The Shot In My American Adventure
The Ole Hedge Creeper Heads To Vegas & Goes Walk About In America.
It all started a year ago at the IWA Trade Show in Nuremberg in Germany March 2018, I had a business meeting there with an American Company for my own Company Really Wild Adventures (www.reallywildadventures.co.uk) who wanted to use me for all their UK/European events, it was a really productive meeting and it turns out the CEO of said company was not only an avid hunter but is also a fan of The Ole Hedge Creeper (yours truly) for many years, so our business relation ship started and now we are more like best mates, he wanted me to attend the Shot Show in Las Vegas in January of 2019 and do some book signing on his stand and basically hob nob with some of his clients etc. So that’s where this story of my American adventure starts as I board the plane at Gatwick Airport on a cold wet miserable English day with Magg’s my secretary in tow.
We flew with Norwegian Air for the first time, quite a nice plane, clean the food was quite nice, the trolley dollies oh my young cousin is one so she said I am not allowed to call them that, I mean the flight attendants were a bit grumpy but hey ho a direct 9 hour flight into Las Vegas International Airport might do that to you I suppose, then we had to wait in a queue to get through border control for almost 2 hours, I was quickly losing the will to live as I had a touch of man flue so was feeling like a big baby, finally through there we got our bags and headed out to pick up our hire car??? catch this shuttle bus we were told, I swear ten miles later we arrived at the hire car terminal and that alone was an adventure getting through, car picked up and we were on our way to our hotel.
I have been to The States many time over the last 25 years, from family holidays/business trips and hunting and fishing break with my Ole Mucker’s etc. so driving here was no problem, as always the damn Sat Nav (Twat Nav) or GPS as the Americans call it was made by a Drunk Chinaman, it just went into melt down, thank god for the app on my mobile (Cell) Phone called offline maps, Big Tam my mate from Scotland and I used it a few months earlier whilst in Texas, so I knew I had this as a back up just in case it was needed, on our way now we found the hotel or so we thought.
We drove round and round the block until we eventually found it after some interesting driving, the dime bars had put the reception for the hotel by the car park and the hotel itself was above the night club, oh dear god what have we booked, reception dealt with we headed to our rooms through the night club to the lifts (elevators) at the very back of the night club, I was worried we would be up all night listening to rave music and the local prostitutes doing business in the rooms adjoining us, thank god I was wrong the hotel itself was not too shabby, Magg’s and I went to our rooms and crashed out as we were knackered, it was 3am back home but 7am here in Vegas, all rock and roll I am as I headed to bed, I slept like a log and awoke 14 hours later, I banged on Magg’s Door and said do you fancy breakfast there is a Denny’s Diner about 200 yards away from the hotel as I had googled what was near us.
Half an hour later after we had washed and dressed properly we headed to Denny’s for breakfast, I think Magg’s had a sizzler breakfast and I had the Lumberjack Slam and my first cup of American Joe (Coffee) ahhhhh I am back it was like an angel dancing on my tonsils, I love American Coffee and is the only place I drink Coffee in The States as here in the UK we are rubbish and cant make a good cup of Joe, breakfast eaten suitably fed and watered we headed out to explore, we were staying down town in the old part near Freemont Street, immediately I was accosted by two dancing girls wanting their picture with me and using my camera, then the buggers charged me £7 Bucks (Dollars) for the experience the robbing buggers, that was it I thought I don’t like it here much, I was right too and neither did Magg’s, the things I saw on the streets there and the homeless too, I HATE LAS VEGAS neither did I like the up town either, I am not a gambler, the flashing lights the fake buildings the fake people is not for me, all I will say on Vegas itself is its a plastic imposter of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I know and love, so I don’t have photos of the place to show you, all I will say if you are into Sex/Drugs/Gambling and Drinking then Vegas is for you, it most certainly is NOT for ME, I am actually proud to say I never spent one dime gambling in any casino or slot machine, I work bloody hard for my money I will be damned if I am going to give it away to some Gambling Joint, So I wont say much more on the place for I wont go back if I can help it, only long enough to do the shot show then get the hell out of Dodge and go see my friends in Utah.
