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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Around the Corner & Heading South

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8/4/12, Delaney, WA - Iím currently about one mile south of the crossroads of Delanely, at the Tucannon River. If youíre following my route map, then youíll see that when I made the turn south at Delaney, I changed my general direction of travel from west to south.  For the next few month, Iíll make a lot more miles heading south than I will west. As itís only August 4, this is the earliest Iíve started heading south to escape the clutches of a coming winter. On trip one, I left New Hampshire on August 16, but it wasnít until I reached the middle of Indiana at Christmas, that I started heading straight south. Winter caught up with me quite a bit on that trip. On Trip #3, I left Indiana in the middle of November.  Winter chased me all the way to Texas, but really didnít catch me until I entered the Lone Star State.

It was with regret this morning that I left the gracious company of my hosts,  Both Donna and Sassy and their spouses were terrific.

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Driving through Pomeroy, WA, a great little town with some special people.

After leaving Pomeroy, the road followed a gentle downgrade as it meandered alongside the creek. The creek was lined with a thick growth of trees, and irrigated fields of hay grew alongside.  Elsewhere, the rangeland of the hills was interspersed with strips of dry-land wheat.  Harvest is underway and itís amazing to see the large combines travel along on 25 or 30 degree slopes.  According to one farmer I spoke with, the combines are self-leveling up to 38 degrees. ďBesidesĒ, he said, ďWe all grew up doing this.Ē

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Unfortunately, it looks like the owners of this barn didnít get the hay out before it fell over.

Pomeroy is the only city in the County of Garfield, WA.  Like I said before, itís a great place, but it is also the weediest place I have ever been.  The roadsides are covered in weeds and even some of the fields.  Golden Rod and Ragweed abound.  When there is grass, itís usually a thick coating of Crested Wheat Grass, which cattle and horses will only eat if the snowballs are all gone.  From talk with people back in Montana, I knew it would be extremely arid in this corner of Washington, But, I didnít know that the hardy native western grasses would be all replaced with weeds. Oh well, I have enough hay to see me through until I get to Pendleton, OR, before which time I hope to replenish my stock.

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Spraying crops for weeds must be extremely costly for local farmers. With weeds growing all around the fields, it doesnít take much for the seeds to be transplanted to the fields and surrounding rangeland.  This is a picture of a wheat field that hasnít been spayed for weeds. Itís hard to see the wheat through all the goldenrod. I also saw entire fields that were solid ragweed.

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This picture shows how the dry land grown wheat is planted in strips of alternating fallow and planted wheat.  When dry land farming techniques came out, congress changed the homesteading act to allow farmers to homestead on 320 acres instead of 160. This allowed half the acreage to be left fallow.

Most of the day I had at least a partial shoulder to drive on. With only light to moderate traffic, it worked out well.

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Later in the day, young Skyler stopped with her Daddy and Uncle. They had come over from Idaho to buy a bull.  Knowing I was in the area, they followed the tracks the guys left on the highway and found us in short order.

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This is a first for Doc. He never had a pretty little Cowgirl in an orange hat give him a treat.  I think he likes it!

As nice as the people of this corner of Washington are, Iíll be glad to move on to some greener country. The temperature today climbed into the mid 90ís. Tomorrow, itís suppose to in the low 100ís.  Iím going for an early start in the morning. Right off the bat we have a 3 or 4 mile long hill to climb, so Iíll have all three horses pulling when I head out.  I have my eyes set on making the town of Dayton, WA tomorrow; or possibly either side of it. If itís getting that warm, Iíll want to stop before the heat of the day.

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An icon of Americaís past. These old grain elevators, once alongside a railroad, dot the landscape every few miles. The railroad is gone, along with the small towns that grew up around the elevators, what remains is a statue to yesteryear.