7. Spokane to Portland

On the Map below, Chapter 7. Spokane to Portland is orange with pop-ups; the yellow line is the previous chapter 6. Hico to Spokane; the red line west from Portland is the beginning of chapter 8. To Sea, Hayes’ first trip working as a sailor around The Horn.

View All Segments Published to Date on Google Maps As the diary progresses, the entire journey becomes increasingly amazing.

View the First Ten Segments Without Popups This is a preview showing the path Hayes records in the diary up to age 22 without synopses.  Look at it in Google Earth if you can.

View the first twenty segments without popups on Google Earth If you click this button it will offer a google earth download.  You will need to have Google Earth Installed.  This is by far the best way to view all his trips to age 25.

View the first seven segments with popups on Google Earth This will mean a download again.  But it’s worth it.  Because…  when you have it up in google earth you can close the windows, then open them in order to see his progression.

Requested photo places (see About Photo Requests):

–  Milan WA
–  Walla Walla WA
–  The Dalles WA
–  Colfax WA
–  Penewawa Canyon
–  Steptoe Butte
–  John Day River
–  Deschutes River

Previous photo requests

Here and There diary Synopsis:

7.1 Logging in Milan

May 2, 1898

After a 25 mile walk up to a logging site in Milan, Hayes finds work cutting and hauling logs to the Little Spokane River for floating to the mill. He’s got some companions “Oregon Slim, Shorty, and Frenchy,” who “have some idea of the game,” and “the food is excellent,” but the pay not so good: $3.50 per week.

Oregon Slim likes to fight and constantly bullies Shorty, “despite the latter’s dislike for a scrap.” Everyone can see that trouble coming.

May 23, 1898

Enough of this logging, “the harvest fields will soon be working,” and Hayes will go south. The larger bully finally pushed once to far and, “Shorty licked Oregon Slim.” If your nickname is Shorty, a “hammer tied to a buckskin strap” goes a fair way to compensation. Shorty would have killed Slim had the others not held him off. Perhaps this explains how mild mannered men turn into “superkillers” as with Billy the kid.

7.2 Walked Back to Spokane

May 26, 1898

The world is already shrinking. Back in Spokane Hayes runs into Frank Davidson, an old friend from Bandon. As the two “did the Coeur D’Alene” gambling house – why! there’s a gambler Hayes knew from Randsburg. “This man is a shady homo-sexual, something I never heard of until some of the more worldly wise explained to me.” Hayes’ further remarks are disparaging in a kind of naively shocked manner.

A carpenter friend introduces Hayes to a new way to beat the railroads. The lines regularly send men out to work on the tracks. With a bundle they got “from a pawn shop for 35¢” the two pose as workers and plan jump the train at Walla Walla before it reaches the work site in the Dalles.

7.3  Breaking Into the Jail

June 1, 1898

When they jumped off the train at Walla Walla, the carpenter said he knew the way to a house they could stay in. Fumbling around in the dark, the two came to a giant gate, huge walls, and a stout lock. “Say, this is the Pen!” (Hayes’ quote) he whispered running off into the dark. He says the absent guards would have had a good laugh at “a couple of saps trying to break into the can.”

7.4  Hauling and Threshing in the Blue Mountains

June 16, 1898

Still not listening to Ed Abbot who said, “these gamblers are not in it for their health,” (Hayes’ quote) Hayes loses all his cash in a casino before leaving Spokane and has to sleep in straw piles for a couple of nights on his way to harvest work near the Blue Mountains.

Advertisements in the newspapers have drawn more than 3,000 men from the cities to this place. Only at the height of the season will there be work for so many. But Hayes catches a small job hauling wood. This is a beautiful, fertile land where, “living streams fall out of the ranges and water the charming estates and fields of wheat.”

July 1, 1898

He writes, “On a threshing outfit now.” Threshing machines of the period were hideously dangerous stationary steam-driven contraptions run by a gang of men to separate grain from the wheat and chaff. Hayes works in relative safety driving a “derrick for a fork that drags the stacked grain to the hopper of the machine.

Threshing Crew 1900

The work is long but the food is good and everyone remains healthy in the fresh mountain air. Perhaps a signature line for the entire diary: “When this job is done, I’m going to Portland and try for a ship. Always I have longed for the sea, and want to see what lies down the horizon line.” (italics added)

7.5  His First Grateful Man

July 20, 1898

“This is the first time I ever saw a man who was grateful.” Once back in Walla Walla, even though Hayes was nearly broke himself, he bought a man a meal. Now this same man turns up at Colfax with a good job and is “in town spending his stake.” Pulled along in the spree, Hayes says, “the town was mine if I wanted it.

He hopped a train to get up here but finds riding the rails increasingly dangerous. Then too, he considers the morality, “ I suppose it is not right either, but everything in this world is wrong anyway.” Colfax has plenty of work around; he’ll rest for a day, then find something.

