"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

San Dunes and Coffin Races OR/CA

Lakeview, OR
Lake County Fairgrounds
Susanville, CA
Diamond Mountain Casino

The scenery along 395 in Oregon is stark, but very beautiful.  Mostly it was dry, open range land but we came upon some sand dunes that we were surprised to see.  The Sand Dunes Wilderness Study Area contains about 16K acres and are consist of unstabilized sand dunes, which rise to a maximum height of about 60 feet
Continuing south you come upon Lake Abert. It's is a large, shallow alkali lake approximately 15 miles long and only 10 feet deep.

The east side of Lake Abert is bounded by Abert Rim, a steep escarpment that rises over 2,500 above the lake surface. The lake is bordered on the west by a long ridge called Coglan Buttes and on the north by the Coleman Hills. The lake's only year-around source of fresh water comes from the Chewaucan River, which flows into the lake from the south.

 Loved the cloud reflections in the lake.

We drive past more large ranches on the way to our stopping point.

It was getting late and we decided in advance we'd stay at the Lake County Fairgrounds for the night.  We didn't unhook.  Just had some leftovers and went to bed as it's getting darker sooner now.  We'd be up early to head out. $5 for the dry camping and dump station. 

It's only 15miles to the California border.

As the sun was coming up it appeared that there was an area of low fog ahead.

As we drove through it though we wondered if it was from what looked like hot springs.
We figured on staying at the Diamond Mountain Casino for the night.  I wasn't too keen on it as it was much smaller than I thought with an uneven parking area.  We talked to management and they told us we could park in the lower corner near the coffee/cigarette shop.  If you look at the above photo, that's the coffee shop I'm standing next too.  Very close.  We were allowed to plug into their 20amp power on the light pole. After taking with our friends, Lee & Trace, they told us we should stay for the Coffin Races on Halloween.  We figured we would.
 Since we didn't unhook we took the bus to Main St.  Our driver was really nice and we enjoyed the colorful banter of the locals on the bus.
 The street was lined with Trick-or-Treaters that provided goodies from the local businesses.
 They did some practice runs for the coffin races.

Coffin Races
 The doggies were dressed up too.  Costumes everywhere.

So many cute ones except this one (below).  Pretty creepy.

Lots of dancing too.  We decided to pop in for a drink before heading back to the casino for dinner.
We decided to just have a few appetizers then call it a day.  Since we made such good time getting back to California and the weather for the next few days were going to be sunny, we decided to make a short side trip to Carson City and use our Nevada State Park Pass one last time for free camping before it expires at the end of the year.  This way we could also visit a couple of friends once more and visit the Carson City Mint again.

 Another great drive before settling into a new to us Nevada State Park.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Quick Stops & Crazy Clouds - ID/OR

Parma, Idaho
Old Fort Boise City Park
Riley, Oregon
Chickahominy Reservoir BLM

As we head back to California for the holidays, our stays will be 1 and 2 nighters mostly with drives of 2 - 3 hours.  We end our zig-zagging through Idaho and Oregon.  Once we hit Highway 395 it will take us straight south through Eastern California.
The City Park has less than 10 campsites with W/E.  There are plenty of sites that will hold a 40+ foot rig.  A dump station is on the grounds also.  $15 a night.  As usual, the water was shut off for the season but there was a working fresh water at the dump station.  5 bars of Verizon LTE.  There are a few interesting restaurants but we did not try any.
While Parma has a population of less than 2000 and is very rural, we had a couple of reasons to stay here at the tiny county park besides being convenient.  There is Old Fort Boise right on the same grounds as the City Park.
The Snake River washed away the last location of the fort and it has been rebuilt here.  It was much smaller than we thought and closed for the season.  Figures.
The other fun thing we hoped to do was go to the Motor-Vu Drive In.  It's been family owned and run since 1944.
 Above is what we hoped to find.  Below is what we found.  Bummer.  Struck out again!!
 It closed the weekend before we got here.
 Goodnight and goodbye Idaho.
Today would be a couple hour drive to Chickahominy Reservoir to stay on some BLM land. The weather was scheduled for rain, wind and cold temps.  We were half way there when we saw a strange pink color to the sky ahead.  It's too early for sunset?  Turned out to be a fire blowing by in the west.
 There were some beautiful blue skies with some very angry clouds blowing over the plains.
As we topped another hill, we could see what looked like a huge dust storm ahead.  The winds were hitting us sideways at this point.  Steve was not enjoying the drive.
Then we passed through that a huge storm that left a gorgeous rainbow and hopefully helped those fires.

 The rain ended and while it got very cold the clouds were getting ready to make some magic.
There is nothing out this way for hours but just a couple of miles past the cutoff for 395 is the Chickahominy Reservoir.  Even though it's right off the roadway, you cannot see it until you turn off.  It's run by BLM and is normally $8 to camp but free during the off season.  Yay!  There are outhouses and no water, electric, dump or garbage so come prepared.  There are many campsites and a few right on the water.   Verizon was great!
There were picnic tables with canopies and fire rings.  We were glad to be able to have a fire or two since we've been in fire bans for a while now.  We needed to burn up the last of our wood before crossing into California. The wind stopped and the remaining clouds made beautiful work out of the sunset.

Lava rock all around.  The water levels were low but not bad.  We hoped to get the kayak out but it was just too cold and the next day it rained again.
That's us looking back to our rig with the lake behind me.  You can see our new neighbor to the far left.  We were the only two here. You could hear faint traffic and lots of coyotes.

Great shot of the rig through the canopy.
And that's a wrap for Oregon.  Tomorrow we'll be entering California.