Oregon: 100PA or so
I started compiling the notes of Jim about 3 years ago. I stumbled upon this unlikely hero in a bar in the area of what once was Vancouver, Washington. At the time he had just come out of some unfortunate dealings with a group he had being running with but that's a story for another time.
What you will find here is probably the most up to date atlas of the former state of Oregon to be seen in the last 300+ years. It's listings of locations; flora and fauna will hopefully be helpful in your travels.
Let the reader beware however. There are no refunds for this book.
1. Crossing the Columbia At the time I was packing light, a horse, a bedroll and a sack of cash from my last job. I had stopped in a place called Castle Rock as I had heard from a Tinker that there was a ferry there that would take me to one of the islands and from there I could catch another to the South bank. I made it to the island just fine but due to my horse acting up a bit I was unable to make the second connection. The locals had set up a small fortification there that could cover the entire river. From signs that where still standing I was able to ascertain that there had been a fort here at some time in the past. It must have been made of timber from the description. I was obliged to seek shelter from at the guard post as there was no Inn and the night air would be heavy with fog. I was given one of the tables in the small mess hall to sleep on and I rolled my bedroll out on it. My horse had been picketed out side along with some horses being transported with their owner the next day. Truth be told it was these horses that caused mine to act up. I slept well but had the strange sense that Indians where going to attack or where already there and had a knife to my thought. I inquired to one of the guards and was told that I was only feeling something that this place remembered. There had been and Indian raid here but it was a very long time ago. With a quick and hearty meal in my belly I was on the ferry and heading for the South bank of the Columbia. It was there that I first saw her.
Standing there all pert and lovely. There must have only been about 5'4" of her but it was all woman where it counted. Talking to the man running the dock I learned that she was here for the horses and they where headed for a ranch in the Northwest of the territory. Now this wouldn't have been a big deal in most parts of the country but she must have been only around 16 and from what I had gathered it was at least 300 miles around the inland sea formed in what was once the Willamette valley. I took it upon myself to talk to this your woman who must have been quite remark able to take something like that trip on. Now I have never been a hand when it comes to women but I try when I feel it's necessary. I had quite a time working up the courage but I final did and I asked her if she would be so kind as to show me the trail. She agreed and I fell in with the rest of the men moving the herd. Over the next several days I listened to the talk around camp and tried to not make my looks at the boss too noticeable. I learned that her name was Jessica and she was 17 years of age. I think some of the others in the group knew my angle even with my trying to be casual.
2. Fort Clatsop There where upwards of 25 small communities perched both on the River and bay side of the peninsula. I was thinking that I should like to see a place called "Fort Clatsop". I had read in a history book that the first official expedition across the continent by white men had camped there over the winter. When the herd reined in at the first major civilization, a town sitting in rolling hills with farms in active service for over a, well the signs said century farms but I think they must have been there much, much longer. The land was very rich and naturally watered here. The humidity was above average here but the temperature was very cool thanks to the breeze blowing off the ocean. I made in an inquiry as to where I would need to go. There was a road that was still in use and had seen better days but would get me where I needed to go. With a promise to rejoin the group in a week or two I set off towards the coast. No I have heard tales of how the road is a dangerous place to be as there are highway men and D-Bees to deal with but I have found that for the most part everything wants to be lest alone unless it's hungry. I was about 25 miles from the ocean when a wolf jumped me. It was very sickly looking and couldn't have ever been much of a threat. I could have Tk'ed the beast out of the way but the yellow froth on its mouth told me that it wasn't long for this world. I had shot dozens of these animals back on the Flying U but this one wasn't harming anything. I tossed down a good-sized beefsteak that I had been carrying. The wolf edged closer and sniffed hungrily at the air but did not go for it. I turned my horse and started back down the road. I stopped about 100' down the road and looked back, the wolf and the meat where gone. I made camp that night in a hunting lodge that looked to have been there for years. It was well built and kept out the night air. In the morning I replaced the firewood I had used and fixed the door where it had come apart a little. I was about to leave when I saw the wolf again. It was standing in the timber not 100 feet from where I stood. I picked another steak out of my bags and left it on the ground. This time the wolf edged a little closer while I saddled my horse and mounted. By the time I was in the saddle the meat was gone. Now I had heard of animals adopting humans but they could never be trusted. I was thinking about this and walking a lazy trail when I came to the last hill and all I could see was ocean as far as I could see. I could see the estuary where the fresh water of the Columbia and the salt water of the Pacific meet. Now all I had to do is make my way to the fort right? Wrong. It was a maze of tidewaters and steep cliffs. I decided to stay near the water and watch the tide. So I made my camp between a deadfall and rock out cropping. There was room for the horse and I set about looking for firewood.
