Is My Vote Being Counted?

In just the past few short months, I have had the opportunity to conduct a couple of big time social media campaigns in support of some pretty well-known personalities within Grizzly Athletics. At the start of September and running through the end of football season, Monte competed in the Capital One Mascot Challenge. Currently going on right now, our head football coach Mick Delaney is a finalist in the FCS Coach of the Year running. Both of these competitions are decided entirely (Mascot Challenge) or partially (FCS Coach of the Year) by fan voting. A good social media program and an engaged fan base are both necessary to achieving success in these challenges.

Both Mick and Monte have had great years!

Both Mick and Monte have had great years!

Let me start off by saying this: Just having a horse in the race for both of these competitions is a tremendous honor and accomplishment. It brings a lot of good publicity and recognition to our program. It shines light on the great work that is being done inside Grizzly Athletics. The reward is great too. With the Capital One Challenge we got compensated handsomely and if things go well for us in the Coach of the Year race, local Missoula charities and our alumni association will receive a major boost. Overall it is a very, very good deal.

However, if I had the power to do so, I would like to change one thing: Disclosure of the votes! With both the Mascot Challenge and Coach of the Year race you have absolutely no idea the quantity of points/votes that separates one competitor from the other. Rather, you simply get either a percentage or a ranking system that tells you who is ahead. Okay, I understand that Monte currently trails the Pirate from East Carolina 53% to 47% but please put that into quantitative terms for me. How many more 100 point challenges must we exactly complete or how many times must we press that “VOTE” button until we make a dent in that gap. Or I can clearly see that Mick Delaney is fourth in the rankings but how many votes separate him from Craig Bohl who happens to occupy the first spot? my vote being counted?

Sooo…is my vote being counted?

In my selfish nature I want to know black and white numbers of what needs to be done to start moving up in the rankings. But even beyond my own desires, I want this info available more for our fans. Many Griz Nation fanatics spend literally hours voting non-stop. In my opinion they deserve some type of confirmation that they are/are not having an impact. When they pour so much effort into something and see that there is no change, there is an understandable sense of discouragement. It also paves way for conspiracy theories (i.e. Hey, I just spent my whole morning voting and completing challenges for Monte but nothing has changed. The sponsor of this contest secretly hates us and is not counting our votes).

Let’s put an end to this. If in fact someone in Butte who is voting non-stop is not gaining any traction because there are 5,000 people in East Lansing voting just as ferociously at the same time, let him or her see that reflected in a visible vote total. Or even though we can’t see any evidence of a campaign for the head coach of Southeastern Louisiana while everyone here in Montana makes sure to vote for Mick Delaney each day, please just disclose the voting numbers and let us see that Coach Roberts does in fact have an objective, legitimate vote lead on Mick.

In no way am I biting the hand that feeds me so to speak. As I mentioned at length above, I am incredibly grateful that the Grizzly Athletics is represented in these national campaigns. And in no way am I saying that Monte or Mick Delaney got screwed. I just want something that clearly paints a picture of where everyone stands in these high stakes contests. Let’s do it for the fans. Don’t Blink.

What Do You Want For Christmas?

People dread the holidays for many reasons. Some hate the commercialism, some don’t get along with their family, some don’t have family, some are depressed, and some are just Scrooges. I don’t dread the holidays, but if I did it would be because of one question I get asked way too much:

What do you want for Christmas?

I hate this question. It drives me crazy, mainly because I never really have an answer. It doesn’t help that I have a family, specifically a brother and a sister, who start hounding me with this question via text messaging pretty much on a daily basis beginning in mid-November. At least my mom waits until after Thanksgiving to start nagging me. After years of the constant pestering it has started to become kind of a running joke that I am going to get harassed non-stop until I finally give them some sort of information on what they can but me so they can go out and get their Christmas shopping done insanely early.

As you can see, the question comes frequently, it comes early, and it comes from both my brother and sister.