The Shot Show, WOW mere words and pictures just don’t that show justice, the shear vastness of it is mind blowing, I only did the show for 3 out of the 4 days but I will get to that later in the story, my first day at the show I had to find my chum Jorge and his booth (stand) that was a logistical nightmare on its own, it was easy to get lost even with a map and every hall and booth numbered, like I say the shear vastness of the show over 5 floors with each floor being the same size as The British Shooting Show, eventually around lunch time I found him, we did the usual meet and greet and arranged for me to be on booth (stand) the next day for a 3 hour book signing and meet his clients etc.
I looked around the rest of the show I had time for that day, I caught up with lots of my sponsor’s and old friends, like Jake and the boys from the awesome NiteSite who I consider to be the best versatile Night Vision there is, then catching up with the brilliant Air Arms and the lovely Claire and Sheila, Ico Chuck from Ico Tec game calls, and my ole mate Mike from Eley Ammunition and so many more way too many to name.#
Day 2 The Shot Show Las Vegas 2019, I had some pre arranged business meetings arranged with some Big Dogs from my corporate world outside the field sports industry and inside of course, WOW those meeting went so much better than I could of asked for and lead on to other meetings and possible new contracts and clients over the big pond for my Really Wild Adventures so watch this space, it was great meeting up with the boys from Duck/Buck Commander those boys really are just like they are on TV, brilliant Businessmen and just great god fearing people who like a laugh, I am now called The English Redkneck after one of my American friends have knick named me it now, I headed over to Jorge’s booth (stand) to do my pre arranged book signing, all the guys already had their books from my online shop The Out Post (www.theoutpostshop.co.uk) so it was just a case of me personally signing them as they queued up to meet me take picks etc. I met more of Jorge’s clients smiled, told stories and generally helped show the red carpet to them, after this I was knackered so when the show finished we headed back to The Red Lobster Restaurant and I am glad to say it never let me down, ahhhhh the coconut shrimp my favourite I horsed that down with a nice glass of pino grigio and it never touched the sides, day 3 at the show was much of the same and by the afternoon I was all showed out, so I said good by to Jorge and his team and all my chums at the show and headed back to the hotel.
The next day like I said we didn’t do the show on the 4th day I had pretty much had quite enough by then, I also wanted to escape The Sin City they call Las Vegas as I had more than I could take of that dump, my good mate Robert invited me up to show me around Utah, join him on his trapping lines and to go hunting/tracking and fishing with him in the snow caped mountains above Hurricane and in the desert valleys of Warner Valley in Utah, a life line to a country boy like me so we loaded up the car and drove to hours to Hurricane, Nevada outside Las Vegas simply stunning from high mountains to arid desert and green pastures so beautiful it was mind blowing, the vastness as we drove from Nevada through Arizona up to Utah oh man mind blown with not only the vastness but the ever changing land scape, the further we got from Vegas the wider my smile got as I breathed god clean air and got out to The (real) United States I have come to know and love after all these years, we got to Hurricane and booked into our Motel, well not quite I got pulled over by the police as I had driven down a cycle turning lane, seeing I was a tourist he let me off and gave me some good advice and local knowledge too, I called Robert who lived only 600m from the hotel and headed over to his place.
Right away as soon as we met for the first time in person after 10 years talking and interacting on face book I knew we were brothers of a kin, his lovely mother Amy cooked us a wonderful meal of Chicken Jambalaya and rice with sweet corn bread and home made apple crumble with ice cream for afters, ahhhhh proper home cooked food nom nom nom my taste buds lit up and I felt almost as if I was at home in my beloved Somersetshire in the UK, the whole time I was in Vegas I was on edge my sixth was going off street wise watching my back, but here I felt at home content, Robert and I chatted for hours talking hunting/trapping/tracking and fishing techniques and just being good ole country boys, Magg’s and Amy got on like a house on fire too talking recipes and swapping cooking ideas and more, so all was well in the world as I was back in my second home the USA.
We spent the next nine nights and ten days there in Hurricane, what was supposed to have been a weekend turned into well over a week as we loved it so much, although I did have to go back to Vegas for the last 4 days as I had to finish off some business meetings etc before flying home.
The next day after that lovely meal we met Robert and he took us up to Zion National Park and Bryce National Park, its just around the corner he said, well just around the corner to us in the UK is nipping down to the corner shop to get a pint of milk, but to an American that’s a 2 hour drive, Magg’s really had no idea when I giggled and said I better fill the fuel tank up to full she said its half full now and Robert said its only round the corner, I just smiled and said trust me, that day from door and back to our door at the motel I drove almost 300 miles, now she understands just around the corner American style.
