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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Home Again

SAM & ME have been back home in Bellingham for 43 hours after completing a 13-1/2 hour drive from Brian's Cromwell Services 22 miles West on US 20 from Vale, Oregon. There was a 2-hour delay for an accident on Snoqualmie Pass, 50 miles East of Seattle.

Since returning to my Business to clean up admin of the past 3 weeks, the phone has been busy with client orders...something that has not happened in many months. Between phone calls and processing orders, have been wading through a morass of inconsistent accounting entries . Driving me nuts trying to match up $$ to documents...what a mess.

Taking time out to clear my head of numbers, I have put Motorcycle to bed. Tried to sell her, but in 18 months she has depreciated from $7,000.00 I paid down to $2,500.00...a loss I simply cannot/willnot take...so Motorcycle sleeps for now.

Have also wrangled over how SAM should be handled. We could transport her in the Trailer. The trailer is heavy and poor tired Van is dubious about pulling it up & over the Rockies. So, I have modified SAM a bit and low & behold, SAM has found a way to fit (sans wheels) into the Van...still leaving room for ME to bed down beside her. Just like old times in our tent - which is in the Van ready if needed.

I.E.,, Trailer has become excess. Back she goes tomorrow to the dealer, who promised she would fetch up to 90% of her purchase price...we shall see.

Seems to me like an awful (really awful) lot of starts - stops - restarts SAM & ME have gone through to get our walk underway and continue in an intelligent economical manner. All our efforts have worked just fine...they just cost a lot in real $$ or in demands on ME.

I feel we have now trimmed down our program to the bare bones. SAM & ME go into the Van.
Van is Home Base for 2 walks a day for up to 30 - 40 miles a day. Upon restart - hopefully in the next few days - at Brian's, we will put our nose(s) to the grindstone and put some significant miles under our shoes/wheels.

Nephew, Dale, who has worked in my Company off and on for the past 25 years, has volunteered to re-enter the fray by putting out Client Invoices for ME. This will negate my coming back to Bellingham every 2 - 3 weeks to do that chore. Once a month will be enough to take care of admin upkeep, such as month-end reports for tax purposes, etc. I will continue to take and process orders while walking. It has worked fine up to now, and see no reason why I should change that.

My Significant Other just treated me to a very nice Clam Linguine dinner for my 75th Birthday. A nice way to begin the next quarter century, which I very much intend to complete in good health and still walking. She is not so sure and suggests that I will be interred into a rest home with someone dabbing the slobber from my hanging sagging mouth. Encouraging? No ! I always plan for the best but have options if less-than-best should happen. I have found that one usually gets what one expects. Slobber dabbing is not on my agenda.

A word about a lady, Danielle Hebert, I met & befriended a few weeks ago walking the Oregon High Desert. Danielle is circumnavigating the USA, starting in Vancouver, B.C. Alone, on her Suzuki Motorcycle. She is having a less than good time at the moment. Go Danielle, Go.

See, I'm not the only solo act out there.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Walking Across America - Alternative

Upon wakeing after the 15 mile walk WEST out of Brian's two days ago, We knew what SAM & ME must do.

Our next destination ia Vale, Oregon 22 miles away. From there, we turn SOUTH to Adrian. From Vale, there is no more turning back to Bellingham for support. Hauling the motorcycle has become a real burden on the Van (with 239,000 miles on her). $$ have depleated to a point that our monthly Social Security does not support our entourage.

We must face reality that no one is coming to "rescue" our walK.

The motorcycle must go.

My Company, which has NOT supported me since 1995, must be "put to bed".

We must accept that SAM & ME will henceforth, walk alone.

All these things, will be done in the next few days.

SAM & ME will then return to Brian's, taking the Van and Trailer. Having no outside support, We must have the Van/Trailer to provide our own support.

Early EACH morning SAM & ME will walk EAST for 5 - 7 miles; then walk back to the Van. This walk will take 3 - 4 hours (We walk at 4 miles per hour).

We will then eat (charge SAMs batteries), do maintenance, rest and drive the same day to the next parking spot, never more than 10 miles away.

SAM & ME will walk EAST another 5 - 7 miles that afternoon and return to the Van.

We will again eat (charge SAMs batteries), do maintenance, rest, and drive that evening to the next parking spot. We will sleep for the night in the Van, SAM protected in the trailer.

In this way, we will complete controlled/self-supported walks of 20 - 30 miles each day, always moving FORWARD to the EAST.

Till now, We have been depending on friends and family to tide us over between jaunts back to Bellingham. We are most grateful...fully thankful...for their support and help.

We have tried a number of solutions to keep Us moving forward, sometimes at great cost to ourselves and others. We have, however, proved that We are capable of walking...walking with satisfactory (to some) results. We have nothing more to prove on that score.

Now SAM & ME enter territory where support is no longer available.

We believe we have reached an efficient solution which will carry Us to our goal, Key West.

We trust YOU will have faith in SAM & ME, will stay with Us, and welcome others to join Us.

We will keep up daily Blogs, providing VERIZON gives us internet access.

We no longer look for support; if support should come our way, we will gracefully accept.

As for supporting a "cause", We cannot in good faith ask those who are in difficult times themselves, to give to any "cause" where donations are skimmed off the top into the pockets of "overhead" folks. If a "cause" comes forward with proof that ALL donations reach those in need, We will lead the bandwagon.

We will, in the interim, Blog the results of our efforts here in Bellingham to get us back to Brian's and points SOUTH and EAST.

Thankyou for your encouragement and understanding.

SAM & ME.

Monday, June 28, 2010

REAL Cowboys???














Upon returning from the waterfall, WE drove from Juntura the 35 miles to Coleman's Service, where we spent a very interesting evening.

Brian is owner and only employee of Coleman's. He is third generation; his grandparents having built and run the isolated gas station/grocery store/tavern 22 miles West of Vale, Oregon...Vale being a major stop along the Old Oregon Trail...Ya just gotta see the numerous Oregon Trail Murals covering Vale's buildings.

In Brian's own words: Grandparents built and ran this place in 1931 until they died. My parents took over the second shift until they died. Now it's my shift...we all gotta live somewhere.

Seven days a week from 7 am to 10 pm "or until the last customer leaves"...Brian serves his tiny spot in the vastness of Oregon's Eastern Desert.

A young woman clad in shorts and a halter walks into Brian's, selects a cold drink...didn't I see you back at Juntura, I asked. Yes...I get around, she replies to me...without a smile I might add.

