May 30 Ashland II

We didn’t get much accomplished today. We took a spin over to Medford to find a Trader Joe’s once we started moving around the trailer. Medford has made a myriad of alleged improvements to their access roads near the freeway. Among the improvements are: total inability for GPS systems to find their location on the new improvements, stores that can be seen but remain inaccessible to motorists traveling over the improvements and entire sections of road where the traffic flows on the wrong sides of the road despite not reversing the steering to the left side. Streets that lead away from the freeway are not the same streets one uses to return to the freeway. I believe it required more time to find the Trader Joe’s and return to the adjacent freeway than it did to perform the shopping portion of the task. The freeway runs almost adjacent to the store but you can’t get there from here.

We did some cleanup and dumped the waste tanks so we won’t have to do these tasks tomorrow morning. We will depart tomorrow for points north.

May 29 Ashland

We had an open schedule for today so we mixed it up with errands and socializing. We started the day at a marijuana dispensary close to our RV park where I had purchased CBD oil in the past. The dispensary had none today so we gave up there. We also went to find a post office as directed by Google Maps. The map was very nice but, unfortunately, there was no post office at the location directed so we crapped out there, as well.

The day improved after that. Peggy’s niece and her husband have flexible work schedules so they were able to meet us at nearby Caldera Brewing where we sat down for some fine micro-brews and pretty good chow. We got to sit outside, looking east, and the scenery was superb. One big castle in the distance and mostly grass pastures on gentle hills leading right up into mountains.

We finished lunch and again went hunting for a post office. We found it in downtown Ashland, a very nice little city with handsome historic buildings lining the streets. Driving a bit further, we found a dispensary and were able to secure some CBD oil which we hope can help with Peggy’s painful arthritis in her hands. Arthritis in the hands is particularly cruel for Peg because she likes to sew and doing so hurts her. We hope the CBD will work on her such that she can again pursue her passion without pain.

May 28 Yreka to Ashland, OR

Yesterday was the Memorial Day holiday so we loafed around the trailer. We made a short foray to buy diesel. We started to dismantle our stuff for travel because we are departing from Waiiaka RV Park and the Yreka area tomorrow. We were mostly slugs.

Today we gathered up the remainer of our stuff, collapsed the slide-out rooms and hooked the trailer to the truck to continue our northward progress. Waiiaka RV Park was a great place to set up our temporary home and the area around Yreka was quite beautiful so we regret leaving that locale.

We drove about a half mile from the park and turned onto the on-ramp for I-5. While Yreka may only be at a 2500′ elevation, the mountains and passes around it are substantially taller. Right off the bat, I-5 starts climbing to cross a 3100′ pass, the last in California. We then crossed into Oregon and started climbing again to cross a 4100′ pass before starting a long, seven percent down grade into Ashland. Today was not one of our endurance drives – I think we went about 35 miles from Yreka to Ashland’s Creekside Campground south of the city.

The space assigned to us was a bit skinny but our main problem was one of configuration. If we parked far enough from the trees on one side of the trailer, a big truck rim repurposed as a fire ring was underneath our trailer and in the way of the rear stabilizer jacks. If we moved closer to the trees, our bottom step was into the fire ring, bad news for hobbling old goats like me. The trees were also then in the way of our slide-outs. Bummer.

We eventually contacted the desk and they sent over a guy named Gary, who suggested a simple solution: Gary would dig the truck rim/fireplace out of the ground and struggle to move it out of our way, fill the resulting hole with dirt and bring over a bucket of decomposed granite gravel to smooth out the site. He even raked it flat. We wiggled the trailer about such that the trees would fit between our slide-outs and we could get into the trailer without having to walk on coals. An excellent solution.

Our RV space has full hookups and cable TV, which is fortunate because the whole park is shaded by mature hardwood trees and satellite antenna operation is right out. We arrived so early today, because of the very short run from Yreka, that we had time to wander into nearby Medford where Peggy’s niece Christy, her hubby Ben and their two great kids, Jacob and Travis, live in a very nice house. We hobnobbed for quite a while and drank some Mimosas before sending Jake out to pick up Mexican food for dinner. I am terribly spoiled with superb Mexican food because our real house is right near the Mexican border and we travel to Mexico each year; both places have spoiled me. We are a long way from Mexico so the best I can say about the one try at local Mexican food is that it is okay.

Peggy’s relatives are much younger than us so we bailed out of their place before dark because those unfortunates still have to work in the morning. Hahahahaha.