Zion Canyon WOW such spectacular landscape and ever changing, from huge rocky out crops to winding roads through the mountains to Buffalo roaming Mesas, flat areas with grass on top of the mountains like in the western films when to see an Apache Indian sat on a horse on one, google it look it up see for yourself, we stopped in the mountains at a portaloo for a bathroom break, immediately we could see tracks everywhere so as normal our tracker instincts kicked in, we tracked rabbit (cotton tail) fox/mule deer and coyote, there was lots of animal scats (poo) about and we could see the foxes had been grazing on the berries etc, I spotted some scats near a bush on inspection I said dog crap, Robert picked it up and then threw it on the floor fast yup your right, I just started laughing as Magg’s passed him a baby wipe.
We carried on up through the Zion National park as the road wound higher and higher through the mountains, I got to drive through the mountain itself with little windows every now and then showing the outside with view points, that was a unique experience I tell you driving through there going from bright sunshine to pitch black within a few yards, on we drove ever climbing higher, we levelled out on to the top of this Mesa and drove out of the park and headed to Bryce Canyon National Reserve that was just around the corner from Zion Robert says almost 2 hours later.
Bryce Canyon has to be one of my favourite places I have ever visited in the world, snow capped mountain with forests stretching around it for hundreds of miles and deep canyon views that I could see for 40 miles at least in all direction, we stopped at Ruby’s place and out post with a shop and a good eating joint, Roberts aunty worked here and I will say I am not a burger fan, but I had a burger there that day and was the best burger I have ever had in my life, a toasted brioche bun a burger like a steak mushrooms onions maple streaky bacon a slice of crisp lettuce and a sweet tangy BBQ sauce and cut thick chips (fries) like my mum makes, I telle I am dribbling at the thought of it and Robert had the same as me, Magg’s had some turkey wrap thing but even she said I wish I had what you boys had that looks amazing.
We carried on up to the very top of Bryce Canyon but only one road was open as the snow fall was around ft deep, just look at the pic of Robert and myself and see for yourself that’s where the snow ploughs had cut through, I had a close encounter with two American crows it was something quite special, for I may be a hunter but interaction with wildlife is not always about pulling the trigger or setting the trap, often its just interacting being there seeing with open eyes and in this case shooting with a camera not a gun, Amy text to say she would be home from work in a couple of hours so we took a long stead drive back home to Hurricane.
That night we feasted on beef stew with home made savoury biscuits (like a cheese scone to us) and key lime pie, the next day we went out on the trapping lines high in the snow capped mountains above Hurricane, we checked the traps and set some new ones and talked about trapping methods here in the UK and how they differ from The States with our different laws etc, I actually like the hand cuff traps he was using very humane and soft on the animals he was trapping,
We then headed off in search of some Jack rabbits, it was not long before we were on the tracks of a Jack Rabbit and more, again we pitted our tracking skills and field craft against each other, we tracked Mule Deer, Fox, Coyote, Bob Cat, Cougar, Rabbit (cotton Tail) and of course Jack Rabbit, I first saw it 60 yards away in front of me, Robert saw it too, we both went into stealth mode stalking in, I looked over at Robert and we both looked like a Bob Cat’s stealthily stalking a squirrel, we closed in with almost no sound and not a word spoken between us ghost walking closing in even more on our quarry, The Jack Rabbit looked up and one clean shot from the open sighted 17hmr with a perfect neck shot dropped him cleanly, I was on him faster than a hawk stooping on a Rabbit, that was my first Jack Rabbit encounter as I had never hunter them before, Robert said are they good eating as I normally use them for fox bait, I said are you serious man this is the closest thing to venison you will get, Jack Rabbit is basically a Hare Cotton Tail is like our normal rabbit.
I cooked a Greek dish I learn to cook whilst in Rhodes a few months ago by my Greek friend Michael who owns the restaurant Flora, he is a great hunter and loves hunting mountain hare, I hunted with him in the mountains of Rhodes for the hare then he cooked me Hare Stiffado, so this was what I cooked Robert, Amy Magg’s and Myself, I must say it was awesome for my first time and not a morsel was left so much so we cleaned the oven dish out with sliced bread, it amazes me how alike us country boys are weather American or English we are just like brothers of a kin.
