travel

In this week’s podcast you’ll go base jumping with a young girl on the brink of womanhood, you'll barely survive a canoe trip on the Lochsa River, you’ll hear about a grandmother becoming a single mom, and, because of the kindness of a stranger, find your way in an unfamiliar city.
In this week’s podcast, you’ll hear the brief history of a time our storyteller lunched with a famous physicist, a young girl’s history of being lucky in love and the story of an adventurous young woman who crosses the Atlantic on a freighter ship.

Transcript : Didn't See That Coming - Part 2

00:08
welcome to tell us something
00:10
jerry spencer first came to montana in
00:13
1979
00:14
when he got a summer job as a desk clerk
00:17
at a lodge in glacier park
00:20
that is where he met the love of his
00:22
life and partner janet
00:24
who is also with us tonight jerry is a
00:27
serial
00:28
entrepreneur he helped found kiss
00:32
which plays a role in this story and
00:34
janet helped found
00:36
tidbits for paper which is currently
00:38
published in over 180 locations
00:42
jerry is managing a project to
00:43
revitalize an old iron foundry in
00:45
indiana and splitting his time between
00:48
indiana and montana
00:49
please welcome jerry spencer so i didn’t
00:52
see that coming
00:53
a little bit of background uh before
00:56
this story occurred
00:57
a friend of mine rick uh used to work at
01:00
uh spring metal resources and and farm
01:02
in the dell
01:03
worked with the residents there and and
01:05
he enjoyed that he
01:06
he got to help them out and and uh one
01:09
of the the residents was was ricky
01:12
and ricky had some kind of an endowment
01:14
or some extra money that allowed him to
01:16
do
01:17
to take events and to to go to different
01:19
places and do things so rick and ricky
01:21
went out
01:22
quite often and i i saw them
01:23
occasionally i went went with him a
01:25
couple of times and i
01:26
got to know ricky a little bit he was
01:28
really sharp and
01:29
and very witty yeah you know just
01:31
physically handicapped was in a
01:32
wheelchair
01:33
and and pretty bad off that way but real
01:35
sharp and and uh
01:37
was good with his computers and sure
01:40
enjoyed his gadgets ricky had a lot of
01:42
gadgets
01:43
um so back in the 90s uh my partner bill
01:46
crane and i started the company uh keep
01:48
it simple systems that he mentioned and
01:49
we made solar power for portable
01:51
computers
01:52
a whole lot of fun we uh we took the
01:54
ride
01:55
yeah i would say in late early silicon
01:58
valley
01:58
uh we we went around and just had a heck
02:02
of time with
02:02
solar power for portable computers but a
02:04
small company
02:06
just bill and myself and we hired two
02:07
other people that did the computer
02:09
consulting
02:10
so in 1994 uh august 1994
02:14
we scraped together our nickels and and
02:16
barely made enough money to
02:18
and put it all into uh getting a booth
02:21
at the mac
02:21
world expo at that time was a real big
02:23
deal we’d never been one of these and we
02:25
couldn’t afford to take a lot of people
02:26
so it was just bill and i
02:28
and we showed up the day of the expo and
02:31
we went there
02:32
and our booth was in the back you know
02:34
and we didn’t know what to expect but
02:36
boy that thing started going and the
02:38
crowd was just crazy
02:39
it was just amazing we just couldn’t
02:41
take a break it was just
02:42
non-stop people coming up and it was
02:44
very exciting and and
02:46
it was just bill and i you know so we’re
02:47
not going to see the show we’re not
02:49
going to go to the to the workshops or
02:50
any of that kind of stuff
02:52
we’re just working our asses off and uh
02:55
went along for quite a while and then i
02:56
finally said bill i
02:57
i got to take a break so i went went
02:59
down and i left him in the booth and i
03:01
went to the little commissary and got
03:03
you know the chicken salad chicken
03:05
caesar salad in in the in the
