Highland News Leader

Letter to the Editor: Highland man recalls being rescued by the ‘Steve Miller Band’

Dear Editor,

With the Steve Miller Band coming to St. Louis in July (July 14 at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo.), thought we’d share our story with you about our experience with the band.

In 1975, my wife and I owned a mountain resort called Hannagan Meadows Lodge in the White Mountains of Arizona. It was at 9,200 feet elevation in the largest stand of Ponderosa pines in the nation, home to mountain lion, black bear, elk and other wildlife.

We received a call from our chamber of commerce, which we belonged to, stating that a group wanted to come to the lodge, but did not want to be identified. They arrived at the lodge in three or four Mercedes with maybe six or seven individuals, with two of the people looking like bodyguards of Fijian origin, i.e. very big. They stayed with us about a week with much of the time spent like other guest staying at the lodge.

Being located on the top of a mountain, water can be scarce and often had to be hauled great distances with great effort to dam the small river (Black River) and mechanically pump the water into a 1,000-gallon tank and hauled in a 1947 Chevrolet truck. I then hauled it back over logging roads some three to four miles, back to the lodge to be used by guests from Tucson or Phoenix that had no regard for water conservation.

On one of these trips, I had a flat tire with the truck that had no spare. So, my only option was to walk back to the lodge with my 6-year-old son, who had accompanied on this trip, for parts and another vehicle. In the meantime, my wife was beginning to worry, since I had not returned, and she began to think of ways to go check on me and my son. She expressed her concern to a couple of guests, who subsequently volunteered to go looking for me with their Mercedes cars on the old logging roads.

She took advantage of their kindness and began telling them the way to go to find me. As we were just getting stared back to the lodge, with darkness setting in, I saw a couple of Mercedes coming on the road. It was a very welcome site, since I wasn’t looking forward to walking three or four miles in the dark with only a .38 Smith & Wesson Special for protection against possible bear or mountain lion encounters.

They explained about my wife expressing her concern and their offering to come look for me. I was very happy for the rescue and to ride back in these luxury vehicles.

Well, after a couple more days, it was time for our kind guests to leave and for us to bid them farewell. After thanking them the best we could, and since we didn’t — up to this point — know who they were, they proceeded to tell us their identity. They said they were the Steve Miller Band, to which we replied with a dumb-founded look.

They responded, “You have some of our records on your jukebox over in the bar/grocery store... Take the Money and Run and Fly Like an Eagle.”

Then, of course, we realized what kind of celebrities we had visiting with us and the unique rescue that took place a couple of days before.

It finally made sense why I would see these guys intently listening to music over in the bar.

Well, before they left, they gave us our own private concert in the lodge and signed some autographs, never to be seen again. In the few years we owned the lodge, we had many interesting experiences and this one ranks as one of the best.

Wayne Marcus