Day 13


The Meat Grinder

Its funny when you sit around swapping war stories with all the local firefighters. Suddenly you realize that you have just spent the last hour listening to horror stories about the highway you’re going to bike in the morning. “What route you boys taking?” “The 80” we answered. “You mean the meat grinder.” Well the good news is that if anything does happen, your going to die! Your’re looking at one hour response times. One EMT said, “You’ve heard of the golden hour?” “Yes,” I replied. “We don’t have that out here.” So here is to rocking the meat grinder.
So what’s the fire depts like out here? It would be like if you and all your hunting buddies decided one night to jump into a rescue and start running calls. Most of the stations are metal garages with one or two nice rigs. Looks like a lot of fun. Just think if you and your three best friends could just grab a rig and go fight fire without anyone else. It’s not a job out here. The firefighters and EMTs have jobs, the fire service out here is a way of life. I like the down home country approach to things.
We got a really late start this morning. We both over slept, woke up to flat tires, and had to walk into town for breakfast. We were worried we would get into Elk Mountain super late. We had a tail wind and made great time. I worry about the days that appear easy. They are the ones that get you. Rain, wind, heat, mechanical failure, etc. Today was good, we made it in good time in spite of our complacency. I think that’s because of all your good wishes and positive energy. We both agreed we got off easy today and won’t be resting on our laurels anymore.
I’m riding my bike and I’m thinking of all kinds of stuff I want to write. Today I thought of the struggling to ride our bikes across the country. How every morning you have to talk yourself into getting on the road. Then I thought about everyone else that is struggling to get somewhere. Nicole had her first day working on the floor as a nurse. My three friends that are in the Los Angeles County Fire Department Drill tower. My friend Dave struggling to accomplish his goals. Whatever your struggles, I just pictured all of us just peddling uphill. You are my inspiration to keep peddling. We are all in this together. I dedicate this day to you.
I am still getting a great response from all of you. I read all your texts, blogs, and facebook comments. They really do help me get through the hard times. I am receiving comments from people I have never met. How cool is that?
Cecco called me today and he said he is going to get us onto some of the LAFD sites. That will be great. I think it is important for the boys back home to see how great the fire service is right now. So far every paid department I have visited is struggling with the same problems, budgets, tradition, training, morale, etc. And so far most of the problems tend to come from the city governments. The good news is we can’t control them, but we can control us. We can take care of ourselves, our brothers and sisters.
The Assistant Chief of Elk Mountain Fire gave us his pickup truck to go look for elk this evening. Down the road, left at the bridge, right at the water tower. Sure enough we found about eight antelope looking at things, a couple of deer,and two dozen cows on the road. I viewed a herd of elk this morning along highway 80. The Elk Mountain Fire Department will be raffling off a Remington 700 m hunting rifle at its upcoming fundraiser, so get your raffle tickets. Now that’s a Fire Department.
We are out in the middle of nowhere now. We really have to plan for meals and water. We are staying in the fire house tonight by ourselves. We will sleep on the couch. We will have breakfast at the gas station and try to make it to a town with food as soon as we can.

5 thoughts on “Day 13

  1. Stick with it Jason!!! You are an inspiration. We are all there behind you, pushing you up those hills. Stay safe and strong. This is a life changing experience…,,soak it up!

  2. Great blog Jason thanks. I remember when I worked at the University of Utah Medical Center in the ED we used to get patients from these rural places and yes the “golden hour” was spent either in transit to the hospital or on the scene. Those were some of the sickest people I have taken care of. I was also amazed that the firefighter/EMT’s showed up in their coveralls because they were volunteers and prior to the call they were on the tractor tilling the crops of their farms.
    The people who live out in rural America are tough people too. They would come into the ER with the strangest things that to me required medical attention way before they came in. I would ask them why didn’t you come in sooner? They would answer “well, it wasn’t bothering me until I couldn’t fit on the tractor so I knew I had to get it looked at so I could finish my work”. I would think to myself these people would laugh at what people in California come into the ER for.
    Stay safe.

  3. no matter who you are, where you’ve been or where you’re going, we all have those uphill rides – that really hit home for me. thank you for endlessly pedaling each day because i can no longer do it myself – my “uphill battle” is relentless, the pain never lets up, and the hole in my heart never heals. the courage, persistence and and sacrifice by all you guys is incredible, and we all take our own message from it. it makes me realize that my uphill battle is NOTHING compared to those of others – but we all think our own “bullshit” is the hardest, that we can’t make it over the next hill, no matter what. you are teaching me: just one more mile, one more obstacle, one more minute, one more day. i knew that once, but forgot.

    you and your buddies inspire me to go on, “suck it up” and carry on each day, to not focus on myself, but to find healing in helping others. thank you. i love you so much. MOM

  4. Jason, your comments seem to put everything into perspective. We take so much for granted in a large department such as LAFD. We all need to be thankful for all we have and never loose site of that. I have a huge amount of respect for what you guys are doing and always look forward to your blog updates.

    Adam V.

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