The Legend-News

Monday, 2000 September 25 : Volume 3, Number 35

What We Got Here

A fella by the name a' David Horst provides an update on A Fella By The Name A' Kuboske; the next thing you know, they'll have a film festival when Hollywood Comes To Ouray; Bill Fries tells the truth in Re: McCall; the one-car convoy becomes a two-car convoy, then a one-car convoy, then a one-car-and-a-truck convoy in Convoy 2000, Day Two (Part Two); and coincidentally, the Song A’ Th’ Week is "Convoy", the original version.

A Fella By The Name A' Kuboske

Although the heyday of C.W. McCall is past (sniffle!), the origins of his songs are still around. Recently, David Horst made a pilgrimage trip west:

This summer we did what we call a 'C. W. McCall trip' in Colorado. We drove Wolf Creek Pass in a motorhome and rode dirt bikes in the back country around there. We rode the Silverton Train, and saw a Galloping Goose in the Silverton Train Museum.

We passed Black Bear Road on our way to Ouray. I was wishing we would have drove Black Bear Road on the motorcycle, but the locals advised against it. While checking out the 4-wheel-drive outfits to find out about the cost of a tour, we ended up at San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours. To our amazement, it is still run by the Kuboskes. Well, we had to book a Jeep tour on Black Bear Road, and we thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Gail Kuboske (the daughter-in-law of a fella named Kuboske) was so helpful and made sure we had Wild Bill [No, that's not Bill Fries. — Ed.] as our driver. I just thought you might like to know the Kuboskes are still in business.

Gail also says that the famous "You don't have to be crazy..." sign, that once marked the entrance of the Road on the Ouray side, is in the office of one of her competitors.

David also notes that JJournal has a feature story on San Juan Scenic Jeep Tours.

Hollywood Comes To Ouray

No, the situation is not quite what you think that it is. Ouray, which has been without a motion picture theater for over ten years, will be getting a movie house. Thanks to Chris Guenther for the pointer to the article in the Denver Post.

The Bad(?) News: the theater will be in the Wright Opera House, the former home of C.W. McCall's San Juan Odyssey. This would seem to make a reappearance of the Odyssey (if that were ever to happen, even briefly) a bit difficult, due to lack of space. I asked Bill about this situation, and he replied "No comment".

Re: McCall

Got a question for Bill? Send it to

More questions from the fans of C.W. McCall. The first one is from Graeme Aldous, who's in Yorkshire, England:

Q. A simple (maybe obvious!) question, but what's the preferred pronunciation of the surname - Fries as in 'Freeze', or Fries as in 'French-'? I've heard it said both ways on this side of the Herring Pond, and I like to get it right. — Regards, Graeme Aldous

A. Think of it as Freece, Graeme.

Carey Dodson (who helped with the publicity for Convoy 2000) asks

Q. What are the chances of you, Chip, and them Fort Calhoun boys all getting together for a nostalgic reunion concert someday? — Mouse Trap

A. Practically none, due to the ravages of time. But its a nice thought.

Ken Thompson is very inquisitive:

Q. The song "Audubon" is an autobiographical piece on your life. Were there many embellishments to the story?

A. A few, but most of it is as I said it was.

Q. What particular event (if any) triggered your writing of the song "Convoy"?

A. The great 55 mph speed limit controversy of the Seventies.

Q. The cadence used in the story "Classified" was quite up-tempo. Was it difficult for you to record this piece?

A. No. Nailed it on the first take.

Q. "Wolf Creek Pass": fact or fiction?

A. Both. Idea came from a story told to me by an old trucker from Wiggins, CO.

Q. Chip Davis and yourself collaborated on much of your material. Give us a rough percentage on the amount of lyrical material Chip contributed.

A. Zero. The words were all mine and the music was all Chip's.

Q. Realizing that it might be difficult to pick only one out of your catalog of material, would you consider letting your faithful in on what your ten favorite selections would be? (if it can be narrowed to that number).

