In early spring of 2007 I decided to quit my job, sell my house along with nearly everything else that I owned, and to live out of my car while traveling the country. These are my stories (and pictures) of life on the road.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Thanks for Portland

I've left Portland for the next month or so and since I left Iowa it was the first time I'd spent any time in a big city. It took some getting used to but I found it to be a pretty cool place and I'm looking forward to going back in August for some more work. I need to thank a few people who helped make it a good stop and who were kind enough to give me a roof over my head, food in my belly, and dirt on my hands.

The first place I worked in Portland was at “'s Erickson's”. Believe it not they're Jeep specialists! One of their technicians, Jim Geres and his wife Karen, opened their home to me and I spent almost a week at their place. I was treated to some fantastic food (the seafood post from a week or so ago) and some good company. Karen is also a nurse so I had plenty of ice packs and care for my knee.

I enjoyed working at Jeepers and it felt good to do some work again; it's the first time I've really had to do anything since I left Iowa. It's a nice shop and everything ran smoothly. Jim, Ethan, and Adam were all gracious and helped me find my way around the shop. Bill Erickson, the owner, had to take off not long after I started working there but the little bit that I talked to him seemed like a great guy too. Unfortunately he left before I broke out the camera.

Besides Jeepers I also worked at Hawthorne Automotive owned my Jim and Liz Houser, whose house I also stayed in for a few days. The shop was in a really cool neighborhood and it gave me a good feel for the town. The shop itself was very impressive and I was surprised how many young techs they employed. For having a fairly large crew of techs, about 1/2 dozen, everyone seemed to get along great and everyone seemed happy to help everyone else. The front office was a great crew too and helped make the experience a pleasure. The majority of the vehicles they work on are imports so it was quite a change for me since we saw very few imports where I lived in Iowa, but I managed to struggle through it. I was happy when a couple GM's rolled in the last day that I was there.

Right now the plan is to be back in Portland sometime in August and I'm looking forward to doing some more work for Jim at Hawthorne. In the mean time I'll see what I can do to occupy my time up here in Washington.

I've started a Flickr set of the shops that I've been to along my travels. You can view all those pictures, along with better descriptions, here

Friday, June 29, 2007


It's getting late and I'm getting tired so I'm just going to give a quickie, I'll update further tomorrow.

I drove to Olympia on Wednesday to spend the night with someone I met on a photography forum I belong to ( He gave me a quick tour of downtown, a nice meal, some company, and a place to sleep for the night; which were much appreciated. I spent some time wondering around Olympia and it seems like a pretty neat town. I spent a while in a downtown park just reading and watching people. Their was a large group of people that met up there to hang out. A few of them were working on tricks like juggling, tight rope walking, and stuff like that. It was fun watching someone practice something they seemed to be passionate about. I watched one of the guys sit in one spot for about an hour with a softball sized ball just practicing what looked like simple tricks over and over again; I'm sure they weren't as simple as they looked though. Whenever kids would come by and ask about what they were doing they always seemed happy to stop and show them how to juggle or what not.

When I left Olympia I headed to Bellevue to see a specialist about my knee. He poked and prodded around a little and we talked about the options. He seems to think the chance that something is torn is relatively slim but said he can't know for sure without an MRI; which we couldn't do today anyway and is also quite expensive. I think I'm going to go ahead and get the MRI though because if there's something wrong I want to know about it. I also don't think it should have popped out as easy as it did (this time or the first time 12 years ago). If there's something that can be done to keep this from happening again I want to do it. They're going to call my insurance company to verify they're going to cover it and I'll call back to reschedule an appointment when I'm back in the Seattle area in a week or so.

Right now I'm at Albin's place for an extended 4th of July celebration. There will be about 50 iATN members ( showing up over the next day or two. There will be plenty of good food and good company to keep me busy for a while. I'm still not positive where I'll be going after this but I'll get that nailed down in the next day or two.

