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Travel Log - Hunting, Hitchhiking, Painting & Getting Dirty: Traveling Across America


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Yes sir, Fremont, California!


And from within this fine state, on this very day, I happened to harvest a nice little turkey in commemoration of the approaching holiday. Driving down Hwy 152, after spending the night in San Luis Wildlife Refuge with my lady and subsequently getting kicked out in the early morning by an ornery park ranger, we happened upon a wide open field. After driving some thirty miles in search of an abandoned hot spring resort, a small clearing appeared, filled with the most silliest of beasts, the turkey.


It's late now and I'm full of wine so I'll fill yall in with the rest of it later.









Happy holidays!

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Driving down "Gilroy Hot Springs Rd" in search of said hot springs, my girlfriend suddenly erupted and hit the brakes. "TURKEYS!!! Oh God, shit shit shit, can we shoot one!?" I had noticed several dozen "No Hunting / No Tresspassing!" signs along the way, and the decision did not come lightly. We had just passed a man on an ATV at the end of his driveway who gave us a look which seemed to say "What the hell are you two doing on my road?" I was quite sure we were still within earshot of a rifle, so I decided against it. Sadly, my girl drove on. But several miles later, and with as many turns of the conversation, we'd agreed that whatever the consequences may be, we'd be damn fools to turn down a fresh turkey dinner with thanksgiving so close at hand. We flipped a bitch and hustled back to the field, hoping they had not flown off or been rustled off by some passing motorist. We crept up to the opening to see a dozen fat & flightless birds, basking in the California sunlight, gobbling up little bundles of wheat and talking jibberish to each other.


I had brought three guns along, a 16 gauge shotgun, my .40 pistol, and a .22 Marlin rifle. I feared that although the shotgun would make a more reliable kill, the noise would be too much. And I wasn't sure what distance it would be reliable at. But as the .22 is more accurate, would it be enough to kill a full grown turkey? It would have to be a heart or lung shot. Fuck it. Seeing a target in crosshairs is too satisfying. I reached in the backseat, grabbed the .22, shoved in a clip, and crept out the car. The range was roughly a hundred yards, and I only had two bullets. What I feared most was a non-lethal shot that would leave the bird too mobile for me to catch up to and kill, leaving it to flap and flutter through the remains of its meaningless and painful life. I followed the birds in the scope, selecting the largest one which presented a favorable flank. They were all so beautiful and innocent.


Bang! The shot echoed through the hills as the whole flock took up in a semi-impotent attempt at flight. I suppose they can only really "fly" a few dozen feet before resting. I followed my bird as it lept up with the others, and I feared a miss, or worse, a mangling. But presently it dropped from the flock, and ran pitifully down the golden hillside, limping and loping in the most heart wrenching way. About fifty feet later it collapsed and went into the death throes. I shot my last bullet into it's chest and I could see the flailing stop. Instantly I reprimanded myself. Idiot! Never fire two shots in a row! One shot in the distance will alert someone. Two shots will tell them where it came from. But no time for all that. Quickness was the word. I jammed the rifle in the backseat, kissed my smiling girlfriend, and vaulted the barbed wire fence in between two signs which expressly told me not to do the two things I just did.


The sky was absolutely stunningly blue, with little white tuftlets dancing along the hillsides. I caught up to my quarry and gave it a quick nudge with my boot. I jumped back as it emitted a muffled and sharp cry, something like "fglogloglogh!" But, seeing it not move again, I realized it was only the last bit of air in its lungs rushing out from my nudging. Now is the test. A slight gagging sensation and an udder feeling of ickiness which makes ones hands recoil in a gay-ish flailing. Nonsense! There's work to be done, and done quickly! I pushed aside my faggotry and grabbed the hard, scaly leg and ran like a madman back to the car. I tossed the bird, then myself over the fence and jumped in the car. Book it!



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We eventually did find the abaondoned hot springs, but it was severely gated off and had several menacing messages from the State Park threatening any tresspassers. Naturally we snuck in, but as I forgot to bring my camera I'll gloss over all that. In the end, the springs were plugged up. Sick houses and weird pagodas though. We decided to head back home and cut our trip short due to this new and wonderful windfall. So, it's a pretty easy scenario.




I'd never killed a turkey nor cleaned one so it was all new to me. Most important to know is that you can pluck the feathers by jerking against the grain in small tufts. They come right out! But grab too many and the skin will rip off. My girl wanted to roast it with the skin on so we plucked the whole thing. First though, I gutted it.



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Sometimes ugliness incarnate can cross over the brink of sanity and become kind of curiously beautiful..




Credit to my girl for documenting!

Pluck feathers below the breastbone and above the anus.

Pinch skin, cut small hole without puncturing intestines. Slice, not stab.



Tear open the hole a little bit bigger, maybe the size of a walnut?

Prepare yourself for smells of other worlds.



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Then go on and get up inside there and dig out the rest. Heart, lungs, windpipe.


It's pretty cool to know that if you cut your throat, and your anus, all of the guts, every one of them, come right out like a double bottle neck. I think most animals are lined up that way.










I found the heart, and sure enough. That little ole .22 round went right through it.

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The (mostly) finished product. We cut off the legs and my girl made a ridiculous gravy with sweet potatoes and onions and roasted it all in the oven. The breast we'll save for the holidays.



Tiny little paintbrushes and dust muffins



AND I totally missed this giant ass sack of undigested food in his neck. So, don't forget to find that thing and cut it out!






A little bit more tough than any other turkey I've had, but good lord jesus the freshness and satisfaction of a meal that was on that same day waltzing around the fields of California... just can't beat it.

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Very touching story!


Anyways.. Stay safe on the tracks, KIR.

Thank you sir. I will!


KiR- that short reminded me a lot of "the fall" from Camus. The one sided nature of the conversation, interacting with intention, existential angst and social want all smacking of the sole speaker in the novel.


Good words.



Mad respect all over.


Nice... Do you think they'll have that at the Library? I'll go check it out tomorrow. I need some good reading for the next month. I've got Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance right now, but I'm closing in on the ending. That & Roughing It by Mark Twain.


Every post you make I read in my head like Arlo Guthrie singing Alice's Restaurant.




Also, I missed when you upgraded to a Foz? What model is it?


Ahhhh it's about that time of the year isn't it?


It's my girl's car. She cool like that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

holy shit man stellar thread! good to see another traveler with intellgence and creating but still out there doing something different. right now i'm working to get a subaru as well and peace for a while and head to the Rockies for a bit. me and my dog.

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