A. "Columbine", "The Little Brown Sparrow and Me", "Mountains On My Mind", "Old 30", "Classified", "Oregon Trail", "Aurora Borealis", "The Silverton", "Ghost Town", "Black Bear Road".

Q. Since you've not recorded any new material since the '90 CD with "Comin' Back For More", if an opportunity arose to record again, and continue C.W. McCall, would you consider it? Do you have any story (other than an obvious remake of "Convoy", with a Internet theme...) ideas churning in the back of your head?

A. At 72, the only thing churning is my chronic heartburn...

And lastly, from Van Speers:

Hi, Bill. Thanks for the great entertainment. I am another one who sat for hours following all I could in road atlases while your vinyl was playing over and over in the headphones 25 years ago. Also, I almost wore out the "There Won't Be No Country Music..." track by repeating it so much.

Q. What music do you listen to now?

A. Same as always. Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Copland, Bernstein.

Q. What music did you hear, besides yours, when you were writing the goodies?

A. Woody Guthrie, of course, and Stan Freberg (one of my heroes from the advertising years).

Q. Could you compare your work to the radio shows of the 30's and 40's? No doubt you spent countless hours listening. I am guessing you were benevolently influenced by the genre: like them, you have been able to plant vivid images in people's heads, without video. (Or is this guess off-base?)

A. Right on, Van. I've always thought radio was the greatest medium. Very perceptive of you.

Convoy 2000: Day Two (Part Two)

Wednesday, 7 June 2000. For those of you who came in late:

The Players:

On the way to Albuquerque I'd crossed the Continental Divide again, but this time at an elevation of only 7,275 feet above sea level. The drive through Albuquerque was a bit slow. Highway construction season had bloomed in Albuquerque and I was travelling a bit more slowly than I anticipated. Except for a couple of less-than-30-mph zones the road was smooth, if just a little uphill. That wasn't a problem, though, as I had thought that it would give Snoopy more of an opportunity to reduce the gap between us. We should have met again in an hour or two if he kept to the speed limit while I drove at 60 to 65 miles per hour, but two hours later he wasn't in sight and I couldn't raise him on the CB. The outside air is warm and my air cooler is on, but the temperature gauge is avoiding the dreaded Red Zone.

Our destination for the end of Day Two was supposed to be Oklahoma City. Between Albuquerque and there was Amarillo and the rest of the Texas panhandle. I skirted a thunderstorm about 50 miles east of Albuquerque. The clouds and lightning were about five miles to the north of I-40 and heading east by southeast, but by the time that our paths intersected all that I saw was a few raindrops on the windshield. I was outracing the storm. The next informative sign said "Amarillo, 239 miles".

The official itinerary (remember that?) specified the places and times at which we intended to stop, so that any interested parties would be able to find and join us. Since we were running behind we had decided to make the same stops, but we wouldn't be spending as much time in them as we originally budgeted. We would already be arriving a few hours behind schedule and if anyone else was waiting for us there was a fair chance that they'd given up and gone home.

This is when I discovered an error in the copy of the itinerary that I had printed. Our lunch stop was, according to it, supposed to be at Cuervo, which was at exit 291. Now I should have been paying attention to this oddity, but then I'd never driven in this area and I didn't know exactly what the town were like. As I discovered, exit 291 was not the place to be. I really should have stopped in Santa Rosa, which was about twenty miles back at exit 271. At exit 291 the only sign of life was a town (as if it were large enough to warrant that designation) called Cuervo, and the town was a mile or so beyond the exit on a section of old Historic Route 66. So I spent a couple of miles paralleling the Interstate until I got to Newkirk, where I returned to I-40 and went east for a few more miles to a rest area. I figured that I'd pause there for a while, monitor the CB, and wait for Snoopy to pass by. I had a half-liter of coffee and a bag of jerky; I didn't really need to visit another fast-food franchise.

