Thursday, July 8
I awoke around 3:30 AM and could not get back to sleep so I got up and wrote a bit in my journal trying to remember the events of the past few days. I was itching to get an early start, so after a quick thank you note to Fred and Lucy, I took off before daylight. I will not leave this early in the future for duh - it's dark! Even though I have little headlights it is still too dangerous to be out before dawn.
Finally, I entered into Idaho.
I do not wish to say anything disparaging about Idaho, but just let it be said that I love Oregon and am partial to it. I'm sure the hawks flying overhead see no difference in the two states, but to me, it just seemed a little more "run down" looking or depressed. Perhaps it just happened to be the area I was in. Anyway, there are immediately more people living along the road for some reason and I surprised many a farmer or his wife as they came to their mailbox to get the morning paper. With more people come more dogs and today I got out my pepper spray for the first time. Now, I do not want to upset a dog's owner by spraying his pooch but I'll do it before I let some canine make a ham sandwich out of my backside. One dog in particular did not want me to pass and it was a standoff - Ray Brown verses Fido. After a tense moment, a hefty rock sent him on his way leaving me the victor.
While walking through Wilder, Idaho I went past a house with a giant flag on a pole hanging listlessly with its bottom draping the ground. I figured that they must be patriotic (Why else the giant flag?) so I wrote a note telling them that their flag was too large for the pole and it should never touch the ground. Therefore - go buy a smaller flag. I left this note, along with a copy of the Bill of Rights, and one of my business cards placed under the windshield of their car before moving on down the road.
My goal was to finish the 23 miles to Caldwell. Now, instead of fields and streams, it has become fields and irrigation. Lots of irrigation water from the Snake River makes for some very emerald fields. Lots of traffic and dust - the most so far - and by the time I reached Caldwell my throat tasted like fertilizer. I wondered whether it has any long term effect on the children's health that live here. Probably no one cares, for fertilizer means profits and profits mean making a living. As a child I grew up in Eastern Ohio. One day while driving up the river valley I commented to my father about all the smoke and pollution coming from the steel mills. I have never forgotten his reply, "As long as there's smoke coming from those stacks - you've got butter on your bread." I'm sure that here in farm country, the fertilizers means "butter on the bread."
As luck would have it, as I entered Caldwell, a trailer bolt broke in half which left me hot, frustrated, and somewhat stranded for I could not push it without replacing the bolt. What to do? Ah, I had some duct tape - the universal repair material that I recommend in every repair kit. This emergency repair allowed me to limp to an auto parts store and in short time I had replaced the bolt and all was well again. In this situation, I have the choice of feeling frustrated or lucky - I chose lucky. Things like this happen periodically and we just have to deal with them as they arise. I feel fortunate that this happened in a town during daylight hours and that there was a store that could help me. Conversely, had this happened out in the hinterlands it would have been a very different situation. Live and learn - I bought an extra bolt to put in with my tools.
I have decided to spend two days in Caldwell before continuing onward. Freshen up, do my laundry, get a bite to eat, and enter some posts to my blog site. The motel I'm in is a little on the" iffy" side but I did not have a lot of choice. Yesterday, when I pulled back the sheets, it looked like a modern "Shroud of Turin." But instead of an outline of Jesus, it looked like an outline of someone who had on too much massage oil leaving their outline on the sheets. Hence, I'm sleeping on top of the bed in my sleeping bag! Oh well, it's only $32 a night. What do we expect. Did I tell you there were no towels either? I'm lucky I brought my own.