"THE GUYS EVERYONE LIKES" CAPER
The area was at least a 6-hour drive away, so we would have to leave early to get a good start. Six AM in the morning was the chosen time to leave. The nice thing about this part of Idaho is the sun doesn’t set until 10PM so we would have plenty of time for digging. Not good though while waiting for it to get dark so we could light off fireworks. That being said, we didn’t get to bed as early as we should have.
Morning arrives and we are a little behind schedule after gassing up and getting ice for the cooler. Dale lives 45 minutes from Ed so he had a little extra time to get ready before we would arrive to pick him up. Being that it was on the backside of the holiday week, traffic was very light and we had made up for lost time. We picked up Dale and then we were off. I have never been to this part of the state before and it looked an awful lot like New Mexico (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The one thing Idaho does have that New Mexico doesn’t, is big rivers. The Rio Grande doesn’t count, it’s a mile wide and an inch deep! I haven’t seen so much water flow in rivers since I lived in Missouri. The forecast for the day said it was going to be 100 degrees and unfortunately that was one time where the forcasters were correct. It made for a hot day. Although it was a long road trip, I was kept entertained with dumping tales of the past from Dale and Ed. Dale was the pioneer of using a metal detecting for finding beer cans. It was like I had an interactive beer can dumping encyclopedia that I could plug in to!
We didn’t get anything to eat until we found a small diner. Trouble was they didn’t accept credit/debit cards and none of us carry much cash. Thankfully they did accept checks and Ed had found one in his truck. The breakfast was decent with large portions, we paid our bill and now it was time to head for the hills.
We were driving by landmarks of past dumping trips of Ed and Dale. When it was all said and done, we finally arrived at our area of operations around 2PM. There were 3 or 4 campers already there, but seeing their empty four-wheeler trailers, they were off having fun somewhere. Out came the detectors and we spread out. Ed had located a pit right off the bat and of course it contained a black Acme. Other cans in there were IRTP Blitz and Sicks cans. Dale had found a hole that had around a dozen Country Club 8oz cans, those cans seemed to follow me everywhere I go! I got into a shallow pit that had crushed KOL cans, probably the Atlantic from Washington version.
Ed had moved the truck around to a different spot of the campground so we could be closer to where we were digging. It wasn’t long after that that Dale had popped out a low-pro cone. Unreadable but a good sign, since it’s a 30’s can. A little deeper and we could see the tell-tale shiny gold of a Hop Gold OI. Dale had pulled that one out and uncovered a few more and told me, since I was on vacation, I could dig the rest of them out. I could see 5 or 6 just buried laying at all angles protruding out of the dirt. I had never dug those before so it was quite the rush. All told 13 came out of that hole. Not long after and not far from that honey hole, Dale uncovered another can. It was fairly shallow and we all could see a yellow can with part of a slogan , "…… everyone likes". I thought it was a
7-UP can. But as soon as they pulled it out, it said "the beer everyone likes". That’s the slogan on a Rheinlander OI can. Careful digging produced another 11 cans but 3 were badly shot up with bullet holes or just too badly rusted to keep. About that time we had all worked up and sweat and headed over to the creek to cool off a tad. While at the creek, I had asked Ed if he had noticed if the Rheinlanders we had just found were the rarer version with the Seattle Brewing in black instead of white on the side panel. He said I don’t know and goes in the back of the truck to check. The answer was YES! Cool a new can for the shelf! Ed had just showed me that variant off his shelf at his house the previous day. I asked these guys if digging great cans here was always this easy? (just like my first trip digging at the Lake of the Ozarks were we unearthed Lubeck OIs ……oh by the way ….I am available to other Rusty Bunchers in other parts of the country as a good luck charm!)
We had spent probably a couple hours there but there was still plenty of time to go find some more cans so if was now on to plan B. The new destination was a little ways off and I don’t remember finding much of anything at the desired spot. I will say that it wasn’t lack of effort, just no early beer cans. It had about 100 cows there and had fresh cow sh*t and cow p*ss all over the place and combined that with the 100 degree heat and it wasn’t a very pleasant place to be. We still had a long drive home so we decided to call it a day and head home.
