4 marathons down, 131 to go
I actually ended up putting in 28.7 miles today because the length of a marathon just wasn’t enough!
This is my starting point. Get up, make coffee, repack everything because I had wet get spread everywhere. I now have the running trailer packed much better with a better sense of organization and the more important things on top. I’ve never been so happy in a hotel room in all of my life. If you look closely to the right, you can see the remains of last night’s fire. If you look on the coffee table, you can see a basket of goodies. Well, I guess it’s now a basket because I consumed those goodies in about five minutes last night. I manage to restore the room to a sense of cleanliness, and off I head.
This is the real starting point for today’s trek. Snow flurries, wind, cold, and clearing is the weather forecast. Off I go for another day!
Trekking along Hwy 58 in the snow. I was running on the highway when I hit a nice patch of ice and boy did that running trailer take off. It and me were making nice speed when I decided I should stop that before bad things occurred. So off I headed into the snow to use the snow as a brake.
You can tell the history of my travels from reading the tire tracks. If the tracks are in the travel lane, there is no vehicle coming toward me. If the tracks are on the shoulder, there is a vehicle coming toward me. If the tracks are slightly off the shoulder, I have a little misgiving about the vehicle coming toward me. If the tracks are way off the shoulder in the snow, there is a snow plow coming toward me… or that one time when I used the snow as a brake.
Blue sky! I see a hint of blue sky south of me! I can’t read that sign because it’s covered with snow, but blue sky!
Um, where did the blue sky go? I’m glad I took a picture of the blue sky because otherwise I’d be afraid I was hallucinating. Don’t try to clean the dust off your monitor; that’s falling snow.
Here is another joy of seeing the country at 5 MPH. It’s cold, windy, and snowing, but this is gorgeous!
And the blue sky is back. The last two pictures are from the same spot, one looking east and the other looking west.
Time to leave Hwy 58 for the last time. If I hadn’t verified with the Forest Service that this road was open and plowed, I would think this looked awfully sketchy, but off I go!
I’m getting a bad feeling about this.
This is looking better!
Much better! The road is running between rows of telephone poles. And I was doubting the Forest Service.
This is not good. See that snow up ahead. That’s the road I’m supposed to be taking. Oh well, no problem, according to my map, this road off to the right will loop around and rejoin this road. So I’ll follow that road. Where it loops is snowed in. I’ll go up this incline and see where I end up. I end up on a crest with a railroad track, with the railroad track pointing in the direction in which I need to travel, but I can’t go there because it’s all rock. I have no choice but to retrace my steps and head back to Hwy 58. That means 4+ miles of wasted travel plus the extra travel I now have because Hwy 58 to US-97 is longer than this Forest Service road would have been.
That, and I snapped the front wheel assembly on the running trailer when I was looking for an alternate route. I went into a rut I didn’t see and completely folded it in on itself. I look at it and think to myself, “I don’t recall that folding.” I try to fold it back, but it won’t budge. I then realize that’s because I’ve broken it. The running trailer is now a two-wheel device. I’m going to owe my kids a new running trailer when I get done because I’m doing everything possible to destroy this one.
So… 4+ miles sacrificed, front wheel assembly sacrificed, and now I have a longer route. I am not happy.
Apparently when I asked someone at the Forest Service if this road was open and plowed, the person heard, “I’m looking for a great place to snowshoe or cross-country ski.” Yes, those are my footprints from me trying to see if the snow is packed hard enough for me to continue. As you can see, it is not.
Hello, Hwy 58, long time no see. At least the weather has improved.
I don’t want to be on US-97 yet, but do you see what I see? Yes, that’s the sun, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’M GOING SOUTH!
You may have noticed some things about the Cascade Range as you’ve looked at my photographs. The west side of the Cascades and the east side have very different trees and spacing of trees. That’s because of the interaction of clouds with mountains. When the clouds come off of the Pacific Ocean in Oregon, they first climb in order to go over the Coast Range. When they do, they lose some of their moisture, which is why the coast is wetter than inland. Then when those clouds climb higher to get over the Cascade Range, they lose a lot of their moisture. As a result, the west side of the Cascades gets much more rain than does the east side. So the east side can’t support the same kind of plants/trees and can’t support the same amount, which is why the trees are spaced farther apart.
There’s another difference I’ve noticed. Hwy 58 west of the pass is covered with trash. It’s everywhere. Everything you could possibly imagine. East of the pass, there is only occasional litter. I have no scientific explanation for this difference. The only thing I can surmise is it’s the recreationists between Eugene and the Pass throwing trash everywhere. The same people who want to ski, snowboard, boat, and snowmobile in clean areas pitch their trash out their windows as they head up and down the pass. I just don’t get it.
At the rate I’m going with my right ankle, Chemult is almost two hours away, while Klamath Falls is now 3 days away. It’s going to be dark soon, but it’s getting cold. I’m not prepared to camp along US-97; I expected to be camping in the forest. This will put me beyond my marathon distance, and I’m so tired, but I’m going for it. There are places to stay in Chemult, even though it means being on this highway long after dark (yes, I have a headlamp with me, but still).
There are no more pictures after this because it quickly got dark, and I was concentrating on getting to Chemult. I’m frustrated and angry, but I’m plodding forward. Part of me wanted to quit earlier. Who am I kidding? My ankle hurts; I’m afraid to look at it. I’m doing extra miles for nothing. I’m falling behind due to route changes. I’m feeling sorry for myself. But I’m still going.
I’m concentrating on the beauty of the sky where there is absolutely no light pollution. There are no street lights, there are no city lights, just passing trucks and my headlamp. The stars and crescent moon are gorgeous. Concentrate on those things, and stop feeling sorry for myself.
I’m down to 6 miles; that’s a 10K. I can do a 10K. Enjoy the stars. 3 miles; that’s a 5K. I’ve run hundreds of times at least 5K. 5K is the distance from the Busy Bee to my old home. I can do 5K. It’s pitch black and getting cold. Enjoy the stars. Keep going. 2 miles. Come on, I can do two miles in my sleep. 1 mile. 0.5 a mile. I can do this. I have to do this. What are the choices? The speed limit is changing. I must be close. Keep going! Are those lit signs up ahead? There’s the Chemult sign, but damn that city line seems like a long way from the center of the town. 500 feet to a hotel that says they have coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and cider available 24 hours a day; and wifi. I can make it.
It’s 10 PM when I check in. It’s only $60 for the night, and it has everything I need. I’m so tired I can hardly fill out the guest registration. My printing is so bad that I can hardly read it. I apologize for that. The desk clerk has to tell me the total more than once. My brain has shut down.
I’ve dumped my anger and frustration. As any of you who know me know, I’m more than capable of getting angry, but it won’t do me any good. Someone at the Forest Service misled me, but there’s nothing I can do about that. Even if someone apologized, it wouldn’t change a thing. Being mad isn’t going to help. Stuff happens. I went farther today than I wanted. But I did it. And that sky! So I’ll get up tomorrow and do this again. I’m now on a highway where there isn’t much in the way of services and no good place to stay, but I’ll continue on, because I rather do that than sit here and feel sorry for myself.
How am I doing? Surprisingly well, considering. My knees are a bit better, but I was afraid to even look at my ankle. It has been killing me all day, and that last seven miles was doing bad things to that ankle. I check it when I get to the room. The good news is that it doesn’t look any worse than it did yesterday. And it’s almost Sunday!