Friday, July 23
Had a large restaurant breakfast and started toward Howe, Idaho. Nothing new to report - hot sun, hot desert, hot roadway - just another day on the high plateau. A man stopped his car after reading my sign and wanted to hear my story. When leaving he gave me some food and a warning, “Be careful out there - it's rough country.” He is not the first to warn me of the desert. I have probably not addressed this enough but those guys are right - it is rough. You need water, food, and stamina for the basics but there are plenty of secondary issues - one being the hot roadway. The asphalt heats to such a degree that your feet also heat in spite of your shoes. This causes swelling which cannot be avoided and as a result my next pair of shoes will increase by a half size.
In addition, you must have a large hat - no ball caps - a very wide brimmed hat! Shade does not exist for there are no trees. This is hard to believe if you’ve never been West, but the pioneers themselves complained about it. In addition, there are the many animals killed by passing vehicles - jackrabbits mostly, followed by badgers, porcupines, coyotes, deer, elk, hawks, owls, and various ground birds. This requires some toughening of your olfactory senses but mostly I try to hold my breath while passing. I thought deer were the worst until one afternoon I passed a dead elk - it now ranks as #1.
By late afternoon I had arrived in Howe where I had hoped to find a store or perhaps a gas station but Howe had neither. The only establishment in the town (really a collection of houses) was a German restaurant run by a very nice family. At their suggestion, I set up camp in a small park and then came back for an enjoyable time eating and conversing with the owners.