Klamath Nat’l Forest: CLOSED!

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Restocked, big time.

It took just under and hour to reach Yreka from the snowy peak of Mt. Shasta and to find a giant Walmart to restock my supplies.

This time, I wasn’t so picky about buying foods that needed refrigeration—the inside of the Sienna is purdy near inside-a-refrigerator-temperatures most of the time!

Yup, I got some meat and fish—for some bear-repelling yellow curry rice (see earlier post)—and even some things that say “refrigerate after opening”—along with a large assortment of non-perishable soups, veggies, snacks, water, etc and more propane!

had to get some chili—without beans (people, real chili doesn’t have beans!). That includes three cans of Folger’s “Black Silk” and several boxes of Mini-Moos! Mmm, coffee!

The State of Jefferson

I had already seen a Discovery Channel show about “States that never were” and here I am in one of them! There are entire roofs on farm structures that are proudly painted “State of Jefferson” and I’ve spotted some highway signs that say the same (no doubt, some local is using some of my California road taxes to make and post those signs!).

“Jefferson proponents contend that their rural areas lack adequate representation in state government, which has led to over-regulation and environmental policies that decimated their regional economies, particularly the logging and mining industries that historically supported them. Their seal bears an XX, signifying that they have been double-crossed by state government.”—Sacramento Bee

It’s obvious how far north I am now: motels no longer have “motel” signage! They’re all “lodges.” And the bear themed everything: at this very moment, I am using a very poor Burger King WiFi with the Black Bear Diner right next door!

The flannel.

Oh, the flannel! Man, I must have been just stupid not to have had flannel sheets up to now! I could feel their warmth while I was making the bed. And last night—by far—was the warmest night I have spent on the road. Even if you live inside, go get some (Big Lots, $20); you won’t regret it!

They’ve even got a “Christmasy” pattern that totally melds with the cold weather and the newly fallen snow.

Snow!

The mechanical weather voice was spot on this time and the silence brought on by a one-inch blanket of the stuff on the ground was awesome! I really do love snow—just not on mountain roads!

Last night was something special for me, though: my intended destination campground, Tree of Heaven, was closed when I arrived.

Closed!

Ohh U.S. Forest Service, why close a cold-weather campsite unless it’s impassible!? Cold, snowy, slick, yes. But, impassible? No.

The Sienna is a front-wheel drive minivan—and I’m heavy in the back, with a steel bed frame, twin mattress, the rest of my stuff and all of those cans!

It’s not a 4-wheel drive but, I’m pulling not pushing so, fishtailing is limited and steering control, even on ice-covered roads, is minimal.

Thank you, Toyota!

Larry the local

About the same time I arrived at the big metal gate denying me access to a good night’s sleep, a truck stopped alongside me and I met a nice old guy named Larry. He told me of another campsite miles away (Happy Camp) but, warned that “they might all be closed for the winter.”

And that’s when the local part became invaluable. He told me of several dirt roads into wooded areas—right next to the Klamath river—that the locals frequent to avoid paying campsite fees. And sure enough, I found them and picked one, finding myself inside a small forest clearing surrounded by what, at one time or another, had been campfires.

Thank you, Larry.

There is plenty of room there for the Sienna, it’s private and you can hear the rustle of the river waters just a few dozen feet away. No evidence whatsoever of bears! Perfect!

Ramming speed!

My only concern—since I am totally prepared to defend myself—is an artificial snow bank created by a snow plow as it clears the road obstructing my hard-to-see-dirt-road-exit to the nearby highway (CA-96). I am thinking that is a remote possibility so, I’m not going to worry about it—until it actually happens.

“Campsite Dave!”

Every stop along the way, since I left San Diego, has been at some kind of organized or commercial stop (rest stops, truck stops, campsites). This is my very first boondocking choice. I’m excited about it.

There are no facilities whatsoever; hell, there are no lights, no people, no internet, no phone service…. If I wasn’t in a minivan carrying damn near everything you need to survive in the wilderness, I would say this is real camping! But, I am literally on Easy Street (the BK with bad WiFi on Main Street becomes “Easy Street” just a couple blocks down—no kidding!).

With my newfound confidence in flannel warmth, I think I’ll camp here for awhile. Call me silly but, I think I may make a snowman!

Happy trails my friends!

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