I've got a few pictures to post and some people to thank but don't have the ambition for it tonight.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Back in the Groove

Tuesday was my last day in Portland, well, at least until a month or so from now. I left town this evening and headed for the coast before turning north and working my way into Washington. By the time I got all my stuff packed up and ready to go I didn't get out of town until about 7:00. It worked out about perfect though as I headed west on Hwy. 26 and just as I hit Hwy. 101 and pulled into the town of Seaside I got my first look at the Pacific Ocean just a little before sundown. I took a little stroll along the beach and admired the view for a while before hopping back into the car and hitting the grocery store for some supplies. I continued heading north until I got to the very tippy top corner of Oregon. There is a nice place with an overlook of the ocean and that's where I spent the night. There was still plenty of color in the sky and I could watch the silhouettes of herons wading in the shallows and pelicans dive bombing for fish. A little later when it was pretty dark I was sitting with my window open and heard an odd noise outside. Looking up I could see the silhouette of what I assume was a raccoon standing on it's back legs about 15 feet away checking me out. It must of decided I wasn't too big of a threat so I continued on down the shoreline and I could see two small silhouettes tagging along behind their mother.

This morning I got up and just sat in my car for a while watching all the goings on above the water before continuing my way north. I was pretty hungry so I found a rest stop along the coast to stop and cook some breakfast. Not too far out of Portland I'd stopped at a road side stand to pick up some fresh Oregon strawberries which I found went excellent with my dark chocolate. I still had about half of them left and I decided to have strawberries and pancakes....MMMMMM!!! It's going to be tough to just have plain old pancakes from now on!

I made a few more stops along the coast and got a nice view of the coast along with a snake hiding in the bushes waiting for some insects to come along and a little farther down the trail a giant slug. I heard they grew'em big out here but I was still impressed; I'm used to slugs only about an inch long! This one was just calmly munching away on a leaf and paid me no mind.

As with all trips there will be ups and downs, but happily I'm on an 'up' right now. It felt great to leave Portland and to be on the road again; heading to a new destination and not knowing what it will bring. All I can say right now is, bring it on!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Life

My sister Audrey sent me an e-mail letting me know that the human brain produces seratonin, which makes you happy. She said drugs, love, sex, and exercise make your body produce more of it. She suggested that since exercise was out of the question that perhaps I should find a crack smoking prostitute for a couple seratonin producing replacements. Thanks Audrey.

It was gloomy on Sunday but I decided to get out of town for a little while so I drove to Mt. St. Helens for some site seeing. When I hopped in my car I was able to catch most of 'This American Life' on NPR, which always brightens my day. David Sedaris had a part in it and by the time he was finished whining about a couple American tourists in Paris I was in a much better mood. The rest of the drive was filled with 'A Prairie Home Companion'. It felt good to get out for a drive. Just to relax and clear my head a little.

It was a very pretty drive but when I got to the visitor center for the grand view everything was socked in and I couldn't see a thing. It was raining slush and it was cold so I didn't hang around real long and started heading my way back down. The sun did try to peak out a couple times and I got a couple views of the bottom half of the mountain. There were still some very cool views though and it's amazing how it scarred the landscape. Instead I got to watch a documentary on the eruption that was playing at a restaurant I stopped to eat in about 20 miles from the mountain. I'm sure it was just as good as seeing the real thing.

Today I spent the day working and decided I wanted to see a movie tonight. I decided on 'Paris Je T'aime' so I drove downtown a little before it started. I parked about 9 blocks away so I'd have a little bit of a walk. It was fantastic weather and the walk felt good. I felt like I was coming out of my little slump and I was enjoying myself as I walked to the theatre. If I wasn't out of my doldrums before the movie I for sure was afterwards. It was a fantastic movie and it was just what Ineeded. It was so good I hardly even noticed the jackasses sitting behind me that kept talking and pushing on the seats. As I left the theatre I found myself stepping a little livelier and seeing a little clearer. I took the long way back to my car to walk around the city after dark for a while.