03:07
plastic device and so forth and what sat
03:10
down at this table with a couple other
03:11
fellas we didn’t say anything or
03:12
anything they got up and walked away
03:13
after a little while so i’m sitting
03:15
there at the table by myself
03:17
and then come came along a fellow
03:20
pushing another guy in the wheelchair
03:21
reminded me of rick and ricky it was a
03:24
very disabled fellow in a wheelchair
03:26
with lots of neat gadgets hanging off
03:27
the wheelchair and
03:28
his assistant excuse me is this table
03:30
taken no no go ahead and sit down
03:34
and now i gotta admit that
03:38
later after thinking about this i should
03:41
have been in montana mode
03:42
you know in montana somebody sits down
03:44
at your table you’re going to talk to
03:46
him
03:46
you have a little bit of conversation
03:47
and just you know say hi how you doing
03:49
what do you think of the show or
03:50
anything like that
03:52
but no no i i was in big city mode
03:55
in big city you can sit at the table
03:57
people come up you don’t even have to
03:58
talk you just
03:59
you respect their space so maybe that’s
04:01
what i was doing i was giving them a
04:02
chance to just
04:03
eat their lunch in peace and i ate my my
04:06
lunch and piece and i
04:07
shoveling stuff in my face food in my
04:09
face and one point i did look around the
04:11
room and i
04:13
kind of weird just seemed like everybody
04:15
was looking at our table
04:17
okay that’s fine so i finished up my
04:20
lunch
04:22
i mean just you know kind of packed up
04:24
and
04:25
said pleasantries to the guys and walked
04:27
away
04:28
taking my my thing over to the trash and
04:30
somebody comes up to me man
04:32
well how was that what’d you guys talk
04:34
about
04:35
what what what’d you do man and i said
04:38
what
04:39
what are you doing do you know who
04:40
you’re just having lunch with
04:42
that’s stephen hawking he’s given the
04:44
keynote speech today
04:47
i didn’t see that susie holt
04:51
melta met the love of her life in new
04:54
york city
04:55
but wasn’t positive she was ready to
04:58
spend her life with him when he returned
05:00
from a trip around the world
05:02
he was emergency man and he wanted her
05:04
to move to montana
05:06
she also loved to travel and ran away
05:09
from him to have her own adventure
05:12
while she figured it out after four
05:15
months of hitchhiking across europe in
05:17
1964
05:19
she got a little more of both than she
05:21
bargained for
05:22
when she headed home please welcome
05:25
susie holt
05:27
well i’m 22
05:30
i’m in athens greece and i’m ready to go
05:33
home so i bought a trader
05:37
one of those that takes 12 passengers
05:39
and first five
05:41
cabins it takes 10 to 12 days to cross
05:44
the atlantic
05:46
only problem is not coming smooth
05:49
for another month and i’m really ready
05:52
to go home
05:54
so i kept bugging the shipping agent
05:57
can’t you find something that’s coming
05:59
through sooner please
06:01
and one day he said yes
06:05
is um one briefly stopping briefly and
06:08
tweet
06:09
and it’s leaving after tomorrow but
06:12
that’s okay we’ll fly you there
06:14
and you can catch it so then here i am
06:18
on the dock next to this big black ugly
06:21
framer but is that how like star
06:23
um painted on the bow it’s the right
06:26
ship
06:27
it’s the right day it’s the right time
06:28
where is everybody
06:31
where are the other passengers who’s
06:34
going to take my ticket and show me
06:35
where to go
06:36
but then a young seaman came by headed
06:38
for the ship and he saw me
06:41
and he didn’t speak english but he came
06:43
over and
06:44
kind of like can i help you and so i
06:48
handed him my ticket
06:50
and he kind of puzzled over it and just
06:53
you know indicated i should wait and he
06:56
disappeared onto the ship
06:58
i’m leaving he came back gave me
07:01
a smile picked up my little red
07:04
plastic suitcase and led me up the
07:09
wobbly gangplank into the ship down a