A thought had come upon me, it seemed to me that that hadn't been a wolf but a dog so it was with new interest that I saw it again. Now it was a mangy mutt that had been in the wilderness too long. The dog approached with caution, sniffing at the air and looking a little better than it had before. It was white with a spat ling of black at the ends of some of the hair on the back of it's neck and at the end of it tail. It dropped its head as it came near. I tore off a small piece of meat and tossed it to the animal. The dog inched forward and took the meat and backed off. It took off into the brush again and I bedded down for the night.
Yearly the next morning I was up and found the dog lying on the other side of my small fire. I built my fire back up and but some meat on to broil. While it was cooking I got up and repacked my bedroll and saddled up my mount. I ate a quick meal of the meat, some wild onions and a slice of dried Orange. I gave the dog some more meat and climbed into the saddle.
I wandered around the hills for about 6 or 7 hours and finally decided that I wouldn't be able to find the site. More than likely it was under water. I had seen a picture or two in some faded old National Geografics that where sitting around in the library. I headed south along the shore until I noticed that I still had a tail (the wagging kind). I was able to kill a buck; I skinned it out and made a drying rack from some green tree bows. I trimmed up the meat and started drying it on a fire while I cut big steaks put several of them on to broil while I worked. The dog moved into my camp and we shared a couple of steaks. I pulled out my cooking pot and started a base for a good hearty soup. I spent the night here drying my venison and cooking more steaks. In the morning I ate some of the soup and changed the drying racks. The dog seemed to be more comfortable with me. I picked up the next morning and headed for Mexicali.
3. Heading South. I passed several villages of people trying to scrape a living from the thin soil and the surf. I came to what I thought was another small fishing village perched on a cliff over looking the Pacific and bordering a river. The sign said, "Welcome to Florence" so the dog and I walked into town with my horse fallowing. There where some interesting fish DB's, allot of fishermen and towns folk. Walking threw town I spied about 3 streets with several docks and a canning plant of all things. The first street coming into town consisted of a couple of dozen houses and a court house, fire station and guard post. The second street was covered in small shops and booths, the store front for the cannery was on this street. The third street had the access to docks, several bars and a lumber yard selling cut timbers. There where several patrol boats tied up at the docks and ferry to take people to the other side of the harbor.
The dog and I had a hearty meal of fresh fish and coleslaw. I was listening to some talk around town and was a little confused. There was talk of a Navy ship sitting off the coast. Now I'm not the brightest bulb in the flowerbed but even I know that there hasn't been a Navy for a long time.