I'm feeling pretty darn good right now and I just hope that it holds.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Big City Rainy Day Blues

Today promises to be cloudy and rainy here in Portland so I'm trying to work up the ambition to go out and do something. So far I haven't really been able to settle into to the city since I got here. I'm not really sure what it is, it just doesn't feel right. I'm sure part of it is because of my knee; it's frustrating to me semi-immobile and I'm not used to not being able to do just what I want, when I want, as fast as I want. Although I am able to walk around OK it's hard on both my legs and they're getting pretty sore.

But it's more then that. I'm just not comfortable, I feel out of place. I walk around interesting neighborhoods and walk into interesting shops but I find that I'm looking without seeing, like I'm just going through the motions. I think maybe I just need to sit down at some outdoor café and watch what's going on around me, but I don't, I can't. It just plain feels weird. I tried seeing some of the city for a while yesterday but it felt forced, like I felt it was something I had to do. I wasn't enjoying it so I gave up for the day. The most fun I had was stopping at a bakery and fruit/vegetable tent on my way back to the car to get some food so I could cook something later. It's the first time I'd been shopping for anything other then boring supplies since I left Iowa and it actually was pretty fun. I'll cook most it up today.

When I'm alone in the woods I have no problems at all. At times it gets lonely but it's nice, it's relaxing. I'm “one with nature”, or some crap like that. In the city it's different though. I'm surrounded by people and it makes me feel even more alone. Exploring the city by yourself just isn't fun (at least for me). I want a friend with me. Someone I can just let go with and be myself around. Someone to walk around with and someone to point out interesting things to. Someone to sit down with at a table on the sidewalk to talk with for a couple hours just watching the city pass by.

I'm sure the more time I spend here the more comfortable I'll get though. I usually don't start enjoying a place until I've settled in a little more. When I don't feel like I have to rush around and cram in as much as I can; when I can just go about my day in a somewhat normal way. That's when I start feeling more comfortable and I finally start to see what's around me.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Workin' the week away

There's not a whole lot to tell about the last couple days. I've been splitting my time working between two shops in Portland. It's been a couple week since I've had anything to do during the day other then just putz around and it feels kinda good to actually be doing something (and earning money for a change instead of spending it). Still, I'm glad tomorrow is friday and I'm looking forward to seeing some more of Portland this weekend. I haven't taken very many pictures of Portland but I hope the mood strikes and that I'll change that this weekend.

My knee is S-L-O-W-L-Y improving but it's still very swollen, stiff, and sore. My right leg is taking much of the brunt since it now has to do all the lifting and it supports all my weight when I'm just standing. It's getting pretty sore from the odd gate that I've developed. I have an appointment to see a joint specialist in Bellevue Washington that came highly recommended by someone I know from the area. I'm anticipating that they'll find some torn ligaments and that it will require surgery to fix it. I just hope that if that's the case that the knee will mend enough on its own this summer to allow me to do most everything I want and that I can have surgery during the winter. Who knows, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and I won't need any surgery; that would make me very happy.

More stories and pictures to come in the next day or two....I promise!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Domo Arigato

So far things have been going very well in Portland. The weather was a little cool and gloomy the first day or two but the last couple days have been spectacular! Last night Jim and Karen took me out for a drive east of town through the Columbia Gorge and we followed the old highway back which parallels the interstate and runs right past a lot of spectacular waterfalls. You'd think the highway and interstate would be similar drives but they were amazingly different. The interstate was much like any other interstate (except for the Columbia River on one side and cliffs on the other) but the old highway had tons of twists and turns and was in a narrow band of woods that seemed to completely separate if from anything else. It was a really cool drive.

I didn't have to work today do so I had to find something to fill the time. I slept in a little this morning which was nice before heading out to the Japanese gardens in Portland. The gardens were beautiful, lush, and peaceful. It wasn't all that busy and it was easy to find an out of the way bench where I could just sit down, relax, and read for a while. Unfortunately I looked to be a little late for a lot of the flowers but there were still plenty blooming and the plants and flowers weren't the real reason for going anyway. It was more just to find a relaxing place to hang out for a while. In one of the small ponds there was a mother Mallard with her babies. I watched them for a while and they all stuck close except for one that kept swimming way from his family to chase down water striders. He was surprisingly quite and aggressive.

