Posted by: bkropf | October 11, 2007

Home Sweet Burns

I feel a little funny sitting in a locals diner with a computer typing as the cowboys and other men stare at the new face.  Luckily, my stubble is coming in thick and I am attempting a rural accent so I think they  won’t peg me as an out-of-towner.

I made it to Christmas Valley, Oregon, to my uncle and aunts house last night for dinner.  I for one, had a fantastic time talking about business ideas and enjoying the nice homemade meal.  Another nice turn of events was my uncle hired me to visit a building in St. Louis to take and send pictures/report to him.   It felt a little like charity but what can I do, he drives a hard bargain.  I wanted to try to make it to Ogden, Utah, by Friday morning to see Glendon and make it to Denver by Saturday morning however the van had different ideas.

I set off from Christmas Valley hoping to make it to Burns and sleep/gas up there, then continue to head east.  The road from CV to Burns was completely desolate.  I passed 2 cars in about an hour and a half and only saw one house.  When I arrived at Riley, the first town I came to I was almost out of gas and the van wasn’t working well so I slept at the post office waiting for morning to break.  I woke up at 6:30 with the van cased in ice.  I had to put my clothes in the bed to warm them up before driving.  Once on the road the van was acting up even more and I made it to Burns just as it was dying.

The local repair shop, Ruel Teaug, was a total blessing unlike Wade Bryant in Bend.  I sat in the waiting room until 8am when they opened sipping coffee.  The shop was clean and nice and all the repair men were good old boys who looked straight from the farm and were extremely nice and helpful.  They assured me they would fix the problem (Wade Bryant said there was nothing they could do).  After reading some Atlas Shrugged (I’m on pg 935 of 1074) and warming up they let me know it was a fuel pump problem. 

Quick aside about a lesson learned. My Dad has said from the start it sounds like a fuel pump problem but every time I told the mechanics looking at the van they assured me that would not be the problem.  Dad was right in the end, goes to show I should be more forceful instead of leaving everything to the ‘professionals.’

The problem: there is no fuel pump in the tiny town of Burns so I’m spending the day on foot exploring the tiny town until evening, then I can sleep in the van outside the shop and it will be fixed first thing in the morning.  I am so relieved that the problem should be fixed relatively cheaply and that I wasn’t stranded long term in the desert. 

I spoke with some locals and it sounds like there is a little theater in town, a little mall, a DQ and I’m hoping a library to use the internet.  In a way the break will be nice because it is forced relaxation where I’ll read and relax.

So I spent the morning at the diner and then walked across town to the Harney County Library and get to use the computer and hour.  Then they have a bunch of movies I can watch on my laptop.  Additionally, there is a nice little museum next door I might drop by.


Well, hopefully I’ll be in Ogden, Utah, next time I write.



  1. At least you know what the problem is… I think it would be worse to never know what the problem is even if it’s rarely acting up…

  2. Lets see. The next town thats about 100 miles or so down the line would be Vale. I can’t recommend any good mechanics there but I can recommend the Starlite Cafe on the west end of town. They have great homade pies of all kinds. Probley not as good as your mom’s though. The only downside to the cafe is that when you leave the cafe you’ll need to take a sponge bath in your van cause you’ll smell like greese. O Well.

  3. Hey Barney, good to talk to you yesterday and I’m enjoying the blog… especially because I’m stuck working at my mom’s shop today with only the internet and homework to entertain me. I hope you make it to Utah alright! Follow you dreams, Barney, follow your dreams! (ha ha. I just wanted to stick in a cheesy line.)


    P. S. Watch out for hop-ons. I hear they like brown vans.

  4. I’m so glad you found out what the problem was! And that you have this blog so I know you’re still alive, albeit cold. Drive safe to Utah, friend.

  5. Hop ons are bad but it’s those live-ins that you have to watch out for!

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