Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's Cold, and the Law of Gravity is Temporarily Repealed

November 30, 1970, Monday – somewhere north of Gardiner, Oregon
Awoke to hail pounding on the roof and thunder and lightning splitting the skies.
Oatus' oil is down to the halfway mark on the stick so I went into town and dug up 5 gallons of bulk oil while Chris stayed aboard and cut the new gasket for the rear end. Money's getting short - after buying the oil I was left with $10.
At 12:00 we were underway. The weather has turned bitterly cold and Chris is having a miserable time of it with no window on the driver's side.
Oatus' tank went dry six miles south of Yachats, and a few miles before that, coming out of a tunnel, a freak wind bore Chris's hatch covering over his bunk straight up into the skies, never to be seen again.
Once we got to Yachats Jeri Ann treated us to a chicken dinner and we rolled off again, happily strewing the roadside with chicken bones. The crows and vultures that have been following us since we left Marin seemed satisfied with our offering, at least for now.
The weather became an on-again, off-again, type of thing throughout the day. You name it – sun, rain, hail, terrific winds...we spent the day sweating firewood.
Outside of Depoe Bay we got stopped by a friendly deputy sheriff who apparently just wanted to assure himself that we were for real.
“I don't know whether to laugh or just smile,” he said.
“Go ahead and laugh,” said Chris.
He was Good Folks and told us of a rest stop we could hit for the night, since darkness was coming on. Chris and Jeri Ann drove on while I hit a much-needed rest and gas stop in Depoe Bay.
This is a good night to be ashore. The rollers are thundering into the beach pushed by a howling wind filled with stinging sleet. We located Highway 18 and grudgingly crawled eastward. I say “grudgingly” because we are extremely opposed to every point of the compass except north. Finally, we ran into the rest stop a mile west of the Tillamook County line and tied up for the night; then came the nightly sortie for firewood. I located some green alder which all but smoked us out of the truck; so we were forced to cannibalize wood from the truck. Alas, but it was necessary. The temperature was miserably low.

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