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Oil Fields and Adobe Hills


5/19/12, Blue Mountain, CO - With nearly 3 weeks of travel and 340 miles behind me, the one thing I can not say is that wagon travel is routine. Every day I get up, feed the horses, break camp and get underway.  At that point, the word ‘routine’ gets shelved and the phrase, ‘what will happen around the next bend in the road’ takes over.  There’s always a change in scenery, occasionally a difference in my travel and circumstance, and rarely do I meet the same old people - they’re always unique and interesting.

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While stopped at the grocery store in Rangely, this young mother and her children got a chance to find out that B.O.B. has a soft nose.

Shortly after pulling the horses from their paddock, I found out that B.O.B. had broken one of his front shoes the previous day.  The shoe that broke was one of the few I had that had the drilltech brazed on, rather than applied with a wire welder by Graber Steel and Fab.  The brazed on drilltech had worn off and the steel shoe quickly followed suit.

Since Bob had worn down his heel somewhat on one side, I had to build a wedge pad under the shoe on the side that was worn.  After reshoeing him, it was nearly 9:30 am before we got underway.

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This young guy really enjoyed the lads.

My first stop in town was at the auto part store for a light bulb for the white strobe.  It wasn’t until I went to replace the bulb that I noticed that the oscillator coil was burnt up.  So, my next stop at another part store will be to obtain a replacement base unit for the strobe.

After the part store, I pulled into the grocery store for a few supplies.  Even thought they weren’t very busy, the lads still attracted quite a few admirers. I get a real delight in watching peoples faces when they pet these gentle giants.

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This herd of pronghorn on the outskirts of Rangely reminded me of my home in La Garita.  It’s still a little early in the year, so none of the does had fawned yet.

Traveling west of Rangely, It wasn’t long before we entered some oil fields. Since tanker truck traffic was fairly heavy, I opted to detour from the main highway and travel to the small community of Blue Mountain before turning west on US 40 for Dinosaur and then on to Vernal, UT.

The first few miles down County Road 1 were through a large oil and gas field. The landscape was gently rolling adobe hills that were quite barren, except for the abundance of prairie dogs. Shortly after lunch, the hills grew taller and I left the oil field behind me.

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One of the dozens of oil wells we passed today.

As I proceeded farther north, the clay hills gave way to large hill and mesas of sedimentary rock.  An arroyo to the west of the road continued to deepen and soon became a fairly large canyon.  Traffic was light, but everyone waved and several car loads stopped to take pictures and chat.

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As it rolled downhill, a fairly small dry wash became an imposing canyon.

Reaching the community of Blue Mountain, my goal was to camp at John’s house; a guy I met a couple of days ago.  I called John on the phone and got directions, but he was on his way home from Denver and the directions were vague.

Instead, I met Danny, another resident of Blue Mountain. I made camp on the side of the road in front of Danny’s place. He and his neighbor Robert made sure the team had plenty of water.  Blue Mountain is blessed with a great community spring that provides ample, high pressure water for home and irrigation use.

Danny and I drank a couple of beers and found out we had a lot in common.  He works as an Instrumentation Technician (my old profession) at the Rangely oil field.

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B.O.B., my Hollywood horse was wondering if his stature was more imposing that that of the mountain behind him?

Tomorrow, I plan a late departure and a short day. I’ll probably give Danny and his kids a ride to the town of Dinosaur.