Gary lived in Great Falls and was my helper on the drill in Hughesville. We were drilling a 3000 foot vertical hole in a remote site. We put the drill and enough supplies to complete the hole on site before freezing ground in the fall. When the hole was complete the drill couldn’t be removed until the ground was firm after the spring thaw. We used a snowmobile all winter for access to the drill for two shifts of drilling each day. Our water was pumped from a creek half a mile away. We had to haul the full core boxes to the road each shift. Under ideal snow conditions the snowmobile worked fine. If the weather turned warm or we got heavy warm snows we spent more time pulling and pushing the snowmobile than we did riding the damn thing. By the time we finished the hole none of us wanted anything to do with snowmobiles.
We were on night shift during a June snowstorm. The drill was surrounded by pine trees and the lights didn’t carry far from the drill. We knew it was snowing and nothing alarmed us. It was a warm storm. Gary went to fuel the water pump about midnight with the snowmobile. When he returned an hour later he was wore out. The snowmobile didn’t like the new wet snow at all. He had a hard time getting back to the drill. The snow was nearly up to the bumper on his four wheel drive pick-up and the wind was blowing in the open spaces. We were six miles in the boondocks. We shut things down and headed for the house. The six miles took us four hours of jamming forward, backing up, and busting forward again. Luckily Gary had lots of gas. We were very happy to see the main highway. The ride was much more exhausting than drilling.
Another night we had mechanical problems with the drill and shut down early. We stopped at Johnson’s bar in Monarch. Gary was riding with me while repairing his pick-up. He used our station wagon to get from Belt to Great Falls while working on his truck. It was Friday night and Gary left with friends. I gave him the station wagon key so he could take it home. About two hours later I went home. Linda met me at the door all excited. Somebody had stolen the station wagon from in front of the house. She had called the sheriff. She wasn’t amused when I laughed and explained it was Gary. If Gary made it home it was all right. The sheriff would have called if they stopped him. We called the sheriff the next morning to cancel the theft report. Sure enough Gary went to a convenience store in Great Falls on Sunday afternoon. When he came out he was looking down the barrels of sheriffs deputies pistols. Gary was locked up and interrogated for several hours before they realized the theft had been cancelled. Linda still wasn’t amused when I laughed about Gary getting nailed.
Gary wasn’t amused when they hauled him away……..and never borrowed the station wagon again.