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Downhill to Bliss

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8/23/12, Burns, OR (Coord. N. 43 deg., 36.120 min; W. 119 deg, 02.184 min)

This was a great day, starting from the moment I woke up, high in the Malheur National Forest. Before I even got a chance to climb down from the wagon, I had a visit and a chat with Doug who is the District Ranger for the forest.  Then, a nice group of forest service employees stopped by on their way to work to say Ďhií and get some pictures of the lads.

I hitched up Bill and Doc for the downhill cruise to the City of Burns.  I had a destination in mind, as Toni, one of the Forest Service employees invited me to stay and rest the team for a couple of days at their family ranch.

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10 miles downhill of my previous campsite, I stopped for lunch along the bank of Divine Canyon Creek.  Just inside the willows on the opposite side of the wagon flowed a small creek.  While the bank was too steep for the horses to climb down, it was just right to drop my sump pump in. If you canít take the horse to the water; take the water to the horse!

I had a few visitors at lunch, including the group of people shown below.  I first met these folks several days ago, on my way out of John Day. The young 88 year old fellow with the cane has an interesting past. In the 1930ís his family fell victim to the dust bowl that blanketed Oklahoma. His dad hitched some mules to a covered wagon and the family made the westward trek, leaving the dust bowl, much as the earlier pioneers had.

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Often unappreciated, the elderly are often walking history books.  40 years from now are we going to relate to a future generation how we actually saw Neal Armstrong be the first man to step on to the surface of the moon?

On the northern edge of Burns, I ran the rig over the weight scales on a closed weigh station.  The horses weighed in about where I thought they would, but the wagon and trailer were a bit heavier than I thought.  Here are the weights:

Doc and Bill Combined = 3850 lbs

Bob alone                    = 1950 lbs

Fully loaded Wagon     = 4300 lbs

Partially loaded trailer = 3200 lbs

Note - When I leave Burns for the desert on Sunday, the combined weight of the wagon and trailer will increase by about 1200 lbs as I take on a full load of water, hay and grain.

A couple of hours after lunch, I pulled into Toni and Pedroís family ranch, on the north side of Burns.  This is the first time this trip that the lads have had a large acreage to wander around on and eat tons of sweet, green grass. Since turning them loose, Iíve more than once been witness to the boys kicking up their heals and doing a little buck-snort.

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Bill doesnít know where to wander and which blade of grass to eat first; but, heís figuring it out.

After cooking up a big feed tonight, I built an electric fence around the wagon and trailer. This will keep the horses and any of the 2 dozen cows on the place from rifling through things, looking for a treat.

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Before turning the lads out in the big pasture, they had a chance to have a couple of folks sit on them. This is Toniís husband Pedro, up on Bill.

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Toniís daughter got a chance to sit on Doc.

Tomorrow morning, Iím really looking forward to sleeping in. Heck, I could probably snooze until 7 am, but I know I wonít.  One of the guys will come around begging for something.

Either tomorrow or Saturday, I have to reshoe Doc and B.O.B. in the front. I also have to run out for some supplies.  Other than that, I plan on kicking back and enjoying the downtime!