Monday, June 02, 2008

The Three Bears

All right, I can't do a lot without my left hand but justacoolcat had the first request: my old beer can finding days. Thing with that is, not a lot of it was funny...but here's a bear story incorporated with a couple more that should suffice.

The Three Bears

Bear 1:
Once upon a time, VE collected beer cans. I know; that’s weird. While you’re laughing or rolling your eyes in disapproval I’ll share that I sold one on ebay for $3,200. It cost me $20. Not laughing anymore, are you? Anyway, we used to find old cans from the 30s and 40s that were buried in campgrounds. That’s right, like some sort of cross between Indiana Jones and a grave robber, we’d head out with metal detectors, dig holes, and extract old beer cans that were later cleaned up and either put into our collections or sold to other weirdo collectors. Of course we’d fill back in the holes; you’d never even know I was there.

I know...it looks crazy, dirty, and like a bunch of hard work....it was!


A lot of crap has to be removed to find what you want.

Amazingly...that 'crap' cleans up nicely sometimes.

Anyway, my friend was digging a hole in California and it was pretty deep; he was a wiry guy and could literally crawl in it. So while he’s throwing cans out of the hole; suddenly he notices that they’re coming back in the hole. A black bear thought cans shooting out of the ground was unusual and had come over to check out the novelty. Turns out he was unknowingly throwing them up and into the bear’s snout. It’s not really wise to throw things at a wild bear’s snout.

He sunk as low into the hole as he could go; the bear couldn’t get in. He had to wait there for over an hour before the bear got bored and headed off.

Bear 2:

I was hiking off season at the top rim of Yosemite with a friend. We were young, dumb, and full of …well, you get the idea. Anyway, we had zero experience in bear country. We weren’t even well read. All we knew were two things:

1. Make lots of noise if a bear approaches
2. Put your food somewhere they cannot get to it; away from camp

So, we tossed all our food up on this boulder; secure in the knowledge that we were smarter than the average bear since we knew they could get down food hung from trees. We’d never heard of a bear with rock shoes and a climbing harness though. Damn we were smart….until the next day when we had to retrieve the food ourselves and discovered that we should have considered whether we could climb up and get it. It took us over an hour to get that damn bag…

We slept in a tent inside a wooden observatory that was closed for the season. It had a roof over it so we wouldn’t have to worry about a wet tent the next day. That night, we heard rustling noises right outside the tent. Damn…a bear. It didn’t seem to go away. Armed with pots and pans and a whistle, we did our best Robert Redford/Paul Newman “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” ending reenactment and came storming out of our tent like some sort of demon mariachi band. Turns out it wasn’t a bear. It was a little bird and their noise had just been echoing inside the observatory making it sound much bigger than it was. All this anticipation of something truly huge only to find something really small; this was my first real experience at what women around the world face…

Bear 3:

I’d already written about my bear encounter in Alaska. That was back when I’d only had one post with more than 10 comments even when you count mine; probably due to my horrendous spelling! Iamnot was the only one reading back then. Here’s a link. Oh, there are the other stories when there was a rattlesnake under my Frisbee and when I ran straight into a deer…
Anyway, the other part of the story is that while I was hiking this trail in Alaska, I had neglected to see the big huge sign at the trailhead that said “Danger…wounded bear”. Leave it to me to miss those slight details...

40 comments:

Memarie Lane said...

That's funny, my brother just posted about seeing a huge bear on his camping trip this weekend.

I used to have a friend who's husband collected Coke stuff. He had a whole room full of it. It was just junk though, nothing vintage, just Franklin Mint type crap.

Bee said...

See, this is why I will only go camping where they have a spa. Okay, it’s not so much camping as staying in a luxury suite with room service but it’s still rough!

Bee said...

And uh, where's the link for the other bear story?

MJ said...

My friends and I collect beer cans... only in a kind of different way...

Good stories.

cathouse teri said...