A bit later I walk to my parked entourage. A beautiful roan horse is loosely tied to a "hitching post" next to my Van. I chat a moment or two with the horse, when out walks the young woman. I look on flabbergasted as the young woman climbs the 3-rail fence serving as hitching post. swings herself onto the bare-back horse, spins it around with a twitch of the reins and says ...Bye...as she rides across US 20 and North up the road to Harper. A number of cars and pickups pass her...she stops and chats with each one. It takes a half hour for her to ride out of sight...me watching her disappear in the distance.

Back in Brian's tavern (see pic), clients line the bar stools. I take a stool. Talk is of last night's storm. Old geezer next to me (probably 20 years my Junior) says to me...yep, was mov'n my 300 head of cattle off the upper range when that storm settled over us. Cows didn't mind a bit, but my horse was slipp'n & slid'n all over the place...like a river running down the hill...had to work hard to keep her on solid ground, what with all the mud flowing.

Geeze, I thought...real live cowboys...right here in Oregon herd'n cattle just like `150 years ago.

Yep, says Brian...gonna load out the last band of range sheep today for movement to higher pasture. Gonna load 'em up soon as the horses move 'em up the road out front.

And so it went all evening. Real live Western living right before me...even sitt'n next to me.

Reminded of my Mother's stories about her childhood. She was born in a tent out in the Coolies of Eastern Washington to her on-horseback sheepherder Father. Seattle Post-Intellingencer had a full color insert in the Sunday Issue, with pictures and all of "POP" Brockman, the last of the real West cowboys, it said.

As a child, I used to help POP slit leather strips and weave hackamores and bridles, which he told me was a vanishing art. The PI said he was one of the last of a breed.

Well, I found some of the survivors of POP's breed still hoot'n & holler'n cowpokes riding the Eastern Oregon High Country.

Slept restless. Up at 5 am, Brian had set a sliced beef sandwich in his ice freezer - which he never locks - for my morning walk back toward Juntura. At 5:30 am, I start out, Sun not yet up.

I walk 7-1/2 miles up into the rising hills to the West. Two deer watch me pass. Another "cross" marks the last moments of another young woman who died at that spot in 1986...someone is remembering her and still putting flowers on her memorial (see pic).

I returned 3-1/2 hours later to Bian's exclamation...you back already...geeze, Brian, it was only 15 miles...Well, I'd be dead after 15 minutes....

We chatted a bit as he put stuff out for his coming-later customers...then I excused myself, ate his sandwich with his offered bottle of orange juice, and lay down in the Van for a nap.

I awoke knowing what I must do...

Juntura



One Deer Per Mile





Thermal Water - Sweeet - Warm As Newborne Pee


After those yummy "Saddleblankets', as Christiane used to call flapjacks; aka pancakes, I took off heading East on US 20 for the (no town) of Jonesboro, following the Malheur River.

I left SAM hooked up to Juntura's RV electrical outlet to top off her batteries after yesterdays climb up the 10-mile mountain West of Juntura and back against a terrific headwind, which depleted her batteries. Solar panels simply could not keep up.

Not mentioned in that post was that thunderheads formed all day as SAM & I climbed. At the top, Zeus finally let go. Lightening came down all around us...I moved to the other side of the highway to get away from the overhead power lines...the Thunder God roared directly over head and the dry hot wind swirled in vortices (mini tornadoes) trying to blow SAM over. It rained HARD for two minutes. The lightening/thunder moved out in front of us to give us a spectacular view as it headed East towards Juntura.

During the night, a terrific storm came down upon us. 15 miles East of us, US 20 was closed for some hours by FLASH FLOODS coming down every ravine, bringing boulders and mud across the highway. One young man suffered by hitting a rock. His car limped into Juntura, out of oil.
His oil filter had been crushed, split and out went the oil. I gave him my 6 quarts of 10-40 oil (no charge). He removed the oil filter, taped it closed with Duct Tape, screwed it back in, dumped in 4 quarts of my oil...and "poof", out squirted all the oil.

I went into the store and when I came out, he was gone. It was then I started tyhe next leg East of Juntura to Jonesboro.

I walked FAST. It was HOT (near 90). I used up lots of water. When I came to the waterfall, I filled my water bottle from the hot clear water cascading off the 25 foot cliff. It tasted great, but was very warm.

I walked another 5 miles, coming to a modern home across the highway from the four parked fire engines (I had talked to the firemen when they stopped for water & sandwiches in Juntura hours earlier). I asked the lady who answered the door if the water coming off the cliff was OK to drink...she said...for Heavens Sake, NO. She offered to refill my water bottle with ice water. I let her (heck, I was hoping she would !).

I walked another mile East, turned around and headed the 13 miles back to Juntura.

A couple thousand feet before the waterfall of warm water,was a a nice home with driveway full of cars/pickups. I walked by the NO TRESPASSING - DO NOT ENTER sign, between two pickups and started to open the gate to the very green lawn surrounding the home. Two guys came out of the house, walked out to me (leaving my on the outside of the gate), one of which exclaimed...Bruce, you made it all the to here ???...Puzzled, he cleared it up...I spoke with you a week or so back in Brothers (150 miles back toward Bend, Oregon)...where is SAM?....seems folks along the way are becoming used to seeing us along the road.

How is that water coming off the cliff?, I asked...Same water we have in the house...its a hot spring comes out of the mountain (there is NO flat land in the canyon) up there...would you like some COLD water?...would I...he took my water bottles, bringing them back full of ice and COLD water. His wife came out handing me a quart bottle of FROZEN water, which I accepted and put into my backpack. It cooled my spine for the rest of the day (and will be a regular feature in the coming hot days).

The young man told me that a few hours earlier, he had killed a 9-button (rattles) 4-foot rattlesnake not 5 feet from where I stood (outside his gate), which was shading itself under his pickup truck. ...Yep, he told me...they seem to be up and about... (Monica told me by Cell that Ben killed a 2-button rattler in their grass, where my Greatgrand kids played that same morning.

Yes, I would agree they seem to be up and about. I have still not seen a live one...although I have seen the remains of run-over ones.

When I again passed the waterfall, I stopped. I took off my Aussie hat, filled it with the warm water and three times poured it over my head, soaking my head and clothes with that clear cooling water (it was warm, but I was HOT.)
Postscript: Along this canyon, each mile contains the remains of at least one deer; died while trying to cross US 20. Speed limit is 55. Nearly every vehicle is going MUCH faster than that.
My brush with death a couple days ago, shared the vivid reality of what each of those deer experienced an instant before their last moment on Earth...caught in the sights of a speeding automobile...shock at the blinding headlights or blur of the onrushing truck...nowhere to turn...no way to avoid coming death. Puts a new meaning to life and living...OR NOT...




Saturday, June 26, 2010

OASIS - Supplemental


About to start my walk out of of Oasis, Oregon. Plan to walk to Jonesboro, 12 miles out, and back. SAM will remain with the entourage.