Patrick and John asked if I'd take their picture and we got to talking a little bit. Turns out that Patrick did something similar to what I'm doing now when he was younger but he traveled the whole world! We talked for a bit and after we parted ways I was kicking myself for not asking him more about his trip that he'd taken. I gave them my blog address though so if you're reading this get ahold of me and tell me where you traveled and any advice you've got to offer.

After the gardens I was starving so I headed downtown. Continuing the theme I found a Japanese restaurant where I had some sushi before wandering around downtown for a couple hours. The day was perfect without a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the low 80's. It was fun walking around downtown and just looking around; it's been a long time since I've really spent any time in a city. I stumbled across the Columbia store and treated myself to a new pair of pants and Cool Max socks that I probably didn't really need; but everyone has to spend some money when they go to the city! Just before I got back to my car I came across a See's Candy store so I had to swing in and grab some chocolate.

Jim and Karen were kind enough to take me out for dinner tonight and we had a nice time. When we got back home we put a good sized dent in the chocolate and now it's time for bed. I'm not sure what tomorrow holds yet but I'm sure I'll think of something.

Cane you dig it?

When I hurt my knee I needed some support for walking and since I didn't have a whole lot of room in my car for crutches I figured I'd just get a cane. Now I didn't figure I'd ever be needing the use of a cane for another 5o or so years so the thought of it seemed a bit odd. But considering I could barely walk and that I was using my tripod as a makeshift cane I definitely needed to do something.

I figured if I was going to be walking around with a cane I might has well get a cool cane. Thinking an antique store would be my best bet I found one in Baker City; but they only had the plain old boring kind. I bought it anyway though because I was really in need of one. It would serve it's purpose until I could find a cane that properly fit in with my coolness. You know, a cane that would allow me to hold me head high as I hobbled down the street. Even with the boring old man cane I could see the chick magnet potential as everyone was staring at me as a walked (staggered) down main street back to my car.

Later that day I drove past another antique store so I drug myself in and asked if they had any "cool" canes. The lady said that she thought she had one that would do the trick; and then she laid it on me. It was by far the coolest cane ever brought forth on the planet. Obviously this was a custom one of a kind production; it had no equal.

With awe I beheld the beautifully sculpted dragon head handle with a green marble inset in the mouth and plastic blue eyes. The lines were supple, seductive, and my hand seemed to be a perfect fit as my fingers caressed it's contours. And it didn't stop there! The cane had a fine fake mahogany finish complete with raised red dragon inspired designs on the shaft. I couldn't look away from it and I knew it had to be mine.

It was like I was in a trance! Without thinking I dropped my old man cane to the ground, threw a wad of cash on the counter, and walked out of the stored all without taking my eyes of my newfound treasure. As I put it to use I felt as though I was walking on a cloud. No, no, like I was floating on the back of a dragon as it soared through the sky. The sun glinted off the polished finish as I strolled (gimped) down the street and I knew that I was the coolest guy in town.

My knee is improving and I no longer have a use for the cane (other then ogling it) but I did take a few pictures to immortalize it and to share its beauty and wonder with the rest of the world.


Sunday, June 17, 2007


I think I'm going to have to go on a diet just to recover from this trip! Jim and Karen cooked up one heck of a meal tonight and we had a couple bottles of wine to go along with it. Of course I can't forget the wonderful Marionberry ice cream for desert! I had a great time just hanging ut and talking with them on the front porch.

Tomorrow I go to work for the first time in quite a while. Though my knee is still pretty stiff and sore I'm looking forward to doing something. I hope the knee doesn't slow me down too much.


Just wanted to give a big thanks to Dusty and Kathleen for making me feel so welcome in Baker City, for giving me a nice warm place to sleep for a few nights and some truly excellent food. Not to mention the most beautiful country I've ever seen. Oh yeah, and thanks for helping me get out of the mountains after dislocating my knee!! I had a fantastic time and I hope to swing by again sometime.

