Wild Bill
A compilation by OOIDA and Land Line friends

They didn't call him Wild Bill for nothin'.

OOIDA Board member, Association Treasurer, and trucking activist William G. Rode of Eagle, Idaho, was a family man, a trucker, a ranch hand, a cowboy poet, a forest firefighter, and a bush pilot. Bill passed away Feb. 1 at the age of 82.

It's been a time for recollection and remembering the stories he had shared with us about his remarkable life. We want to share our favorite.

Before he was a trucker, he worked for the U.S. Forestry Service packing mules, opening and clearing the trails in the primitive areas of Idaho. This meant covering 1,800 miles a year on horseback and spending weeks on some pretty rough trails.

Bill and his young wife, Mary, lived in a primitive cabin in the Salmon River wilderness area of what used to be called the Boise National Forest. The closest road to where they lived on the river was 27 miles. Everything that went in or out was by plane or horse.

"There was no electricity," Bill told us, "but there was a good spring."

We all talk about truckers' wives being self-reliant. Bill said Mary Rode wrote the book.

Our favorite Bill and Mary story is about the time he came home off the trail, was putting his horse away and heard his wife calling to him. He found her next to a tree with a gun in her hands. In the tree was a dead bear.

Mary told him she was in the yard when the bear surprised her. She yelled and scared the bear up the tree. That was OK until he decided to come down. Mary figured it was her or the bear, so every time the bear decided to come down she simply shot him with her .22 to keep him in the tree. The end result, says Bill, was smoked bear meat for a year.