Well, rewind your Way Back Time Machine to the fall of 1987. Maybe September 1987. Anyway, back in the heyday of the 1980's there was this sweet gig called "The Telluride River Rendezvous staged each fall when the aspens turned to gold and river runners converged for a weekend of films, speakers and, of course, mass consumption of adult beverages and general debauchery in the usual manner to which river runners were accustomed in those crazy daze.
I was living in Flagstaff at the time with The Late Great Randy Fabres. I had divorced earlier in the year and was a certified (and probably certifiable) single man. I knew the River Runner Rendezvous was "THE" place to be for guys like me.
One day, out of the clear blue Northern Arizona Sky, Mark Thatcher stopped by to see "whazzup" with Randy and me and, well, one thing led to another. In a blink, Mark invited me to head up to the Rendezvous with him in his hot BMW sedan. Oh, Boy, what a trip that promised to be.
Mark and we rocketed up through the fall splendor of the Four Corners and into the picture postcard place they call Telluride. We set up our tent camp in the city park and then proceeded to party non-stop for the weekend.
By and by, my path crossed Susun's path. Yep, she was there, too. You see, being an independent, free-spirited Lass, Susun headed up to Telluride on her own. Naturally, she was The Life of The Party. We had met but really didn't know each other. She had enlisted me to help her get the infamous sand and gravel operators out of the river in front of her place in Cottonwood. So, we had worked a little bit together but our life paths had only just crossed on a more or less coincidental sort of basis.
Anyway, Sunday rolled around and people were slowly packing up and beginning to drag themselves back to whatever rock they would live under until the next year's river season began. As I was folding and stuffing my tent into its bag, Mark walked over and said, "John, I just bought a new kayak and I'm gonna go test it out, yer on yer own to get back to Flagstaff."
That's one of the things I've always liked about Mark--he's just real direct and straight to the point and that's that. None of this "Gee, I'm sorry John, blah, blah, blah stuff." Mark is just a great "Hey, Deal with it, Dude" kind of guy. We always got along great and this sudden adverse turn of events didn't bother me one second. It was just another interesting challenge of the day.
I wished Mark well and he disappeared in his BMW, leaving me to mull my options. First, I approached Brian Rasmussen. Brian had a small pickup truck. Brian and his girlfriend would ride in the cramped little front seat. Brian said, "Sure, John, I'll give you a ride but you have to ride in the back with my dog, Grizz."
Well, dogs being dogs is one thing but Grizz was quite another thing. He was big, smelly, and generally rowdy in a way that certain annoying dogs can be. The prospect of riding a few hundred miles in the open air with Grizz as a companion was easily the worst possible option I could imagine.
Hum...what to do. Strangely, there were very few Flagstaffonians at the Rendezvous. Everyone else seemed to be headed to places I only dreamed I'd ever go and some places I never even heard of before.
I was walking around in kind of a meditative fog when suddenly who should appear but Susun with her cheery smile and happy spirit. AH, HA! So, I immediately went over to her and started my song and dance about how I was stranded and about how I didn't have a way home and, "Oh, pretty please, could I ride home with YOU, Ma'am?" Well, to her credit, Susun dutifully pondered whether to agree to take me back to Flagstaff. Luckily, it didn't take her much pondering and after about a minute she said, "Sure, that sounds like fun, throw your stuff in my truck and let's go."
Well, the rest, as they say, is History. We fell in Love on that trip back to Flagstaff and we been deeply in love ever since. It was a fabulous and wonderful trip through the Four Corners and Monument Valley. I even took Susun to the Blow Hole at Wupatki. It was the first of many awesome and wonderful trips we would take together over the next 25+ years. Nothing would ever be the same of us ever again. We knew we each met the person we were born to be together with.
And so, you see, if it wasn't for Mark Thatcher buying a new kayak in Telluride, Susun and I might never had have that opportunity to fall so totally in Love with each other. It's a great story. The way Susun tells the story, she always likes to add this somewhat embarrassing summary, "I won out over the dog."
Well, Mark Thatcher went on to become quite legendary as the inventor and owner of the famous Teva sandals. Mark sold Teva many years ago and has been involved in all sorts of great things since then. Today, I just received an email from Mark and he had started a new venture--the Sazzi sandals. The Sazzis appear to be the next level of adventure footwear. They combine ancient design with modern technology in a uniquely appealing package that's been receiving rave reviews since Mark introduced them last year.
Below is a video of Mark explaining the Sazzis. Here's a link to his website for them:
If the video won't load, here's it's link: http://youtu.be/wZXaDzAAXsQ
Congratulations, Mark! We're sure proud of you. We wish you the best of success & HAPPY TRAILS!
Many Cheers, Susun & John