excerpts from

Three Years
on the
Nowhere Road





Up before dawn, a logger's breakfast

The next morning, well before sunrise, I caught a ride into Forks with Mitch and a couple of the boys, all of whom had jobs in different shake mills around town. The three of them rode in the cab of the truck, and I bounced around behind them, on the ridged metal bed. It was about a ten minute drive from the campsite to the highway, following the Calawah most of the way, its whitewater rapids gleaming in the starlight. The air was damp, cold and bracing, and I felt more awake and alive and ready for whatever the day would bring than I had felt in my life.

Once we came to the highway, we turned south, immediately crossed the bridge over the Calawah, and five minutes later were driving down the main street of Forks. Instead of heading straight out to a mill, we pulled into a parking spot in front of a low-slung café on the main street. We piled inside and settled into a booth. Even though the stars were still out, the café was bristling with energy, with cooks hollering “Order up!” and waitresses hustling out great platters of flapjacks, eggs, sausages, slabs of ham and bacon, hashbrowns, steaming mugs of coffee, and clattering them down on tables and counters in front of big, suspendered, hungry men sitting shoulder to shoulder and eating with earnest intent. In the hour before sunrise, in Forks, Washington, this was clearly the place to be. “Gotta have a logger’s breakfast,” said Mitch, with a smack of satisfaction. The restaurant was all down-to-business and no-nonsence, as every man in there had a place to be and a time to be there, and they were all piling in the food like locomotive firemen shoveling coal.

Half an hour later we were back in the truck, and ten minutes after that my new life as a mill-worker got underway.



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 at the mill,
and almost losing 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

Encounter with a sasquatch?

A scene out of Dr. Zhivago

I settle in for a solitary winter

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 at 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

These opening chapters represent
about 20% of the entire book,
which I hope to release
later this winter.

BJ Omanson
Nov 2021