excerpts from

Three Years
on the
Nowhere Road





A dip in the river

I probably should have told someone what I was planning but, as it happened, no one was watching when I tore naked through the woods and took a leap off a high bank into that clear, icy current. I was in good shape, and had been a competitive distance swimmer just a few years before, but when I hit that water and went under, it was very nearly my last act on earth. I was completely unprepared for how cold a river running straight off a glacier in late November actually is, or how fast and deep the current could be. It was so cold it slammed the air completely out of my lungs, damned near stopped my heart, and effectively paralyzed me. I went under like a stone and in spite of every ounce of effort and will I could muster, I could not make my arms or legs move at all. Somehow I got my head above water and sucked the air into my lungs, but I was being swept along by the strongest current I had ever been in and I kept sinking below the surface. By sheer luck the river coursed around a sharp bend and for a moment I was raked against the bank and was just able to grab the limb of a strong shrub, first with one, and then both hands. After a long time of just hanging on, I was able to haul myself out of the current and onto the ground. It was probably half an hour later that I dragged myself back into camp and pulled on a clean pair of jeans and a shirt. “How was your swim?” someone asked. “Bracing,” I answered, trying to sound as chipper as possible. “Mighty bracing.”



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