C2C: Pretty flowers, graduates and Idaho

In Halfway, Oregon they take their graduating seniors seriously.  Yancey here looks a lot like Will Emmert except with several pounds more of Oregon beef each week. Back in the 1800s, this community sprung up between a mining town further up in the Wallowas and a ranching town further down in the Powder River Valley. They applied for a Post Office and asked for the name Midway.  The Postal Service said there was already a Midway, Oregon and suggested Halfway instead.  The people went for it and Halfway it is still today. BY DENNIS FORNEY
June 3, 2013

DAY 20 - Roller coastering across America.  Right around 691 miles since we left Astoria, Oregon on May 14, we crossed the state line into Idaho.  We'll be in this pretty state for a few hundred miles before crossing into Montana and then turning southeast toward Wyoming and Yellowstone and then Colorado.

We made 46 miles today, a lot more up and down.  Averaged 9 mph and ascended a total of 3,194 feet.  It's that uphill stuff that gets your attention.  Rachel taught us some Reiki (spelling that right?) exercises before we left Lewes to help us get over the big mountains.  We concentrate on calm and yes and love.  Then we start counting. Deep breaths out - love yes love yes - and then allow the incoming air fill your lungs naturally. Once your speed gets down around 3.5 you know you're really working.  If it falls to three it's time to get off and walk.  All of that has happened so far.  Becky's still wondering about hiring a pick-up truck.  I told her today an airplane would be faster.  She didn't think that was all that funny. So far we've logged 691 miles.

Tonight we're in our second in a row Idaho Power Campground.  I'm thinking they do all they can to curry public favor for their reservoirs because of the stigma that hydroelectric dams carry.  This morning at 0530, a young man from Idaho Power stopped by our previous camp site and asked us a few survey questions.  Emphasis on few.  Where we from, how many nights staying . . . that's about it.

Tonight we're a mile or so above a big dam across the Snake River in Hell's Canyon.  The settlers who came west were tough people.  I;'m reading Washington Irving's book about Astoria and an 1810 expedition to open up a fur-trading network commissioned by John Jacob Astor.  Astor also commissioned Irving to write the book about what it took to open up the west.  Brutal is all I can say. They ate off of what they hunted and when wild game wasn't available they traded with the Native Americans for horses and dogs.  The horses for transportation and also for food when necessity called and the dogs simply for food. Many of the Native American tribes ate dog regularly.

The section I'm reading now describes the middle of winter when they've eaten their last horse and dog meat as well as the soles of old moccasins and now they're talking about casting lots.  You know what that means.  I don't think they got to that point but some parties making their way westward definitely did. Think Donner.

I told Becky about that.  It was during a particularly tough uphill climb.  She said if things got that bad she'd probably volunteer just to get the misery over faster.  The Irving book is awesome by the way.  Jimmy, you might really like it.  Irving writes very well and the detail puts you right there.

On a happier note, here are pictures of some pretty flowers with Mt. Cornucopia in the background.  I'm told it's part of the Wallowa Range. I was also intrigued by how heartily the inhabitants of Halfway, Oregon celebrate their high school graduates.  Take a look.  Congratulations to all the Cape Henlopen High School grads.  That diploma is super important.

Thanks for keeping us company.  I really appreciate you all being along for the ride.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that when we crossed into Idaho we also crossed from Pacific time to Mountain time so we're one hour closer to home timewise.  How cool!

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