Just had to post a pic of breakfast served by he Oasis...


Enjoy !

Friday, June 25, 2010

Walking Is Complicated ?? !!
















I have been accused of doing things the hard way. I have proved that to be true with my walk.

For lack of support, my logistic system is proving to be workable, but is also very time consuming and expensive...time I have...funds are becoming a problem.

So, I have again revised my logistics.

Yesterday I crossed Stinking Water Mountain twice...once East and once back West for a total of 24 miles.

Today I drove the entire entourage 35 miles to Juntura/Oasis RV-Restaurant. On the way, I stopped at East side of "Drinking Water Mountain"; took SAM out of the trailer, and SAM & ME walked the three miles to the summit and back down to the waitng Van...Total miles = 6 miles.

Upon arrival at Juntura, SAM & ME again started walking West. We climbed another steep mountain for 10 miles, turned arouind and walked back to the waiting Van/Trailer. Total miles = 20. Total miles for the day = 26 miles.

Combined with yesterday's 24 miles, SAM & ME walked 50 miles...15 more than the distance from Oard's to the Oasis...so, we have 15 miles in the bank.

Tomorrow SAM & ME will walk East from Oasis for 10 - 15 miles...depending on conditions. There has been a major rock slide about 12 miles out, so that may limit our walk.

By walking in this manner, the Van drives only ONCE for each 2-day's walk, eliminating all the back & forthing previously done. It also cuts in half the need to find a suitable place to stop EVERY night.

It does raise the question...Do we get credit for "Miles" walked, or are we disqualified even tho we are walking extra miles.

OH, WELL...we are not out to set any records. So I will do what I believe is the best/only way to complete the walk with the assets and abilities I possess.

Changes are always raising their head(s), and I will accept what comes our way.

Hills & More Hills







Van, SAM, Motorcycle & Trailer all remained parked yesterday at Oard's.

I went on alone up / over / down / and back of "Stinking Water Mountain".

It was HOT. Stinking Water Mountain is 6 miles of STEEP climb out of "The Great Basin".

It undulates at the top - 4.848 feet - like big serpent humps, for a mile or so. Then it starts down on the other side, which is even steeper, for an0ther 5 miles.

Many times I wanted to turn back...but I finally reached the bottom of the other side...sat for 10 minutes to eat my peanutbutter sandwich...and started the climb back up.

It took me from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm to walk the 24 miles over & back.

Perhaps it may be kinda cheating, but I plan to drive out 24 miles this morning, park the vehicles, and repeat yesterday's process; i.e., walk East for 10 - 15 miles, then turn around and retrace my steps.

This logistic change saves 75% of previously expended gasoline, and keeps me within reasonable walking distance from more water, food and shelter.

SAM will come along today - and every day, if possible...I sure missed her (& her motor) climbing Stinking Water Mountain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Look Both Ways

SAM & ME spent the night in Buchanan, a.s.a. OARD'S after a mosquito-filled 26 mile walk from Granddaugter Jennifer's home in Burns, Oregon.

It was hot - 80 something. The Malheur Valley is a flooded plain 4,500 feet high...well, not completely flooded...with a profusion of streams, canals, and standing water alongside US 20.

Hundreds of birds live & raise young in these roadside waterways. All day long birds scolded us. I'm not knowledgeable re birds, but I got up close & personal with at least 10 differene species from ducks, blackbirds, pipers (with long curved beaks), finches, and hawks. The blackbirds (red-wing, yellow head/neck, & just plain ole' blackbirds) all day long flew directly into my face not ten feet away, hovered there yelling at me. The pipers took turns diving at SAM & ME, screeching all the while.

Horses would run at us until stopped be fences..then nervously stare as SAM & ME walked/rolled past. Many BULL herds bellowed at us from their grass-filled pasture s(grasses grew to 3 - 4 feet high everywhere...because of the abundance of water).

Our walk was long. US 20 is straight as an arrow for at least 20 miles...no hills...no curves...just water-filled fields broken by macadam as far as the eye can see. Thank goodness for the mile-signs every mile.

I really screwed up upon arriving at our destination for the day, Buchanan/Oard's. Walking on the left, facing traffic (55 mph limit, but most vehicles are going well over 70 on this remote roadway), I pushed SAM into the traffic lane on the empty roadway coming at us. I "glanced" at the "empty" roadway going our direction...saw nothing...heard nothing...Crossed the center line & was in the center of the traffic lane when the car horn blew from quite close, SAM's front wheel was only 5 feet or so from the rdge of the road, so - without glancing at the "horn", I gave SAM a mighty push to get off the traffic lane, when a HYBRID Honda flashed by on the OUISIDE of SAM.

The Honda went two feet onto the sloping gravel strip, missing SAM's front wheel by perhaps one inch, fishtailed a foot or so further into the steepening gravel berm, straightened out & "jumped" back onto the asphault roadway, fishtailed across the road center-line and continued at high speed up the center of the highway.

SAM & ME just used up one of our remaining lives.

IT WAS MY FAULT. I had pushed SAM hard all day...had not eaten since Monica's pancakes 10 hours before, had fought off mosquitos all day (repellant was in SAM's front-wheel water box, but I did not remember that), we were finally at our destination, and I DID NOT LOOK CAREFULLY enough to see the silent (Hybrid) car speed at us as I pushed SAM into the traffic lane.

So many mistakes by ME.

I pondered how - or if - I should wrte obout my series of errors...I believe I simply had to share it.

I am well shook up. I sit here at 7:30 am on Thursday. June 24, 2010. on a remote desert roadway trying to put sense into what happened - or what nearly happened. Back in Government Camp a lifetime - literally a lifetime ago - a young Girl asked me ..."don't you get lonely..."

At this moment, Yes, I am lonely. I am also very upset withself.

But, SAM & ME will go on.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

RECON to Idaho



MONICA's KITCHEN SUNRISE



CIRCLE CROPS



Monica and I drove from Burns to Idaho today to do RECON for the 135 mil walk to Ontario, Oregon before crossing the Snake River into Idaho. And a good thing we did.

US 20 crosses the second half of Oregon's High Desert (Bend to Ontario). The first half was relatively flat with expanses reaching beyond 50 miles in all directions. Not so the second half. It is fraught with challenging hills - both UP and DOWN - through winding canyons.

Upon reaching the Snake, we crossed into Idaho to stop at the Visitors Center...bottom line recommendation: do NOT cross into Idaho at Ontario. Instead, head South to Adrian and points South through the Snake River Canyon to Glens Ferry; then parallel I-84 to Pocatello.

Crossing back into Oregon, we stopped at the Oregon Visitors Center. You guessed it...head South to Adrian...thence through the Snake River Canyon...etc etc etc.

