October 11 Chores in Yreka

Today was not exciting for us wanderers. The laundry had stacked up some and the waste tanks were full and the on-board water tank was empty. Since last night was another chilly one, we waited to address our miserable but necessary chores until the outside temperatures went above 50.

Peggy generously took all the dirty clothes to the site laundry and made them undirty. I did a dookie dump and filled up the on-board water tank. I am such a feeble old geezer that things that back in the old days I could whip out in minutes now require substantially more time to avoid clumsy falls, gruesome head wounds from not looking where I am going and bloody scrapes and jabs from being unobservant or finding new, previously unknown trailer sharp spots. Nevertheless, I am quite reluctant to give up this lifestyle because a moderate amount of gimpy stride and blood loss are no match for the wonders out on the road.

October 10 State of Jefferson

It was supposed to be really cold last night but the weather guys flubbed it. It was forecast to be 20 degrees or a bit lower but it never dropped below a balmy 32. However, it is gorgeous outside during the day. Today we took a spin through what some local people and businesses refer to as the State of Jefferson*. In regular English, the part we went exploring in today was in the State of California on the northwest side of Mount Shasta.

It is a gorgeous assortment of jagged volcanic cliffs, rolling hills with juniper trees and sagey stuff, some pine forest, flat grass pasturelands filled with many cattle and some deer, all overshadowed by the massive volcano Mount Shasta to the southeast. Mount Shasta makes the surrounding mountains look like pimples on an arid landscape.

We started out by driving due east from Yreka on CA-3 through Montague where the road name changed to Ball Mountain Little Shasta Road (imagine that in your return address). After a few miles, the road turns a few times before transforming again, this time into Lower Little Shasta Road. Not much further on, the name changed again into Harry Cash Road, turning and heading almost due south toward Mt. Shasta. The volcano is a whopper and filled up the whole windshield.

After more pleasant driving, we intersected US-97 and turned southwest toward the mountain town of Weed. We only went the wrong way a little bit before finding our way through town and onto Old Highway 99S which wanders along the western edge of the enormous valley and west of I-5. We cruised up this fine rural road back to Yreka. It was a spectacular drive.

*The State of Jefferson is apparently a group of folks with extensive farm and ranch land holdings, plus Trump voters and conspiracy loonies that want to have some southern Oregon and northern California rural counties secede, forming a 51st state. Consulting their website, I found that the folks wanting to secede allege that the California government is somehow filled with traitors, commies, girls, Deep State secret operatives, extraterrestrial visitors, immigrants, Democrats and other people that aren’t rich, white & Trumpies. The State of Jeffersonians want them gone and to have their own state where gerrymandering would be pointless. There was no information regarding the massive road, farm and business subsidies the state gives them and what would happen once they no longer had the massive tax bases to keep them in cops, roads forests, farms, ranches and businesses. They should probably give their proposed rebel state a more appropriate name like State of Ignorance, Incontinence, Insanity or National Socialists.

To make it even better, a further search of the internet unveiled an interesting tidbit about Mount Shasta: It is rated #5 of volcanoes most likely to erupt in the United States. St. Helens and Kilauea have already met their obligation and Mt. Hood and Mount Shasta are scheduled next. If eruption occurs here, and it will, the whole State of Jefferson with be within the new State of Incineration or Immolation.

October 9 Sluggish in Yreka

Today we were quite sluggish. I took the outdoor portion of our water system and used it to fill the on-board water tanks and then drained all the outside gear, folded it up and put it in one of our on-board, heated storage compartments because it is supposed to be around 20 degrees tonight. Having our exterior hoses, regulators and filters break in frigid temperatures is disappointing and bad. We have tricked the weather and removed our fragile gear from exposure to below-freezing environments and into cozy warmth, at least until nighttime temperatures go back to being reasonable.

Peggy made us a spiffy Caesar salad today and is roasting vegetables for tonight’s meal. It smells terrific in our traveling home. We spent part of the rest of the day watching news programs so we can watch Trump squirm, tweet and weasel about. It would be quite comical if it wasn’t so repugnant. Maybe he’ll do the right thing and be gone.