As you can see, the question comes frequently, it comes early, and it comes from both my brother and sister.

So why don’t I just put a halt to the annoyance and give them my wish list, you ask? Well first off, no matter how much they are driving me crazy I won’t get myself to start thinking about Christmas in November…no chance. Then when early December rolls around I am usually too busy to think about gifts as our sports seasons are overlapping and the Adams Center is my permanent home. Then, after that first week in December when it becomes halfway acceptable to entertain such a question, I stall intentionally because I am so irritated with the constant text messages asking the dreaded question. Finally, when I do try to put some thought into what I want for the holidays I usually end up drawing a big blank.

I just have very little use for material gifts. I am not into appliances and I don’t do electronics. I have a ten year old television in my living room for crying out loud. I don’t care about updating my furniture or getting new bedding. I am twenty-seven years old and have no use for video games or other toys that people my age sometimes unfortunately still utilize. My work takes care of my phone and computer. I am absolutely content with what I have. So when I hear “What do you want for Christmas” I am left scratching my head.

However, last night I sat down on my couch and told myself I would not get up until I composed a Christmas list. I brainstormed for about a half hour and finally came up with a handful of items that I wouldn’t mind receiving this December 25. All the items on the list are practical and are things that would help make my life more convenient. This is what I came up with.

My 2013 Christmas List

My 2013 Christmas List

Immediately my brother texted back with a rude response (for the blacked out word, insert any word of your choice that means “stupid”).


Come on Glen, don't hate.

Come on Glen, don’t hate.

Well sorry Glen, that is the best that I could come up with. Those items will make me a happy guy on Christmas morning. Not that I have to explain my wish list but just a brief explanation: Food cards – I can always use food cards to area restaurants, after all I am a bachelor. Clothes – The most standard answer in the world to “What do you want for Christmas?” Even though I already have more clothes than most girls, I can always use more. Stamps – I love having a book of stamps in one of my drawers! It makes paying bills much easier. I also actually still engage in correspondence with the people I like via the U.S. Postal Service and nothing is more unsettling than an addressed envelope with no stamp. Sriracha- It is true, there is already a shortage of Sriracha since the sauce’s plant had to cease production. I can’t find it anywhere in Missoula and I am all out at my apartment. Please family, help me! Dollar Store Gift Card – I have a love-hate relationship with the Dollar Store but the items that I do find acceptable to purchase there I usually buy mass quantities of so it helps to have a gift card.

By all means, this is NOT a hint to all my readers out there. My family will take care of me and satisfy my wish list. I mean, come on, after driving me absolutely nuts to tell them what I wanted I pretty much better be swimming in Sriracha sauce come the end of this month. Best of luck getting all of your shopping done my friends! Don’t Blink.

Heather Cox Out of Line

As I have said over this platform before, I enjoy sideline reporters and think they have a purpose during a sports broadcast. Because I do follow sideline reporters and appreciate what they do, when one does generate controversy because of their work, I definitely like to assess the situation and decide for myself whether the criticism is warranted or not. Such a situation presented itself on national television this past Saturday.

Although she didn’t make my Top 3 Favorite Sideline Reporters list, I have never had a problem with Heather Cox. However, I think she went over the line after the ACC Championship game.

On Saturday evening, Florida State defeated Duke to seal a spot in the BCS National Championship. As the celebration started, Heather Cox interviewed star quarterback Jameis Winston. I imagine most of you are already aware (and if you are not, go here) that the week leading up to the game it was announced that Jameis Winston would not be charged with an assault crime. An investigation into Winston started in the middle of the season and generated a lot of coverage, with the culmination resulting in the state attorney’s announcement that charges would not be filed. As Brent Musburger swung it over to Cox for the interview with Winston, many wondered what direction she would take it.

