More Randomness as I Leave the West Behind

Prickly pear cactus is no more.

I saw my first squirrel since leaving the Rockies near Baynard, Nebraska. No trees equal no squirrels.

I have now passed four broken down cars. It always causes the owner embarrassment as I push past with my cart leaving them behind.

Though Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho have no bottle returns, Nebraska has cleaner roadsides than the other two. Not sure why.

Humidity has made its return after being absent on the high plateau.

I miss the trains and the engineers that got to know me. Even though they were noisy there is something in my mind that associates them with the Old West and was comforting to me.

Red Cloud, the famous Ogalala chief and one of the only Native Americans to cause the government to sue for peace, was born at the confluence of the North and South Platte River. An airport runway is now built there and it brought many thoughts to mind as I walked past.

Even though our main weather patterns go from west to east - much of the time the ground winds went the opposite direction and hence were usually against me.

I saw a railroad worker swinging a sledge hammer on a track. I kidded him saying I didn’t think they still did such things. He assured me that they do.

I have become addicted to orange juice. It is more fun to drink than water when I have the opportunity to choose.

The hemp I wrote about is everywhere. It goes on for hundreds of miles and one quits paying attention to it after the initial surprise.

The cattle business is huge. When I walk past the feed lots the cows for some reason always rush to the fence and stare. It makes me feel sorry for them knowing what’s in store. Like the American Indians we should recognize the sacrifice animals make when we eat those ham or chicken salad sandwiches. I am not advocating being a vegetarian - just a recognition of what's involved.

My legs are tanned more than they ever have been but they are both darker on the right side due to walking east with the sun to the south - no moss on the left side yet.

You can tell a lot about animal populations by road kills. My observations:
Possums have returned - never noticed them on the high plateau.
Cardinals are here.
Turtles are back - I feel sad when I see them flattened on the roadway.
White-tailed deer have replaced the mule and black-tailed deer.
I saw my first dead muskrat of the trip.
Raccoons are back big time and are now the most numerous animal dead on the road. The Western ones seem to have a little more sienna in their coloring which I find interesting.
Don’t see or hear the coyotes anymore.

Trees are back - quite different than the treeless plains.

People no longer water their lawns - they are green due to the rains from the Gulf of Mexico.

For some reason, farmers seem to take better care of their homes than do ranchers. Most of the Nebraska farm houses are neatly painted with manicured lawns while the ranch homes seem unkempt.

Many drivers are not bicycle or pedestrian friendly and express frustration at making allowances. I credit Wyoming and Nebraska for wide shoulders on all new pavings making it easy for bikers and walkers. The worst roads were in Yellowstone National Park.

There was a time in Wyoming when I was so low on food that I sucked on Power Bars rather than eating them in order to make them last.

It seems as if there are more historical markers and signs about the Mormons traveling west than the other pioneer people. I wonder if modern Mormans pay for the signs in order for this to be.

Everything is starting to become easier. For anyone walking across the United States I would suggest starting in the West while you have meat on your bones because you’ll certainly lose it crossing that section of the country.

I couldn't figure out why some apparently empty stock trucks seemed to smell worse than the ones containing cattle until at a stop light I looked in and saw the pigs.

People are now starting to mispronounce Oregon. For the first time I am hearing “Ory Gone” rather than “Ory Gun.”

Nebraska has more flies than any state I have yet passed through.

Many small Western communities are becoming modern ghost towns. It is sad to see and I'm not sure of the answer.

I am no longer in the American West. It makes me a little sad and it is harder to find places to camp for the night.


  1. I really enjoy these lists and hope you keep them up on your journey!! Happy Trails!!

  2. Your post today made me laugh. Thank you. It reminded me of Eugene's Register Guard's columnist Bob Welch. Something about your random thoughts....
    Keep on keeping on, Ray. Be safe, and know that many of us are pulling for you.