It turns out the recommendations cause us to by-pass Boise and Mt. Home. Instead we pass through several small towns, historic (Lewis & Clark, Oregon Trail, etc) and the unsurpassed Snake River Canyon...remember Evil Kanival...; additionally, a number of friends and family have family & friends along this route (#78), who would love to receive a visit.

So, we drove to Vale, Oregon by way of Adrian, the Original Lewis & Clark route, so I could see the condition of the road. It is more than acceptable...so Burns/Vale/Adrian & points South and East is the route SAM & ME embark in the morning.

We have interviewed several Motor Home (Class C) owners in Burns upon return from Idaho. Four have given positive responses and we are confident an arrangement can be reached within the next week. If so, Van/Trailer/Motorcycle & SAM will turn back to Burns and restructure our logistics.

Would still welcome responses from "followers" and readers regarding the "someone" to take a SLOW driving 4 month tour of the USA to Key West with SAM & ME, Yes, SAM is a most integral part of our walk and will be my companion all the way to Key West.

Monica and I picked up a hitch hiker today...a certain "Ryan" on his way to Sheffield, Pennsylvania for a "Rainbow" get together. Now, Ryan toted a 2-handled satchel bag and a skateboard. He had no backpack. He had no map. He wasn't too sure where Sheffield, Pennsylvania was. He slept most of the way to Ontario, where we dropped him off at the truck stop with the USA map torn from the front cover of my 2010 Atlas.

He seemed excited to be already on Idaho's doorstep and asked if he could make Wyoming by tomorrow evening...yes, you sure can...get a ride on an 18-wheeler, stay on I-84 past Brigham City until it reached I-80; keep on I-80 to the Indianapolis cutoff to I-70...and viola you are on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Ryan seemed pleased, accepted our offered cold drink. Wish I had not brought so much stuff, he says as he walked off towards the long row of parked 18-wheelers...2-strap satchel slung around his neck, skateboard under his arm.

Tomorrow, it is my turn down that same road.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Walk or Run




Daughter, Monica, gave me a ride this morning to the Rest Stop, where I ended yesterday's walk.

US 20 from the Rest Stop 14 miles out of Burns is still full of sharp gravel, so once again I walked sans SAM who is comfy in the trailer with Motorcycle. . To keep up appearances, I mostly trotted - or nearly so - all the way into Burns. The 14 miles took only 3.25 hours.
14 miles is not really to Burns. It is to the outskirts of Hines, a Burns suburb. Burns proper is actually 7 miles further...so my walk today was 21 miles.

I had a very fast walk. Missed Sam's powerful motor on the two long steep hills.
So, I invoked some smoke and mirrors psychology.
Being 6.1 tall, my eyes are about 5'11" above the ground. Sighting out 20 feet, it looks like it is actually "down hill" to that spot 20 feet out.

When climbing hills, I convince my mind that the spot 20 feet out IS actually "down hill", not up hill as we all know it is. But, surprisingly, my mind buys the ridiculous "logic" and we walk DOWN 5'11" to that spot ( which of course, is moving forward up hill).

Before my mind realizes I pulled a fast one, we have reached the top of the hill and are quite pleased with our effort.

OK OK OK....it works for me...

See what happens when one has too much time to think. And what else is there to do when walking 25 miles a day in the wilderness, except think.

I must admit...today's walk was a total pleasure. I believe I am working up to 30 + miles a day pretty soon...which has been my goal from the start of our walk.
Shuttling vehicles in support of each day's walk is working well. It is, however, starting to take a toll on me, siphoning away stamina needed to walk.
Had my interview with the Burns Newspaper Editor this afternoon. He, Randy, was gaga over SAM, and showed some reserved awe with the old guy pushing her. Says to me..., "give me a call when you reach Key West...as he hands me his business card, turns back to his office door saying (over his shoulder), ...'good luck'.

I think I missed something in that exchange.

Getting HIGH


Getting HIGH on Oregon's High Desert is what is happening to me the past 36 hours.

What an incredibly beautiful Desert. Was told a herd of 300 elk were approaching my walk along US 20 East from Hampton Station to Riley...they somehow eluded me, but I did see another antelope...with massive horns.

SAM was her usual self. We walked 23 miles two days ago from Hampton Station to the Oregon DOT Gravel Pit. DOT did itself NO favors by spreading sharp gravel over the next 45 miles of once-superb US 20 roadway. The resurfacing caused SAM to remain in her trailer as I walked the 28 miles from the Gravel Pit to Riley and 10 miles beyond. The sharp gravel would have destroyed SAM's tires. Rumble strips cut into the "bike path" lane utterly destroyed the integrity of the roadway for bikes and walkers...what a pity.

Three massive storm cells paced my walk all day, but did not rain a single drop on us. However, upon our arrival in Burns, there was still many "inches" of piled-up HAIL in Thriftway parking lot. Burns got hit hard by those storm cells.

Our 2-day 51 mile walked actually ended at the Rest Stop 14 miles short of Burns. We drove (SAM & Motorcycle in the Trailer) into Burns to spend Father's Day with Daughter Monica & family. Tomorrow (actually today as it is now 4:30 am Monday) Monica will drive me back to the Rest Stop - sans SAM -. I will then walk solo (without SAM) on into Burns so as not to compromise my goal of WALKING every step to Key West.

Randy, the Editor of the Burns Newspaper, has asked for an interview today. Will invite him to accompany me on today's 14 mile effort...think that should give him first-hand experience to write about SAM & ME and what effort is expended to accomplish our walk. Understand Randy is a great sports enthusiast, so, he should also enjoy the experience. We shall see !

Tomorrow I plan to drive to Ontario, Oregon (on the Snake River border with Idaho). Will map out my strategy for walking this 125 mile mountainous stretch.

Am considering again changing our basic walking effort. The use of the Van, Trailer & Motorcycle is becoming expensive...in real dollars...and in greatly increased demands on ME. Shuttling around vehicles after an 6 - 8 hour walk is becoming a real chore.

I am considering finding a reasonably priced used Motor Home to loan/lease/purchase. Also, I plan to solicit someone with time on their hands to accompany me on my walk. This "someone" would drive the Motor Home each day to that current day objective. SAM & ME would then walk to the Motor Home for the night. This would elimiate the Van and Motorcycle and three trips across the USA.

Anyone know of an available Motor Home...and/or a "someone" wishing to experiece a SLOW drive across the USA, I am listening.

I want to put this scenario into operation by the time I arrive in Boise, Idaho in a couple weeks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Brothers to Hampton Station


Again, it started out quite cold. During our sun-filled walk it warmed to nearly 80. A strong breeze blew all day, so SAM motored the entire way...I simply could not push SAM against the 15 - 20 mph wind coming straight down our throat.

