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Old 10-21-2012, 03:13 PM   #169
calimusjohn OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Sprague River, OR & Salome, AZ
Oddometer: 255
Power grid

Power Grid
Awakened to an overcast sky and with a taste of rain in the air. The rain never caught up. I was hit by an occasional splatter - just enough to smear the visor
I hoped to eat in Iskut. The gas station/General Store had little in it. After fueling, I ate a handful of TrailMix, took a swig of water and headed south.
The road changed. There were sections with painted lines and signs saying - curve - slow - don't - blather. Yech. . . Then I came upon the clear cuts. The earth had been skinned. No trees or bushes remained - just dirt. The trees and bushes had been ripped out of the ground and were now consigned to slash piles. Piles 50 to 60 feet in diameter and 30 feet tall were placed every 300 to 400 feet apart - FOR FORTY MILES!
Today was a "hurry up and wait" day. I came to the first flagger standing in front of about 25 cars, trucks and Rental Motor Homes. He waved me to the front of the line. Great! I parked, shut down and asked why we were stopped. "They are loading a big drill." I pondered on that for a while. I figured that it would become clear - a big drill? It didn't. I broke out the TrailMix and offered the flagger some. He declined.
"Uh, What's with the clear cuts and the slash piles?"
He said, "They are going to put a high voltage power grid through here. There is a lot of huge equipment and several hundred workers. The piles will be burned after the first snow. The logs in the piles are either punky or have rotten cores and are not good for anything. They are using helicopters to haul out the good stuff. It's a $10,000.00 per hour operation to use the helos." Naturally, he didn't say all that in one nice short paragraph. It took a while. He pointed out the drill. It is 2 1/2 meters in diameter. About 8 foot ! They drill an 8 foot diameter hole about 20 feet deep. Drop in an 8 foot diameter pipe - fill it with concrete and then along with three other pipe stands - they are the base for the steel towers to hold the cables aloft.
We were released. I led the procession. The big motor home - behind me - held up all the rest of the road train. I was making good time. I came to another flagger.
A bridge was directly in front of us. There was a flagger at the other end. That looked odd. A couple of guys with hard hats and clipboards were on the bridge looking upwards. Hmmmnn. The flagger came over and said, "Look at the top of the bridge."
WHOA! It is an all steel bridge about 150 feet long. It has some pretty heavy girders and posts. The top girders have been struck and are now VEE shaped pointing at the other end of the bridge. No one knows what hit the bridge. They are going to let traffic through - one vehicle at a time. I was first. I crossed quickly!
I found another gas staton with cafe. The cafe offered pre-wrapped sandwiches stored in a refrigerator. They did not have expiration dates. OR they had today's special, "1/2 can Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup = $5.50." I gagged down a sandwich of Mystery Meat. Oh my, it was tasty. Hey, a breakfast sandwich at 2:00 P.M. ain't all bad.
It was apparent that this would not be a high milage day. A few miles later I saw a different kind of flagger. A Black Bear was sitting beside the road eating red berries from the bushes. I slowed to a stop, grabbed the camea and snapped a picture of his butt scooting into the brush.
Stopping and buying gas at every opportunity worked well today. The last leg was 259.9 miles between stops. Made it. Checked into a Motel in Hazelton. The taste of rain is back in the air at 10:00 P.M. I am calling this day complete.

Beginning of clear cutting

Slash Pile

More Slash

Part of drill - beside trailer

Bridge Work?

would a driver notice the "Bump"?
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