Summer Trip '03

Index Packing Travelogue Mechanical details People Tips

People I met along the way.

Fort Scott, Kansas.

Thom Prue's the local signmaker, with a strong enthusiasm for the town of Fort Scott. He and his friend Chris thought I was having some sort of stroke as I sat in the bar with my hands cupped over my ears, trying to hear my cell phone earpiece. Relieved that I was OK, he suggested that we head to his shop for another beer. Fine by me. His "Brag Book" of work he's done is pretty impressive.

Gold Beach, Oregon.

John says he used to drink gasoline (good for food poisoning, etc) before they reformulated it. He wouldn't advise doing it now. He was riding around on a strange bicycle as I was returning to 101 after some errands, and I stopped to chat. He spent a lot of time mining, and told me lots about the Gold mining history of the area, including the gold boom of the mid-1970s that left probably millions of dollars worth of mining equipment abandoned in the hills after the price collapsed. There are also Mercury mines, which was handy as the Mercury is used in extracting Gold from the ore. It's mixed, I suppose, and Mercury surrounds the Gold particles and holds them in suspension. The Mercury is then separated and distilled off, leaving the gold behind.

The town seems to have a fairly high incidence of health problems, although no one talks about the Mercury any more. There's still gold in the beach, though. John has a few vials of gold tucked away in the house somewhere, but since his bypass surgery a few years ago he's just been taking it easy, healing and working on the bicycles, which are intended for use in an upcoming parade in town.

Hyder, Alaska.

Bud and Jakita met in Americorps, and stayed in touch. I ran into them along with Bud's friend Phil camping next to the Sealaska Inn. Pictures in the photo albums.

Lander, WY

Phil McLeod shot a great game of pool in the bar and we started to talk. A native American from Wyoming, he grew up with nothing and took to riding bucking broncos . That led to a scholarship with the local college, and he won his fist event (in Kansas) but couldn't afford to go to the Nationals in Colorado. With a major in Range Management he worked at just about everything from ranches to oil rigs, finally landing a job as an oil rig inspector for the BLM. In the middle of this, he did a tour in Viet Nam as a gunner in a helicopter and was shot down three times, the last resulting in a bullet through his hip and eventual discharge. Notes from this:

1) don't forget your heritage. When the creator talks to you on Judgement Day, it will be in your original language.

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