SAM used "red" battery bank all the way; both solar panels charged the three batteries as SAM took amps out to drive her motor. Upon arrival at Hampton Station, "red" was charged to 39.2 volts...i.e., the solar panels nearly kept up with the draw for the motor. Climbed only 2 small hills, so SAM only had to fight the wind,

As usual, SAM was superb.

We are staying the night at Hampt0n Station. We will walk only 18 miles tomorrow to an isolated intersection with a large parking space .A word about Hampton Station...It has been fully renovated yo meet all Oregon standards. The restaurant is very modern in all respects. The food is varied and prepared as tho customers are family. Most clients sit & chat with owners Bruce and Carol. Granddaughter Amanda (about 22 I would guess) apparently helps full time. A good place for travellers to stop.

Included today is a pic ... R.I.P. ANGELA. I have taken altogether too many pics during our walk of similar spots where young boys & girls breathed their last. I stop at each site, look around and try to imagine how this tragedy happened...it is too often an upsetting few moments for me...I wonder if they know that I care and stopped to spend a few moments with them / with their memory.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sun Finally Shines


4 - MAN JAIL CELL
BROTHERS, OREGON



After yesterday's traumatic walk, today's 17 mile stroll was a picnic.

Walked from Millican to Brothers on US 20.

Early morning (5:00 am) sky was cloudless and clear...but cold...in the mid 20's. As I feared, some critter found my food stash (inside the Millican abandoned buildings. It stole my new loaf of bread and my special-made ham-turkey-cheese-veggies sandwich - today's on-the-road meal.

Got an early start from Millican as Dixie, the owner of the Brothers Restaurant/gas station, etc., gave me a ride from Brothers back to Millican to start SAM & ME walk. We began at 8:15am and arrived at Brothers at 12:30 noon.

SAM, as usual, performed flawlessly up nearly continuous hills.,..I judge we climbed about 500 feet in that 17 miles. SAM's solar panels charged "red" bank as "green" did most of the work. Tonight all batteries will be topped off.

Tonight will be cold again...in the mid 20s...but should warm up for our walk. Today I saw our very first "wild" creature...a coyote trying to cross US20. When it saw SAM, it ran back into the sagebrush. As for rattlesnakes, nary a one...perhaps tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is Anyone Having Summer




SAM & ME walked 28 difficult miles today...and I nearly froze.


Driving the Van/Trailer from Bend, Oregon to the Millican abandoned stores, it SNOWED.

A freak of nature??? Millican is at 4,400 foot elevation. It rained 75% of the 7-1/2 hours we walked...The wind also blew hard from time to time. Upon arriving at Millican, I was close to hypothermia. I got into the Van, started her up, and thawed out under the heater vents.

We have two more weeks walking this High Desert before entering the Boise, Idaho Snake River Valley. Sure hope we get a bit better weather.

SAM pulled a 3-mile 7% hill this afternoon...I warmed up a bit "running" up that hill trying to keep up with SAM...what a machine. One of the 36-volt battery chargers has arrived in Bend...2 days too late for me to install it. Will try to get installed when we arrive in Burns in 5 or 6 days.

Am putting the empty abandoned Millican buildings to good use. SAM and the APU are inside as is most of my fresh food...it is dry and cold in there, so some benefit has been found with the cold...just hope no wandering varmints find it.




Daughter Monica and Ben stopped at Millican just now...surprisr surprise...I was too chilled to get out of the Van...Ben said the weather was supposed to change tomorrow.

If it does not, I might just stay put for a day...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So Much For Suppliers

Two firms promised they would deliver battery chargers in Bend by today. After a 6 hour drive from Bellingham to Bend, NO CHARGERS.

So, I have this evening modified SAM. The one remaining charger now has a quick disconnect. Both "Red" and "Green" battery packs feed off the remaining AC charger. My modification works very well and took about an hour to install the changes.

So, in the morning, SAM & ME continue our stroll across America. Our first stop will be an abanded restaurant/gas station about 28 miles East of Bend on US 20. Should take about 7 hours...with only one very steep long hill to climb. But as we are learning, steep hills are SAM's forte'.

The next five nights will see SAM & ME strolling 25 to 30 miles a day hopping along US 20 until we reach Burns, Oregon, 125 miles away.

This will be our first experience of being pretty much alone for nearly a week. I look forward to the challenge and am confident all will go well. My main concern is the lack of a "berm" to walk on. We will have to walk on the traffic surface, which adds an additional element of caution to keep us and the traffic safe.

When the promised chargers arrive, Son, Tomas will send them to Daughter Monica in Burns. Do not really trust the quality of the remaining charger as it has begun to make funny noises...just like it's twin which failed last week. Oh, well...off we go and hope for the best but prepare for something less (than the best...i.e.; the worst !)

Let's see...what could the worst be?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Walking Shoes

I have been asked a number of times about my walking shoes. Here is the skinny...

I purchased and walked in 8 - 10 different walking shoes before I found and settled on "Brooks Addiction Walker # 10030". Most importantly, I ended up with size 13 D (my normal size is 11-1/2 D).

This shoe has a built in arch support "linear platform" and a VERY wide toe box. The reason I went up in size is to give my toes plenty of room to avoid them hitting the front of the shoe when going DOWN hills. When going down, the foot wants to slide forward and in a few minutes, becomes very sore if allowed to reach the front of the toe box. This is a real problem when holding SAM back from running away down hill.

Also, I have learned to tie the lacings in a specific way which eliminates pressure on the top of the arch. This helps relieve stress on the tendons/muscles leading to the shin (i.e., shin splint), and at the same time holds the foot firmly centered in the shoe.

The TIE is: when reaching next to the top eyelet, do NOT cross to the other side. Instead, run the shoestring through the same-side top eyelet, leaving a loose loop. Do the same on both sides. Then take the left string and run it thru the right-side loop. Likewise, take the right string and run it thru the left-side loop. Now pull both strings FORWARD toward the toe until comfortably snug and tie off the bow.

With this shoe and tie method, I walk 8 - 10 hours nonstop on all terrain (up - down - sloping) at 4 to 4.5 mph while pushing SAM without any pain spots, blisters (foot is held firm), or muscle pulls. Fact is, I don't even think about my shoes anymore while walking.

I have three pair and change shoes every day or two. Cost of the Brooks is about $125.00 per pair. I normally wear orthotics (mine are custom-made all leather and are now over 35 years old and still like brand new...yes, I use them all the time, starting with running marathons back in 1975). But, with this Brooks Addiction Walker, I don't miss the orthotics.

