My trip to town yesterday was good. I got a warm reception from Sarah Polak at the
My partner and I took this trail last year and decided the guide could do with some fine-tuning. Yep – we got lost. According to Sarah, she had a graduate student last year working on precisely that project, but he (she?) managed to leave town without handing over all the files that had been compiled. I’m making that a small project for the better weather.
I also noted the telephone number of the woman who owns the land where Mari’s grave stands, overlooking the site of the second homestead, where old Jules grew his fruit orchards. I’d like to camp around there. However, I’ve never forgotten a cowboy I met in a bar in eastern
As for her – well, the establishment is still for sale, but she’s in no great hurry. In any case, she wanted to tell me about the goings-on around town. She showed me a four-page letter she had printed out and sent to the city elders (I use the term loosely) and the press in response to the activities of the police chief, whose HQ is right next door. It seems that this small town of a little over 5000 souls requires ten police cars. The previous incumbent managed with four. And the modus operandi seems to have changed too. Previously, a beat copper might call in at the bar from time to time, drink a coffee and chew the fat. He was considered an ally. The new tactic is for two officers to enter the bar, at night, pull out a video camera and make a film and sound recording of everybody at the bar. People are even filmed as they walk home, questioned, breathalysed and asked for ID. And it’s driving custom away. ‘My take is down 30%,’ Jeannie told me, ‘and it’s the same at the other bars in town. They got this guy from somewhere in the southwest corner of the state. So keen to get rid of him they wrote a glowing letter of recommendation – and we wound up with him.’
And there was I thinking we were hard done by in the
A topical note on gasoline prices. Yesterday I filled up the vehicle. $74.62. Youch! Later, when I was flipping through some of the notebooks from my trips west over the past twenty years, I found myself complaining about $1.64 gas in Dodge City, Kansas. That was 2001. Ten years earlier, in 1991, I’d filled up at $1.15 a gallon - and was wistfully remembering the days of 89 cent gas, when I lived in
So, a 45% rise in ten years to 2001, and from there to now – 250% and still rising.
Okay, to work.