We'll call this one:

The Missing Link.

VE said...

marie - I used to find vintage Coke cans. I'd sell them doe $50 each...

bee - Camping in a spa...now that's roughing it! ha ha

Oh, and the link, I don't know how to link but it was Apr 27 2007: http://vehow.blogspot.com/2007/04/animal-encounter.html

mj - Ha! I've seen those kind of collections.

Teri - I'm missing a few links too or so some have said!

lime said...

the bear was annoyed that your pal found the beer stash i guess.

VE said...

lime - Yeah, maybe he was worried we'd find the active stash of cold ones. Ha ha

Jacki said...

$3200 for a beer can? Wow...that will make me look at trash in a different light. However, I cannot go camping. Roughing it for me is staying at the Holiday Inn rather than the Ritz.

Peter brought home a Russian coke can the other day, commemorating the Olympics. How long do you think I have to hold on to that one until I can sell it for $50?

Mother Theresa said...

I have yet to come across a bear, unless you count some people who act like bears. I used to collect cans to sell for scrap metal when I was a kid, but I had no idea you could make that kind of money. Then again, the cans we used to find were pretty new, so we probably did pretty well at 1 cent a can. Still laughing at the last line of bear #2. Fortunately not all women have such bad luck. ;)

The Offended Blogger said...

Pfft! Bears don't scare me, I live in grizzly country.

Of course, I am well trained on how to survive out here: As I run from my front door to my bear proof monster truck, I carry a large caliber weapon, a crucifix and I wear little bells on my clothes.

Plus I loudly chant "go-away-bear!" in Tibetan.

It scares away bears, neighbors and more importantly, annoying tourists. :)

VE said...

jacki - I'd say 20 years at least. The problem these days is so many people save everything now. I did make $500 for saving some trading card stickers from the 70s as a kid. They were still hanging around in my closet in the mid 90s and I put them on ebay and made a nice sum. Not bad for a stack about the size of an Uno deck...

mother theresa - Well good for you! We are out there! ha ha ha

VE said...

offended blogger - See...I knew you'd come to laugh at me and my small bear encounters (well, ok, the one in Alaska was probably 10 feet). I carry a large caliber weapon too (or so I'm told) and I saw a Moster Truck show and the movie Seven years in Tibet...doesn't that count????

Kurt said...

I camped in Yosemite with a friend who was hyper-paranoid about bears. He told and retold bear horror stories and told me all the things the other campers were doing wrong that were going to get them in trouble with bears. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of visitors were totally unharmed our entire stay.

VE said...

kurt - What a whiner know-it-all. You should have smeared his tent with bacon grease...

Dale said...

I can bearly believe all your bad and good luck!

VE said...

dale - Are you PUNishing me? I guess the bad and good all work out even eventually.

Bonnie said...

Brilliant stories!!!!! I hope they are true. What great experiences. The first one made me laugh the hardest.
The beer cans are way cool,but I love antiques.

Bonnie said...

Sorry, yes it's me again. BTW Thanks for stopping by my blog. I always love your comments.

Serena Joy said...

I had no idea there was so much money in old beer cans. Dang! Love the bear stories, and laughed outrageously about the fright that little bird caused you big burly guys. I need to study your bear pointers, because we're getting bears in town around here lately. Not much food in the mountains, apparently. Pit a pissed off hungry bear against a squeamish woman and which one of us do you suppose would win? Yep, I need to study.:)

Anndi said...

"Danger.... wounded bear"???

What?

What about when it gets better?

Do they have some that say:

"Danger.... pregnant and overprotective bear"

or

"Danger.... park ranger gone postal"

or

"Danger... killer rabbit"

huh???!!!

VE said...

bonnie - I know, its hard to know what is true on my blog. These are all true stories; and not even exaggerated. Oh, and it's always a pleasure to stop by. My blog roll is getting so big it gets harder to do; especially one handed.

sj - It's funny to tell of your stupidity much after the fact...fortunately we knew we were stupid even then and laughed about it all the way home.

