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Archive for November, 2011

This is the second in a series chronicling my gradual relocation to Palo Alto, California. The first installment is here.

The industrial wagon departed today and I already harbor regrets. I neglected to send my late grandmother’s lamp as well as the headboard to the family bed. And though it pains me to speak of it, my lover’s armchair, which was sitting unassumingly supporting an armload of quilts, never made it onto the large wagon. I pray we do not have to leave it along the trail. Perhaps it can be dismantled and tied to the back. Or perhaps I should discard of it now as we have lost its owner to a group of eastern-bound bandits. As my hope of seeing him again grows faint, so does the conviction that I can ever fully enjoy the chair without that fine backside to grace its cushion.

There is a blacksmith in the nearby town that doubles as a wagon repairman. His name is Gerryman and he discovered three leaks on the underside of our carriage. They require our immediate attention should we ever wish to ford a river again, heaven forbid. Knowing Gerryman’s disdain for the gold rush, I was quick to mention our more immediate venture to Montana. In response, he showed me a picture of a 9 foot snake hanging over a shovel. “I found that in Montana,” he chuckled. I could only muster a disheartened gulp.

I left the wagon overnight and journeyed back to camp on my riding pony. Granite has a loping gait that worsens during downhill stretches. I suspect a damaged hip from a time when I loaded her too heavily on one side and she tipped over. As we journeyed back, the rain intensified and I quickly found myself drenched. Granite, poor soul, was caked in mud, but I left her tied to the wagon to fend for herself while I stripped to my undergarments and spent the next two hours on my cot pondering life and the impending darkness.

Upon my recovery, I discovered my greatest lament of all. Finding myself with an intense craving for macaroni and cheese, I checked the stores to find that this, of all things, had journeyed on to California. Oh woe. I shall bury my sorrows in fruit cake.

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Over the course of the next two-and-a-half months I will be making the transition from Eugene, Oregon to Palo Alto, California. I have begun to chronicle the experience pioneer-journal style and will continue to do so as long as it remains an enjoyable creative writing outlet. So, if you care to hear about the travels and are partial to a world where pony means bike, wagon means Subaru Legacy, and my spunky tuxedo cat is a hirsute, rural woodwooker, you can find it here.

I woke again to the sound of death. Reshi, a hairy former carpenter who joined our party just outside Fort Springfield, likes to hunt early. 5am found him standing over his squealing prey, which had lodged itself under a bolder. However, he dispatched of it within minutes. The sun had not yet shown its face when he could be heard outside the camp chomping on bones. We all have to agree that he is a rather disgusting eater. Still, despite this and his poor taste in meat, he has been an asset to the party.

This morning I scavenged some blueberries from a thicket north of our camp. I plan to return tomorrow and everyday for the foreseeable future, until they are gone. Blueberries are such a luxury these days and they made an enviable breakfast with some grits and the dregs of some coffee I brewed yesterday afternoon and had been keeping by my cot.

We have been camping with a fellow wagon for a week now. It is a newer model and quite large. As we fear we may be loaded down in upcoming travels, we will be sending some of our belongings down the coast with them. I feel fairly confident in the driver’s ability to keep the items safe, but only hope I have packed the load securely enough that the dishes and other fragile items will not break.

Our wagon has problems. The day will be spent on repairs. I pray it is not an axle again, but I know the rugged trail takes its toll.

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