Flash Back to last Grand Adventure ‘Harley Chicks’
Today Blue, the little Red Wagon Zeck and I will be going over the Goldfield summit again thisis what happened 16 years ago
Six miles south of Goldfield we started the climb to Goldfield Summit (elevation 6,087′.) The weather was cold and we were bundled up in as many layers of clothing as we had available. (Our clothing was inadequate because we had expected hot weather all through the spring and summer, and we planned to be back in Death Valley by winter.)
It was obvious that road construction was in progress because there were the usual road signs, i.e. ‘Flagman ahead,’ but, there were no state workers to be seen so we progressed unhampered by delay.
I wish there had been a flagman for we were about to have a little trouble because the north bound lane we were traveling was newly paved, and was several inches higher than the south bound lane, and the white line was buried beneath the new pavement.
You’re probably wondering how such little details could mean trouble. Well, my donks had come to think of the white line as their path and they had trained themselves to go right down it with each of the ‘near’ animals to the left of the line and all of the ‘off’ animals on the right.
When the white line disappeared beneath the new pavement my burros balked and refused to be driven forward, and then when I’d screamed myself hoarse, and finally got them started again they wandered disconsolately to the right and then veered to the left as though they hadn’t a clue as to where on the pavement they were suppose to be.
To aid the confused animals, Carol got down and walked out in front, and the burros much relieved followed meekly behind her pulling the grade with a will.
Halfway up the hill, some young people riding in a car with Nevada plates, sped by and yelled, “Get into the nineties!”
They couldn’t hear my reply of course, but I yelled in return, “We are! The 1890’s!”
Sometime later, a large blonde man pulled over and video taped us for awhile as we toiled along uphill. Then he squeezed his bulk back into his tiny rental car, lifted the camera above his head, and bellowed, “FOR GERMANY!”
He hadn’t yet pulled out when a long string of Harley Davidson Motorcycles came up behind the wagon and began to roar around us in clumps of two or three. Most of them had blasted by safely when a black bike carrying a man and a woman swept in close to the wagon and then veered off to go around, crossing over the rise in the pavement caused by one side of the pavement being freshly caped with new asphalt and the other side wanting to be capped the next Monday.
It’s my observation that ‘Harley Chicks’ never hang on and this one, who was still staring back over her shoulder at us, and fell off the bike as it went over the hump in the middle of the road. She flew for a short distance landing in a heap on the opposite berm.
I pulled the donks over to the shoulder of the highway while a group of bikers gathered around the fallen woman. Then I handed the lines to Carol, and grabbed a wool blanket from the wagon before advancing on the group to see if I could help.
A wild-eyed, tattooed fellow barred my way and began to blame me loudly for the accident saying that we shouldn’t be allowed on the road. Seeing that he was raging and cursing two other bikers grabbed him and hustled him off for a private confab.
Meanwhile several others assisted the woman, now cursing a blue streak, to rise and they helped her crawl into the back of a hatchback that was apparently traveling as a support vehicle. The hatchback drove off with the woman, and the bikers all followed except for one leather-clad man who followed me back to the wagon.
“Gee,” he said, “I’m sorry, of course it wasn’t your fault. The lady broke her finger is all? We’ll take care of everything. I’m sorry about that guy, we’ve had trouble with him before…” He shook my hand and departed.
As I climbed back up onto the wagon seat I noticed that Carol had pulled our 30-30 up alongside of her leg. She handed me the lines and then calmly and carefully lowered the hammer on the rifle and slid the latch back to safety.
I was shocked. “Carol,” I asked, “what were you going to do?”
“I was prepared to kill someone if they had attacked you.” she answered. When carol is mad she is MAD and she would have killed them with out a regret.
It was raining by the time we reached the summit and it wasn’t only the cold and the rain that had us down. We were feeling pretty depressed about the motorcycle incident and were concerned lest we had made some lasting enemies. It was a relief though to know that the long climb was over and as there was an open area within the highway fence on the west side of the road we pulled across and made camp right there at the top.
I stretched our electric fence from the highway fence to our wagon and back again and just as we finished ‘putting the burros to bed’ and giving them their sixty pounds of alfalfa a little blue-green car drove in.
I groaned feeling too unhappy to be hospitable but when a middle-aged lady with dark hair approached us carrying a fresh loaf of home-made bread my attitude underwent a sudden change.
I can tell you that she and her gift sure were welcome. There is nothing more comforting to a discouraged man than warm home-made bread spread with real butter and jam! I figured that God knew we needed a lift when he sent Connie Gates along with the bread a friendship that would last for years.
The rain was still falling and it was so cold that we couldn’t visit with Connie outdoors, so the three of us climbed up onto our bed of hay and huddled there together while we listened to the rain beat on the canvas overhead. Our new friend was so tickled to be invited into our private domain that her cheerfulness soon lifted our spirits. We were so encouraged by her gift and her visit that we were able to cast away our gloom and we rested well that night.