The next morning I started cleaning the cans and noticed something about these Hop Golds we had just uncovered. I had seen that they had "2 pats, others pending" underneath the OI panel. So I went to go check Ed’s shelves to see if all the Hop Gold were like this. Nope, most of his were 1936 "patents pending" (Lilek403). And they weren’t what they refer to as the 3 panel 1938 Hop Gold (Lilek 406) either. So a quick checked in Ed’s storage looking at his other Hop Golds told me that he didn’t have this variant. It turned out to be Lilek 405 WAY COOL another new can for the shelf! They were dated 1937 on the bottom. The condition on these cans was about grade 3 and if they were Lilek 403 then it’s nothing to write home about. But since it’s a rare variant, it makes all the Hop Gold very tradable in any condition.
Believe it or not, since we had some relatively good success we were given the green light from our wives to go out again on Sunday. Man, we must be living good!
This second trip was almost a replay from the first trip except that the temperature was a mild 80 degrees. Ed had picked out a few spots to check. Long drive to desired location, breakfast at the same restaurant but one thing we did notice was that a huge fire had passed through our route. It must have happened the day after we got back. Hundreds of acres were charred but it was mostly grassland. We could still see smoke in the direction we were heading. When we got to our turn off, there was a sign posted "Road Closed". We went back to a gas station to find out the current conditions. They said the sign had been up the previous day and it was probably open now. So we drove around the sign and off we went. But we could still see lots of smoke in the distance. Up further it was apparent the fire was closer than we thought as another road we needed to turn down was also closed. Not pushing our luck, we checked the map and found another route, away from the direction of the fire. We saw a few likely places to stop and dig, although not really where we wanted to go, but since we were there already, we felt we had to check them. One had an old foundation of a cabin. Lot of pits, even big ones but condition was horrible. Dale was getting into some red ball Acme OIs. I was in a deep pit but it had all been burned. One readable OI can in there was a Wilshire Club beer but too far toasted to keep. Lots of 50s stuff but the stuff Ed and Dale find a lot. We left this place for greener pastures and spent a great deal of time stopping and searching with little or nothing to show for it. It was really getting late but they had one more place in mind.
It took a while to get there and again we were greeted with cows but it wasn’t as bad as the previous outing. Right off the bat, Dale got a reading and soon was into a pit with red Millers. Ed had found some ratty Acme OIs. I was like Charlie Brown on this caper with nothing better than a rock! I was finding pits but again horrible condition. I couldn’t get my detector off the grade 5 or the Oly setting! Ed had taken off across the road. Soon he was yelling, "bring the camera!" I headed over there and he already had uncovered a half dozen white Rainier cones. But wait, these had Rainier written Horizontally across the front and were also 4% cans. When he first got the reading, he pulled out an Oly flat but then kept digging to turn up the Rainiers. He pulled out 23 of the white Rainiers and one earlier one with the gold bands. That must have been a surface can that was rounded up and thrown in the hole. Dale was in another hole which had yielded Brown Derbys from Humboldt.
Now it was really late and we were really burning daylight! We packed up and headed out and spied a mountain lion only a half mile from where we were digging. He quickly ran off in the canyon but makes one wonder if he was watching us. I sure he was around because of the cattle. It was kind of nervous getting out of the forest because the smoke was now getting really thick and we could see where it was coming over the hill but there were no flames that we could see. We were wondering if we had to take a detour back all the way around the fire which would have taken us a couple hours just to get out of the forest. We decided to keep headed out the way we came in and soon passed a dozen fire trucks and passed at least that many more until we got to the main road.
These two bullet trips had everything going for it…great company, great cans, great scenery and some adventure thrown in for good measure. It sure was fun dumping with, "The Guys Everyone Likes"!