October 8 Bend to Yreka

The Bend area is magnificent for scenery, there are ample shopping opportunities, a variety of great restaurants and an assortment of attractions adequate to address any tastes. This year, however, our time here has had mostly sunny skies but it has been miserably (for us) cold. During this visit, we didn’t get out of the trailer much except to go to other heated indoor venues or cruise in the heated truck because we are wimps and uncomfortable in temperatures down around freezing.

Today we left the truly gorgeous but currently frigid area and continued our trip toward warmer climes. We drove a few miles east to US-97 and turned toward California. It is a gorgeous, although chilly, highway that passes through alternating high grass prairies and hilly, forested slopes.We passed through the small Oregon towns of La Pine, Chemult and Chiloquin before pulling over in Klamath Falls after about a two-hour drive. Klamath should maybe called Klamath Lake because we didn’t see any falls around, particularly because the surrounding territory is mostly flat. We stopped to pick up as much fuel as we could carry because we soon crossed the border into CA and diesel prices instantly went up about 95 cents per gallon. We also enjoyed the superb luxury of having an attendant pump the fuel as required by law in Oregon and have become resigned to pump our own for a while.

Shortly after crossing into California, we entered the tiny town of Dorris where the US-97 route obliges all motorists to drive down the main and only streets and around a couple of 15 mph curves before allowing traffic to resume highway speeds. Unfortunately, right after we got Charlotte and the Barbarian Invader up to speed, we were stopped again and necked into an official-looking building where a nice lady in all her clothes asked us if we were smuggling produce or livestock turds. We answered that we weren’t and were quickly waved through to continue toward the California town of Weed. We wandered through more high prairie countryside before starting a long decline from around 4500 feet, passing right next to the stratovolcano Shasta, which was amply covered with snow. We continued our descent until we were maybe 10 miles from Weed where we turned northwest off on a two-lane blacktop road through the last of the pines and into the juniper forests. At the other end we popped out on I-5 where we went north to Yreka and the Waiiaka RV park where we have stayed a few times previously. They have a very orderly and clean facility with cable TV, screaming WiFi and full hookups. The staff is very nice and when we arrived, they already had an envelope outside the office with our space number, receipts and assorted blurbs from local businesses. I think Yreka is at about 2500 feet.

Most importantly, it was 71 degrees when we arrived, only about 40 degrees warmer than where we started today’s trip. According to the weather report, it will still be around freezing at night here but we have heaters. The skies are crystal clear and a most attractive blue without any hazy stuff in sight.

Peggy got a few snapshots out the truck window as we drove south. Click the link. https://photos.app.goo.gl/6rHRRJQv31zzaB2z5

October 7 The last full day in Bend

Today we prepped for tomorrow’s departure from freezing by starting with a farewell breakfast at Jake’s. The best chicken fried steak I’ve ever had is served here and I will miss it until I return.

The rest of the day we were at Costco, Trader Joe’s and Fred Meyer for diesel before we leave tomorrow. We have so much food, it will barely fit in the available space.

October 6 Newberry Crater

Today all Peggy’s relatives over in a rental in Sunriver had extended deliberations about what they were going to do but Peg’s sister finally got freed up after noon and we went over to pick her up for a spin up into Newberry Crater. It is a National Monument that consists of an enormous caldera from an extinct volcano. It seemed like there was a lot of lava, basalt and obsidian around here.

All the way down in the Monument’s southeast corner is Mount Paulina (actually a big pointy edge of the the caldera), Paulina Lake and East Lake. Near the south edge of East Lake, we crossed a bridge over the control gate for the lake outflow where trout or Kokanee were furiously breeding in the calm eddy above the heavy steel gate. We also stopped off at an enormous ridge of obsidian, appropriately called The Big Obsidian Flow. This was a poor place to hike off the trail unless one wants to suffer serious and substantial lacerations if they trip or stray into the shards.

We also visited another corner of the Monument, Lava Butte. It is an almost perfect cone of bizarrely shaped chunks of lava cinder that blew out of the cone for thousands of years. There is a spiral road from the park entrance booth at the base that circles upward around the Butte in a long decreasing radius curve to the left, going around one-and-a-half times before arriving at a tiny parking lot atop the big, black pile. The parking lot at the top is some 500′ higher than the parking lot at the bottom. At the top of the Butte, there is a conical hole where the lava contracted back down into the underworld. The top is relatively free of trees and the views from the Butte are outstanding. The docent pointed out all the mountains and volcanoes in a big stretch of the Cascades, from Mount Adams, 150 miles away in Washington all the way down to Mount Mazama, home to Crater Lake in southern Oregon. It is definitely worth the $5 to get in, although we got in for free by using our federal geezer pass.

