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The Claremorons: Round Mound, Part Two

chevyAs was discussed in an earlier posting, in the fall of 1963 a sensational television ad announcing the brand new 1964 model Chevy was being aired over and over. The Mad Men (Madison Avenue) had found a huge rock in Monument Valley Utah, on which they placed a new Chevy hundreds of feet in the air.

I have attached a link to this ad showing what a really big deal this was, what with no computer graphics or Photoshop available. This was the sixties, after all.

This story is about two 15-year-old Claremore boys  who, inspired by the Monument Valley Chevy ad, set out to place their 1956 Willys Jeep on top of a Round Mound roughly  10 miles north of Claremore near Oologah lake.

At that time, Oologah Lake was only partially filled and the Corps of Engineers owned     most of land in that area. There was no fence and if it was posted “No Trespassing,” the boys didn’t see it, and it also helped that one of the boys had an uncle who worked for the Corps.

The little Jeep, a design mostly unchanged since the W.W. 2, climbed the hill without complaint up about one third of the way. The winch faced backwards so they needed to turn around, but by this time the thing was getting pretty steep and there was reasonable worry about tipping, so the boys backed down the hill to a more shallow location, then turned around and backed back up the hill to a place not quite what they reached first time up.

This time, however, the winch was in play. The boys let out the cable as far as it would go up the steep bank and finally decided to hook up to a scrub willow tree, about four inches in diameter, which was about the only thing sticking out of those craggy rocks.

And so the second part of the ascent began, winch pulling tight, straining and the old frayed wire cable cracking and popping, jerking our heroes fitfully up the steep part.

When the Jeep finally reached the tree, it actually pulled the back wheels of the Jeep off  the ground, leaving it swaying in the breeze.

While hanging there, the boys began to wonder if their success was being blocked by the ghosts of dead Indians who might have been buried up there. Tales had been going ’round Claremore for years about those Indian spirits or ghosts. These ghost stories, which they had scoffed at before, were becoming frightfully real as they swung in the wind about 2/3 of the way up.

At this point, our heroes finally accepted defeat, but there was a problem. By this time with all the swaying around, the front of the Jeep had become hooked on a crag.

So the options available were only two. They could tighten the winch, raising them further and pulling the back wheels off the ground, or let slack the cable, hooking the front of the Jeep solidly on the crag. Somehow they must unhook the cable, then roll down the hill at a very fast pace, trying to make it without flipping the Jeep.

They really can’t remember now how they got down, but they did. So our friends, about dusk on a summer drive, came back over the thrill hills on North Owalla street and slept well in their beds that night.

Chevrolet had won the prize, this time. Even so, for Claremore boys, passing time on a hot summer’s day, in the end, the whole thing seemed worthwhile.

-Robby Melton

rob melton


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