I estimated that Oklahoma City was 348 miles away. Assuming a steady 70 mile-per-hour rate, it was still almost 5 hours away. The time was a quarter after 4, and when I reached Texas I'd be crossing into the Central Time Zone. OKC by 10:30 was optimistic; I figured that midnight would be a better estimated time of arrival.

Still no Snoopy. I pulled out of the rest area and headed towards Tucumcari, where I gassed up. I reached the Texas border at 5:30, which suddenly became 6:30 (damn time zones!). About a half-hour later I pulled into a 'picnic area' (yes, that's what the sign said) on I-40, about 35 miles west of Amarillo. This strange designation is probably because this area had nothing but picnic tables with roofs and some barbecue grills; there were no toilets. I'm wondering if Texans really do like picnicking next to the roar of the Interstate.

I've been driving far too much, and with far too little rest. If we'd managed to keep to our original schedule, we'd be about two hours out of OKC by now, and we would have had a couple of hours of rest stops along the way. I need some coffee.

A few minutes before 8 I got moving again.

Snoopy Come Home (Part One)

Silversmith's almost in Texas; Skywalker's still in Gallup; and Snoopy is... hey! Where's Snoopy?

Ed and I pulled out of Gallup about 12:00 noon, and got separated almost immediately. We should have met up again in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, but Alan had goofed on the itinerary, and listed the exit for Santa Rosa but called it Cuervo. I had lunch in Santa Rosa, then got back on the road to try to catch Ed. He must have passed me while I was eating. He got off in Cuervo, but only found one gas station. I finally caught up to Ed somewhere in Texas.

Reminds me: there's a big cross off the south side of the highway near Amarillo - anyone know what it's there for? [On I-40, about five miles outside town. — Ed.]

— Snoopy

I was outbound from Amarillo as the sun went down, when I got a hail on the CB at ten 'til 9. Snoopy had caught up. We cranked up our speed and tried to make up for lost time. The road east was clear; the traffic reports on channel 19 didn't mention any cops along the way. Only 250 miles to Oklahoma City, and the sky was dark.

I was monitoring both channels 13 and 19, to talk to Snoopy and listen for any traffic reports. Along the way east I'd heard a few CBers with way too much power in their amplifiers (4 watts is the limit, according to the FCC), and here in north Texas they were all over the place. Not that there was anything that I could do; but when I'm watching for cops in Texas, I really don't care to hear about someone's problems from Kansas City.

Like all good plans, we weren't making the progress that we expected. I had figured we could reach OKC by 10:30. But we were tired, and with that fatigue came the inevitable reduction of speed. 65 mph was seeming too fast to our bleary eyes. We should have stopping for the night by now, but we pressed on to Shamrock, Texas and stopped for a bite at the local Dairy Queen.

A foot-long chili dog and a cup of coffee later, I was ready to start again, even though I knew that this temporary caffeine euphoria wouldn't last. Snoopy wanted to crash in Shamrock, and I didn't blame him, but I thought that someone ought to be in OKC by morning. So we parted again, with Snoop telling me that he'd meet me at 9:30 the next morning.

I left Shamrock at 10:35, with 170 miles to go until OKC. About three hours if I didn't stop for long, but I knew that short stops were not what I could do. I figured that I'd need a short nap or two along the way. Okay, maybe I could get there in four hours. I had a reserved room, so I was sure that something would be waiting at the end.

Fortunately, I picked up some company on this leg of the journey. 'Rolling Thunder' came up on my tail a bit after 11 and made the usual inquiry, "What's Convoy 2000?" After an explanation, he told me that he was also on his way to OKC and he invited me to tag away. We chatted on the CB and I learned a bit more about trucking than I'd known before. About midnight we pulled into a truck stop about 80 miles into Oklahoma. I gave Rolling Thunder a C.W. McCall's Greatest Hits CD, filled the thermos, drained the lizard, and invested in another bag of jerky. O-dark-30 and we're off again.

