Adios Columbia Gorge

Friday, November 4, 2022

We left the hatchery around 0900 hrs. Our plan to travel through Hood River Valley and over the eastern shoulder of Mt. Hood on OR Highway 35 to US Highway 26 changed when we saw winter conditions going up on that route. Who wants to chance snow showers and slick roads when they don’t have to? So we instead headed east to The Dalles and south on Oregon 197 to US 97 at Madras. We drove through Redmond and Bend which are usually a traffic nightmare but not too bad this time.

We are met with snow at La Pine State Park

About 5 miles west of US 97 and before the town of La Pine is La Pine State Park, our home for the night. We pull into the campground and are greeted by 4″ of fresh snow! Gads…… We’ll just have to make do. It turned out not so bad. We had good power to run our electric heaters and when they weren’t effective due to the cold, our propane furnaces. The dogs like walking in the fresh snow and the roads were starting to clear so ice shouldn’t be a problem when we leave in the morning. The biggest problem for us electronic gizmo addicted folks was no internet connection. Five miles back on the highway wifi was strong, here it was non-existent. I found an over the air PBS TV channel that occupied my time- I’m not sure how Jil suffered through her electronic gizmo withdrawls except for her saying “We will not camp here again!” Interesting and kinda sad how addicted we become to our electronic toys.

The next morning was cold in the mid 20’s but not horrible. We walked the dogs on now crunchy snow and the roadways had cleared. Jil went to raise the leveling jacks, normally a manly task which require one to push a button, and three of four wouldn’t come up causing an alarm to sound. The alarm is a warning that the jacks haven’t stored properly so some bonehead like myself won’t attempt to drive off with them still deployed. I figure at least one of them is glued to the asphalt with ice and it was. The other two had cold water sprayed on them when we drove into the park creating 4″ long ice stalagmites between the foot and the retraction springs which prevented the pistons from retracting. A little chipping of ice with a crow bar and the jacks retracted just fine.

On our way again, the plan was to stay in Tulelake at the fairgrounds for the night. We stopped at Collier Memorial State Park’s day area to stretch and realized we’d be in Tulelake by noon- way too early to stop for the night. So we decided to continue on to Susanville RV Park which would add another 232 miles or so to this leg of the trip. It would also bring us home a day early. We decided to go for it. By the way, Collier Memorial State Park has an excellent logging museum!

Collier State Park’s wonderful Logging Museum

So off we go, skirting Klamath Falls, take a turnoff towards Oregon Highway 139 and a roundabout in the middle of farm country. Gads! Don’t these traffic engineers have anything better to do than build these miserable abominations out in the middle of nowhere? Anyhow we continue. Oregon 139 becomes CA 39 in California which leads us past Tulelake, CA (902 souls, down from 1010 souls) to US 299 and head east towards Alturas and US 395. Not the shortest rout but this route avoids a lot of twists and turns on mountain roads. Tulelake was the sight of two WWII interment camps, one for Italian and German POW’s and one for our own 18,000 US citizen Japanese descendants.

Downtown Canby, California

We stop in Canby (183 souls) a very small town with very little going for it when it is thriving- which it is not. Every visitor related business is shuttered, no more cafe, no more motel, only a hay broker and a USFS service yard.

Alturas California: Modoc County Courthouse; NCO office building

We hook a right in Alturas (2715 souls), seat of Modoc County and join US 395 southbound. Alturas is the last decent sized town before we get to Susanville for the night. We pass through Likely (53 souls- down from 63) which consists of a general store and a restaurant. Both were closed the last time we came through. This time they show signs of life. The road is good and scenery is high desert with mountains on one side and rolling hills on the other. Very nice.

We head through some volcanic rock strewn canyons, then downhill to the flats east of Susanville, paralleling the mountains to our north. We pull into Susanville RV Park around 1600 hours. I’m tired but not horribly. The dogs have a nice place to walk. Momma deer and her baby see the mutzos and scoot!

Downtown Susanville, California

Susanville (16,728 souls) is seat of Lassen County. It is a former logging and mining town, those industries were both effectively put out of business by environmental regulations. The city does have two state prisons that help keep it alive but one of them is slated to be closed soon. The population has already dropped over thousand souls since the last census. Who knows how many more will leave when that prison is closed?

Friday morning we head out passing Honey Lake. The lake is never more than 10 feet deep and this time of year can be dry. It’s dry…… and looks like a large grassy plain.

We pass through Doyle (530 souls). I don’t know why Doyle exists but it does. The cattle used in the Reno Rodeo come from Doyle but I’ve yet to see a cow anywhere near this place so they must hide back in the hills east of here.

Downtown Reno, NV

So after a 90 mile drive we head into the metropolis of Reno (264,000 souls). Traffic usually isn’t too horrible but a lot of road work is occurring on the interchange of its major highways- US 395 which turns into I-580 south of east/west Interstate 80. When the roadwork is finished traffic should flow more freely, I hope!

We arrive at home just before noon. Everything inside and out on the RV and our Subaru toad is filthy but our home is sparkling. Thanks Jim and Nancy for taking good care of our place! We have vehicles to clean and a lot of yard work to do before the snow flies. With that we’ll get to work and say Adios until our next adventure. Adios amigos!!

A little humor to share with y’all. There is some truth to this add- but I still love her!

6 thoughts on “Adios Columbia Gorge”

  1. Hi, guys! I’m so glad you are once again home safely. I enjoyed the blog and all the pics for 2022. Where are u off to next? We leave next Thurs for So Cal, drop off the pup, and then head to the islands for a month or so. Then home for Christmas where Steph and family will come for the week. We are home January. Then we do it again the first of Feb and head back to Maui for a few weeks. Trying to keep Terry and his cold feet warm so he doesn’t bug me about moving. . .again!!!! Sure hope we can get together in ’23. Let’s plan on it! Love u both so much! Julie


    1. Hi Julie! Glad you enjoy the blog. I enjoy writing it as well. Haven’t discussed next trip. We may well go back to the hatchery and involve some travel as well. Tell Terry to suck it up and buy some warm boots! If we are in your area next year we’ll give you a yell! Enjoy our 50th State! Mike


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