Before I explain how Heather Cox conducted the interview, let me briefly explain my opinion on what I felt was appropriate and inappropriate to pursue during the Q&A. I believe that she should have left any and all inquiries about the investigation and possible charges unasked. I think as a college student-athlete, you should not have to speak to legal issues on the playing field, especially issues where the player was not charged. Yep, I definitely think Cox should have stayed away from it completely. BUT, if she did want to go down that road I felt she should have asked it quickly at the end of the interview in a broad theme of “you overcame a lot of adversity this week, how did you manage to do it?” without mentioning any specifics. That is my opinion.

The way that Heather Cox actually went about the interview with Jameis Winston made me feel just a little sick. She didn’t stay away from the issue and she didn’t gracefully reference it either. Instead, she made the whole post-game interview entirely about the investigation. I think I counted four questions referring to it. Although probably not in the most eloquent manner possible, Winston stuck in there for most of the interview and answered the questions. However, by the end of the interview with Cox not relenting at all, Winston walked away, an action that I totally support. In a moment where the quarterback just guided his team to the BCS National Championship, the focus should have centered on his solid play, his Heisman aspirations, and his rapid emergence as one of the most exciting players in college football…not a closed investigation.

Unfortunately, I think Jameis Winston got wronged twice within 12 hours. First by Cox, then by his own attorney. In an act of immaturity and hastiness, Tim Jansen (Winston’s lawyer) went to Twitter to rip Cox. Responding to a tweet that Cox composed that had absolutely nothing to do with Winston, Jansen wrote in shorthand that Cox was unprofessional and inappropriate (which is true but he didn’t need to air that out over Twitter). He then demanded that Cox write a letter of apology and submit it to him so that he could then give it to the Winston family. Finally, six hours later he was so nice to send out another tweet updating everyone that Cox had not sent him that note of apology.

Guess what, Tim?! It’s not coming.

I truly believe Heather Cox was wrong in the way she conducted the interview. Even if Florida State set no restrictions, she should still use a little bit of common sense. Oh, and I know for a fact that there should be enough common sense to go around for the lawyer to use too. For those of us who love college athletics, many of us know that many times the student-athletes are the most mature individuals in the bunch. Instead of telling off Cox after that last question or sending out Tweets of his own, Winston did the best thing he possibly could…he walked away. Don’t Blink.

2013 Griz Football: Resiliency

This busy Griz weekend will officially come to a close in a couple hours and I think my tweet I sent out Saturday evening still sums it up best: It could have gone better, and it could have gone worse.

Our football team dropped a close one to Coastal Carolina yesterday. Once again the Griz staged a very gutsy comeback but this time it fell just a little short. On the brighter side of things, our women’s basketball team went 2-0 this weekend to win the Holiday Inn Lady Griz Classic. The team defeated Idaho in a close contest on Friday evening and then played a great game in the tourney championship to blow out UC Irvine.

This afternoon I attended the Griz football awards banquet. The team and everyone associated with it managed to put the disappointment of yesterday behind them for a couple hours to celebrate a wonderful season. Our athletic director and head coach both spoke some meaningful words, a hard hitting highlight video was shown, and players were recognized. Taking home the big honors were two of my favorite players on the team, Brock Coyle and Jordan Johnson, who both received the Steve Carlson MVP award (on defense and offense, respectfully).

Sometimes less is more so I want to keep it simple: The 2013 Griz football team is one of the best examples of resiliency that I have ever seen in my life, both on a big scale and a smaller scale. When it comes to the larger scale, the majority of the student-athletes on the team went through a turbulent period that few other teams will ever go through. The removal of its head coach, the loss of its MVP, and a microscope pointed right at it as sharp as anything you will find in the finest laboratories will definitely test a squad. But with a “united” attitude and the return of its brother and MVP, the team took the lessons from 2012 and used them to go on a tear in 2013. It is because of the above major tests in resiliency that the team dealt with earlier that they were able to conquer the smaller tests of resiliency this season. I am talking about the come from behind wins and fourth quarter heroics that were on display several times this year.

