Archive for the ‘California Outback’ Tag

Author Pens Tales Reminiscing from the Road   7 comments


April 25, 2012

By Ryan Bonham


Eat your heart out, Jack Kerouac.

Self-professed hitchhiker Tim Shey, whose traveling path often passes through Lake County, published his second book earlier this year, a work filled with tales reflecting his experiences in hitchhiking across the country over the past 16 years.

Shey, who often works as a laborer for friends living in the Cedarville/Surprise Valley area of northeastern California, said his travels have taken him far and wide through the years.  His first trip to Lakeview occurred in 2004 while hitchhiking from Cedarville, Calif., to Washington state.

His newest book is entitled “The First Time I Rode a Freight Train,” and features stories inspired by his many years traveling a solo journey in and around the United States, in which he proselytized his Christian faith.

Born and raised in Iowa, Shey graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English literature in 1995.  He published some of his short stories on the online blog, as well as the Ethos (italics), a publication of the University of Iowa’s journalism department.

After finishing college, Shey worked full time in lumber yard until 1996, when he considered, applied for and did not get accepted into law school.  The allure of the open road came about that year, Shey said.

“I’d say I’ve been hitchhiking 80 percent of the last 16 years,” he said.  “I’m a Christian, and I’m hitchhiking by faith.”

Shey said that he’s putting each and every day’s provisions into his faith in God, and writes about his experiences and encounters from this travels.

He published his first collection of reflections from the road, “High Plains Drifter: A Hitchhiking Journey Across America,” in 2008, which traced his travels from earlier journeys of 1986-87 as well as those spanning 1996-99.

“You see a lot of nice country, but mostly it’s the people you meet (that leaves an impression),” Shey said.

Shey acknowledged the social stigma associated with hitchhiking, particularly in the United States, but he said he mostly faced occasional warnings by Johnny Law and recalled mostly positive interactions; sometimes they even helped him get to his next destination, he said.

“If you’re not causing any trouble, they’ll cut you some slack,” he said.

Shey said that the first book was put together within 10 days*, but his newest effort is the culmination of two years of work.

Lake County Examiner [Lakeview, Oregon]

Copyright 2012 Lake County Examiner

[Corrections:  I received a BA from Iowa State University, not the University of Iowa.  It is, not  Ethos is published by the Journalism Dept at Iowa State University.]

* I wrote 200 pages in longhand in 10 days.

The First Time I Rode a Freight Train & other hitchhiking stories
A Short Hitchhiking Trip


Joseph Middleton Diary, 1849   2 comments


Thursday 4th October

“. . .Three miles on we cross another narrow strip or bulb of grass running for S. to N. similar to the one where we camped except in this there is a fine clear small stream running north in a black mossy bed Massacre Creek–in the other no water ran.  Wells supplied water there in wet swampy places for watering cattle and some good grass in season:–two miles ahead Emigrant Spring they say there is grass, where we will stop before entering on a desert of 16 or 18 miles they say–but I will report when I see.

“2 log chains, lots of burnt wagon irons, ox yokes, rings & staples, a fine iron jack with teeth and wheels for greasing wagons–the wood burnt.  The road goes N.N.W. down the bulb of valley–(another not so much travelled passes across over the sage desert N.W. but we should come to more grassland where we are going to.)

“Down the valley a short way a dead horse.  Dead ox No. 3–Ground strewed thick with stones of black bottle glass but not in the strath or valley.  In 1/4 of mile we leave the strath and travel to the west among the barren sage.  In this part of the valley 5 wagons which (with?) rims and all the iron &ceteras of wagons and scythe snath.  Almost all the wood burnt up except the snath and a wagon tongue, old riding saddle and other things, but have not time to examine and record.  ____hind wagon wheel hoops are piled one above the other, and all the ____iron carefully gathered and piled in the middle of them.

“After leaving the strath of the valley the road take to the S.W. up a low hill and soon joins that which went straight forward avoiding some small hilly places.  After travelling over this rolling or rather kind of hilly country 2 miles further we came to a wet spot Emigrant Springs where there are wells dug 1 or 2 feet deep.  We will camp here and let our cattle recruit on what grass they can find.  I can see none but they say there is some a little way off.

“A grave ‘Dan Wheeler a coloured man; died Sept. 23d 1849’–dead oxen No. 5.–Came up here with some of our old road acquaintances.

