A vein of arid land extends
north from the Great Basin Desert in Eastern Oregon until it ends just north of
where I stood in British Columbia.
Traveling south on the empty stretches of Highway 395 will take you through
empty and wild lands, there are places where if you look the eye can see out
over a vast desolate yet thriving place. The open space changes you. You feel different
about space. You are provided a scale you can use to measure your soul. When
you are on the West Coast and you are in Seattle,
San Francisco, or Los Angeles you would not know this alternate
reality exists. I ran a dirt road ninety miles toward White Horse Ranch in Eastern Oregon. It was two-wheel drive, but rough, at
best I could roll at maybe 20 miles per hour. Eventually I landed back on
pavement in Denio, Nevada. I spent two days parked out in the
desert with my toolbox out tightening all the nuts and bolts that had rattle
lose while cutting across this piece of the American West. Denio is a one
building town. Housed in that building was the saloon, the general store, post
office, and gas pump. Nothing much happened while I was there. Few cowboys rode
in on horseback. A few more came in their Ford pickup trucks. I go back when I can.
Nothing there, still something about it changes the way I see things.
“The jack bolted and was out well ahead before
the dog had even got up to speed, and once the animal had put twenty yards
distance between Jasper and his mortality, the dog gave up and broke into a
trot and watched the animal tear into the wilds for its life.”