ian, you never know for sure.

After a quick word with the wrangler, he picks out a very gentle young mare for Ian to ride while he picks a slightly spirited gelding for me. Although he already has everything ready and the horses saddled, I take the time to double check both our mounts. I also grab Ian's bike helmet out of the truck. I don't know why I grabbed it since we shipped the bike, but now I'm glad I did. As a second precaution I also grab the bear spray even though there have been no direct, recent sightings here.

Ian, as is now normal, watches everything with intense scrutiny. Somehow, I believe that if given the chance, Ian would be able to throw a saddle on a horse and secure it properly. When everyone is ready, I help Ian mount up then climb into the saddle of my mount. The wrangler, seeing that I have some familiarity with horses asks if I would mind bringing up the rear as his partner has not arrived. I agree with the proviso that he help me get some pictures of Ian and me while we ride to which he quickly agrees.

Our ride lasts about an hour and we only see a few rabbits and squirrels. We hear many birds and one other rider is nearly beaned by a falling pinecone but still and all, a very enjoyable ride. Ian is quiet the whole time, but I see this as him taking in and enjoying everything that we see.

When we get back to the base camp, the wrangler comes over while still on his horse and has Ian and me move our horses side by side to get a picture of us with the woods in the background. Then, after helping Ian down from his horse, the wrangler gives us a couple of carrots and I teach Ian how to feed them to the horses. We both give gentle pats to our mounts and Ian even gives his a hug while she drops her head over Ian's shoulder and nuzzles him, much to the surprise of the Wrangler. After offering him a tip which he refuses, because tips are included with the cost of the ride, we hit the restroom, wash up and hit the road again.

Leaving Wilson, we head back then take a right on Wyoming Route 22, also known as Teton Pass. This is not a road for the faint of heart or, to be honest, commercial vehicles. Up to 12% grades and your typical, winding mountain road. The best part is a pullout where we can look back over the Jackson Hole area.

Getting back on the road, we travel through Driggs and down into Swan Valley. Spotting a small, family sized dairy, I pull off the road and into the driveway. As I pull up to the house an older gentleman comes out the door with a wave and a smile on his face. He greets us as we get out of the truck.

"Hi there, how might I help you gentlemen today?"

Extending my hand I respond, "I am Steve Williams and this is my son Ian. Ian has never seen a dairy operation and I was wondering if it was possible for him to see how things work? He really loves milk."

Scratching his chin, our host replies, "Well, normally I don't show things, but seeing how this is educational, I think I can make an exception. My name is George Moore. Welcome to my farm."

After shaking hands with Ian, he leads us to the barn as he begins his narration.

"Everything here is strictly regulated by the FDA. Just don't tell the cows. They think they run everything. This is the milking shed."

We enter what is a surprisingly clean, medium sized barn. "When the cows come in, they move to these stalls where they are given some hay to munch while they are milked. Their udders are cleaned then these milkers are attached, which draws the milk out and through all these pipes to the tank." He actually has a picture to show how this is done.

George finally stops to take a breath. Quickly asking if he happens to have a cow that can be used to show hand milking he replies with a laugh.

"Only if you do the demonstration. My arthritis won't let me do it anymore."

Moving to a stall just on the edge of the barn, he opens it and leads a young cow into the milking stall.

"This young lady is getting ready to be bred again so she has been pulled from the milking herd." He locks her head into the brace and she begins munching on the hay. After quickly hobbling her rear legs he brings out a stool and bucket. I move them into place and with Ian watching closely, I begin to grab the teat, then squeeze and pull. It takes a couple of pulls, and a swat from a tail, but I finally get a squirt of milk. I think about pointing it at Ian but decide I don't want him to have to change before we get back on the road.

I get a few squirts out of her then have Ian move to the stool and help him try. Again it takes a few pulls but Ian finally gets a squirt of milk out. His laugh at this makes George and I both smile, then join Ian with the giggles. After putting the cow back in her stall he finishes showing us around. With such a small operation it doesn't take long. Finally, after only about 35 minutes, we again shake hands and get back in the truck to resume our journey home.