07:12
dark narrow passage to a door
07:15
that said when you operated
07:20
[Music]
07:22
so i go inside and it’s definitely not
07:24
first class but it’s
07:26
you know it’s compact it has everything
07:28
i need okay this is fine
07:30
so i started putting my things away and
07:34
then i could feel that we were moving oh
07:37
man i’m so excited i’m going to
07:39
stay across the atlantic on a ship and
07:42
um so i poked my head out
07:45
you know thinking i’d catch up with some
07:47
other
07:48
passengers
07:51
come on you’re seeing this coming right
07:55
so uh dark nothing
07:59
no signs to show me where to go so now
08:02
i’m really confused and i go back into
08:04
the cabin and sit on the bunk
08:06
and uh wonder what’s next
08:09
and then uh taso that’s the name of that
08:12
first young seaman he came
08:13
knocked on the door took me to the
08:15
captain’s office
08:17
the captain’s office is nice and
08:18
spacious it has a big old desk
08:21
and a short boyish looking
08:26
man behind it and he explains
08:30
how surprised he is that i have a ticket
08:33
on his freedom
08:35
he said this freighter doesn’t carry
08:38
passengers
08:45
[Music]
08:49
liberty ship its top speed is 10
08:52
knots will be a month
08:56
going across and we have one stop in
09:00
naples
09:02
a month only passenger
09:06
and we’re already outside of land
09:10
so that night i have dinner with the
09:13
captain in his private dining room
09:17
and we shared some things about
09:20
ourselves he said
09:22
this was his first trip across the
09:24
atlantic
09:30
he’s 35 and
09:34
not married and he’s been thinking about
09:38
it
09:39
and he knew that it was destiny
09:42
that put me on his ship now there’s
09:45
nowhere
09:46
to be his wife
09:50
i don’t love you
09:53
marriage comes first thankfulness love
09:56
but it was a good thing he felt that way
09:59
because the tall
10:00
dark and very handsome first mate
10:03
started putting moves on me right away i
10:06
said
10:07
oh no i’m gonna wait until i’m married
10:11
he said leaned over me and said i can’t
10:14
wait five minutes
10:21
i think the captain must have called him
10:24
off because he didn’t bother me like
10:26
that
10:27
again so we pull into naples
10:30
uh very crowded port ships from all over
10:33
the world
10:35
and it’s dirtier and it’s noisy
10:39
and the cruise starts loading six
10:41
thousand tons
10:42
of canned tomatoes
10:46
the captain takes me out into the city
10:48
though
10:49
and he takes me to a very elegant
10:52
private dining hall
10:55
i’m feeling a little awkward the best i
10:58
have
10:58
left is a very worn
11:02
faded red sleeveless
11:05
shift and yellow rubber
11:12
flip-flops
11:16
hiking around um
11:19
but he wasn’t faced he said really
11:22
it’s so good to not have to pay
11:26
for my companion
11:28
[Music]
11:35
i knew i wanted to learn how to play the
11:37
guitar so he ordered to buy one for me
11:39
i said no that’s too much i also knew i
11:42
was an artist
11:43
he said well what if i set up a room for
11:45
you to paint
11:46
you know we’ll fix everything you need
11:48
to do a painting and we can tell you
11:50
okay that’s good so we sail out of
11:53
naples
11:54
through this strait of gibraltar out to
11:56
the open ocean
11:58
we’re going to be there three weeks
12:01
but i didn’t have worried because i was
12:04
such a novelty
12:06
such a break in the monotony
12:09
they treated me like a pampered princess
12:13
i had the run of the ship
12:16
i explored every inch of it from
12:20
from bottom to top and from stem to
12:23
stern
12:24
my favorite was up in the crow’s nest
12:27
you may
12:28
know that that’s the very top of the
12:30
ship and
12:31
from there you have a 360 degree
12:34
view of the ocean out to the horizon
12:38
and it was just magic being up there
12:40
watching for ships or watching the
12:42
luminescence in the water or um
12:45
it was especially magical at night in
12:47
the moonlight
12:48
i spent a lot of time up there
