Day 23: There is an Ointment for That

Or is it a new salad dressing? Oh, wait. I see. Never mind. My bad.

I wake an hour before dawn and use the remaining charge in my battery to make coffee because my stove is out of fuel. There is only enough charge left to heat the water to 185°F (85°C). It’s not quite hot enough for a proper extraction but it will have to do. I am now a rough and tumble frontiersman and this is how we roll.

Next door, my loud-splaining neighbor expounds on the difference between “the good black people” and “the regular black people” to someone on the other end of a Zoom call.

I linger for a while to get some charge into my battery before heading out. Local store patrons walk past me, studiously avoiding eye contact. I haven’t even had a chance to tell them I’m from California yet. Are they prejudiced against filthy bikers? Outsider! Unclean!

I pop into the store to say goodbye to my host. “Would you happen to have any bananas?”

“No, but I have some at home,” she says, picking up her keys. I thank her profusely and convince her my need for bananas is not that urgent. I’m filled with admiration for this woman who has created an oasis for bikers in this desert. The contrast in attitude gives me whiplash.

In Jordan, I stock up on fruit and muffins. I see my first cowboy with actual spurs on his boots. Is it an affectation? Based on the amount of dust covering him, I decide he is the real deal.

“Busch Beer: Welcome Hunters” signs are everywhere. I pull over to the side of the road for another charging break and there is a small fortune in scrap aluminum on the ground around me. Hey hunters, I understand that drinking cheap beer is an essential part of the tradition but how about starting a new tradition of not tossing cans out the window? Seriously, aluminum recycling is one of the most effective recycling programs we have. The energy requirements for extracting new aluminum from ore are insane.

Oops. There I go trying to infect the local culture with my “California” ideas. I’m starting to see why my kind is so unpopular around here.

The landscape begins to change and interesting land forms appear – weathered rocks and miniature canyons. Out of habit, I start looking for camping opportunities. Then again, with all these beers-swilling hunters around maybe wild camping isn’t such a brilliant idea. I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a ten point buck.

In Circle, Montana, the city park allows tent camping as long as you check in with the sheriff’s office by phone. I have the place all to myself. As it gets dark, the yipping of coyotes fills the air. Good hunting, fellas, and remember to pack out your cans.

5 Replies to “Day 23: There is an Ointment for That”

  1. ummm, using your last charge…. you justget some dry sticks, make a fire and enjoy a bit of camp zen. Just because you have batteries shouldn’t mean you must use them…. just saying.


  2. and running your packs dry is a great way to really increase their chemical wear. Not a great tradeoff considering firewood is often free and reduces possible fuel loads not to mention needs no hydrocarbon campstove fuels. Best to keep those options for rainy days imho …. it’s what I do. Alcohol for backup, Ti wood burning stove Caldera for other times. Super light and no petrol stoves needed with their aweful smells spoiling the taste of food / coffee etc. Happy tripping.


    1. There’s no harm in taking Samsung 30 Q cells down to 3.0 V per cell for a couple of hours. It’s far worse to charge them to 4.2 V per cell and leave them there for an extended period of time.

      As for wood-burning stoves, i’ve been curious to try one out but I’m concerned about the availability of dry sticks when I need them, having everything covered in soot, and the amount of time it takes to set everything up start a fire and then clean up in the morning just for a cup of coffee. I’m willing to give them a try but every campground on the first 2 to 3 weeks of this trip band such stoves due to risk of wildfires.


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