May 26 Awaiting Race Night #2

The weather was a bit cloudy this morning but, as the day progressed, the clouds started to dissipate. We hung about the trailer today, just like yesterday, awaiting tonight’s races at the fairgrounds across the street. We know they are going to happen because the big, garish sign near the fairgrounds entrance had a very colorful advertisement touting races on the evenings of May 25 and May 26. Additionally, the possibly mistaken track announcer working during last night’s rained out event stated over the P.A. system that racing would be occuring tomorrow night, right here at the fairgrounds track. The track website also plainly shows racing on both the 25th and 26th. I had a slight doubt about the racing on a Sunday but the fairgrounds sign, the track announcer and the website couldn’t all told be wrong.

We (mostly me) primed ourselves by watching the Indianapolis 500 on TV in the morning, followed by the Monte Carlo Grand Prix race next and before the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race in the afternoon. We were about half way through the NASCAR race when it became evident that there might be a problem with tonight’s races at the fairgrounds. We didn’t hear any engines. There’s always engine noise before races.

Peggy sent me out to recon the situation so I hopped in the truck and drove over to the fairgrounds about an hour before the racing was so prominently shown to occur. The fairgrounds were locked up tighter than a drum. I drove around the back of the track and the pits were empty. The website, sign and track announcer, it turns out, were dead wrong I went back to our RV park and watched the last half of the 600 and some Bosch on Amazon Prime.

May 25 De Ol’ Folks at Home

Today our plan was to lay low around the trailer, saving up any sexagenarian energy for stock car races scheduled for tonight at the fairgrounds across the street from Waiiaka RV Park where we are currently camped. Our activity wasn’t entirely idle. We made a short foray into town to look at some very nice historical buildings and houses downtown. We stopped at WalMart and Peggy ran in and got us stocked up on liquor before we move on to the expensive liquor wastelands of Oregon and Washington. Oregon only sells liquor in state stores, one per city except Portland, where there are two. Little towns like Langlois, Mapleton or Bridge have neither liquor stores nor satisfied alkies. The stores in cities are notorious for being closed whenever one might be tempted to buy a bottle or drink and when they are open, their prices are a bit steep. In Washington, the stupid voters have allowed the state to collect sin taxes on liquor such that a 1.75 liter bottle of Irish Cream at Costco costing $14.95 + 9% sales tax in California is $31.95 + sales tax on the same bottle in Costcos in their beautiful state. Accordingly, Peggy snagged a half dozen bottles of Irish Cream and a couple fifths of Jack Daniel’s to get us through our proposed foray into points north. I suspect it will be insufficient to carry us through unless I quit aspiring to be a drunk but it should cut down on some expense. We also, quite by accident, found a nice guy selling tamales from under an Easy-Up in a parking lot and returned home to devour his tasty creations for lunch.

The time for the races was approaching. Unfortunately, our weather apps on our phones foretold of rain starting at roughly the same time as the racing. I suggested that weather forecasting we have sought, to date, has quite often been absolutely incorrect so we gathered up our butt pads, blankies and warm garb and drove across the street to a parking lot pretty close to the fairgrounds entrance. We strolled down the fairgrounds midway for a few hundred yards, eventually making it the ticket booth for the track.

Things started to get a little weird for the next part of our journey. I stepped up to the window to purchase our tickets and the first thing I noted was that the 30-something woman leering back at me was gritting her teeth and her eyes were apparently performing some form of ocular calisthenics, moving rapidly from place to place but not stopping anywhere to focus. She promptly asked “Two seniors?” I asked her how she knew and nodded. She then stated our tickets would be eight, instead of ten, dollars each and I forked over a twenty. She handed us two little blue tickets and thirteen dollars in change, jaw just a-grinding away. Puzzled, I mentioned that I was under the impression that elderly adult tickets were eight bucks a head, I was attempting to purchase two of said tickets and I suspected the quantity of change from my twenty might have been returned with a calculation error. I displayed the ten and three ones so she could see the denominations and she indicated she had it right. I replied that that was some senior discount they were offering – from ten bucks a head to three dollars and fifty cents. She googled her eyes at me for a few seconds and said that I was mistaken, senior tix sold for eight bucks a head. I told her I was attempting to buy two, even though she had already given us the two tickets and the change, calculated by some unfathomable arithmatic. Again, I fanned the thirteen dollars out on the counter and, all of the sudden, she had the look of discovered revelation and picked up one dollar from the change pile. I was trying not to just stiff ’em so I slowly and plainly mentioned to her that two eights was sixteen and sixteen from twenty was four. Her eyes almost quit moving for a couple seconds before she snatched the remaining twelve bucks off the counter, dug around in her cash drawer and returned with four dollars and a raised-eyebrows questioning look. I gave her my nicest smile and wandered into the track. I hope the racers were not counting on the gate proceeds, if any, for any of the prize money.