Quickroute said...

Love this post! - You know what else gets buried at campsites? rhymes with Moo! Goo! Loo! (getting warmer!) No - Pls - who would bury their P..... Comment Censored by the Decency Blog Corporation!

Beth said...

Bears, beer and (questionable) bravery - it's amazing what men do and live to tell the tale. And make money from doing it...

Quickroute said...

p.s. Shouldn't there be a Goldilocks reference in this post? - ah Finally there is now! - Who's been eating my porridge and commenting on my blog?

leelee said...

WOW VE>>>You might be The Most Interesting Man In The World


lol

HUGS!!

Jeff said...

My wife and I freaked out because we heard a bear tearing into our cooler one time while we were only 10 feet away in our tent! We laid there silently for over an hour until it finally rambled off. When we knew it was safe, we slowly went out to survey the damage. That's when we noticed the raccoon footprints all over the picnic table.

Mrs. R said...

$3,200 for a beer can, huh? Hmmmm...where's our shovel...

We had an encounter with two grizzlies on Admiralty Island in Alaska. Fortunately, they were more scared of us than we were of them, but the next time I'm debating hiking somewhere the forest rangers with bigshizzness rifles won't go, I'm going to pass on the experience.

G said...

One man's trash...$3200 - nicely done. Good bear stories. I'm sure I would have just expired placed in any of them.

Sornie said...

Wow, what some people won't do to discover buried treasure. I'll be taking tomorrow off from work to see if the real Jesus (or a beer can) is buried in my yard.

VE said...

anndi - Hah! Yeah...I never see those signs. I saw a dangerous squirrel one once (they had plague)

quickroute - Yes, that is a problem...but the stuff we dug was 40-60 years old...plenty of time to compost. And true, it did need a Goldilocks reference.

leelee - That is a crack up! Well, I'll at least have lots of tales to tell around the campfire when I get old...

jeff - At least it wasn't a stupid bird...raccoons can be tough! Hey, I'm trying to pump you up here...

mrs. r - Yep, same thing when I walked into that grizzly; boy am I glad he was a big wuss!

g - Thanks. I probably shouldn't mention I found nine of those cans and grand total made $11,000 off them...

sornie - Crazy thing is; I know collectors who have found them in their yard.

colbymarshall said...

Sometimes I think that that thing about making noise if the bear comes close might not be great advice...what if it doesn't scare him, but rather, just gives him a better idea of exactly where you are so he can come eat you?

VE said...

I was thinking Kareoke should work because I'd run if I heard myself sing. You're right, banging a pan might just remind him of dinner!

justacoolcat said...

I can't believe how well those cans cleaned up or how deep of holes you guys would dig. Crazy.

I guess you finally answered the old question, 'Does a bear drink beer in the woods.'

VE said...

justacoolcat - It was weird; the older the cans, the deeper they seemed to dig the holes to throw them into. Stuff from the 50s was usually only about 8-12 inches down but 30s stuff was at least 2-3 feet!

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

My husband is an environmental consultant so he has to supervise a lot of excavations. You should see the stuff buried in Chicago. Its pretty interesting sometimes. He keeps wondering when they'll dig up some guy with cement boots on..... Maybe he'll be the one to find Jimmy Hoffa!

VE said...

arizona - Tell him if he ever finds beer cans...keep them! Seriosly. In fact, contact me...I can tell you exactly how much they are worth. There was a discovery in Chicago once that was worth 6 figures!

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

no kidding? I'll tell him!

RED MOJO said...

Wow, who knew you'd turn out to be one of those "metal detector geeks"? Well...I still like you anyway!

VE said...

arizona - Good...you could be rich soon!

red mojo - Shhhh...don't say that. I think those guys look geeky too. I NEVER look for coins and crap. My detector hasn't been used in about 10 years anyway.