I got up and was heading back to the hitching rail when a bum grabbed my arm. My first reaction was to yank my arm back and push with the other but I found that my arm was held in a vice like grip that even I didn't know if I could break (PS: 25). "I have need of your assistance." Was all that I heard coming from the pile of rags that I was attached to. So I went along. I could have pulled leather but I doubted that I could have made a shot before my arm was broken. We ducked into an alley and made our way to the out skirts of town, all the way out into the dunes. When we finally stopped we had walked almost a mile. Now when your wearing boots made for riding you don't want to be walking. I was very thankful when he stopped. The stranger looked around and straitened up. Now I could tell it was a person about 5'8" and wearing armor with a full sensor mask. The stranger reached up and unhooked the mask. It snapped open with a hiss and inside was either a woman or the weirdest looking guy in the world. I was a little surprised and I must have shown it. The woman got directly to the point, "I need a message relayed and I don't think that you would be noticed. Yeah, this is a little cliché but I need your help." She handed me a small hand held computer and a small pin. "The pin will keep any of my fellows from bugging you. The computer I need you to take to a man named Becker in Oakridge. Oakridge is dew west of here but you will need to be very careful there are people about. Watch your ass, cowboy." She said with a little wink. By this time I had a couple of questions but all I managed to get out was, "Where will you be?" Before she faded into the foreground and all I head was, "Ghosts are always around." I headed back to town and made my way back to my horse. I traded some of my deer jerky for some dried fish and mussels. The dog had apparently sat next to my horse the whole time. A woman working in a small trinket stand had set out a bowl of water for him. I thanked her and bought a nice necklace of small seashells for Jessica. Seems I was thinking about her more than I should have been.
4. Wagons East. I started up the pass over the coast range. The bay that had been formed when the water rose was about 12 miles in length and 2 miles wide in the canyon. Further back the river must have been flowing north south as the water must have been 20 miles wide. As luck would have it there was a fairy. I paid my fare and I climbed aboard. I settled in and sat back for the trip. While I was watching the chop on the surface I remembered the pin. I took it out and hooked it to the pocket flap of my shirt. I also played with the computer a little but I'm not one of those computer wizards so I didn't make a whole lot of progress. Soon enough the boat ride was over and I unloaded my horse with the dog fallowing.
It was a very steep assent to the top of the pass. I hadn't made a whole lot of progress up the hill as I was saving the horse. I noticed a small cabin that showed all signs of being a real backwoods, inbred kind of place. Now all this might not have been apparent 'cept for the boys about 2 sizes to big for there ages and the sawed off shotguns. Now we all know that this seine didn't belong in this part of the world but what can I say, things some times are out of place. The cabin was off the road so I wasn't going near it but the sign stopped me. "Nelson toll road: 50 credits cuts 25 miles and 2000 feet of climb off your trip." Now this was just too good to be true. But being the cheep basterd I am I decided to take the long way.
Climbing to near the crest of the hill, I made camp at a small spring that had been improved by many travelers. I made my camp with a small fire but I didn't sleep near it. I lay under a log some 20 feet from the fire. My horse was tethered in a clearing almost ¼ mile from here. The dog seemed to still like me and had curled up at my feet. I closed my eyes against the darkness and dreams came. I have never liked my dreams, I dream often of the night my parents where killed and when I do I wake in a cold sweat. But in this instance I woke earlier than normal in the dream. I instantly knew my life was in danger. There was a sound of movement in the forest. Some thing large had been attracted to my fire. I took my "Spitfire" out of its holster soundlessly and eased off the ground. My eyes adjusted to the starlight and I started to make out a figure. A large cat with a long tale, looked to be a mountain lion. Now, I tangled with one of these a while back and it cost me a horse. I eased back down and grabbed my old .44. I came back up and saw that the animal was pawing at my saddlebag. I took aim and fired, the cat staggered and came around. I fired again but my shot was hurried and I grazed its shoulder. The cat was less than 20 feet from me now. A half more second and it would be in pounce range. I fired one more time. The can instantly stopped in mid stride and fell to the ground; it's breathing gurgling with the sound of fluid in its lungs.
No use waiting, I got up backed up my gear and headed for my horse. The shots would attract company. It took me about 20 minutes to get to my horse. I had to duck under a log when something large like a Big Foot passed near by. I had known a Big Foot in my time and they seemed ok as D-Bees go. Now those "Great Little Ones", those bug the hell out of me. I saddled up me horse and took the bypass road that cut around where a tunnel had collapsed. 10 miles and 4 hours latter I stopped to water the horse and eat my chow. The dog showed back up and we ate our fill together. By the end of the day I figured that I would be in the valley.