I am surprised that during the demonstration and tour, Ian has asked a few, very pointed questions, such as if milk can be drunk straight from the cow and even some clarification about the types of milk. I am even surprised when George explains that whole milk is only just over 3% milkfat. The way you hear diet people talk you would think it is 30 or 40 percent fat.

Traveling down the road I am enjoying the sights of rural America when Ian yells.

"Dad, Stop!"

As I hit the brakes, Ian points to the side of the road where there is a wrecked car with steam coming out from under the hood. Without really thinking about it, I hit the switches to light up my truck. I climb out telling Ian to stay back, which he does while I move to the car. I find two teenagers in the car. The passenger seems shaken, but with only minor injuries, while the driver has facial cuts. Opening my phone I dial 911.

"911 what is the nature of your emergency?"

"I am a federal officer and there is an accident with two teenagers injured. I am west bound on Highway 26 between Swan Valley and Ririe by a farm road with no signs. I am in an emergency vehicle with my lights on. Please send someone ASAP. I am going to help the victims but will leave my phone on in case you can track me."

As I set the phone down, I remember that I have GPS tracking so I quickly tap a couple of icons and bring up my location.

As the info pops up, I turn on the speaker and read it off to the dispatcher. "My GPS is 43.559190, -111.541499." Setting the phone down again I notice that Ian has opened the back of the truck and pulled out the First Aid Kit. I am very surprised that he is also starting to treat the passenger's injuries. I grab the kit then start treating the young man driving. He has facial injuries and he seems to be having trouble breathing. I try to keep him calm while quickly working to stop any bleeding, which fortunately, all seems small and some is already stopping. Although he is wearing a seatbelt, the car is older and does not have a shoulder strap. I believe he has impact injuries with the steering wheel. The good news is that as I get him to start relaxing, his breathing becomes easier. The younger boy in the passenger seat starts trying to get out but I stop him, perhaps more harshly than I intend.

"Stop! You need to stay in your seat and try not to move."

But it hurts to sit here. The seat is scrunched up."

I know you are hurting, but you need to stay still in case you have other injuries. You do not want to make things any worse. I have called for an ambulance and they should be here in a few minutes. When they get here we will get you both out. Is this your friend?"

"No he's my brother."

"Do you boys live near here?"

"We live in Poplar, just outside Ririe" he fills in at my confused look.

"We were taking the car for a test drive because Tommy just replaced the brakes but something went wrong and he couldn't stop."

The young man is beginning to hyperventilate.

What is your name, young man?"

"My name's Jimmy. Jimmy Bowles"

"Are your parents home or do you have a way to call them?"

"Mom should be home but dad went to Idaho Falls for a tractor part."

"Ian, go get my phone but be careful, 911 is still on the line."

Ian runs and brings me the phone.

"Are you still there?" I ask into the phone.

"Yes sir. EMS is about 5 more minutes out from you."

I have Tommy and Jimmy Bowles from Poplar here. Can you please call their house?" Glancing quickly at Jimmy he gives me the number. "208-555-6352, their mother should be home and you can advise her. Jimmy has only minor injuries but Tommy may have chest injuries."

"We'll do that right away sir. Please remain at the scene until Idaho State Patrol officers arrive."

"I'll do that but I am going to hang up and keep taking care of the boys."

With my actions following my words, I hang up my phone and slip it into my pocket. There is little more I can do for Tommy. He is conscious but really out of it. He can barely respond to my voice.

"Ian, please get a bottle of water out of the truck but not one of the ones on ice."

When Ian returns with the water, I get out a couple of 4X4 gauze pads and wet them down. I gently start to wipe some of the blood from Tommy's face as Ian follows suit on the other side with Jimmy.

I am really surprised when Ian starts to bandage Jimmy's minor injuries. Somehow he seems to know exactly what to do. I remember teaching First Aid as a young adult and Ian is doing better than most of my students. I need to remember to ask about this.

A few minutes later we start hearing the siren, which surprisingly takes another minute before we see anything. Fortunately the ambulance is preceded by a County Sheriff who, by the decal on his car is also a trained paramedic.

"Mr. Williams?" the deputy asks as he walks up.

