I stare at what I first think are vultures. No. Wild turkeys. I then want a giant glass of whiskey as I snap a pic. The turkeys startle, then flap off. I am left to discover the mythical ranch allegedly that exists along this curvy gravel road on a very hot day.
Once yet again, I am somewhere in Juntura, Oregon. The air quality seems somewhere between Victorian London and dystopian YA novel about a plucky heroine who’s different than everyone around her. My thoughts remain a heavy slab of ugh. The ‘Jimmy’ or GMC has been acting up. The parking break light now flips on and off, but as the break isn’t on, I’m to ignore it until it can be seen to…all righty, sure. I had the serpentine belt go, I sniveled a bit about that already.
That spread of a ranch, if it exists, I did not, do not find. I perhaps did not drive along this rutted road, at often fifteen miles an hour, far enough. It was probably another ten or even twenty miles further than I went. I had already spent an hour or more on this one case. I had talked to so and so about all this and perhaps, that would be enough? Mm.
Off to Drewsey, after indeed noting that there’s a locked gate on the second gravel road of my day. Drewsey is just up the road, I know where the turn off is! Score! My GPS often goes in and out in these remote nowhere places. It often doesn’t help to have a GPS when the roads looked for are often unmarked dirt roads anyway. I’m not bitter at all. Nope. It’s all an adventure!
Did I mention how bad the air is? Smoke. You can smell the smoke, see it, it’s all foggy with smoke. No rain forcasted. No rain. Dry as those health bars that say, right on the package, to taste like a salt caramel brownie. They don’t. They just don’t.
I drive toward Drewsey, a teensy place, with all confidences I can find this Otis Valley road. Um, no. GPS? Oh? You’re not working right now? I’m on my own? Oh. Imagine that. Mm.
So I turn off, to the right, on the road I think must be the road I seek. Dirt roads up into the hills. I pass a ranch, with some false memory telling me yes, that’s the name of one of the roads, just keep driving, it’s just ahead, baby.
No. No, there’s nothing up here and I’ve spent another hour on a rutted rough road more suited to off-roading vehicles and actual horses than a Jimmy with mischief always on its mechanical mind. No, no car troubles but it wanted to. It. Wanted. To. I have no trust in that metal beast anymore, not a particle.
I give up, admit I can’t find it, then note my next case is an hour or more away…fuck. Just fuck a doodle snoodle poodle. Gas? I’ll have to drive almost sixty miles to get gas then take the Crane exit and…fuck a doodle snoodle poodle already! But wait!
The spendy tourist place is open! Hurray? I get gas, it’s about what I expected it to cost and I am off yet again to find some road that’s probably not marked at all. GPS doesn’t work out that way I have to get to, I’ve experienced this before. Why don’t I have Oregon maps in my vehicle??? I used to. When I was traveling a lot.
Must put maps back in car. Make note of that.
So I spend an hour or more looking for the right road, the Malheur Caves road which is also the road I want or…ugh a fug a bug a rug. I find a department of transportation road but surely, an actual attraction like a cave would have the road marked or at least a marker saying turn here if you want to visit a cave? I see nothing like that on the backside going toward Jordan Valley. I feel stupid and depressed. Very stupid and very depressed. What is wrong with me?? I can’t find this road? I couldn’t find the other Drewsey road. I couldn’t find that damn mythical ranch that allegedly sits right along Shumway!
I head back toward the museum-store-gas place called Oard’s. I powder my nose, buy a candy bar and a ring, cause did I mention I am stupidly depressed over my inability to find anything on a hot, smoky Sunday afternoon? It wasn’t too expensive—under twenty bucks. I liked it immediately. My first four cases were at least an hour from the other driving time. I…Yeah, I impulse bought a ring.
Onward toward home. Almost no traffic but I think people were and are still camping or doing whatever this holiday weekend. Probably trying to return today so I am staying put rather than get stuck behind guys or gals pulling their entire lives behind them as they creep toward their castles along twisty narrow Oregon highways.
I got back and made myself a meal from tomatoes, squash, a hamburger patty, onions and homegrown herbs. Plus some eggs thrown into that. So good! It was mostly just veggies. My squash and my herbs.
And so endeth my long bad, very bad, very long day. It was good not to have to schlep to Christmas Valley but…give me places I can actually find if you send me again toward Juntura and Crane and Drewsey. Did I mention how gigantic an area this actually is?? Yeah, consider it mentioned.
WHAT THE FUCK?? WHY HAS THE FORMATTING CHANGED?? GODDAMN IT