Day 7: Time at the cultural mecca

We woke up early, partly because some guys were fishing at the lake in front of the trailer and Sadie had to bark at them, and partly because we had a lot to do today.

We had coffee and packed up the trailer and successfully navigated the ruts. Susanne seemed a bit less nervous this time.

We headed north to Cedarville through some very barren but beautiful territory. It is very interesting when you drive through these areas how most of the ranches look really sad, but every now and again you see one that is clearly doing well. I am sure it has a lot to do with water rights and the ability to irrigate.

We got to Cedarville, which was a quaint little town in the northeast corner of California, and pulled into the gas station. It said it was 24 hrs and had a car wash. Neither of these was true. The pump didn’t work and the car wash thing clearly hadn’t been used in a long time. The mud bucket would stay that way for a while longer. I don’t think I have ever been so excited to get a vehicle washed.

We turned on to Highway 299 and headed west. We found a gas station that was open and filled up. A lady in a RAM 2500 and horse trailer pulled into the other pump. She said “wow, that’s a lot of mud. Where did you pick that up from?” Her 2500 is for sale BTW, 12 years old and in good shape. She was quite friendly, obviously.

We climbed up a pass and dropped down toward Alturas. On the way down, I got to really test out the handling and braking on the truck. As we were coming down, two deer jumped out into the middle of the road; I had to brake hard but I really didn’t want to lock up the breaks. The gap was closing quickly and I decided better to hit them and take a little damage to the truck and not risk losing control. By the time I got to them, I was going about 30 mph. One jumped out of the way, the other was still running straight ahead. The gap narrowed to zero just as our speeds were equal. The truck tapped the deer on the butt and it turned and darted over the edge. Both deer and truck occupants were fine, outside of some elevated heart rates. Whew.

We made our way to Klamath Falls and found a self-service car wash with a high clearance that I could use to power wash the truck and the trailer. Susanne took the dogs for a walk while I worked on the mud removal. I started with $10 worth. That got me most of the truck. It took another $15 to get the trailer done. It was amazing how much mud was on there and it was like some weird gel cement.  After I was done, Susanne pointed out the sign that said “NO HEAVY MUD WASHING”.  Ooops. It really was a fairly thin but super-sticky layer of mud.

But the trailer was back to looking good as new.

We then headed over to the KOA to dump and fill. The water overflow valve fix seems to be working like a charm.

Next on the list was new tires and food. We decided to head to the Walmart where we knew it would be easy to park the trailer while we got tires. It was a HUGE Walmart. I mean, most Walmarts are huge, but this one was a Donald Trumpian HUGE. It had a both a grocery store and auto center. To make our lives easy, we decided to just get the tires at Walmart.

The fun part was that we got to hang out in the Klamath Falls Walmart for some extended quality time. I can tell you that the people-watching was worth it. Definitely a hub of cultural sophistication. And wow, the tattoos! Luckily, the tire center wasn’t super busy, so it was only about 1.5 hours, otherwise I think I would have taken up smoking to fit in better.

We headed out to Howard Prairie Lake to our campground. We made a wrong turn and had to reroute (or Google rerouted us) down an access road. Generally it was a good road, but there had clearly been a big windstorm and trees were down all over the place, so it was a bit of obstacle course. Susanne was not amused. We are about ready to fire Google Maps…

The campground is nice, but pretty packed in. The lake has a beautiful view of Mt. Ashland. It was blowing about 40 MPH and pretty cold when we showed up. Brrrr. This trip has been much cooler than expected thus far.

It was a rough contrast to Notch Peak, and it was a bit hard to be in place that has 20 people right next to you. Especially with our reactive dogs. But it is all good (other than the dudes showing up at 3 am next to us) and we will have a nice day tomorrow hiking, biking, and SUPing.

Oh, and Susanne beat me at Scrabble again, so she’s ahead now. However she cheated, by playing a non-seven letter word. I have appealed the loss to the governing body of Scrabble.

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