“This morning we poured the coffee off from the dregs and sweetened it all before commencing breakfast so that no one got more sugar than another; a plan, which if it had been adopted from the beginning, I believe our sugar would have lasted till this time.  There is a fellow in our co. which I recollect of being in the habit of taking three times as much as was actually necessary for a fair sweetning and many others which took it lavishly–and when I saw it going so wastefully, I did the same; although I don’t like either tea or coffee very sweet.”

Friday 5th Oct

“Thermometer at sun rise 18 above zero, or 14 below freezing.  The grave, of Dan Wheeler, is what in this wilderness is called a cache.–French for a hiding place.  It contains hid the articles of an entire wagon taken to pieces and carefully packed away–besides many other things that the owners could not take along with them.  This is certified by some of my old road acquaintances who were camped here and saw it done.  These wagons with my acquaintances are still here.  About 1/4 of a mile ahead the same operation was going on yesterday before my eyes, by another wagon party.  It will perhaps be finished today, and the men are going to Pack–so they call it.  Many of the larger graves we have lately passed are doubtless caches . . .”


In the spring of 2009, I hitchhiked from Wyoming and helped John and Susie brand their calves near Massacre Creek; it is about 36 miles east of Cedarville, California in the state of Nevada.  John and Susie pronounce it “massa-kree”.  They call this part of the country the California Outback; it is high desert ranch country near the Warner Mountains.  Cedarville is 4600 feet in elevation.

Branding Calves and the California Outback
Fixing Fence and Emigrant Trail

Back in California   1 comment

California Outback

Around the 23rd of August, I hitchhiked out of northeastern California and got a few rides past Redding, CA near Whiskeytown.  I camped out there that night and then hitchhiked to Arcata.  Arcata is probably the enviro-pagan capital of the United States.  I saw more homeless people there in an hour than in any place I have ever been.  I slept in a ditch that night near Trinidad—just north of Arcata.

The next day I hitchhiked through Crescent City to Brookings, Oregon.  While I was going through Crescent City this Christian picked me up.  He said something very interesting.  He said that either a U.S. Senator or a state senator from California said that she would rather see one human being die than have to cut down one tree.  No wonder things are so backward in parts of California.  Reminds me of Romans Chapter One:  when man began to worship the creation rather than the Creator, the Lord gave them over to a reprobate mind.

After sleeping on the beach north of Brookings, I hitchhiked north on U.S. 101 to Bandon.  I slept under a bridge north of Bandon that night.  The next day I hitchhiked to Coos Bay where I stayed at a Christian mission for the night.

It took me a couple of days to hitchhike from Bandon to Florence to Eugene through Madras to Pendleton, Oregon.  In Pendleton, I slept under a bridge north of town and stayed out of the rain.  It hadn’t rained in two months.  I made it to Dayton, Washington where I stayed with some friends for three days.  While I was there, I learned that my book High Plains Drifter was purchased by the local library.  So I went to the library there in Dayton and signed their copy of my book.

After Dayton, I hitchhiked through Moscow, Idaho and later made it to Kooskia that evening.  I stayed with some friends in Kooskia for a couple of days and then headed east into Montana.  I went through Missoula, Belgrade and West Yellowstone and ended up in Victor, Idaho where I stayed with some friends for two nights.

The next day I hitchhiked to Jackson, Wyoming and stayed at Jeremy and Felice’s place for one night.  The next week I hitchhiked to Bozeman, Montana and stayed with some friends for a night; I hitchhiked to Cody and then slept on the bleachers at a baseball field in Meeteetse, Wyoming; I stayed in Riverton at the shelter for three nights; I stayed with a friend in Dubois for one night.  After staying in Victor, Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming for two nights, I headed back north.

In one day, I got from Jackson to Helena, Montana where I slept on that hill just south of the library.  The next day I made it to Missoula and Lolo where these three Christians picked me up and let me camp out with them for a night; we had some really good fellowship.  The next day I made it to Kooskia, Idaho.

After Kooskia, I hitchhiked through Lewiston and then through Walla Walla, Washington and Pendleton, Oregon.  I slept outside a few miles west of Pilot Rock, Oregon.  The next day I got a ride from Pilot Rock through John Day to Burns, Oregon.  I got to Riley and walked south a couple of miles and then got a ride with a couple of Christians to Lakeview where they let me stay at the driver’s sister’s camper.

The next morning, I got a ride to New Pine Creek, California.  I walked a few miles south and got a ride with a guy named Jesse.  We drove to Alturas where he had to run a couple of errands.  He then drove me to Cedarville where John and Susie live and bought a copy of my book, High Plains Drifter.  It is good to be back in this part of California.