We could hear a heat race in progress while approaching the ticket booth and entered the grandstands to find a seat just in time for about five laps of old stock cars roaring around the track before it started to rain and the heat was called. It turns out the weatherman, in this case, was dead accurate with the skies opening up exactly as forecasted. The officials tried to dry the track but when cars got back onto it to attempt a race, they were mostly spinning and proceeding in unintended directions. The races were called for tonight. The track announcer indicated there would be races tomorrow night and those attending tonight could pick up free tickets for tomorrow on their way out. We waited until the line of folks standing in the rain shortened up and headed out to get our tix for tomorrow. As I approached the ticket booth, I was again obliged to deal with “Ol Swirly Eyes” and when I picked up my tickets, I asked if these new tickets would get me into tomorrow’s races. She ground her teeth for a second before stating unequivocally “I dunno.”

We walked back out to our truck in the drizzle. Fortunately, we didn’t have far to go.

May 24 Up the Klamath River

We went down the Klamath River from near Yreka yesterday so today we turned it around and went up the river. We hopped on the I-5 not far from our RV park and followed it for about 15 miles north where we turned off at Hornbrook. We found the Klamath, but not Hornbrook, and headed east along the north bank. The terrain was considerably flatter than the gorges we passed through further downriver but noted the road was slowly deteriorating as we went upstream. We started out on a nice paved road with lines down the center and fog lines on each side. After a couple dozen miles of admiring the river as it passed through meadows, we entered some more lumpy ground near the Iron Gate Reservoir.

The nice, reassuring lines on the road disappeared, along with about 8 feet of width as we climbed up and around Iron Gate Dam arriving at an absolutely stunning view of the lake behind the narrow earthen dam. There were big aquatic waterfowl everywhere; we spotted American pelicans, feeding and nesting osprey, abundant and enormous Forster’s terns, blue herons, snowy egrets and even a bald eagle. Along the road around the north side of the reservoir, we also spotted an army of squirrels and a small gopher snake sunning himself in the middle of the skinny but still paved road.

From the upper end of the reservoir we were again traveling along the north bank of the Klamath River to Copco where the road really went to doo-doo turning to a very narrow dirt road. A county sheriff pulled up next to us and hobnobbed for a while. We told him we were from Southern California and he replied that everybody was from points south here because we were only a few miles from the Oregon border. We inquired if the road continued further up the Klamath and around Copco Lake. He stated that it did but the road was quite narrow and dirt all the way to the other end of the lake. We felt game so we pressed on. He was right – the road did become very narrow, had considerable untrimmed roadside foliage including poison oak, was bumpy and in a few spots there were big mudholes on the road surface but we charged through and didn’t get stuck. Again, we were amazed at the abundant birds, all fat and happy dining on the lake’s fish. We also noted many turtles sunning themselves on partially submerged logs and rocks.

Once we made it to the east end of Copco Lake, we found paving again and followed it into a little group of houses near a bridge that would allow us to get to the south side of the lake. There were deer everywhere. We spotted both does and bucks. The does were obediantly following their fuzzy-antlered bucks around town and nibbling on the roadside grass. We crossed the bridge and started back west along the south shore of Lake Copco. Not much further up the road we came across a very large coyote that was disappearing into the brush, probably alerted to our impending arrival by our noisy diesel engine. Nearby were more deer who tried to hide behind a rancher’s antique Chevrolet truck apparently figuring since they could not see us that is was inconceivable that we could see them. Their ears stuck up above the bed and their tails were quite visible behind the chassis.

After a few miles we turned away from the lake and started across some beautiful agricultural land with stunning views of Mount Shasta out our left windows. Eventually, we found roads with adequate width and proper striping and followed them back through Ager and Montague to our park in Yreka.

Again we were fortunate to find an absolutely spectacular drive through the country around Yreka that up until a couple days ago we were unaware existed. All of the last few drives we have taken here offered up magnificent scenery and ample wildlife. We have seen so little that we will regret leaving here in a few days. We would be delighted to take the same drives again, maybe tomorrow.

Click the link to check out today’s pix.

May 23 Down the Klamath River

Our excursion for today took us down the Klamath River from near Yreka to the Seiad Valley. We wandered through Yreka on CA-3 for a bit before continuing onto CA-263 which wanders through a spectacular volcanic landscape. After about about 8 or 10 miles, we arrived at the intersection with CA-96 where we turned toward the coast, ambling along the north bank of the Klamath. The road is serpentine but the scenery spectacular down in the steep ravine the river has cut through the lava and basalt rock. We started the drive in mountain scrub, slowly transitioned to juniper-covered steep hillsides and by the time we got to Seiad Valley we were in dense redwood and Douglas fir forest. It is a magnificent drive if one has the time to really take a look so we putted along at about 25 miles an hour most of the way. We were obliged to pull over to let a few cars go by us since there are no passing lanes and our progress was sluggish.