In life, people from the outside looking in don’t know anything about what goes on in the inside. While they think they do, they really don’t. Most people, including myself, will never know how much dedication, trust, and hard work the 2013 Griz football team poured out to make this year’s campaign such a success. While we can all see the major obstacles they overcame and the dramatic change in wins they recorded, we will never really understand the immense amount of heart that this team exerted on a daily basis. But there is one thing that we can understand, one thing that was clearly visible all season long. This team was UNITED and it was absolutely beautiful. Don’t Blink.

Emma Lommasson, Griz Weekend, and Bitter Cold

As I seem to do about once a week, tonight’s blog post will cover a few different topics that are relevant in the life of yours truly. I want to get you guys out of here quickly tonight so how about we get started?

Meeting a UM Legend: Today I had the opportunity to meet Emma Lommasson, an icon at the University of Montana. She started as a student at the university and worked her way up to become the assistant registrar. She will turn 102 in just a few days and is an absolutely fascinating lady.

I had the chance to be in her presence because our head football coach Mick Delaney paid her a surprise visit today. Organized by our radio man, Mick Holien, I tagged along to document the meeting between Coach Delaney and Emma. You would not have believed how happy and excited Ms. Lommasson was to meet Coach. As charming as ever, Mick chatted with a delighted Emma for about ten minutes. When he left to head off to practice, I snuck a picture with her. My great uncle lived to the ripe age of 101 but besides him I had never met another person in the century club until meeting Emma today.

Myself with the wonderful Emma Lommasson.

Myself with the wonderful Emma Lommasson.

Crazy Next Two Days: That nice long break I had last week is way back in the rear view mirror. Times are packed once again and Friday and Saturday will have me working non-stop. Tomorrow I will scramble to get ready for a football playoff game on Saturday while at the same time doing all I can to help get Griz Nation ready for a football playoff game on Saturday by getting them pumped and prepared for the big game via our new media outlets. But come 4 p.m. I will turn my attention from the gridiron to the hardwood as Grizzly Athletics hosts the Lady Griz Classic. Tomorrow night Appalachian State and UC Irvine will tip off at 5:30 p.m. followed by Montana and Idaho at 7:30 p.m. As usual I will have my seat in the northwest corner at the music table working away. By the time I get back to my office probably at around 10 p.m., I will return my focus back to football.

Saturday will be an extremely early morning as I hustle off to work to get ready for our FCS playoff game against Coastal Carolina. Once my morning prep work is completed it will be noon and that means kick off time. Once the football contest ends at around 3:30 p.m. I will be back in my office wrapping up the action in Washington-Grizzly Stadium and then getting ready for Night Two of the Lady Griz Classic. The first game tips off at around 6 p.m. and then the Lady Griz will play either App State or UC Irvine at 8:15 p.m. By the time the final buzzer sounds on that second game I will be very anxious to get home and hopefully look back on a successful day for the Griz.

Cold: Here in the Missoula area we are in the midst of a brutal cold front. The last couple days we have experienced single digit temperatures. Unfortunately, it is just going to get worse. The next two days call for even more extreme lows and the emergence of another factor…wind. It is going to get very nasty here in the Zoo.

Of course the storyline of Coastal Carolina coming from a warm climate to take on the Griz inside the ice bowl of Washington-Grizzly Stadium has managed to play itself out like no other this past week. Truth of the matter is, I really don’t see the cold impacting the players that much. For those of us who played outdoor sports, especially football, we know that once you hit the field and warm up you feel fine. Then you add in the adrenaline factor and you are good to go. I worry about our fans and game personnel who will brave the elements on Saturday. I have had a tough time staying outside for four minutes the past couple of days, let alone the four hours that everyone else will come kick off. While sitting up in the press box I will definitely have sympathy and a whole bunch of respect for the 20,000 Griz fanatics cheering loudly below me.


Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Stay warm and cheer loudly for the Griz! Don’t Blink.

What is Going On at Northtown Mall?

While in Spokane last week my brother and I decided to do some Black Friday shopping. Well, we didn’t really do any shopping but we wanted to check out the day after Thanksgiving pandemonium. After we hit up the Spokane Valley Mall we drove across the city to Northtown Mall, the largest, and most recognizable, shopping center in town. Growing up in Spokane, Northtown Mall was a landmark. It had recently received a very extensive expansion and was the place that out-of-town shoppers flocked to. The place had energy.

However, this Thanksgiving weekend when I returned to Northtown on Black Friday there was a dramatic change in the mall. I would estimate that about 20% of the stores were vacant. Spaces where well known businesses had staked out for years were now gone. At one area in the mall it was especially eerie. Except for the anchor stores, everything was gone, even the ATMs that were once attached to the walls! The place had seemed to turn into a ghost town. I questioned my brother and cried out on Twitter asking what was going on.

It took a while but today I found out my answer. It turns out the mall will soon be undergoing another massive renovation project. The area that had turned into a graveyard will be demolished and then resurrected in grand fashion. Northtown had supposedly moved/bought out/kicked out all the businesses in the area in preparation for the upcoming huge project. It suddenly made sense to me. Except for one thing…

In the bottom level of Northtown Mall there used to be a fun center called Bumpers. The large area contained bumper cars, an eighteen hole miniature golf course, a climbing wall, full arcade, party rooms, and pool tables. During our youth, my brother and I spent a lot of time there. However, like many of the other tenants in Northtown, it packed up and left. The business headed out to the valley to attempt at a fresh start in an old bowling alley location.

The bottom level where Bumpers resided used to be partially exposed to shoppers. While you were on the second floor level by all the ice cream shops or even further up on the third level you could look down and see the bumper cars and redemption front desk of the center. The climbing wall elevated all the way up to the second level, showcasing one of Bumpers’ most popular attractions to shoppers who may have not had the chance to make it down to the basement level yet. An escalator and see-through elevator connected Bumpers with the other levels of Northtown. However, that level of transparency is no more.

When Glen and I visited Northtown last week we were a little shocked to see that the gaping hole in the middle of the second level that allowed people to see inside of Bumpers was totally gone. The black and white tiled floor of the mall now extended completely across where the open space used to be. It was as if the once busy kids arcade zone had never existed. If you were a first time shopper to Northtown you would have absolutely no idea that you were walking across a floor that had just been there for a couple months, let alone realize that underneath you rested a large vacant basement.

Or is it really vacant? That basement level in Northtown is vast. There is a whole lot of space down there. Would Northtown really leave that space totally empty? Why did they feel the need to completely cover it up? Although I don’t generally believe in conspiracy theories I do enjoy considering them and let me tell you, Glen and I had our minds rolling about what was going on underneath us. My first suggestion is that it is now an underground dance club where loads of illegal activities occur. Or thinking about it now, maybe the space is now used for a secret fight club. Maybe they have converted it to a detention area where lost kids, unruly teenagers, and out of line shoppers get transported to and forgotten about. Or perhaps one of those roller derby teams have made the area their new practice headquarters.

It crossed my mind that it might be a graveyard for old and dysfunctional furry characters that play in those bands at Chucky Cheese’s and other kids centers. Maybe the seasonal store Spirit is holding the space for next Halloween. Or maybe it is where 2Pac and Elvis are now hanging out. For all we know, it might now be a holding zone for excess Area 51 materials.

Bottom line, I just feel as if someone is trying to erase the memory from our minds that a giant basement does in fact exist at Northtown Mall. By patching up the hole, making access impossible, and by not disclosing future plans for the space I must say that I am intrigued about what is really going on underneath the mall. Does anyone else have any ideas? Don’t Blink.

