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Backcasts archive: Through Feb. 1, 2008

Blog calendar: Feb. 1 | Jan. 30 | Jan. 29 | Jan. 28

posted Feb. 1, 2008

Guess how many tuneups it takes to get to a pickup to a million miles?

OK, anglers and hunters, shooters and recreationists, we know you've covered a lot of terrain in your trusty pick-'em-up trucks. Over hill, over dale, you've hit the dusty trail all over dirt roads, Jeep trails and the backcountry to get closer to the your safe havens.

We also know sportsmen will appreciate the hard work and stick-to-it-iveness of Frank Oresnik.

The Medford, Ore., man's 1991 truck has had four radiators, three gas tanks, five transmissions and six water pumps, the Associated Press reports. And with more than 300 tuneups – one every 3,000 miles, like every good vehicle owner should – it all adds up to a very impressive number: 1 million.

Yes indeedy, the odometer on Oresnik's 17-year-old Chevy Silverado is about a thousand miles from turning over to seven figures.

Yesterday he took his pickup to the Oil Ex-Change Quick Lube in Medford for what he expects will be its last oil change and tuneup before hitting the magic number, according to the AP.

"I feel almost like the longtime NFL player as he goes into his last training camp knowing this is the end," Oresnik said.

He credits proper maintenance and a good measure of luck for allowing the truck to rack up so many miles; the engine has never been overhauled.

The pickup was purchased in June 1996 after the original owner put 41,000 miles on it.

Oresnik uses the vehicle to deliver seafood in three states, putting on about 85,000 miles a year, he said.

Now therein is the crux, folks. Nearly a million miles hauling fish in a pickup. It's enough to shake the head of any sportsman who's gotten out of a warm cab to the lock the hubs in the mud and the muck and the snow.

(You didn't think we'd be relaying a tale like this if it didn't revolve around fish or game, did you?)

Frank Oresnik, Backcasts salutes you … and likewise for all others who have put a million miles on their trucks. Nice work.

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posted Jan. 30, 2008

Crocodile adds entirely new dimension to term water hazard in Queensland

In the wake of recent flooding, folks in the Queensland tropics have been asked to keep their eyes peeled for crocodiles and snakes that may have been swept onto their properties following heavy summer rain.

Sure enough, one reptile has been dubbed a water hazard, at a golf course appropriately enough, the Associated Press reports from Brisbane, Australia.

Indeed, you may not wish to get wet looking for your ball if it's played into the lake at the 14th hole of Willows Golf Club; damp socks might be the least of your troubles.

A freshwater crocodile has taken up residence here in the Queensland city of Townsville.

Club owner Don Matheson said the small croc posed no "significant threat" to people, but that the club doesn't allow them on the course, according to the AP.

We're impressed (and more than a little concerned) by his use of the term "significant."

"It's quite novel that we have got a croc who has made his home here. If we allowed it, he would stay here," Matheson added.

Apparently the 3-foot, 4-inch croc moved into the lake when rivers ran high in recent weeks, Matheson said, adding that he'll ask wildlife authorities to place the animal back in the wild.

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posted Jan. 29, 2008

Bovine find the time to escape from Cincinnati

Cincinnati sportsmen beware: Runaway steer are fond of your neck of the woods.

For at least the second time in the last year and a half, a bold member of the cattle family has escaped outside the Queen City.

In the latest incident, an animal tilting the scales to more than 1,000 pounds bolted yesterday from a slaughterhouse holding pen, the Associated Press reports.

The steer was last seen heading into woods several blocks north of Stehlin's Meat Market and Interstate 275, said Dick Stehlin, co-owner of the meatpacking business. He said the beast should be approached with caution.

"It's not, say, a mean animal or anything like that. It's just sort of in a panic stage," Stehlin said. "It's just out running, not even knowing where it's heading."

The steer took flight through a gate that had been inadvertently left open, according to Colerain Township police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

Indeed, searchers on the ground and in a sheriff's department helicopter were on the lookout for an Angus steer in the woods of suburban Cincinnati, which apparently is a magnet for fugitive cattle.

In September 2006, a steer named Little Red ran from a fair and eluded capture for three days, according to the AP.

Of course, proposals already are being flown to change the nickname of Cincinnati – once dubbed Porkopolis for being a mecca for making bacon – to Bovinity.

Of mowers and more news of the odd out of the Midwest

There's no way we could stretch this into an outdoor entry, other than we felt our readers simply needed to know that in an unrelated Midwestern incident a drunk man apparently just couldn't wait for his wife to come home with the car, so he cranked up his lawnmower and drove two miles through a snowstorm to buy four bottles of wine.

Police found Frank Kozumplik, 49, homeward bound on a John Deere tractor Saturday night, toting the goods in a paper bag, the Associated Press reports from Adrian, Mich.

Authorities said Kozumplik had already finished two bottles of vino and cut through a blizzard on his mower down the center of the street to reach a liquor store.

When officers caught up to him in on the return trip, his blood alcohol level was 2½ times Michigan's legal driving limit of 0.08 percent, police told WLEN-FM. Subsequently, they arrested him … oh, and confiscated the mower.

Kozumplik declined to comment last night; we think that was his wisest move.

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posted Jan. 28, 2008

Presto! Learn to forget the cold and improve your winter hunting & icefishing

Imagine how much more enjoyable and productive winter hunting and icefishing would be if you didn't have to worry about being cold.

Well, get thee to your local library, hook up to the Internet, or find yourself a cushion in a private corner of your home, light a candle and start conjuring up peaceful affirmations in your mind. Absorb what you can about meditation.

I will not be cold,
This winter hunt will be nice.
I will not be cold,
I'll catch fish through the ice.

We know this will do the trick because of what a man in Manhattan using tantric meditation accomplished over the weekend.

Wim Hof, 48, who calls himself a tantric master, broke his own world record Saturday by standing engulfed in ice for 72 minutes, the Associated Press reports from New York City.

Indeed, he stood on a street in a clear container filled with ice for an hour and 12 minutes.

Hof said he survives by controlling his body temperature through tantric meditation, according to the AP. Tantra is an Eastern tradition of ritual and meditation said to bring followers closer to their chosen deities.

(We worship the sacred letter W here at Backcasts, and our deities are Winter Wapiti and Walleye. Unfortunately, our luck in the Woods and on the (frozen) Water is so poor, we think the targets are too caught up in their own Warming meditations to take the bait or get within rifle range.)

Back in the friendly confines of New York City (where we can only imagine daily affirmations are advantageous, to say the least), Hof set the world record for what's known as full body ice contact endurance in 2004, when he immersed himself in ice for an hour and eight minutes.

Hof's feat kicked off BRAINWAVE, a five-month series of events in New York exploring how art, music, and meditation affect the brain.

I will not be cold,
And I will fly to New York City.
I will not be cold,
Yes, I quite like this warm ditty.

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    About the author: Brett Pauly spent nearly six years editing and publishing ESPNOutdoors.com before moving on to produce the ESPN.com Sports Travel site. He is a national award-winning writer and editor with 14 years of experience in the newspaper trade, including stints at the Los Angeles Daily News and Seattle Times. The Evergreen State is where he now makes his home. Click here to email him.

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