I told you the mountains were right in their backyard.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Welcome to Portland

I stopped for the night on the east side of Mt. Hood last night. I hadn't seen the mountain yet because it was very over cast. I was in no rush so I stopped early to relax, do some reading, and cook a good meal. I found a forest access road that took me to a good place to sleep for the night and I poked around a little on my gimpy leg. There was a nice group of flowers and when I looked closer I saw an ever nicer looking spider. Turns out it's a crab spider and they just hang out waiting for something to walk by, then they grab it with their front legs and suck it dry. Appetizing, no?

When I woke up this morning the sun was shining and after driving a little ways back to the main road I saw a dog sitting in the beach of a small pond. I figured his owner was near by but I looked and didn't see anyone in site. He was just sitting there on the beach soaking up the sun. Pretty soon I noticed he had a friend with him who also sat down not too far away and just seemed to be enjoying the sunrise. It was really odd to see two dogs just sitting their like that so nice and calm. Then a sandpiper (or some sort of shore bird) landed about 50 feet away and they both took off after it. Of course it was off the ground long before they got to it and it flew to where they'd been sitting so they chased it back to that spot before it flew off and they just say back down again. I watched them a few minutes longer and finally one of the dogs trotted off into the grass and the other followed.

Another 1/2 mile of driving got me a nice view of Mt. Hood and it was pretty impressive. I could see some clouds starting to build up on it already so I'm glad I saw it before it was covered again. I drove around the south side of the mountain before heading back up north towards Portland. As I was approaching the pass on the south side of the mountain I was driving in the sunshine. Within 20 feet of the sign indicating I was crossing over the pass to the west I hit a fog bank that I didn't drive out of for about 6 miles and I never saw the sun again until late in then afternoon. I don't know if the pass was actually acting as a dividing line in the weather or if the weather was moving in and it's just coincidence that's where I hit the line. Either way I guess it's welcome to the PNW. Thankfully the rest of the week is supposed to be pretty decent.

I arrived in Portland just in time for a BBQ at Jim's house which included some great food, great deserts, and great company. I think I'm going to get along just fine here over the next week.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Taking it in

Thursday afternoon was pretty much filled with driving two lane black tops west through Oregon. Since Portland isn't that far away I was in no rush so by the time 6:00 rolled around I was ready to find a place to rest for the night. I found myself passing through Mitchell and just a few miles from that is the Painted Hills. Thinking it would probably be best towards sunset I drove in to check it out.

Since I can't hike there wasn't a whole lot to do at the park. I drove around most of it (it's not real big) to get a look at the painted hills but I wasn't really in the mood to take any pictures. I found a road just outside the park that ran right next to a pond so I decided to stop there for a while. I set up a chair in the shade of a twisted Juniper tree and read for a while. It was so nice just to feel the breeze and hear the birds all around. There were a few red winged blackbirds around the edge of the pond calling on and off. Swallows were swooping all around picking off bugs and I could here the calls of unfamiliar birds farther back into the hills. There were ducks on the pond and I saw a mother leading her 10 or so ducklings around the edge of the water. About 6 times I heard a buzzing “whoosh” like a Night Hawk pulling up from one of their steep dives but every time I looked I couldn't see anything. I've never seen night hawks outside of town but about an hour later I finally saw a couple flying around and watched one go into a steep dive before pulling up and making that distinctive sound. I was glad because I thought I was going nuts and hearing things.

While I was sitting in the chair I heard something in the tree next to me. I looked over and saw what looked like the back end of a mouse just as it disappeared from sight around the tree. I could hearing it making scratching noises on the bark on other side but couldn't get a look at it. A little later I caught just a glimpse of it as it raced around the trunk on my side and then out of sight again. I watched and waited and finally it came out on the trunk where I could see it. It turned out not to be a mouse after all but a little lizard with a stumpy tail. I don't know if the tail is by design or if it got cut/bit off sometime. We sat looking at each other for a while until I went back to reading.