My Current Three Best Bets To Waste Time on Your iPhone

Every now and then I like to pass along to my readers the current cool things I am using on my IPhone to waste time. Tonight I would like to share with you the top three that I am presently big on.

Quick Side Note: I just got back from our annual UM Spirit Squad Holiday Get-Together (our Spirit Squad is made up of our cheer squad, dance team, and mascot program). What a delightful evening with some awesome student-athletes. I feel so lucky to be associated with the Spirit Squad, they are seriously a very dedicated, talented, and fun group!

It was a very nice time at the Spirit Squad party this evening.

It was a very nice time at the Spirit Squad party this evening.


1. What Is Your Twitter Net Worth? – Do you ever wonder the monetized value of your Twitter account? Thanks to Time, you can find how much you could cash in your Tweets for by going here. Of course this is just a hypothetical exercise, it is not like Twitter is ever going to give any of us a penny (let’s just be thankful the haven’t started charging yet) but it is still kind of cool and you can use it to hold some bragging rights over your friends. The formula values my Twitter account at $180. That is more than my brother (@GlenReser, $103), Shaun Rainey (@ShaunRainey, $15), and Chris Lynn (@chrislynn, $60). Interestingly, our @UMGRIZZLIES account is worth $1,130. Conversely, the @MSUBOBCATS account is worth $703. Definitely a cool service to check out!

Here is the breakdown on how much my Twitter account is worth.

Here is the breakdown on how much my Twitter account is worth.

2. Flipagram – The apps to incorporate into your Instagram service keep getting better and better. Now there is Flipagram. What Flipagram allows you to do is create slide shows in an Instagram friendly format. For example, I took several pictures of our Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house. Instead of posting them one-by-one on Instagram or making a collage out of them, I put them into a Flipagram slide show. I chose the photos I wanted, adjusted the timing for how long I wanted each photo to be shown, and then hit the create button which processed the show and saved it to my camera roll. I then simply uploaded it to Instagram. But what really makes this service cool and what differentiates itself from other apps is that you can choose music to go with your show! And you get to choose from the favorite music you have downloaded on your phone. Better yet, you can start the music anywhere you want in the song to go with the slide show. If you are an avid Instagram user, this app is a must.

Flipagram is a lot of fun!

Flipagram is a lot of fun!

3. theScore – This app has been on the scene for a long time but I did want to share it because I think it is the finest sports score service available. Not only do you get up to the second updates on every game at the college and professional levels, you also get it an organized and user-friendly format. Ads are scarce and you can choose favorite settings. I personally really enjoyed using it to get instant updates on all the Big Sky Conference football action that went on this season. Two thumbs up from me on this app.

theScore is my favorite app for checking in on sports scores.

theScore is my favorite app for checking in on sports scores.


Do you have any apps that you think I need to check out? Please let me know. Also, if your Twitter account is worth a pretty penny, please let me know that as well. I love to compare! Don’t Blink.

The $1,000 Stunt

As I watched the news this morning, I heard about the most spectacular display of self-promotion at a bang for your buck level that I never had before imagined. As I heard the main details that made the stunt so great mixed in with the “human element” B.S. that likely never happened, all I could say to myself was well played.

On Black Friday, a man went to the top level of the Mall of America and proceeded to throw 1,000 dollar bills over the railing and onto the shoppers and performers on the main level of the gigantic shopping center. Fittingly enough, the performers I mentioned made up a holiday choir that just happened to be singing “Let It Snow”. As he threw the cash over the railing he made his way to an escalator where he started to descend down while tossing the remaining bills overboard. Confused shoppers looked on in disbelief, smart shoppers started scooping up the money.

The man’s name is Serge Vorobyov. He just lost his car hauling business and is currently going through a divorce. Early reports tried to paint Serge as a courageous and down on his luck guy who wanted to perform a selfless and desperate act to win back his wife. Word also spread that he used the last $1,000 to his name to fund the stunt.