The next day we went to the Sportsman’s Warehouse WOW, what an awesome Gun Shop/Countryman’s Out Door Sporting Shop almost like Bass Pro but a little smaller with a more personal local feeling, I was like a kid in a sweet shop as I filled the trolley with all sorts of goodies we cant get back here, I bought my fishing licence too and got some bait ready for our fishing trip the following day, we then headed out to The Warner Valley(Desert) to check Roberts trap lines there, alas nothing a lot of signs and tracks but nothing in the traps, we headed home for a roast pork chop evening meal, again the food was just like home in Somersetshire, I really felt at home there in Hurricane with Robert and Amy.
The next day we went fishing for lake trout/bass/cat fish/ blue gills and other fish, first we tried the community pond they called it, a largish pond that was stocked up with fish, nothing biting there so we headed over to a place called Grandpas Pond that was man made but more like a lake, again it was a cold night the night before and even though the sun was shining bright the fish stayed at the bottom not interested in playing ball at all, it was so lovely and warm in the sun and me being by the water I cant help it I lay on the bench and nodded off snoring like and old Fergie T20 tractor, a lovely day fishing nothing caught but its the being there for me, for if we caught every time it would be called catching not fishing, we headed back as Amy had to work that night so I took Robert and Magg’s out to the Black Bear Restaurant, again google it OMG the food is amazing, I had a fork tender rib eye steak the flavour I am dribbling again thinking of it.
The next day we went to St George and visited the Mormons Temple, my friend Jake from NiteSite it was his Dad who recommended we go see it as it was something not to be missed, I met some amazing people there really nice people, the visitor centre was so spiritual the paintings in there literally screamed out to me and one of Jesus and a statue too the eyes followed me all around the room, I am not one for church, but I whole heartedly believe in god, I would say I am more spiritual than religious, Jakes Dad was right about not missing going there I really enjoyed it and the place spoke out to mu sole, I must thank him for that recommendation when I next see him, we did go back to The Sportsman’s Warehouse that day too as it was in St Georges, by the time Robert and I had looked around the place again that was pretty much the day over as it was dark when we came out, I called into Walmart in Hurricane on the way back, I wanted to get Robert and Amy a gift to say thank you for their hospitality, I got Amy some roses and Robert I bought him a gas ram air rifle as he did not have an air rifle and he could teach his mum to shoot with it, he could also ask the local farmers for some vermin shooting around the farm yards and barns now so he could extend his sport, All I will say there were tears in eyes when I gave them their gifts with Amy telling me off as we were their guests, ahhhhhh well when I come back we have air rifles to hunt with now too.
The next day we checked the trap lines in the morning, alas we drew a blank with several of the traps set off but nothing in them, Amy had the day off so in the afternoon we headed over to Arizona to go to an ancient Native American Site to see the petroglyphs, WOW I had such a spiritual connection with the place, many different tribes would go there over an 8000 year period, although now a desert it used to be full of water all around, I could picture in my minds eye what it was like and what the petroglyphs were saying, stories maps traditions all sorts, I have said this before to people and asked have you ever heard the sound of pure silence its deafening, until you have been somewhere that is so remote there is not human noise at all you wont understand what I mean, but when you do you will know what I mean when I say the sounds of silence is truly deafening.
The next day we headed over to Quail Lake, again a man made lake that was dammed off as a water supply to feed places like Grandpas Pond, this huge lake is stocked with so many fish too many to name, Magg’s stayed in the car as it was mountain goat territory to get down to the water at the wild end Robert had taken us too, we set and cast out, almost immediately Robert had caught a beautiful small lake trout, he landed it then released it I caught one a little smaller reeling in to check the bait, and the day went on like that, the sun was lovely and hot all day, as soon as the sun started to set behind the mountain it dropped bitter cold and a wind got up, so we called it a day two happy fishermen, the climb up to the car soon warmed us up though, Robert made Magg’s jump out of her skin as she was asleep in the warmth of the car.