As the sun was setting I got back in the car and drove it to a better place to park for the night. The hills were lit up very nicely with vivid streaks of color. I saw three good sized buck deer near the creek which then bounded away and hopped a fence near the road. Everything about the evening just seemed perfect.

Sometimes it's nice not to clutter up the experience with other things. No hiking, no pictures, no nothing. Just sitting back and taking it all in, whatever comes your way.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Injury Update

I finally broke down this morning and went to the hospital to have my knee checked out before I left Baker City. The swelling has actually gone down a little and I'm a little more mobile then I was yesterday. But I knew I wouldn't hear the end of it from friends and family and I also didn't want to find out in 3 months that there was something I could have done at the time that would have saved me trouble down the road. I wasn't really planning on going when I woke up this morning but at 7:15 I didn't have anything to do and since the hospital was on my way into town I swung in before it got busy.

The doctor did some poking and flexing and took a few X-rays. His conclusion was that he didn't have a real firm conclusion; which is something any of us in a field that involves diagnostics realize is a simple fact of life. The X-rays showed no damage but he said with the amount of swelling something has obviously been damaged. Also, since this is the second time this knee has been dislocated (1st time was about 12 years ago) he thinks there's an underlying problem that's allowing it to occur more easily. He didn't give the impression though that there was anything pressing to be concerned about and to just keep it iced, elevated, and try to keep the weight off until it felt better. He did say though that the X-ray is very good at seeing bones but not so good at seeing any ligaments that might be damaged. He recommended that somewhere along the way I have an MRI done on the knee to get a better look at the cartilage and ligaments to see if something is out of whack there.

Although I wasn't real concerned about it I'm relieved to hear that. There still might be another problem that an MRI might catch but at least I didn't get a “we need to operate on that ASAP” response. This way I can try to work any further “repairs” into my schedule (if you can call it a schedule).

For your entertainment when I was looking through my shots from that day I found pictures that showed very well the mountain we were on when the injury occurred as well as the route we took around the lake and up the ridge to get to the car on the other side.

The line is green is when everything was peachy keen. Where it turns red is where I injured my knee. I pretty much slid from where the red starts to that rock outcropping below it. Dusty pretty much drug me down and across the remaining snow field until we reached the bottom. When we looked back at the area from across the lake we could actually see the spot where I fell and started sliding with the binoculars. I don't know if the pictures really do justice to the scale but if we'd been on the mountain in those pictures we would have appeared as nothing but a couple black specks.

I'm hanging out in Baker City the rest of the morning hoping a package will finally be showing up for me via USPS. I've been living with a bent leg on my tripod since last fall and one day in Idaho I had some free time and figured I'd try to fix it. Things went from bad to worse and now I have a tripod that only goes to about 2 1/2 feet. Thankfully much my my tripod work is done at ground level. I've ordered a new one though that looks like it should go along perfect with backpacking. It's smaller and lighter but should still have good height.

This afternoon I'll start winding my way to Portland to do some actual work next week before heading north to Washington for a 4th of July gathering with some fellow iATN members.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The price of admission just went up

Dusty had to actually work on Monday so that left me with the day to myself; much of which was spent in the library using their internet connection and catching up on things. He promised me another hike on Tuesday that I wouldn't forget and he was true to his word....good and bad.

We started by driving up an incredibly steep and rocky road before parking and crossing over a saddle to look down on Rock Creek Lake. There were mountain goats all over the side of the mountains and we were able to get somewhat close to a couple of them. The scenery didn't even look real and the closer we got to the lake the more incredible it looked. We were in no rush so we stopped to do a little fishing at the lake. We didn't fish very long but we were each able to catch a couple Rainbow Trout (at least that's what I think they are from pictures I've looked at). This was the first trout I ever caught. I hooked a couple little ones on our first hike but they were both “quick releases”. I'll let you decide who caught the bigger fish.