Please accept that I am NOT an expert on shoes (or anything else for that matter). This is my experience and trust it will be accepted not as a recommendation, but rather, as an explanation of my personal experience.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Granddaughter & Gradson Graduate

Granddaughter Kylie (center) as published in the Bend Bulletin Newspaper of Today.

16 year old (just barely 16) Kylie graduated Thursday evening with honors and a scolarship to college in an impressive ceremony in Redmond, Oregon. Will post pic in a bit. Grandson Thomas graduates Saturday in Federal Way, Washington. Am fortunate to be at Kylie's and plan to be at Thomas' graduations.

Thomas also now has his piano. I delivered it to Federal Way today from Burns, Oregon.

Have taken a few days out from walking. Sunday, drive to Bellingham to catch up on admin. work for my Company, which somehow continues to survive in spite of all odds. I receive and process orders while walking and do the admin when returning to Bellingham. My Verizon Cell & notebook computer function well so far.

Have driven next week's walking routes two times in some detail. All looks good to walk the 125 miles from Bend to Burns, Oregon in 25 - 30 mile increments. Biggest problem is that US 20 thru Central Oregon High Desert has NO walking berm; i.e., SAM & ME will be walking on the actual highway pavement. The shoulder is covered in volcanic cinders which are sharp and would quickly cut SAM's tires. Locals again reminded us to be cautious...rattlesnakes infest the place.

Plan to walk on the left facing traffic so we can move out of the way of oncoming cars & trucks. Could not do that walking "with" traffic as it moves too fast to see it coming in SAM's tiny rear view mirrors in time to get out of the way. Fortunately, US 20 is not heavily travelled.

After reaching Burns which will take 5 nights, we will visit a couple days with Daughter Monica, Ben, Kaitlin and her Husband Richard, who are both looking for work, and Jennifer and her three children (three of my Great Grandchildren). Then begins the "real" walk. It is 150 miles from Burns to Ontario, Oregon on the Snake River bordering Idaho. That is 150 miles of some of the most desolate rugged country one can travel. There are virtually no farms, no business of any kind, and steep hills- which I am told rattlesnakes just love.

The Burns/Ontario walk will tell what kind of stuff SAM & ME are really made of.

Thomas's piano is all set up in Son, Ronald's home. A family friend, Shawn, is entertaining us with his mastery of piano, playing anything/everything asked...all from his mind. He says our piano, a Wurlitzer Spinet in ebony black is a superb musical instrument. Thomas will, hopefully, find it to be a good addition to his developing music talents.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Burns,Oregon




"Red" new 36-volt charger is a dud: i.e., it did not work. Dealer said he checked it out, but it does NOT work. So, a new one will be available next Tuesday. Have also ordered a new one from the OEC Supplier, which will also be available next Tuesday...which will give SAM a "new" backup charger when we resume walking next week

SAM is at Son, Thomas awaiting my return from Bellingham next Tuesday. At the moment I sit at Daughter, Monica's Dining Room Table overlooking 50 miles (maybe much more than 50 miles) of magical High Desert - 4,000 feet + - with Lake Malheur Wildlife Sancturary - a Bird Refuge in the foreground and the Steen Snowtopped Mountains in the far distnt background.

This region is prolific with ancient volcanic activity and abounds with hot springs popping out of the ground. Volcano cones rise from the Desert\...one just yards from Monica's home, where red "cinders" can be scooped up by the truckload. Most roads are paved with those red cinders, including berms of highways - like Hwy 20 which we will walk next week.

It pays to have dogs - and cats - on the property...keeps the rattlesnakes at bay.
Ben, Monica's Husband killed only two this year so far, but the neightor a quarter mile away killed 48 last year and 72 so far this year...all in his yard. Seems there is a "Snake Pit" of sorts (a big pile of rocks on the hillside - same hillside as Monica's home is on) a couple hundred feet from his home built three years ago.
A couple years ago, Monica's cat drug three rattlers to her front porch and proudly coiled them up on the steps just for the adulation she received.

Each year, tho, Monica & Ben run into less and less of the critters.

Tomorrow we load the piano into the Van. Been over 20 years since I played it, but was pleasantly surprised I could pick out the music and fingers somehow found the keys. Would love to have it in my home, but alas, it is against "house" rules...so, Grandson Thomas receives it on Saturday.

From where I sit, sagebrush reaches uninterrupted until out of sight. A rare moving black spot meanders in the distance...one of the free roaming herd of Angus?... and the everpresent far distant mountain tops all contribute to filter the clarity and sweet smelling air in every direction.

It may be...it is !...isolated way out here, 30 miles South of Bruns, Oregon. Being here is humbling...real Pioneers carving lives out of truly virgin land...some of it...most of it...untouched for tens of thousands of years.

I strongly support anyone to experience this treasure spot...found all too little in our shrinking world.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bend Oregon




SAM & ME have now walked from the Peace Arch to Bend, Oregon, in 21 days actual walking time. SAM is in great shape (must attend to her "red" 36-volt AC charger, which quit 3 days ago...solar panels have worked just fine to keep "red" filled , so has not slowed us down). I am also in great shape.

Our 20 mile walk on US 97 from Redmond to Bend, was a routine 4.5 hour stroll. Arrived at Son, Thomas home at 2:00 PM where I spent a super afternoon hugging my four Grandchildren, Kylie. Devin. Braden & Natalie. Kylie, who graduates Thursday from High School, gave up her comfy bed to GrandPa for the night.

Yesterday will be the last day SAM & ME walk until next week...when we begin serious walking of the 250 mile Central Oregon High Dessert (4,000 + feet)....then cross Idaho to Pocatello & up / over three 7,000 + foot Rockie Mountain Continental Divide passes through Wyoming & on to Denver.

In the coming week SAM stays at Thomas' in Bend. I drive to Daughter, Monica in Burns later today to pick up my Spinet piano in the Van. Will return to Bend for Kylie's graduation Thursday. Then it is on to Son, Ron in Federal Way to give GrandSon Tom the piano and be at his graduation on Saturday.

Then it is back home to Bellingham for two days.

After the drive back to Bend next Tuesday / Wednesday SAM & ME will walk into virgin territory where our serious walk begins.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Redmond, Oregon



CROOKED RIVER, Terrebonne, Oregon

Time is flying as are SAM & ME.

Walked 25 miles today from Madras to Redmond. Took from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, during which we climbed from 2,200 feet to 3,000 feet. Tomorrow we walk to Bend, 21 miles South down US 97, during we will climb another 700 feet.

Sun was bright until 3:00 PM or so, so used the solar panels.

Did NOT fix "red" battery pack AC charger yesterday...was fully wiped out...at least thought I was until we arrived in Redmond today. I could not walk another step, so checked into a very nice new motel...and bargained the room price,,,for walkers to KEY WEST, received 20% discount.

