Chapter 5: Bookmaking Boot Camp Graduation (Oct 2011)

Saying goodbye to my supporting cast in the Middle Fork was as it was when I said hello: everyone said goodbye in their way. I said goodbye to Archer with a punchy conversation in which he thanked me for my hard work and we both lied about hooking up sometime in Portland; Bob and I had a beer in the Hot Springs Mobile, as  we do, on the drive from Spruce down to the trail leading to my cabin; and I said goodbye to Will and Kate with an exchange of goods...I gave them my Captain Kurk style swivel chair, which I hope they put to good use over the winter. 

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I told Bob that I would try to stay as long as I could, continuing my daily hike up to Spruce to check for bad guys, but in typical Bob fashion he explained that I was free to stay or go.

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Once the Middle Fork was mine, I packed up my bookmaking props and spend a few days up at the miners' cabin at Spruce...doing what I wanted to do, drinking beer and making books.

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It's funny how, after a long fight, you can start missing the combat after it's gone. I was free to do what I wanted, but after a week of cold rain and sunless skies I knew all my ambitious plots to stay until winter and do all the works scenes I hadn't done yet was not going to happen. I was mentally and physically exhausted, more so than I was when I finished my handwritten draft of "The Information Bomb" working for Bob in 2007.

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So, I burned all the trash I'd collected for my trashy book covers, cleaned up the cabin, took a final soak at Goldmeyer Hot Springs, and then I did a final bookpacking adventure, making my last hike up the road to say goodbye to Spruce...

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And when I returned I felt satisfied that I was now a Basically Trained Bookmaker Jake.