12:52
then then those magical waves
12:56
started messing with us started tossing
12:59
us around
13:01
and i thought it was very exciting i ran
13:04
down to the bow of the ship and going up
13:07
and down with it you know
13:09
and it just exhilarated by the
13:12
the spray of the waves that were
13:15
crashing over the bow
13:17
captain came down pretty quick i said
13:19
that wasn’t such a good idea
13:23
that evening at dinner the storm was
13:26
building up
13:28
[Music]
13:30
and the plates on our
13:34
dining table just flew off the table and
13:38
smashed against
13:39
the wall um
13:44
that night the storm really got going
13:46
and i
13:47
the creeks and grunts of the ship were
13:49
really freaking me out
13:51
so i went to find some and i found them
13:53
the officers all huddled
13:55
together in the wheelhouse at the helm
13:59
singing boisterous and it made me think
14:02
of cub scouts out in the
14:04
out in their first camping trip you know
14:07
in the wild so i
14:11
knew this was bad and i went back to my
14:14
cabin and strap my
14:18
life preserver all over my clothes and
14:21
lay down in my bunk and just held on to
14:24
the hell by preserver
14:26
hoping the ship wouldn’t break up well
14:28
it didn’t
14:29
um
14:32
that bugs me
14:36
how am i gonna finish it didn’t break up
14:38
i went down to the
14:40
to this my studio and the paints had
14:43
come unsealed
14:45
and splashed over the walls
14:48
it was absolutely clean the next day
14:50
though
14:51
[Music]
14:53
so then oh i wanted to build a kite i
14:56
have to tell you about the kite
14:58
the captain and i built one and it
15:01
didn’t fly
15:02
but the next day there was one flying
15:04
and the crew had made it
15:05
and it was octagonal and it had two
15:10
black circles with glasses and little
15:12
nose and
15:13
two little ponytails
15:14
[Music]
15:16
the crew kept that flying for two weeks
15:20
so so okay we’re coming up to the
15:23
atlantic coast
15:24
and we have to find our way up to new
15:26
york and in a fog with broken radar
15:30
but we make it and the last night
15:34
the crew the captain unlocks
15:37
the beer sets it down to the deck for
15:40
the crew
15:41
the guitars come out the the zuki come
15:45
out
15:45
the singing and dancing starts and i i
15:48
can’t resist i head down to the deck
15:50
and i dance greek style you know
15:53
into the wee hours with the kite still
15:56
falling
15:57
so who could have expected any of that
16:01
and i but i still wonder if that
16:04
shipping agent
16:05
knew what he was setting me up for
16:09
so our next storyteller
16:12
is me uh we had a dropout so i’m gonna
16:14
tell you mine
16:16
didn’t see that coming story my name is
16:19
mark moss yeah he didn’t see that coming
16:22
my name is mark moss i’m from cuyahoga
16:24
falls ohio a little town right outside
16:26
of akron
16:27
i moved to montana in 1997 ended up in
16:31
gardner in 1999 which is where this
16:33
story
16:34
starts how many people have ever seen
16:37
bruce springsteen an e street bank yeah
16:40
so it is like it is like a gospel
16:42
revival isn’t it
16:44
you know he opens with a strong song and
16:46
it’s a lot of celebration and it’s a
16:48
party and then
16:49
and then he plays some of these songs
16:51
that are a little more heartbreaking and
16:53
a little more sort of working class and
16:57
maybe i’m not getting my dreams coming
16:58
true anymore
17:00
and then he celebrates again
17:03
and it’s a big party and he’s just
17:05
celebrating the
17:06
the joy of rock and roll and and of love
17:10
and of
17:10
snags and it is
17:13
incredible well in 1984
17:17
uh born in the usa came out and i bought
17:20
the tape
17:21
and i was 13 and
17:24
we were in i think atlantic city or uh
17:27
ocean city maryland when he came through
17:29
cleveland so we didn’t get to see him
17:31
and then when i got back to cleveland
17:33
the closest that he was coming was
17:35
pittsburgh which wasn’t that far away
17:36
but i’m 13.