Was bitter-sweet for me to walk US 97. In the early 1950's, I was stationed at Hamilton Air Force Base in Marin County - across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. On Friday evening after work, used to drive my 1949 Mercury to Seattle (to South Whidby, actually Freeland). No freeways in those days. Always took US 97 from Mt, Shasta to Madras, then US 26 over Mt Hood to Portland, covering the 900 miles in 12 hours. Same route SAM & ME are walking now,

Sunday evening, I would rush back down US 97, arriving at Hamilton just in time to go to work. In those days, I was a Court Reporter, writing Gregg Simplified (no shorthand machines in those days)...then typing up the court proceedings,,,was lots of fun as I could take testimony down at over 165 words per minute and typed on a manual Remington Typewriter at over 100 wpm...no mistakes allowed.

This evening I am using the hunt and peck system. Do not like this mini.

Climbing out of Kahneeta Canyon yesterday and today walking the highlands of US 97, the wind blew pretty hard...usually from our Starboard at about 45 degrees. It occurred to me that SAM is about the same size as my racing dinghy Dyer Dhow. I believe I have figured out how to rig SAM with a Jib. Will look into supplies when I am at Son, Thomas house in Bend. If I am right in my design, I will be able to give SAM another power source. When we reach the Rockies and the Central Plains, it would be a great help (would SAM then be a "Land Schooner"...or perhaps "Sloop-Rigged Stroller"...we shall see. Oh to be so young that the mind keeps putting forth...

Keep wondering what to do when I get old ...exciting things just keep showering down upon me...too many choices...way too many choices

Friday, June 4, 2010

Time Out In Madras









Low and Behold, "Green" battery pack pulled SAM's tush & ME up that 5 mile 6% canyon road in one hour 10 minutes without a whimper. All the time, "red" sucked up solar panel electrons. Upon arrival in Madras, "red" stood at 39.9 volts - her maximum. Now "Green" gets her turn with the solar panels...God, I am so proud on SAM...she does all I ask and hardly even a whimper.

Upon driving to Madras, 15 miles from Kahneeta (Warm Springs), I took a motel room for the night. Will spend a few minutes to repair/remodel "red"s 36 volt AC charger. Believe the interal FAN has given up the ghost...for some days now, it has been protesting upon startup. If necessary, I can bypass "red"s AC charger and modify "Green"'s charhger to chargte both (one at a time). Will mean some rewiring & quick disconnects, but can be done...it will then be a copy of my "red" and "green" input into the motor drive controller, so should work just fine.

And 5 months ago, before Bob showed me the magic of electricity, I didn't know which end of a wire electricity came out of...now I know it comes out BOTH ends...no wonder I was confused.

After dropping the Van/Trailer off at the motel, I hitch hiked back to SAM in Kahneeta. Shawn. a supurb American Indian recently moved to Madras from interior Montana to take a job at Kahneeta Casino (jobs are also scarce in central Montana),gave me a ride and shared his recent life hardships...leaving family to get a job...and upbeat attitude about one day retiring and perhaps taking a walk, too.

Shawn dropped me off at 8:30 AM. As I walked into the first Madras intersection at 12:00 noon, Shawn yells at me from his pickup truck..."hey, Bruce...you made it"...and whaddya think, We're just a flash in the pan...of course SAM & ME made it...Oh, and thanks for the ride this morning...your welcome...stay safe & I'm already following your blog...Hi Shawn...and thanks again.

Stopped in at Les Schwab to get SAM's tire pressure checked as I have done at three prior Les Schwabs. All checked OK. Then they asked if I would like a NO FLAT tire...you betcha. The 20" tires they offered did not fit SAM's rim. The 16" front tire fit perfectly...so now SAM has a NO FLAT front tire...yippie.

One more worry off my mind.

Since it didn't rain today, I have taken some pics, which I will download and attach to this blog...if I can figure out how to do it. Drat...cannot find the connector.
Will down load later. ((OK, tis now tomorrow morning...let's see if pics load...))

Tomorrow n SAM & ME are off to Redmond, Oregon -or thereabouts. In 2 days, hope to be at Son, Thomas' home. Kyle, my Granddaughter, graduates from High School on Thursday. Will arrange our walk to attend...means walking into the 4,000 foot high Central Oregon Desert (125 miles of NOTHING 'cept rattlesnakes & sagebrush...no gas station, no stores, no water...kinda bleak, huh?).

Then will drive on with Motorcycle & SAM in the trailer to Burns, where Monica, my Daughter lives. Will retrievwe the piano I gave her years ago for Granddaughter Jessica, and will drive it in the van back to Son, Ronald, (In Federal Way) whose Son (my Grandson) Thomas is graduating from High School on Saturday week. Thomas is a "natural" with ANY string instrument...give him a violin, guitar, base, piano...without instruction, he simply plays...so, Grandson Thomas gets the ebony black Wurlitzer piano. Whew...follow all that?

Then drive back to 4,000 foot Central Oreegon Desert where SAM entered the trailer. At that spot, SAM & ME will resume our walk...not missing a single step to Key West.
Would not want Guiness to accuse SAM & ME of cheatin.

MAY HAVE TO PUSH HER UP

MY FEAR HAS OCCURED...SAM'S "RED" BATTERY PACK DID NOT TAKE HER CHARGE LAST NIGHT. IS SUPPOSED TO BE AT 39.9 VOLTS...IT IS AT 38.4 VOLTS...ABOUT HALF... LEFT OVER FROM LOW USAGE YESTERDAY.

THIS MEANS I MAY HAVE TO PUSH SAM UP SOME PART OF THE 5 MILE CLIMB AT 6% OUT OF THIS CANYON.

I BELIEVE I KNOW THE PROBLEM...BUT I MUST HAVE A DRY PLACE TO REPAIR / MODIFY "RED" . THERE IS NO SUCH PLACE HERE IN WARM SPRINGS...

SOOOOO, UP WE GO

NOW FOR MY FIRST REAL ENDURANCE TEST...

AFTER 5 DAYS OF DIFFICULT WALKING JUST HOPE I AM UP TO IT...REMINDS ME OF STORY MY GRANDMOTHER TOLD OF SOME OF HER FAMILY HAVING TO HELP PUSH WAGON TRAINS WHEN THINGS GOT TOUGH...YES, SOME ARRIVED IN THE OREGON TERRITORY BY WAY OF ST. LOUIS WAGON TRAIN.

I WILL SOON RETRACE SOME OF THAT ORIGINAL ROUTE WHEN WE GET TO IDAHO AND WYOMING.

IT POURED HARD ALL NIGHT, BUT THANKFULLY, HAS STOPPED..OLE' SOL IS RISING ABOVE THE CANYON RIM IN ALL HER GLORY.