I pulled into the lot of the Econo Lodge at ten 'til two. Faking a chipper attitude, I checked into my room and set the alarm for 8:30. Then a black cloud enveloped me as the black fog closed in...

Next: Day Three: You Go Through OK City, Joplin, Missouri, St. Louie... Wait A Minute, That's Not How The Song Goes!

Song A’ Th’ Week

Continuing the Fries/Davis compositions from A to Z...

Anything that I could say about this song would be superfluous. You know the tune; start humming.

(C.W. McCall, Bill Fries, Chip Davis)
From the album Black Bear Road

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker one-nine, this here's the Rubber Duck. You gotta copy on me, Pig Pen, c'mon? Ah, yeah, 10-4, Pig Pen, fer shure, fer shure. By golly, it's clean clear to Flag Town, c'mon. Yeah, that's a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen, yeah, we definitely got the front door, good buddy. Mercy sakes alive, looks like we got us a convoy...

A rubber duck Was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin' logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin' hogs
We is headin' for bear on I-one-oh
'Bout a mile outta Shaky Town
I says, "Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck.
"And I'm about to put the hammer down."

'Cause we got a little convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a little convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

[On the CB]
Ah, breaker, Pig Pen, this here's the Duck. And, you wanna back off them hogs? Yeah, 10-4, 'bout five mile or so. Ten, roger. Them hogs is gettin' in-tense up here.

By the time we got into Tulsa Town,
We had eighty-five trucks in all.
But they's a roadblock up on the cloverleaf,
And them bears was wall-to-wall.
Yeah, them smokies is thick as bugs on a bumper;
They even had a bear in the air!
I says, "Callin' all trucks, this here's the Duck.
"We about to go a-huntin' bear."

'Cause we got a great big convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a great big convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

[On the CB]
Ah, you wanna give me a 10-9 on that, Pig Pen? Negatory, Pig Pen; you're still too close. Yeah, them hogs is startin' to close up my sinuses. Mercy sakes, you better back off another ten.

Well, we rolled up Interstate 44
Like a rocket sled on rails.
We tore up all of our swindle sheets,
And left 'em settin' on the scales.
By the time we hit that Chi-town,
Them bears was a-gettin' smart:
They'd brought up some reinforcements
From the Illinoise National Guard.
There's armored cars, and tanks, and jeeps,
And rigs of ev'ry size.
Yeah, them chicken coops was full'a bears
And choppers filled the skies.
Well, we shot the line and we went for broke
With a thousand screamin' trucks
An' eleven long-haired Friends a' Jesus
In a chartreuse micra-bus.

[On the CB]
Ah, Rubber Duck to Sodbuster, come over. Yeah, 10-4, Sodbuster? Lissen, you wanna put that micra-bus right behind that suicide jockey? Yeah, he's haulin' dynamite, and he needs all the help he can get.

Well, we laid a strip for the Jersey shore
And prepared to cross the line
I could see the bridge was lined with bears
But I didn't have a dog-goned dime.
I says, "Pig Pen, this here's the Rubber Duck.
"We just ain't a-gonna pay no toll."
So we crashed the gate doing ninety-eight
I says "Let them truckers roll, 10-4."

'Cause we got a mighty convoy
Rockin' through the night.
Yeah, we got a mighty convoy,
Ain't she a beautiful sight?
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.

Convoy! Ah, 10-4, Pig Pen, what's your twenty?
Convoy! OMAHA? Well, they oughta know what to do with them hogs out there fer shure. Well, mercy
Convoy! sakes, good buddy, we gonna back on outta here, so keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your...
Convoy! tail. We'll catch you on the flip-flop. This here's the Rubber Duck on the side.
Convoy! We gone. 'Bye,'bye.

"Convoy" can be found on the albums C.W. McCall’s Greatest Hits and The Best of C.W. McCall.

The Legend-News is Copyright 2000 TechRen Enterprises. You don't have to be crazy to edit this rag, but it helps. Thanks to Bill Fries and Chip Davis for the words and music.