Friday, June 18
The plan had been to leave Thursday but due to last minute preparations I was unable to leave until 8:30 Friday morning. After embraces and fond farewells I was finally on my way. Walking through Eugene and Springfield, it seemed a while before I could again enjoy being in the country. Passing a rock quarry business, I stopped and asked them to weigh my cart - 152 pounds! Yikes. I have since added some things to it and I would guess it is more like 160+. I hope both it and I can handle the load.
Leaving Springfield, Route 126 becomes quite beautiful heading up the McKenzie River Valley. As it was another sunny afternoon, my biggest concern seemed to be "making tracks" putting distance and the familiar behind. After 24 miles of hugging the side of the road trying to stay out of harms way, I began looking for a place to stake my tent for the evening. Seeing none, I finally walked up to a house and knocked asking if I might pitch my tent on the grounds for the night. A nice woman gave me permission to camp under a gazebo in her back yard and I did not even have to set up my tent. It was a warm near summer night and I awoke several times to the yipping coyotes and bright stars. Up early at 4:30 and on my way east.
Concern: My cart. I hope it holds up the length of the trip for in it I carry everything.
Saturday June 19
Leaving Walterville in the morning, I was not sure just where the day's end would bring me. Again, I just wanted to put some miles under my shoes and face the first real hills since leaving Eugene fully loaded. It was another day of hugging the side of the road and watching the beautiful scenery. My cart can be either pulled or pushed. I have been mostly pushing it but tried pulling for several hours - pulling is much harder on level ground. Therefore the basic rule will be - "pushing" on level ground and "pulling" when going up hill or down.
I handed out my card and copies of the Bill of Rights to several stores and people along the way - most people are appreciative and wish me well. Stopped at the Vida Cafe and a nice waitress named Shirley gave me me lunch for free when she learned I was walking across the country. I am trying to eat at establishments when possible. I figure that the food is healthier and I can save my freeze dried food for necessities
Toward the end of the day my cell phone batteries were giving out and it started to rain. I donned my gear and "worked through it" heading for Blue River, Oregon thinking maybe I could find a motel for the night to take a shower and recharge my batteries - both mine and my cell phone's. Unfortunately, it was not to be. One motel was closed, the other was six miles out of town, the only campground was up a hill and miles away - what was a poor boy to do? It was raining and getting dark and I did not know the answer, so, I started walking, looking for something - anything at all. I finally came to an ancient abandoned house with a veranda porch whose floorboards were rotting and contained many gaping holes. As it was still pouring and I did not want to pitch tent in a downpour, this "rat hole" looked like the perfect spot for me. I threw down my tarp, blew up my mattress, tossed out my sleeping bag, and crawled in for the night.
In the morning, I was glad to get out of there without anyone having called the sheriff. I imagine this will not be the last of these more desperate experiences.
Sunday June 20
Ahhhhhh..., I have just finished soaking in a natural hot spring at Belknap Resort. Talk about a change of conditions! Never underestimate the unexpected.
By morning the rain had stopped and I again wanted to see how far I could cover in a day. My average has been about 24 miles which I feel is pretty good considering I am pushing 160 pounds. Well, about three miles into my day's walk, my best friend, Ken Clark, called and said that he had made a reservation as a gift at Belknap Hot Spings Resort and would like to join me if possible. As Belkap is only 16 miles east of Blue River I figured that it would count as a full days journey with a hot soak serving as the coup de gras. As I write I am feeling recharged. I have had a shower, a soak, a clean set of clothes, the electronic gear is charging, and I am enjoying company with an old friend.
Monday June 21
I will be leaving after breakfast. Based on the road ahead this looks like it might be my first "pulling" day as the elevation gain will be quite steep. I have have had hills thus far but have not yet faced a real mountain climb. My guess is that the daily distance could drop considerably starting today. Well just have to see how it goes.
I will probably be unable to add a post to my blog until reaching Sisters, Oregon. Please be patient as much of my walk is "out of service" with my best hopes for blogging being at motels along the way. Wish me luck.