SEA TO SHINING SEA: Evergreen Forest and forest fire logs
DAY 22 - Baseballing across America. A pleasant evening here in New Meadows. Listening to the Orioles and the Astros playing in Houston. Birds have them by a run about halfway through the game. Let's see if the lead holds.
Today, near the top of the day's big hill, my phone picked up service and the doorbell sound signalled a text message. Sad news from John Hall who informed me that Bob Raley passed away Monday night at Beebe Medical Center. In the midst of hillsides covered in graceful tamarack trees, a blow to the good vibrations. Sadness, though I know it's the way of life.
Bob understood the beauty of trees. One of Delaware's first registered landscape architects - I think he was No. 24 - Bob sensed the attractiveness of nature's curves. He designed plenty of roads and all feature sweet curves. I think of Bob whenever I drive onto Nassau Commons Boulevard from Route 1. Swamp maples planted by Bob decades ago arch over the boulevard from both sides making it one of the only real boulevards in the area. Look closely between the swamp maples and you will see smaller sycamores planted alternately. Bob knew that the maples wouldn't last forever and he wanted the sycamores to get started so they could take over when the maples give out. I think he has the boulevard covered for at least the next 100 years.
I wrote an obituary for Bob 12 years ago as part of a business deal. It will be in my Barefootin' column in the Cape Gazette on Friday.
We rode by a sawmill operation today on Route 95, a north-south route in Idaho. Big operation. From logs to lumber. What caught my eye were big piles of logs up on a hill. Their bark was deeply charred and there were sprayers steady pouring water on them.
The man at the New Meadows town hall - he and Jesse very helpful - told me the logs were taken from a forest fire area. "Once the bark gets charred like that the bugs can get into the trees and ruin them so every effort is made to salvage them." He said Evergreen Forest is one of the biggest employers in the New Meadows area along with the US Forest Service. He said Evergreen is progressive. "They burn all their sawdust in big furnaces, create steam that turns turbines, and generate electricity for the sawmill."
It's 8:18 here now and the sun is still up high. But soon it will be dark and time to rest. In Our Town, Thornton Wilder observed that living takes so much effort that each of us has to lie down for eight to ten hours each day to rest.
Oh yeah - we did 25 miles today on this rest and work day. Averaged 8 mph. Total ascent 2,103 feet. Total now: 764 miles. Missoula, Montana is 255 miles away.
Nighty night. Here's some pictures from the ride between Council and New Meadows.
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