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6-17-09 004_edited-1-2
Sage and Juniper

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9/16/12, N. of Litchfield, CA (Coord. N. 40 deg, 31.437 min., W. 120 deg., 15.867 min.)

This was another nice day of travel. The road remains good, with a three feet shoulder and light traffic. I had the Belgians hitched today and they put in a good performance, knocking off 21 miles before we pulled in to camp.

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Just south of Ravendale, I spied this old railroad, watering/coaling station for steam engines. The tracks are long gone, but you can still see the old railbed behind the station. The truss for the water tower still rises above the station.

The first part of the dayís journey was across flat, sagebrush dotted landscape. Every few miles, I could see a ranch headquarters, located several miles from the highway. Itís a dry land which requires at least 50 acres of land to support every head of beef.

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A couple of Turkey Vultures perched on a fence with more on the ground.  I didnít see anything dead, so I think they were just hanging out.  The preferred camera angle for filming vultures is the one I have, not looking straight up!

After several miles of flat land, the road started climbing into a juniper forest. These trees grow to about 30 feet tall, unlike the ones in Colorado, which only reach about 15 feet. Traveling through the trees was a welcome change after miles of sagebrush.

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Around Lakeview, OR, many of the ranchers are cutting down their juniper trees, as the roots extend deep and rob much of the moisture from the soil.

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If you look closely, you can see three mule deer in this picture.

After several miles traveling above 5000 feet, the road descended out of the trees and back into the sage brush.  Halfway down the side of the hill, I stopped at a roadside park for lunch. While I was there, a lot of people stopped by to say Ďhií. Iíve noticed that as I travel south, more of the people I meet live in an urban environment.

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The guys, grooving on the view as they headed downhill.

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The roadside park had a nice artesian spring which was routed to a line in a granite sink.  It wonít be long before there is a sign that says this good spring water is not potable because it doesnít have chlorine added.  Donít laugh - if this was National Forest, that would be the case.

After following a creek for several miles and not finding a good camping spot, I settled for some dried out sheep grass on a right-of-way that extends 300 feet to each side of the highway.

The lads are comfortable and are augmenting their hay with the grass.  I guess theyíre not as picky as they were a few weeks ago.

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Doc, resting in the corral.  I had to build the fence so that I missed a couple of large badger holes.

The GPS says that Iím now 30 miles northeast of Susanville.  After I hit that town, itís about 75 miles on to Reno, NV.