October 31, 2018
Bend Oregon to Home
Today’s date: December 16, 2018
As the title implies it’s been a while since I’ve published a Jilnmike post. It also significant in that it’s been a while since we’ve been home, about two and a half months, but we are home now. We traveled from Bend to our home in Reno back in late October, arriving on Halloween.
A short recap of the insanely long entry that follows. I should have made two posts but I’m lazy, OK?
We left Bend, OR and there was snow on the ground. Our intent was to travel half of the 400 miles to Reno, spend the night and get a fresh start the next morning. We could have camped a night at Sully’s RV Park in Alturas, CA but it was still early. We elected to stay the night in Likely, CA, about 20 miles south of Alturas at the Likely Place Golf and RV Resort as it has a lot to offer. The doggies are free to roam the golf course and the scenery there is just drop dead gorgeous.
We take a left in the almost non-existent town of Likely (pop. 63 souls, a general store and a cafe) and drive a couple of miles past cows and pastureland to the entrance. It’s closed for the season. Rats! Now we have a choice 1) backtrack 20 miles to Sully’s or 2) continue on. And on. And on. We finally retired for the night at the Susanville RV Park, a mere 330 miles from Bend. The next morning we drove the 90 miles home where we are today.
Now for the complete version:
This morning is getaway day. As normal we pick up and pack up, move the slide rooms in, fire up the engine, raise the leveling jacks and oh, oh, the passenger side bedroom slide balks at coming fully retracted. I jockey it in and out several times utilizing the switch until it fits flush. Whew, we don’t want to have problems on our next to the last day on the road! It wasn’t our only problem here at Crown Villa RV Resort- our clothes dryer took a dump too so our soaking wet washed clothes were hand carried over to the Resort’s laundromat and dried there.
Our plan is to find an overnight stop somewhere around the 200 mile mark on our 420 trip home. Well you know how that goes. More on that later. When we left Bend we decided to take a new route. Oregon Highway 31’s junction with US 97 is just south of La Pine, OR. As we travel down US 97 a dusting of fresh snow lies on the ground. We are leaving just in time…….
Highway 31 takes us through pine country. This is considered high desert but it sure doesn’t look like it. We travel for miles through the pines until the road drops us down to lower scrub and brush covered valleys that are quite a contrast to what we had been through. Not many folks use this road, mostly locals and a few truckers. That makes a pleasant, relaxing journey.
It’s 50 miles of seemingly uninhabited country between La Pine (1690 souls) and the bustling town of Silver Lake (149 souls). Of course there are, they just aren’t visible from the highway. Ranches and other small communities nearby such as Christmas Valley (1700 souls), which is not on our route, and Fort Rock. Not much information on Fort Rock. Whatever used to be no longer exists. There is Fort Rock State recreation area nearby. According to Oregon’s write up- “Like a desert mirage, this National Natural Landmark rises huge out of the barren, immense flatness of Oregon’s high desert”.
Silver Lake Oregon
Next is the burg of Summer Lake (pop. 90), discovered by John C. Fremont in 1843 on a mapping expedition. The town is tiny but the nearby shallow Summer Lake is huge measuring 5 by 15 miles at high water!
Approximately 130 miles from Bend is Paisley (243 souls). Paisley is by far the most “complete” town on highway 31. It hosts the annual “Mosquito Festival” at the end of July and is home to the Paisley Players Community Theater. It’s has more of a community feel than any of the other towns thus far on highway 31.
We join US Highway 397 at Valley Falls and continue to Lakeview, a sizable town of 2300 folks. It has more a big town feel than any community since leaving Bend. It should as it is the seat of Lake County. Civilization! It calls itself the “tallest town in Oregon” due to it’s 4800′ elevation.
Lakeview, OR (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Next we pass by Goose Lake which lies on the Oregon/Kali-fornia border. The lake has a semi-closed drainage system but has been known to drain into the Pit River on rare occasions. A large lake, it measures 9 by 26 miles at high water.
Downtown Alturas, CA
Our halfway point comes at the city of Alturas, CA (2800 souls). This place is the seat of Modoc County. We stop at their nice community park and walk the dogs. Sully’s RV Park is within sight. We decide to grab some coffee and walk a couple of blocks to an old section of downtown that just happens to have a Starbucks coffee shop. We decide to push on to the little burg of Likely.
