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A Day In the High Desert


9/15/12, Ravendale, CA (Coord. N. 40 deg. 47.878 min; W. 120 deg, 22.003 min).

Today was in many respects, the exact opposite of yesterday. The morning started out rough as I worked to extract myself from the right-of-way, then got better for the rest of the day.

Yesterday evening, I drove on to what appeared to be a nice piece of ground on the highway right-of-way. As I was starting to turn around, after driving about 100 feet, the right side wheels for both the wagon and trailer sunk into the ground clear to the hubs.  Apparently, the ground is poorly drained from a nearby irrigation ditch.  Hydraulic forces had stripped away a good part of the soil, leaving a honeycomb that was filled with large voids. The tall, dry grass disguised this trap and I fell right into it.

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Some of these voids in the soil were quite large and about 2 feet deep.  Turning around would have been worse, so I removed the evener from the tongue and pulled first the trailer, then the wagon backwards to solid ground.  This was after jacking everything up numerous times and putting rocks and wood under the wheels.

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The reason I camped on this right-of-way was the easy access to water. I think it was also the cause of several hours of back breaking work.

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Hereís the trailer, reconnected to the wagon and Iím starting to reload 2000 pounds of supplies.  A nice lady with a four wheel drive truck pulled the wagon back the last 25 feet. I then used the team to reposition the wagon and back it up to the trailer. Itís easy to back up with a team when there is no trailer behind the wagon.

Once I was back on solid ground, the day improved dramatically.  The nice lady in the truck turned out to be the Postmaster for the Post Office in the town of Ravendale, 17 miles down the road. She was also kind enough to bring apples for the horses and Danish for my breakfast - Thank You.

I finally got underway and the lads were feeling good. I had B.O.B. teamed with Doc and Bob was feeling good. Ever since we crossed into the Hollywood State, B.O.B. has been pulling good and needs little encouragement. I wonder what is the reason behind this behavior?

Traffic on US 395 continues to be fairly light.  However, nearly everybody that goes by either waves or shows a thumbs up. When they can, a lot of people pull over for pictures or to chat.

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You see how alert B.O.B. is for this young lady. He probably thinks she is a Hollywood actress that will take him for a ride in a future movie production!

It was nearly 9 am before we got underway, but we still made the booming metropolis of Termo before noon. As I was unhitching the lads for lunch, several people stopped to chat, including Shan, who once drove and rode a team of Belgians.  For the sake of nostalgia, I gave her the lines and let her drive the boys off the pole and over to the side of the wagon.  You donít have to be a past teamster to experience the joy that comes with moving 4000 pounds of horses with a light touch on the driving lines.  But, teamsters really get a thrill out of it too.

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I think the sign was a little out of date. The town probably has a population closer to 2 then 26,

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Looks like fun, doesnít it?

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Of course, itís pretty fun to also sit on the back of one of my gentle giants!

My objective for the day was the town of Ravendale (population 20).  When I pulled into town, I headed to the post office, where I was told I could get water.  I filled up my one empty jug.  While I was there, Nancy, a neighbor invited me to camp on their property. 

All in all, this was a nice day in the high desert of Northeast California.

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With a nice place to roll, plenty of water and wagon feed, the boys are happy campers tonight.