17:38
so so i didn’t get to go see him there
17:40
but in 1988 i saw him for the first time
17:42
and it was awesome and i decided i was
17:44
never gonna not see a bruce springsteen
17:47
e street band show again
17:48
and so i saw every single tour up until
17:52
maybe a couple years ago i’ve seen every
17:54
single tour but in 1999
17:56
i was living in gardner montana and i
17:59
didn’t have a car
17:59
[Music]
18:01
and bruce springsteen announced uh the
18:03
reunion of the e street band
18:05
and they were gonna do a world tour and
18:08
the closest they were coming to gardner
18:10
was fargo north dakota
18:14
but i bought tickets i bought four
18:16
tickets and i had no one to go with
18:18
and i had no car and no way to get there
18:20
and so i go down to recipe booster and i
18:22
sit there and jay todd pours me a beer
18:25
and i said hey jay todd
18:27
do you want to come with me to seafood
18:28
spring city street band in
18:30
fargo north dakota and he said yes how
18:33
are we going to get there and i said we
18:34
could take your card he says have you
18:35
seen my car
18:37
he drove like a 1986 beat up subaru with
18:40
three flat tires and maybe one turn
18:42
cycle that worked
18:43
and i said okay we can’t take your car
18:46
and he said i’m not going you should
18:47
talk to john
18:49
john dundee’s sitting next to me and i
18:51
said john you want to go to the see
18:53
bruce springsteen and
18:55
he’s like who are you do you play bass
19:00
no so john wasn’t coming with me
19:03
so i have to go up the hill to
19:04
yellowstone national park where i worked
19:06
and i’m asking everybody i know and i
19:07
finally find
19:09
a guy with a truck who’s willing to
19:11
drive to fargo north dakota
19:13
if i give him the tickets
19:16
so i have to give him the tickets and i
19:18
do
19:19
and it’s mark beale and carrick gunther
19:22
and carrie’s girlfriend at the time
19:24
christy and so it’s mark’s truck
19:27
gary and christy sit in the front
19:28
there’s only two seats
19:31
and so mark and i have to ride in the
19:32
back in the bed of the pickup truck
19:34
there’s a topper that doesn’t have
19:38
really good seals on the windows it’s
19:39
also november
19:44
so we pile all these blankets into the
19:46
back of the truck and
19:47
and mark and i get in the bed kerry’s
19:49
driving i can’t remember how
19:50
many hours it is to fargo it’s like nine
19:52
or ten hours it’s crazy
19:54
and but it’s cold and it’s you know
19:56
tangling around you can’t hear each
19:58
other
19:58
really well and we don’t have cell
20:00
phones in 1999
20:01
and so there’s nothing to do we didn’t
20:03
bring any books so we do as best we can
20:05
trying to sleep
20:07
and we fail a lot of that but finally we
20:10
get
20:11
to fargo and we get something to eat i
20:14
can’t remember what we had some
20:16
diner greasy spoon food and then we get
20:18
into the venue and we have the nosebleed
20:20
seats way up at the top
20:21
and the nosebleeds for those who don’t
20:23
know are those cheap seats and they’re
20:25
so high up in the
20:26
arena that you might get a nosebleed
20:27
from the altitude
20:29
and so we’re way up there but i don’t go
20:31
to the seats right away
20:33
they go up to the seats i get sucked
20:34
into the merch table
20:36
and i’m looking and i’m thinking about
20:39
the cold ride back to
20:41
montana and so i’m looking at the
20:43
hoodies but they’re 90 dollars
20:46
and i’m looking in my wallet i don’t
20:47
have any credit cards and i’m looking
20:48
through my wallet
20:49
how much money i have to get home but
20:51
also how much money do i have to spend
20:53
here at the merch table i’m not gonna
20:54
get a poster
20:55
because that’s gonna bend i’m not gonna
20:58
get it so anyway i get a key chain
21:03
and i’m trucking back up to the seats
21:05
and i get to the seats
21:07
and nobody is looking at me mark and
21:09
christy and carrie are all just looking
21:11
straight ahead
21:12
and i sit down and i say hey yo
21:15
what’s what’s going on and they don’t
21:18
look at me
21:19
there’s a guy sitting behind us he’s
21:20
like nine feet tall
21:22
he’s got like a black suit with a black
21:24
shirt that’s buttoned to the top
21:26
and creases that you can cut diamonds
21:28
with i mean the creases in his pants
21:30
were just
21:32
and and so i turned around and i said
21:33
what’s going on he says don’t look at me
21:35
i spoke
21:35
[Music]
21:40
and he says do you want to move to the
21:42