A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALL OUR FOLLOWERS...HELPS KEEP ME GOING...KINDA LIKE BEING ON STAGE IN "RUMORS"...WITH ALL THOSE FOLKS WATCHING, I JUST GOTTA GET IT RIGHT...

T.U.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

BOTTOM OF A CANYON

REACHED WARM SPRINGS, OREGON AT 3 PM.

SAM HAD IT EASY TODAY...ONLY 5 OR 6 NOTEWORTHY HILLS. I PUSHED HER ALL THE REST OF THE 23 MILES WE WALKED TODAY.

THE LAST 4 OR SO MILES WERE STEEP DOWN. DOWN HILL IS, AS I MENTIONED BEFORE, THE MOST DANGEROUS PART OF OUR WALK. HOLDING SAM FROM RUNNING AWAY GIVES A REAL TEST TO FINGERS, WRIST, ELBOW, SHOULDER AND UPPER BACK. IT IS SO VERY EASY TO OVERSTRESS MUSCLES, TENDONS, AND JOINTS.

THEN TOO, FROM MY HIP DOWN TO MY TOES, THE SAME APPLIES.

"RED" BATTERY PACK DOES NOT SEEM TO BE TAKING IT'S CHARGE...AM TRYING TO FIGURE WHY...IF SHE DOES NOT CHARGE UP, I DON'T BELIEVE SAM CAN PULL THE 5 MILE 7% CLIMB OUT OF THE WARM SPRINGS CANYON WE DESCENDED TODAY..

MADRAS IS ONLY 15 MILES FROM WHERE WE ARE FOR THE NIGHT...BUT IS NEARLY STRAIGHT UP.

GONNA GO BUT A TREAT FOR ME; HUCKLEBERRY PIE...WHICH I VERY MUCH DESERVE...MAYBE WITH ICE CREAM.

MUST BUY SOME NEW PANTS WHEN WE REACH BEND...MY WAIST HAS DROPPED FROM SIZE 40 TO 36 & STILL ON IT'S WAY DOWN...HAD TO TIE MY PANTS TO MY JACKET TO KEEP 'EM UP.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

STAYED UGLY ALL DAY

DID SOMETHING I HAVE NOT DONE IN OVER 55 YEARS...I HITCH-HIKED FROM WHERE I PARKED THE VAN/TRAILER BACK TO SAM. WAS RATHER ENJOYABLE & WILL DO IT SOME MORE.

RAINED & RAINED & RAINED SOME MORE ALL DAY...THE HIGHWAY WAS A RIVER FLOWIN INTO AND THRU MY SHOES FOR THE 32 MILES SAM & ME WALKED TODAY.

WITHOUT QUESION, THE MOST DIFFICULT WALKING DAY YET...SAM, OF COURSE, TOOK IT ALL IN STRIDE. IT IS NOT ALL DOWN HILL FROM GOVERNMENT CAMP TO KAH-NEE-TA...WHERE WE SIT AT 7:12 PM. TRIED TO FIND THE RESORT, BUT CANNOT. NO DISTANCES ON THE READER BOARD & AM JUST TOO POOPED TO GO ON A HUNTING TRIP.

SO, AM CHARGING SAM UP WITH THE GENERATOR SET FOR A COUPLE HOURS. SHE DEPLETED
"RED" AND PUT A GOOD DENT IN "GREEN" BATTERY PACK. SHE CLIMBED 3 HILLS; ONE WAS 5 MILES LONG AT OVER 6% GRADE; SECOND WAS EVEN STEEPER, BUT ONLY ONE MILE LONG; THIRD WAS ABOUT 5% ABOUT 3/4 MILES LONG.

ALL THE REST OF 32 MILES, I PUSHED...OR RATHER HELD SAM FROM RUNNING AWAY DOWN MILES AND MILES AND MILES OF 5% PLUS DOWNGRADES. I KNOW IT IS MORE WORK...AND DEMANDING ON THE ARMS AND LEGS GOING DOWN HILL HOLDING BACK A 150 # CART. ALSO VERY EASY TO DO DAMAGE TO MUSCLES AND TENDONS GOING DOWN HILL.

NOW THAT OUR WALK FOR THE DAY IS COMPLETE, OF COURSE, IT HAS STOPPED RAINING.

TOMORROW PLAN A SHORT WALK OF 19 MILES TO WARM SPRINGS. PERHAPS WE WILL FIND A ROOM WHERE WE CAN GET SOME RECOVERY. SURE COULD USE A GOOD SNUGGLE..

ALSO TOOK SOME AWESOME PICS OF 18-WHEELERS SCREAMING PAST SAM INCHES AWAY THROWING A CASCADE OF SWIRLING WATER EVERYWHERE. I SWEAR THOSE TRUCKERS HAVE A GAME GOING...SEE HOW CLOSE TO BRUCE'S ELBOW YOU CAN GET A WHEEL WITHOUT TOUCHING...WILL POST PICS IN A DAY OR 2 WHEN WE OPT FOR A REAL ROOM.

UGLY MORNING ON MT. HOOD

JUST A QUICK NOTE.

RAINING HARD UP HERE. SNOW 2,000 FEET OVER MY HEAD. HOPE IT SYAYS UP THERE. QUITE COLD @ 6 AM.

PLAN TO DO 30 MILES DOWN OFF THIS MOUNTAIN TODAY...LOOKS A BIT DAUNTING SITTING IN THE VAN...

BUT, NOTHING VENTURED...AND ALL THAT...

HERE WE GO...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Climb A Mountain

And here we sit...in the rain on top of Mt. Hood, Oregon.

If there was any doubt about SAMs abilities, today's climb up the 6% hills up the
west slope of this volcano has dismissed them all. SAM scorched the roadway for 4 hours at a good 5 mph for over 15 miles. I was running to keep up. Imagine...running after an electric cart up and up and up...got tons of "honks" from passing motorists.

And ME...I was not even breathing hard at the top...not your everyday 75 year old body I inhabit.

Upon reaching the top, James, manager of the Food Mart, offered SAM his 120 volt outlet ...SAMs batteries took a lick'n today...and ME a spot to park for the night...directly in front of an apartment where live four young ladies (college age, actually) who invited ME to share their dinner...sumptuous taco complete with steak strips...yummmmm. They might join ME later for a glass of wine...I have the wine...they are drinking beer.

And still it rains.

Tomorrow. we start down the East side of Mt. Hood...destination Madras 62 miles away. Will make it a 2-day descent...or perhaps three. Am told the Warm Springs Indian Tribe are quite interesting & worth a stopover.

We shall see.

Still no blisters...no pulled muscles...no knee pain...must be doing something right...or just plain lucky.