excerpts from

Three Years
on the
Nowhere Road

The Awakening
of a Poetic
Sensibility




"You need some direction in your life.
. . . You're on a road to nowhere."

-------– my father, on numerous occasions



Off to the wilderness

In November of 1972, at the age of 22, married less than a year, and having lost my job as a tree-trimmer with the Rockford Park District in Illinois due to being on the losing side of a labor strike, with winter coming on and no prospect of comparable work before spring, I made a drastic decision. I packed a my uncle's WWII seabag with a change of clothes, a blanket and some books, took five dollars from our rapidly-dwindling nest egg, and announced my intention to hitch-hike out to the coast of Washington state where there was said to be a logging boom in progress and work to be had by anyone who could handle a chainsaw.

Two days later my wife Vickie drove me out to the west side of town shortly after sunrise and dropped me off beside the road. Before I closed the door, she leaned across to give me a warm kiss good-bye. Then she U-turned the car in the road and drove off back into town. It was the last time I would ever see her. Some sixteen or seventeen hours later, sometime after midnight, I found myself beside a deserted highway a few miles west of Omaha, in a cold wind, fantasizing about a warm bed and wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into.



More excerpts from
Three Years on the Nowhere Road
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Off to the wilderness

A bus from the Twilight Zone

I am picked up, then dumped

On a dark, deserted highway,
the kindness of a stranger


My first ride in a logging truck

Forks, logging capitol of the world

To a camp on the Calawah

Job Interview

Up before dawn, a logger’s breakfast

My first day at the mill

A dip in the river

Working deck

I nearly lose a hand

To a new camp, further downriver

Robert Lee:
the old logger who lived in a box


The Dickey River People

When a barrel stove becomes a cannon

Alone at last

At the outfitters

On Christmas Day, I am flooded out

At the mill, I am promoted to splitter

A scene out of Dr. Zhivago

Settling in for a solitary winter

Encounter with a sasquatch?

Hanshan, the mad hermit poet

Hiking the coastline with a tomcat

A night on a seastack

I join an encampment of friends
on a tributary of the Hoh


Calling on the country estate
of Robert Lee, Esq.


Visiting around the Peninsula
in Robert Lee's 2-gear sedan


A visit to a Makah family on Neah Bay