Thursday September 25, 2014 Motel 8 Room 134 Susanville, California
Left Klamath Falls after shopping for groceries at Fred Meyers—apparently part of the Kroger family of stores. It was still pretty cloudy and drizzly but sure enough within a few miles in California the sun came out and we had blue skies for most of the day. Navigation is getting pretty complex: forest fires, rain and wind and then last night there was talk of mudslides where the fires have devastated plant life and the soil has become sodden with rain. So, out with the route through Weed, forest fire, to Redding and down I 5 to Sacramento. And out with the coast road with impending heavy rains and wind. Decided to take 139 to Tule and then on to Susanville continuing to Reno, Nevada.
We would have made Reno but after seeing about three roads to the Lava Fields National Monument we decided to head out across the plains and check it out. Lots of lava—we are, after all, in the vicinity of famous dormant volcanoes: Mt St Helens, Hood, Shasta, Lassen,Crater. The California section of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The lava of this area flowed in ropey streams and formed huge tubes –as the tubes cooled and eroded openings form and some are quite deep or long—they are caves. Here in Lava Fields there are many caves and this is the primary interest in exploration here. Neither Barb nor I are cavers and we certainly don’t have an interest in bats—well, they are nice and keep insect populations down but I’m happy to appreciate them from afar. With its proximity to Tule and its Japanese-American internment camp used during WW II there were several books about the camp.
Barb and I had stopped outside the large fenced in area in the middle of nowhere in 2000 to read the monument describing the camp, which also had a POW component and a large farm worked by the inmates. There was nothing around and it was so empty and desolate. Well, there is more around it now. There is a visitors’ center which is closed after Labor Day, although there is not much to see inside the smaller fenced in area. Unfortunately, by building a school and other buildings around the area the sadness of the location is lost somehow. It doesn’t seem as remote and isolated as it must have felt when those poor people were crammed inside the barricades.
Now, at the Lava Fields Barb mentioned a book and author that she’d heard about on TV: George Tumaro and his Reflections. The young female ranger overheard her ask about it and was very excited since she has a great interest in the Tule story. She said that there is a Ranger station in Tule that has the book and gave us directions back into town through the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge. It was a lovely ride but the office was closed and so we still don’t have the book. As we left Tule, AGAIN, I happened to see a sign that said Klamath Falls was 32 miles away and we had already done 101 miles!!!!
No more stops before Reno! We went over three passes over 5000 ft high through the Sierra Nevada, crossed at least four high mountain valleys, went in and out of Modoc National Forest. and dropped 1000’s of feet over twisting, narrow road into Susanville. By this time, it was 6pm and we were most tired. So here we are a few miles short of Reno but well fed on cucumbers, orange pepper, and liverwurst and cheddar pita sandwiches.
Watching season premier of Bones—kind of dark and sad. Well,it is time to get some rest. We are off to Nevada tomorrow. Don’t think we’ll return to California until we get farther south. Now they are talking about snow on the passes and more rain. Groan. Oh, well, for now, it is good night from the sort of California girls---Golden and Gay—Kathy and Barb