August 2, 1898

Hayes joins a group of men doing ranch work south of Colfax for low pay. Several of them plan to confront the boss, “Of course, as always, they have me for spokesman, but I will do it .”

August 5, 1898

On a trip to town from the farm, Hayes gets a ride and a threshing job offer at a 50¢ pay raise. He’ll take it, even though the food is poor and the work hours are barely believable. “This outfit works endless hours; begin at three in the morning and quit at nine at night.”

7.6  Itinerant work near Steptoe Butte
August 19, 1898

Threshing gangs move regularly from farm to farm processing the harvest. Some of the men in Hayes’ gang work as “tin horn” gamblers who are “able to clean up on the rural denizens of the Palouse.” Given their work schedule, one wonders how anyone can find time to gamble, but “jovial, good natured” Job Howard and his partner Slim can always scratch up a game. Job “realizes he’s wrong, but is satisfied with that.” The two gamble when they can and work when they have to.

Hayes considers these gamblers “no worse than these two bunco artists, Baker and Derr, who run the threshing machine,” with their endless promises of better food, shorter hours, and a better season next year. “Even the genial Job is growling.” Apparently the women, horses and booze cleaned out Job’s gambling stake; he now “handles the hoedown on the cylinder and has to breathe the dust for fifteen hours at least during every day.”

August 30, 1898

Hayes describes the eighteen-hour workdays as, “tough,” but he’s saving a little money and even thought about buying his own team for $60. Another entrepreneur outbid him at $65 and got a team that immediately balked under a new hand. Hayes counts himself lucky for once.

September 23, 1898

A thresher’s work schedule: rise at three AM; work until a half hour break for breakfast; return to work until an hour lunch break at mid-afternoon; return to work until dinner sometime after dark; then “we work by flares until nine or even ten.”

Hayes has been threshing on this schedule for more than six weeks – some of the men even longer. All are exhausted, so with the consent of the men who feed the threshing machine, “Job Howard tossed a hoedown into the cylinder,” destroying the machine and ending the work season for the entire crew.

7.7 Bad Influences

September 26, 1898

A thresher named Red Blythe owns his own team and wagon. Red, Hayes and “a Portland boy” named Bill, hitch up Red’s wagon for a leisurely autumn ride south – stealing whatever they need along the way.

A lovely peach orchard in Penewawa Canyon provides buckets of fruit for “college boys on vacation in the harvest fields … going home the cheap way to enter school again.” Hayes is “half-ashamed” that he “lied himself blind” to the “kindly old farmer,” whose name, J. F. Cram, haunts him to this day. Nevertheless, the three were not above taking chickens and a couple of sacks of grain for the horses from “that good old man.”

September 30, 1898

Walla Walla, Freewater, Milton, and Weston “with wheatfields on every hand,” roll sleepily by. Hayes and Bill walk the hills to rest the horses who are constantly tempted to run feral with the “cayuses, small pinto ponies, that run on the ranges and are as tough as horses ever get to be.” Coyotes pace the wagon, sheep graze quietly, “there’s no rush and we enjoy it all.”

7.8 Small Time Thieves

October 2, 1898

At the John Day River, the three travelers try to purchase alfalfa for the horses from a rancher. “He would sell us a few tons, but not enough to feed the team.” So they wait until after dark, steal a wagonload of alfalfa, and throw in “a couple bags of wheat for luck.” This “real stealing” bothers Hayes’ conscience, but he has a ready rationale: “everybody steals, so why not me?” And a lament: “Why did I ever come into such a world where one has to be a rogue to live?”

October 5, 1898

An axe from a country schoolhouse disappeared as Bill passed by. Now the small-time thieves have wood enough to reach the Dalles. Their last heist was a bucket of peaches from a “surly brute” who charged them 50¢ to cross the bridge at the Deschutes River.

“The Dalles” are falls in the Deschutes River where it meets the Columbia. Boats can navigate this far up the Columbia River, so the three bandits abandon their wagon and catch a steamer headed for Portland. “This is the most beautiful trip I have ever made” – The snows of Mount Hood; evergreen forests; industrious towns; scenic rock formations; and the grand river itself.

7.9  Parting Ways at Portland

October 5, 1898

Red said goodbye upon arrival at Portland but Bill and Hayes stick together for another few days in the city. Immediately upon arrival Bill must hunt up a priest to confess his “depredations.” Both Bill’s urgency to confess and his annoyance at having to do so strike Hayes as funny. Which then launches him into another of his dark tirades: “all men steal … to rob one’s neighbor before he robs you… if there be an honest man or woman in this world … every man for himself … devil take him who is last.” All this just three days after the most beautiful trip he’s ever made. The combination of a city and religion must have been too much to sustain his elevated spirit.

Nevertheless, cynical or no, Hayes is in Portland to find a ship and the search must begin. How else can an adventurer hope to travel the world?

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One Response to 7. Spokane to Portland

  1. Hayes always seems healthier and happier when he’s working the land but it just doesn’t offer the adventure he craves. Lucky for us, he’s not settling down yet!

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