Well, once the guy started talking to more cameras it became evident that he really had no intention of winning back his wife. In fact, she knew about his plans. Also, by no means did he throw his last few remaining dollars away to strangers. His main line right now about the whole deal is that he wanted to do “some sort of pay it forward kind of thing.” Ummm…sure.

I question his stated motive because people who like to do, as he calls it, “pay it forward kind of thing(s)” usually do it anonymously (like this occurence that happened in Missoula this summer). Anonymously in that they don’t sit down for interviews, don’t splash the event across their Facebook wall, and definitely don’t stamp their YouTube address on every single dollar bill they throw over a railing. Yes, all one thousand of those bills directed the recipient to visit his YouTube page.

So while I call the media’s claim that he did it for love as pathetic and while I find his claim that he did it out of goodwill as shameful, I find the act in and of itself as genius.

In my mind, Serge pulled off one of the greatest and most successful guerrilla marketing stunts in modern history and he did it with himself as the sole benefactor! Sure $1,000 might seem like a lot to some people but in the world of online, print, and television ads it is peanuts. He took that cash and not only stretched it so that hundreds of people in a shopping mall could experience it and become exposed to his message but by catching the eye of the national media he also exposed the entire country to it. What a fun, creative, and most importantly, profitable way to market yourself.

Many of us work hard to establish our own personal brand. The cool/scary reality is that we are all capable of pulling off a stunt like Serge and receiving national acclaim. I mean if I wanted to I could rent a hot air balloon, take out all the money I have in the bank, float over a densely populated area, and start dropping $20 bills that had my blog URL written on it. I would probably get arrested but many would argue that the media attention, the huge spike in my blog readership, and the place in infamy that I would receive for the stunt would far outweigh the legal problems and the financial issues that I would incur. But it is definitely a risk; a type of risk that Serge was willing to take but that I am not.


The most daring I have gotten with promoting myself is making stationery!

The most daring I have gotten with promoting myself is making stationery!


And that is what separates Mr. Vorobyov from me and most of everyone else in this world. He had the guts to do something pretty crazy. Because of his willingness to take a big chance and because of the creative way in which he did it, I salute him. I just wish he didn’t lie about the reason for doing it. Don’t Blink.

A Very Uncomfortable 88 Mile Drive

This afternoon I made the trip back from Spokane to Missoula. With it now December, my concern going into the drive was successfully navigating my car over two mountain passes during wintry conditions. Never did I know that a greater obstacle would prevent itself.

I made it over Fourth of July Pass just fine. Although heavy rainfall did slow me down a little bit, the relative ease I got over it gave me confidence for the usually more dangerous and snowy Lookout Pass. Much to my enjoyment, Lookout Pass was just a tad bit more challenging than Fourth of July with only traces of snow and the continued rainfall. After the passes were in my rearview mirror I thought I was home free for the final 100 miles of the drive.

As the relief set in I lightened my grip on the steering wheel, turned the radio on, and cracked open my Xyience energy drink as I passed a green sign that notified me I only had 88 miles to Missoula. Suddenly my relaxed state turned to panic as the black truck ahead of me started shooting out sparks all over the road. The next thing I knew a tire was rolling at a high speed right toward my car! I jerked my steering wheel on the windy road and missed the tire. It was just like a movie!! The truck, still shooting out sparks, successfully pulled to the side of the road. I pulled right behind it.

Another car that saw the whole incident pulled in front of the truck. The Good Samaritan who stopped in front of the vehicle went to the truck’s passenger window to see that the person was okay. I in turn got out of my car and went and fetched his tire that had come to a stop against the guard rail about 50 fifty feet behind us. In the cold, windy conditions with traffic zooming by me I trekked through the snow on the side of the road to get the tire. With my nice new Nikes sopping wet I pushed the tire back to the truck. As I got close to the vehicle I saw the occupant and let me tell you….it was not what I expected.