Likely (63 souls). Doesn’t sound like much and isn’t today. BUT in yesteryear it had quite a history. Likely now occupies the sight of a Pitt River Indian Village. The town was known as South Fork but renamed under the insistence of the US Post Office that if South Fork wanted a post office it had to have a one word name. So the locals took a vote and named the place Likely. One of the last American Indian Wars was fought a short distance away. In the past the flourishing Likely Peat Moss Company was the major player in town besides ranching. It operated until 1987 when the peat moss supply was depleted. Peat moss was shipped via truck and train via Likely’s own train depot. Like the peat moss company, the railroad is no longer a part of Likely.
Today tourism and ranching are the main economic drivers. The locals have a long running joke that the gross national product of this part of Modoc County is your choice of: rocks, junipers, or sagebrush. A couple of miles off of the main drag is the Likely Place Golf and RV Resort. We drive a 2 lane country road lined with barbed wire fences and lots of beef cattle.
Likely Place Golf and RV Resort
The plan- spending the night there but the gate is closed. What the? Closed for the season? Oh No! So either we double back to Sully’s RV Park or continue on. There’s gotta be an RV Park between Likely and Susanville right off of US 395. Well guess what folks, there ain’t! So we push the additional 85 miles with a nasty cross wind blowing. Not having a decent shoulder on the road makes it even more difficult as the wind keeps pushing us towards the abyss. The road takes us through high valleys, then down the shoulder of deep canyons strewn with volcanic rock outcroppings. We eventually wind our way down to the flats near Honey Lake and mosey over to the Susanville RV Park. We traveled 330 miles today. Ahh, we only overshot our halfway midpoint stop by 125 miles!
We look forward to a quiet and restful stay and it is. Well, almost. I’ll explain. The RV park has a dog walk which is adjacent to a residential area. What separates the two is a ditch and very high grass, like four to five foot high grass. I’m walking our 80 pound lab when this doe mule deer saunters out of the grass and scares the living bejesus out of her and startles me. She turns and stares at us from 100 feet away. We stare back for a moment then turn towards the RV. Out of the grass right in front of us bounds a three prong buck! We must have disturbed them while they relaxed in the grass.
Bright and early Halloween morning we pull up stakes and head the 85 or so miles home. This leg of the trip was uneventful. As we approached Reno the downtown casinos come into view. It’s quite a sight after driving through all those small towns.
All you RV’ers know that once home the work just begins. The house is clean and in good shape. Our house sitters always leave the place spic and span. But we do have to unload the rig, clean the rig, dump the tanks, top off the fuel tank, then take it to the storage yard. That’s about a day and a half to two days worth of work. Next, retrieve 2.5 months worth of mail that has accumulated and sort through it all. Three shopping bags full of junk mail are deposited in the recycle bin. Outside most of our shrubs need pruning as well as the roses. Trees have been shedding their leaves in preparation for winter. We rake up our tree’s leaves as well as leaves that have been blown onto our property from elsewhere. The place looks pretty good now.
In conclusion, Jil and I had another great trip. We saw new things, enjoyed visiting with family and friends and working with old friends. The new to us RV is comfortable to live in for extended periods of time. Compared to our old set up, truck pulling 5th wheel, the truck/5th wheel combination was easier to drive in the wind, but our Class A motorhome diesel pusher is a little more convenient during actual travel as everything you need- food, the throne, etc. are right in your coach. One doesn’t have to pull over and stop to gain access to them although that’s what we do most of the time for safety reasons.
And this coach is a lot tighter and easier to heat and cool than our 5th wheel with no drafts that I have detected. Fuel mileage is not quite as good as the truck’s mileage but it is what I expected. A plus is the coach has a 100 gallon tank which allows us to easily travel 600 miles without running the fuel down to an uncomfortable level. The take away is that it is a 100 gallon fuel tank. You don’t have to fill it very often- but when you do……… Just hope when traveling in Kali-fornia’s high priced fuel market that your rig doesn’t get too thirsty. A take away common to both set ups is finding fueling station that can accommodate the very tall and very long. That can be tricky.
The good thing about delaying a travel blog post is that I can give you a sneak preview of things to come. We have volunteered once again and will be working with the Samaritan’s Purse organization at the Camp Fire that destroyed the entire town of Paradise CA. We’ll be helping folks who have lost their homes and their cherished belongings in that disastrous fire. From there we’ll be heading south until late winter/early spring (See photos below for a reason to head South).
Until we meet again, Via Con Dios my friends………..
Mr. Doyle is a snow magnet!
Third snowfall of the season