8×26 + 1×20
the road from burns to bend oregon is the hardest road i have encountered on my trek.
not because it is the emptiest 130 miles.
not because it is an endless vista of vast plains covered with sagebrush and tumbleweed broken only by low volcanic rock hills dotted with juniper trees.
not because of the relentless sun beating down on my head from a cloudless sky.
it is not for any of those reasons.
it is because 20 is the only road traversing those lonely miles,
and all east west traffic across oregon is funneled into this one road.
that also puts it squarely on the migratory route of the dreaded RV.
and that traffic finds this road less entertaining than i do.
as one local said;
“i just put the gas pedal on the floor and go.”
any experienced journey runner will tell you the most dangerous traffic is people passing from behind you.
and the drivers on hell highway are among the most reckless passers on. earth.
now i have had hundreds of human interactions on my journey.
all have been good.
but when americans get in their cars something happens to them.
for some reason their judgement can become impaired….
especially when passing.
i have witnessed countless ridiculously reckless passing attempts.
it is a real surprise that i have not witnessed a fatal accident .
i have seen plenty of near misses.
the problem is that the passing driver is oblivious to the entire situation.
their focus is only on whether there is a car in the oncoming lane.
pedestrians, bicycles, the car at the front of the slow traffic turning left, or other road hazards are not even seen.
now, if you asked the same person if they would play russian roulette to get home 5 minuets sooner,
they would think you were crazy.
but the obsession with going faster seems to erase the ability of threat assessment.
some roads accentuate that phenomenon, and hell highway is one of those roads.
some situations accentuate that phenomenon, and returning from a holiday is one of those situations.
spending labor day monday on hell highway was the worst and most frightening day of my entire journey
(and i thought nothing could compare to providence rhode island)
if my journey journal does nothing else good. maybe it will make one person ask themselves; “is it worth killing my whole family, or even just that whacko walking on the shoulder, just to move up one carlength?”
Sent from my magic phone