front and i said yeah what’s that gonna
21:44
cost he said please
21:45
don’t look at me i said okay so
21:49
what’s that gonna cost and there are
21:52
these people walking
21:53
up the steps off to the left
21:57
and and he shouts at them stop following
22:00
me and they
22:01
sit in their seats they don’t even look
22:02
at their tickets and see if they’re the
22:04
right seats and stick in their seats and
22:05
they say we’re not following you
22:08
well they knew something that we didn’t
22:09
know and that is this guy behind us
22:12
works for bruce springsteen but we
22:14
didn’t know that he’s a stranger to us
22:16
and he says do you want to move to the
22:17
front yes we do
22:19
he says give me your tickets so we give
22:20
him our tickets this is a stranger
22:23
and he gives us new tickets that haven’t
22:26
been torn
22:27
which i’m like are these fraudulent what
22:29
is this and then he says here’s a
22:31
wristband
22:33
don’t lose it don’t sell it you need it
22:36
to get to your seats and he puts it on
22:39
our wrists
22:40
and i turn around to look at him and
22:41
he’s like disappeared into the ether
22:44
he said okay
22:47
so we go down to the usher and i’m going
22:49
oh
22:51
and so get to the usher and she’s she
22:53
tears our tickets and she says
22:55
these are good seats and so it’s like
22:58
great
22:59
and so she sends us down to the next
23:01
usher
23:02
and and the next session looks at our
23:04
tickets and says these are great
23:06
seats and
23:20
and we’re looking at each other and
23:21
there’s by the way so so mark and uh
23:24
mark and i are sitting over here there’s
23:25
two other dudes in the middle
23:27
that we’ve never seen before also all in
23:29
black and very serious looking
23:31
and then carrie and christy are sitting
23:33
over here for whatever reason these guys
23:35
had
23:35
those seats and we come to find out that
23:37
they paid 800
23:39
for their seats at a charity auction
23:41
because when bruce goes to a town he
23:43
tries to
23:44
give to some charity in some way
23:47
apparently he had donated a bunch of
23:48
tickets
23:49
and they bought them and they were eight
23:50
hundred dollars a piece and they were
23:51
just pissed off
23:52
that all these poor rednecks were coming
23:55
down from the upper
23:57
chief seats and they didn’t have to pay
23:59
any more than you know face value and so
24:01
they’re all just
24:03
yelling at each other and not paying
24:04
attention but what’s happening
24:06
is we’re watching everybody’s like
24:10
walking
24:11
down from the cheap seats because we’re
24:13
not the only ones
24:15
and they’re like confused and as they
24:18
realize what’s happening
24:20
there’s this moment of joy
24:23
that just washes over their whole body
24:26
and
24:27
and then then we start talking about
24:28
what’s your favorite record
24:30
did you see
24:31
[Music]
24:34
you know whatever and we just formed
24:37
this community and it was incredible and
24:38
then
24:38
bruce comes on the stage and he opens
24:41
with the ties that dine you know right
24:42
off the river
24:43
and it’s a party right from the
24:44
beginning and
24:46
have you ever been to one of these it’s
24:48
three hours long it’s a
24:50
it’s a ordeal and it’s a party
24:53
and we’re dancing and we’re just
24:54
soaked in sweat and he leaves the
24:57
station and comes back for the encore
24:58
you know thunder
25:00
and then he plays hungry hard and then
25:02
he plays like one of my favorite songs
25:04
open dreams this train carries saints
25:06
and sinners
25:07
this train carries losers and owners
25:09
this train carries horses and gamblers
25:11
everybody get on board and
25:14
so we are on board and they’ve finished
25:17
the show
25:18
and they come and they’re slapping high
25:19
fives and i got high fives with bruce
25:21
springsteen
25:22
and clarence clements and his hands are
25:24
so big
25:31
so the story really is about the
25:34
experience of getting there not about
25:35
the show
25:36
i didn’t see it coming i couldn’t have
25:38
imagined i don’t remember getting home
25:40
it wasn’t because of his journey thank
25:43
you so much
25:57
[Music]
26:09
you
26:15
[Music]
This edition of the Tell Us Something podcast comes to us from audience members from the “Getting Away With It” Show. Attendees had the opportunity to share their “Getting Away With It” stories anonymously. We selected several of those stories from a box and read them live on stage. Thank you for listening.