Once in Seiad Valley, we realized we had gone too far to get back to Yreka without making a big circle over to nearly Eureka on the coast. Instead of turning our excursion into an endurance drive, we backtracked to the Scott River, a tributary of the Klamath, and turned south just east of the town of Hamburg after stopping by a federal campground and day-use area on the Klamath called Sarah Totten. We found a nice spot right next to the rushing river and had a nice apples and kippers lunch.

The Scott, which until today we were absolutely unaware existed, is actually a pretty substantial river. It is also almost completely passes through wilderness with virtually no other vehicles on the road and very few structures. The road was shit but the scenery was stunning offering views of some mountains covered with snow and extraordinary overlooks with the Scott far below.

After a couple hours, our route finally delivered us to a bucolic and handsome village called Fort Jones which seems to have possibly the only groceries for miles around. There we picked up CA-3 again, climbed over a 4000 foot pass and rolled almost all the rest of the way back into Yreka.

We had not really gone very many miles on today’s drive – maybe 70 or so. However, the terrain along the way is dramatic, the rivers are crystal-clear and there is abundant wildlife so I can recommend this excursion to anybody looking for a wonderful day of discovery.

Wetook some pictures along the way. To see them, click the link.

May 22 Mundane stuff

Today we did some chores. I dumped the waste tanks. Peggy fiddled around with some items in the trailer. We filled one of our propane cylinders. We did the laundry.

We were more active today than we were yesterday. Yesterday we watched old movies. I called my son in San Diego to help his computer-challenged father but he was getting ready for a calculus exam at school and was obliged to call me back today. I am such a ‘tard. Once he called back, Sam had my problem resolved in about 20 seconds; the same issue I had stared at and speculated about for a couple hours, even getting the help of the park office lady, Trish. We were both baffled but Sam came through and, therefore, you can see all our posts from the last half month.

May 20 Mt. Shasta

When driving here yesterday, we were unable to see Mount Shasta, a huge, probably dormant volcano that rises east of I-5. The clouds had it obscured yesterday but today the weather was clear with only a few puffy clouds. We took advantage of the weather and elected to go see Mt. Shasta from some rural locations northwest of this monster.

The entire summit and most of the steep portions of the shield around it were covered with ample snow. Many shield volcano cones were also visible and it was a wonderful drive. We passed by some very pretty ranches, a half dozen or more deer, lots of happily grazing cattle and huge expanses of juniper trees (they call them mountain cedar in Texas even though they ain’t cedars). We passed through an old town called Tailholt that once had stores, a saloon, a post office and some businesses along with a thriving community of folks living on large plots of land around town. There is nothing but fences, gravel roads and a nifty stone monument with a plaque now.

Once we got partway up the shield at 4,000′ elevation, we could look back into the valley through crystal-clear skies at the patchwork of volcanic terrain, beautiful pastures and Weed, Lake Shastina and Yreka below. It is really gorgeous here although it is still unseasonably cold at night. There is a bird that lives in the tree outside our trailer with an early rising habit. It starts merrily singing at around 4:45 in the morning, right at first light. It is okay, though. After I identified the culprit, I seemed to have acknowledged and then promptly ignored the gleeful chirping and went right back to sleep.

To see pix, click the link.

May 19 Corning to Yreka

Today we awoke to miserable hard rain and intermittent hail. Our scrutiny of the Weather Underground website on our phones indicated the rain might quit a bit later in the morning and made it simple for us to take it easy with our coffee and Irish Cream while we waited out the downpours. However, by about 0930 we were getting antsy and started our rigamarole for departure. Peggy was smart enough to accomplish her chores in the dry inside the Invader but I was obliged to go out into the rain and mud to disconnect our cable TV (which was shaky at this park) and retract the stabilizers. The very spot where we were forced to connect the truck to the trailer was awash in pools of water that wouldn’t drain due to creative grading of massive potholes by the park operators.

We finally got hooked up and tried to leave but, due to the miniscule RV spaces provided by the park, we had to ask one of the other tenants to move his car which he was only able to park in the road in front of his trailer. We eventually made it the exit for the park and turned west for a short drive to Interstate 5. Soon we were on our way north. We passed through Red Bluff and Redding where we noted the Siskiyou Range ahead of us was covered with a blanket of snow – in late May.

Fortunately, I-5 climbed toward the snow but never got into it although we did have some rain along the way. Rain or not, it is a beautiful drive along this interstate highway which skirts the Sacramento River. We blasted over the Lake Shasta Bridge, continued through Dunsmuir and Weed and, after some 160 miles, pulled into the Waiiaka RV Park across the interstate from the town of Yreka.

We have been here before. It is a very nice park with ample pull-thru spaces, full hookups and cable TV which is fortunate because it is situated in a grove of hardwood trees that offer ample shade but no satellite reception. It is also very quiet at night and it is across the street from the county fairgrounds where they have stock car races on Friday and Saturday night. There are lots of birds, some that are earlier risers than us.