Hike to Oregon Blue Mountains
by Mike Spadafora
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Last week my friend Miki and I spent the week hiking in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon following an old line there. The line, dismantled in 1995-96 was built in 1907 to provide power to the gold mines in the town of Borne. When the line was dismantled in 1995 and many beautiful classic multipart lima insulators were destroyed making it a real historical travesty!!!! The forest service ordered the line crews to remove and destroy everything related to the line except the bare wood poles that were left to decompose on the line route. Up until 1995 nearly everything on the line itself and the wood poles dated from 1907. Today the line id bare of nearly all evidence except the wood poles. The line primarily used the M-3285 Made by the Lima Insulator Co (1904-08). Myself, being a big Fred Locke fan, am always interested to learn and discover things related to him. Lima was owned by the Locke family.. Very little in the way of insulators are there to find on this line but we thought we'd try anyhow. So we picked the most rugged inaccessible places to look and got lucky. Here is the line route heading south west off into the distance down from a 7200 foot pass through a totally road less area. we got here by hiking cross country along a ridge for about two miles through dense woods and some snow. It is late spring here and the snow is still in the woods in places one day it actually snowed on us although it was June! The next 8 photos are from this hike and hunt. Some important finds were given to the local power plant museum at the start of this line
Hiking around the ridge top you find allot of bare cut up poles.
We often found insulator fragments at each pole site but rarely enough to make a complete multipart shell or a complete "Kitsulator", which is an insulator reconstructed from it's original parts.
Finaly we found a few poles that had not been cleaned up. Down in the bushes I see a set of unbroken lower skirts.
Nearby I see a skirt protruding from the dirt. When I pulled it up it happened to have the rest of the insulator still attached... in MINT condition!!! WOWW was I happy ... Our first good one.
And here it is after some cleaning...a mint M-3285 Lima.
Another Lima... this turned out to be a complete repairable insulator. We found three good Limas and enough parts to make two more kits. We also picked up a few pins as well.
Here is what the skirts of a M-3285 looks like separately. Note the bell-shaped middle. The long inner skirt is the same as the skirt of the M-2640
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