After that we did some more hiking up the mountain in the background of the above pictures where we had a fantastic view of the Elkhorn mountains. We were overlooking bucket lake but since most of it was still frozen we decided not to hike down to do some more fishing. We had a nice little picnic up on the peak before heading back around the side of the mountain above Rock Creek Lake. We had to cross some places that were pretty steep and put me a but out of my comfort zone but we got through them just fine and now I'll look at what at first seems impassable in a different way. As we started heading back down the mountain we got to some large snow fields and we started skiing down them. When the snow is just right it's fun and easy; just like Dusty demonstrates here.

Dusty makes it seem easy, but let me tell you, it isn't. After a couple successful runs I was following Dusty down a large snow field when I felt my left knee dislocate and I fell down. As soon as I landed on my ass I started picking up a lot of speed and I got a nice little glimpse of the bottom half of my leg at quite an unnatural angle. The whole time we'd been in the mountains Dusty had been telling me if I ever started sliding to roll over on my stomach and dig in my hands and feet. That's all well and good but I remembered wondering if I'd be able to remember that little nugget of info when/if the need arose. Happily it came without thinking and I immediately rolled over on my stomach and started digging in. As I started rolling over I felt my knee pop back into place but I wasn't exactly coming to a screeching halt as I dug in. There was no way I was going to dig in my left foot so I was loosing out on some braking but I wasn't too worried because I was slowed down considerably and there was a rock out cropping below me that would stop me but not hurt me. I ended up sliding to a stop about 15 feet above the rocks spewing out a string of expletives that would put Ralphy from A Christmas Story to shame.

Dusty got my pack pulled of and helped me down to the rocks so we could size up the situation. My knee hurt like hell but at least the knee cap was back in place. We still had a couple miles to get back to the truck which included finishing the descent to the lake, going around the lake, up the side of a steep ridge, and then back down to the truck on the other side. I wasn't too optimistic about me climbing out but decided we should get a start before it started to get really stiff.

Finishing the descent to the lake proved to be the hardest part since it was mostly down the snow fields and was hard for me to cross them since I couldn't really put pressure on my left leg. When we had to cross horizontally on the snow Dusty would go ahead and stomp foot holds into the snow and them come back so I could lean on him. When we had to go down I laid on my belly and slid down. This was all slow going and finally we decided I'd just lay on my back and hold one end of a strap while Dusty pulled me across the snow. This was much faster and a bit more fun since we had to dodge rocks and trees.

Once we got to the bottom it was pretty much flat across rocks to get around the lake. We found part of a dead pine that served as a walking stick and with the help of that I was able to limp my way around. Part way around the lake we were met by a couple that were camping on the lake. They offered their assistance and I was treated to Aspirin, a grandma made cookie, and best of all....duct tape! I asked their names twice but still forgot (I suck at names), but I did get their picture.

We used the duct tape to help stiffen up the knee joint and it made a world of difference. The longer I walked the better my knee felt, which is the opposite of what I was afraid of. It was slow going but going uphill was actually pretty easy and not that painful. Going down and side hill were a little more painful but even those went all right. Once I realized that I would be able to hike out in OK condition I was back in good spirits and actually enjoyed the hike and the views.

When we got back to the house I peeled the duct tape off my pants and was astounded at what a difference it made. With the duct tape I could get along fairly well, without it it felt like I was nearly immobile and I could hardly support any weight on my left leg. The knee was swollen up badly and looked about the same when I woke up this morning, maybe even a little worse. After hobbling around the house for a while I figured out that my tripod made for a good cane substitute and helped me get around much better. I drove into town where I got a knee brace which helped a ton and I also picked up a real cane.

Let me tell you; I'm totally stylin' and profilin' as I walk down the street now. I got all the ladies starin' at me! But I think it's more of a "what's wrong with that freak type of stare".

Thankfully there's nothing I actually have to do until Monday when I go to work for a week in Portland. I'm hoping to be semi-mobile by then.

You've reached the end of the page but that's not the end of the stories. If you want to read more (and who wouldn't!?) then click on the archive links to the right hand side of the page. They're listed by month; the adventure starts in May.

The February archives aren't actually from this trip but are previous adventures I've had, which are worth reading as well.