The next day we headed over to Albatross Canyon an Indian reserve, the landscape was vast with wide open prairies surrounded by distant mountains, I drove up one side than over to the other, we drove up the mountain roads ever climbing to 7000 feet above sea level, we looked back across the vast valley we had drove through in awe, as we stood there in the viewing area on a mountain plateau a movement in the snow covered woods caught my eye just as Amy said Deer right there, So Robert and I snook off for a shot on this small group of bachelor mule deer Bucks, the shot with a camera was the shot I speak of, using all the skill of the Hunter we stalked in using time honoured field craft, we got so close I could hear them breathing, shame it was not in season and I had a bow in my hands, I got the camera shot and as you can see there were some fine beasts there, we then back tracked leaving the group none the wiser we were there, we headed back just around the corner American style that is to home, driving through tree Topped Mountain passes covered in snow, although we did stop at one of Roberts friends places to try out the air rifle on some squirrel, alas none seen but the scenery was stunning so we made some snow ball squirrels and shot them instead, then we headed home for roast lemon chicken with all the trimming and a peach dish cooked by the lovely Amy.
Our last day in Utah, we went in the morning to the Ghost Town, nobody has lived there since the 40s when a flash flood wiped the place out, although a lot of the building and grave yard are still there, its now protected as Utah place of interest for people to visit, it was also where the bike scene was filmed with Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy and The Sun dance Kid, the afternoon we went back up to the snow capped mountains above Hurricane to check the trap lines, the weather over night had been bad up there and we had some more snow fall, the very first trap we had what Robert called a Ring Tailed Cat, it was like a cross between a Cat/Ferret and a ring tailed Lemur, Robert tells me all the taxidermist love these to stuff, alas nothing else in the other traps so we headed back to pack and have a meal.
The next day Robert and Amy Followed us back to Las Vegas, a bit of a day trip for them and for me to take Robert to Bass Pro, he had never been to one before, I just could not believe that, but then I suppose with an awesome place like The Sportsman’s Warehouse on his door step he never needed to drive 2 hours to his nearest Bass Pro, Robert and I were like kids in a Sweet Shop again we covered every inch of that shop as I showed him round, I knew where it all was as I had been in here the week of the Shot Show, it was my country boys safe place, I knew this was for me in the shadow of Vegas dirty bright lights, an oasis in desert of sin. We went into the place next door to Bass Pro again it was a hotel with gambling but they did have this huge fish tank with mermaids swimming in it feeding the fish and cleaning the tank, so I treated us to lunch and watch the fish and mermaids, alas time ran out faster than we wanted and Robert and Amy had to get back for Echo Roberts awesome hunting dog, I think its a Catahoula or Leopard Cur the breed, I will say what a strong powerful dog with such stamina, I would love one of those myself, we said farewell to Robert and Amy and went back to our hotel for a few drinks, I could not drink the dish water they called beer there, I tried to get some Lone Star beer from Texas now that’s proper man’s beer, I got to like it when I was in Texas last year but to no avail here or in Utah or Arizona, so I challenged Kevin our barman could he make a paradise cocktail like I drank in Rhodes Greece, oh yes the boy nailed it, so I sank 1 or 3 of those and headed up to bed and slept like a baby.
The next couple of days consisted of a few business meetings that I had to tie up, and going around all the Walmart trying to find any trail cameras that were left, I got one for $30 the first week reduced from $85, whilst I was in Utah they had reduced them down further to $11 but alas 7 Walmart’s later not one available so I missed out on that bargain.
The Last Day Magg’s had on her bucket list she wanted to fly over the grand Canyon in a helicopter, I did say after seeing Zion National Park and my Favourite Bryce Canyon National Park that I think the Grand Canyon would be a great disappointment, but none the less it was on her bucket list, we took off and Magg’s froze scared to death would not look out the window let alone look down, we flew over lake Mead/The Hoover Dam and then The Grand Canyon and the Sky walk, I snapped away did a little video so Magg’s had something to send home, we landed on a small Mesa (Flat Mountain Top) for the champaign toast and to watch the sun set over Vegas before we saw the night glow of the place, Magg’s asked when are we flying over The Grand Canyon? I laughed and said you missed that you had your eyes shut the whole time, I did try to tell you, I was right The Grand canyon is a big waste of time a tourist attraction to take almost £700 Dollars out your purse, to me it was just a load of red rock with a dirty river in the bottom, Bryce Canyon now that’s worth visiting, for the helicopter ride was the best bit I got bored with seeing rocks.
The next day we flew home and two days later we were at The British Shooting show 2019 at The NEC in Birmingham like the last month in America did not happen, some great memories made with my good friend Robert where mere words, pictures and videos just don’t do Utah/Arizona and Nevada justice, just erase the Las Vegas Hell Hole from the files I say, like I say its a plastic fake imposter of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I know and LOVE.