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Donks and Distance

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10/14/12, Independence, CA - Iím currently right on the northern edge of Independence. This was a very nice day of travel, without a cloud in the sky.  Doc and Bob pulled the wagon 22 miles on fairly flat terrain.

As the days shorten with the nearness of winter, I no longer get going by seven oíclock in the morning.  Nowadays, Iím lucky to be on the road by 8:30 AM, which is when I got underway this morning. As Iím now further south and at a lower altitude (under 4000 feet) the evenings are not so cool and it doesnít drop below 50 degrees until the cool of the morning sets in, an hour or two before sunrise.

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The rugged spires and palisades of the Sierra Nevadaís dominated my western view throughout the day.  In the foreground is one of the many ancient lava flows that I traveled through.

With a fully provisioned wagon and beautiful country, Iím not in a particular hurry, but Bob and Doc still pulled the wagon 22 miles as I made my way from a very nice camp, just south of Big Pine to the town of Independence.

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Bill, enjoying his day off behind the trailer. Six weeks ago, when I was traveling through the alkali deserts of Oregon, the horses started picking up some neck sores. By sewing sheepskin into the tops of their collar pads and treating the sores with gall salve, all of the sores are now on the mend.

I stopped for lunch at a turnout alongside the road. While there, I had some visitors, which included several car loads of people and a herd of donkeys.

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These two girls threatened to never leave Billís back, but I think they got hungry?

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This large herd of donkeys are used to playing the ĎTourist Scam Actí. They wander up to the fence and look cute until people feed them some apples.

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A nice old gentleman, this large Mammoth Jack really poured on the charm for his treats.

Shortly after lunch, I received an invitation from Steve to stay at some corrals, on the northern edge of Independence. The distance was right, so I accepted.

The afternoon travel was nice with clear skies, 75 degree weather and gentle terrain.  The wide shoulder on the highway makes for easy going.

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Just north of Independence, I spied a field that looked  like it might be slightly rockier than a typical New Hampshire field I used to plow with the horses. 14,000 foot, Mt. Williamson is in the background.

Much of my evening was spent trying to find and fix a propane leak in the wagon. I finally figured out that it was in the propane heater. So, for now, the heater is isolated until I can purchase a replacement.

Tomorrow, after picking up a few supplies, Iíll continue my southern trek to the town of Lone Pine, gateway to both Mt. Whitney (the highest point in the Continental U.S.) and Death Valley (the lowest point in the Continental U.S.). I was tempted to make a detour east and travel through Death Valley, but after talking over the terrain and supply situation with some locals, I decided against it.  According to my GPS, Iím now 170 miles north of Barstow, CA, where Iíll turn east and start heading for the deserts of southern Arizona.