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Monday, June 28, 2010


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 way to avoid coming death. Puts a new meaning to life and living...OR NOT...


Anonymous said...

Hi Bruce - I guess I'm dense. You are doing the walk twice?? Save money and double wear on you. Hmmm - need to think of something better. Watching your progress and admiring your stamina. till later, Sydne

Bruce said...

Sydne...yes, it is somewhat complicated and perhaps cheating a bit also. If it is 30 miles from "A" to "B"; I have, in an effort to minimize moving vehicles in support of "straight-line" walk, walked from "A" 15 miles towards "B" and back to "A"; i.e., fulfilling 30 miles between "A" and "B". I choose the most difficult portion to walk and add a few extra miles. Perhaps it will be disallowed by "purists", but I am out of $$ and must find a way to keep walking. Hope you understand. Will explain further in my next two blogs.