We took a few pictures. To see ’em, click the link. https://photos.app.goo.gl/oawm8Tmvyy9kCdeK6

October 5 Aiiiieee- relatives

My beloved wife, Peggy, came from a big family and has what seems like an almost uncountable number of kinfolk. One of them, Peg’s sister, Kathy, has rented an airB&B house in nearby Sunriver and brought along a myriad of kids and grandkids and boyfriends and spouses. We popped over to hobnob with them for the day. When I left, I actually knew some of their names.

October 4 Bend TT

The weather, which was too rainy when we were further north, has changed. There is no rain but the outside temperatures are lower than we expected. It has been below freezing at night, which is about 35 degrees cooler than we like it. The skies have been brilliantly clear. It was 28 degrees.

Today our propane regulator, which feeds our furnace and automatically switches from an empty tank to a full one, went haywire. It was timely, however. It did not fail when it was really cold early this morning, choosing to take a dump in the early dawn light. We lit up our cell phones and found a RV parts house that was open on Saturday less than 25 miles away, in Bend.

About $60 later, we returned with the new regulator and installed it. Strangely, it worked right off and we were pleasantly surprised and completely astonished. We can now do nice stuff like running our furnace, heating water, cooking our food and, when we are not hooked up to shore power, keeping our refrigerator and freezer cold. I’m glad it wasn’t Sunday, when RV stores are almost universally closed.

October 3 Into Bend

Bend is not more than about 15 miles from our campground. We hung out in our trailer until it got above freezing and nearly freezing before darting from the trailer to the truck for a spin up to Jake’s, a great Bend institution that serves breakfast and lunch. Their chicken fried steak is both enormous and tasty and Peggy likes eating there, too. Peggy ended up bringing some of her ample breakfast home in a box, unable to eat the generous portions at one sitting.

We (Peggy) also went grocery shopping with the intent of acquiring enough food to feed a big clan of relatives that are also going to be in Bend this weekend. Based on the volume of the groceries we packed into our trailer, I believe she succeeded.

It is still pretty cold except when you can find a spot in the direct sun with no breeze. Everywhere else is a bit bracing. It is inconvenient because my T-shirts and shorts do a poor job of keeping my arms and legs warm. Peggy wears multiple pairs of pants, layered shirts, wooly sweaters and coats, all at the same time, so she may be happier in the outdoors here.

October 2 Cove Palisades to Sunriver

Today we were on the road again, leaving the absolutely gorgeous Cove Palisades State Park and continuing south on US-97. We cruised through some more marijuana* fields as we made our way through Terrabonne, Redmond, Bend and Sunriver before turning off onto the two-lane blacktop roads to the Bend/Sunriver Thousand Trails Preserve. Thanks to our TT membership, we get to stay here for free but it certainly isn’t as nice as the place we stayed last night.

We found one of the few RV spaces with only a partially blocked view to the south which gives us rudimentary satellite TV reception but almost surgically eliminates most of the channels that offer viewing without religious fervor, discussions of the frequency of bowel movements or paste jewelry with long, official GIA-sounding but fabricated names. We’ll have to find other entertainment. It seems pretty unlikely we will find any outdoors because it is still chilly during the day and freezing at night.

Nevertheless, we are quite cozy in our Barbarian Invader and we have superb food stores. We also have Red Dead Redemption II to fill some of the idle hours.

*Some of the local folks we chatted with in the state park tried to tell us that the things we were seeing were hemp plants. Since hemp fibers come from the stems, I am doubtful the plants are hemp because they are very short, have enormous, luscious-looking colas and reek of Da Kine when passing downwind of the production. If it’s hemp, I want a hemp shirt so everyone could think I smell like a skunk.

Two pix. Click the link. https://photos.app.goo.gl/MyRVwgMCe17sWn2o9