"Yes. This young man is Tommy Bowles. He is in pretty bad shape. I give him a Glasgow score of about 8."

"My dispatcher just notified me that a medivac is enroute from Idaho Falls. Should be here within another 5 minutes."

I am starting to get a little worried. "We are about 30 minutes into the golden hour."

He starts to respond when his radio squawks advising him that the chopper is about 2 minutes out. As the EMTs take over he asks if I will move my truck back up the road as a roadblock for the helicopter. I do this and within a minute a Bell 222 is on the ground and more people are there to help.

Within another 5 minutes both boys are packaged up with Tommy in the medivac and Jimmy in the ambulance. The deputy asks if I will follow him to the hospital in Idaho Falls and also offers to restock my first aid kit there.

For the first time, I get to try out the siren on my truck as I pull out behind the ambulance. With the deputy leading, the 90 mile trip only takes about an hour. It was decided to take Jimmy there because he is in good condition but this will keep both boys together.

After filling out my report and leaving my contact info, I make a fast stop to see the boys. Jimmy is in better spirits and Tommy is starting to come around. He has some cracked ribs and a bruised sternum but is in better shape that I first thought. He will probably be in the hospital for about 2 days then get to go home. Ian and I wish them well then head out to the truck to head for home. Although I don't want to make a habit of it, I stop at a drive through for our dinner because it is now moving toward evening and we still have about 4 hours on the road to get home and I really don't want to spend another night in a hotel.

Leaving Idaho Falls, we head south on Interstate 15. We are about 120 miles from the Utah border then another 85 to home. I had hoped to stop in Perry, Utah for some fresh fruit from a roadside stand. This however, is not to be. There is a new truck stop just inside Utah and we stop for a top off and a restroom break. Again, Ian finds everything we are seeing as wonderful. From the open spaces to the little towns. Ian keeps trying to take pictures until I have him stop because it is getting too dark.

As we are nearing the junction with I-84 there are suddenly flashing lights behind me. I pull onto the off-ramp for Tremonton and stop. For safety, and for effect, I reach over and activate my lights as the officer starts getting out of his vehicle. At this sudden change, he steps up and asks me to please wait in my vehicle. He then goes back to his unit and is seen on the radio. About 5 minutes later, a Utah Highway Patrol vehicle and another Sheriff's unit pull up with their lights flashing. Ian is visibly nervous but seems to be handling it better than I expected.

Finally, the Highway Patrol Trooper comes up and asks if I will step out of the vehicle. As I do I ask if Ian can join us so he is not afraid and the trooper quickly agrees. Walking back to the other officers I show them my ID and everyone introduces themselves.

It seems the Deputy saw us at the truck stop and thought Ian looked like the boy on a Federal Amber Alert. I quickly put their minds to rest but make sure to thank the officer for being so attentive. I express that I would rather be stopped and everyone know that Ian is safe than have him second guess and let someone get away with a truly missing child for the same reason.

As we are all ready to leave, I ask the Trooper if I can speak with him a moment. I then explain that I am working for the Federal Government but that I do live in Salt Lake. I ask if he can put out, via his secure computer that Ian and I will be around so hopefully we do not get stopped more. Because of our secrecy, my truck actually has regular Utah license plates, so he agrees to do so. Then we take a few minutes with Ian to compare vehicles and especially the lights. All the officers are surprised that when they are shut off, even they have a hard time finding them.

Back on the road again, we finally arrive back home about 9 PM. Deciding to unload everything, even remembering my firearm, we grab our light bags and head into the house.

With the exception of the new door on the side of the house, there doesn't seem to be any noticeable changes to the outside. I am utterly amazed, however, at how the inside has been changed. It really does look like a new house. After a quick walk through, I enter my new office and log into my computer. I want to send a quick e-mail to everyone to say that we are home. As I finish, while waiting for any quick replies, I walk to the kitchen to get glasses of milk for both of us. Looking for Ian, I find that he is already in his bed and out like a light. Very quickly, I fall into my bed for our first night in our HOME.

Authors Note: Thanks to those who have made comments and/or suggestions on my story. I hope you are enjoying this.

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