ALBANY, Ore. (AP) — Sometimes, life can be frustrating, even when it's lived at 3 miles per hour, traveling in handmade wagons pulled by a team of Suffolk Punche draft horses.
Lee "the Horse Logger" Crafton passed through the mid-valley in October, headed south to the Los Angeles area and then on to the East Coast.
But he didn't get far, just down the road a piece to the Pleasant Hill area south of Eugene.
That's where a law enforcement officer told the former Montana resident who has been on the road since 2006 that he couldn't travel over the Cascades on Highway 58 and delay traffic by more than three vehicles at a time. The highway is a freight route fraught with narrow stretches and a tunnel. His slow-moving team could constitute a traffic hazard.
"It's more than a little frustrating," Crafton said of the situation. "But, I'm just going to live with it."
So, Crafton, 49, said he changed course and ended up in the Veneta area for about three months, where he helped thin an overgrown former Christmas tree orchard. He was a logger and rancher during his earlier life in Montana.
Crafton arrived back in Albany on Friday and spent until Monday camped out at Coastal Farm & Ranch. He said Sunday's windstorm "sounded like a freight train," but he felt fortunate to have his animals taken care of ahead of time. He spent Monday and Tuesday at the Pop's Branding Iron parking lot, and spent the night at Adair Village.
He plans to travel the Independence Highway and then take Highway 26 east. Crafton hopes to make the Atlantic Ocean by Christmas 2012.
His horses are bearing shaggy winter coats and are in good health after three months' rest.
A cancer survivor, Crafton says he has been taking better care of himself lately. He has cut back on sugary foods, especially sodas, and has dropped a few pounds since last fall.
Crafton's link to the outside world is his cellular phone with Internet connectivity, so he has been following the events occurring in Japan.
Crafton said he plans to eventually settle down permanently somewhere, perhaps Alaska or Canada, where he can establish a sustainable lifestyle.
But for now, he's content to take life a day at a time, even if that means a 4-month change of plans.
Information from: Albany Democrat-Herald, http://www.dhonline.com
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.