I am not into stereotypes but I must admit that I thought the owner of the nice, newer model black truck would not have looked like the neglected brother of a ZZ Top band member. The man, probably sixty, had a long straggly beard, stained clothes, a bizarre top hat, wrinkled skin, and strands of hair poking out from the hat. He thanked me for stopping and retrieving the tire and then asked the question:

Can I have a ride?

At first I was completely caught off guard by his request. In my surprise I muttered “ummm, sure.” Now that I am removed from the situation it makes sense that of course he would need a ride. He was stranded out in the middle of nowhere with a truck that only had three tires. But after I granted his request I felt uneasy. I went back to my car to wait for him to finish some business he said he had to attend to at his truck. After a minute or so I saw him open his truck and guess what jumped out?…


This was the man's dog that sat in my back seat for the 88 mile drive!

This was the man’s dog that sat in my back seat for the 88 mile drive!

Now if you know me, you know very well that dogs are not my favorite animals. Under normal conditions I would never let a dog set foot in my well-kept and clean car. But the man simply walked to my car, opened the passenger door, and his dog hopped right in and moved to the back seat. Things were getting weird. The man did not even ask for permission or apologize for the unexpected occupant. For a split second I wanted to end things right there. The last thing I needed was a creepy guy and a dog in the back seat distracting me on an already tense drive. But I kept my cool and straight up asked the man if his K9 would bark or go to the bathroom in my car. When he replied no to both, I started to drive. The guy needed to go to Kalispell but I had already told him ahead of time that I could only get him to Missoula. With that understanding, we set off on the longest 88 mile drive ever.

Heck yes I felt a little nervous. I have heard all the accounts about Good Samaritans picking up strangers and the horror stories that follow. The fact that this guy looked a little, how shall I put it, rugged, heightened my concerns. We had small talk for maybe two minutes to start the drive off. After that we were silent. In those uncomfortable moments of conversation he introduced himself and explained that he was a mechanic. He notified me that the lug nuts on the front passenger wheel gave way causing the mayhem on the road. Thoughts about him intentionally planning the incident to take advantage of someone like me ran through my head. I asked him if he was a sports fan. He said not really. Conversation ended.

When we were a few miles out of Missoula I started to negotiate with him on where I should drop him off. He went back and forth between a truck stop and a cheap motel before finally settling on a cheap motel. He tried to explain some place he stayed at ten years ago but for the life of me I couldn’t make out the motel he was talking about. But he made it very clear that he wanted to stay in a cheap motel so I took him to an area that would cater to his needs…Broadway Street.

Here is a picture I took of the man as he inquired about occupancy.

Here is a picture I took of the man as he inquired about occupancy.

I parked at one of the value motels and he told me to wait one second so he could walk in and see if the place would welcome his dog. I was now spending my Sunday evening parked outside some run down motel with a random dog in the back seat of my car. He came out and announced that he couldn’t stay there because they wouldn’t allow pets. I went to the next motel. Same verdict. Luckily they had told him a motel where he could go that would accept his dog so I once again transferred him and his animal to our third stop on Broadway Street. Of course he had to go in by himself once again to make sure they would take the two of them so I got to spend some more quality time with the dog. Finally he came out, opened my passenger door, thanked me, called for his dog, and walked out into the night. I was hoping he had keys to a motel room (I couldn’t tell if he was walking to one of the far away buildings of the property or simply didn’t want to have me shuttle him around anymore).

The silhouette of the man as he walked out of the final motel that U drove him to.

The silhouette of the man as he walked out of the final motel that I drove him to.

I was reminded of a couple things today. First, I shouldn’t be so judgmental and I shouldn’t always assume the worst. Secondly, the ways events unfold are crazy. If I would have left my parents’ house five minutes earlier today or left a few minutes later, I never would have had my encounter with the mechanic. Thirdly, you should always be considerate and notify the driver if you plan to bring an additional passenger! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Have a happy and blessed December. Don’t Blink.