For All The Susan’s, Pizza Lovers, and Idol Fans

We drove out of the Hilton driveway at 0900 this morning, right on time. Really. It was the time we picked to leave. I believe this is another First for us … actually right on time. On my way to get the Buick so I could stage it for loading, my new publisher friend, Paul, and his wife, Doreen, stopped to greet me on their way to play golf and ask if I got the cards her left. I hadn’t done that yet, but I did. Diane and I both find that meeting him is kind of an omen. We just don’t know what kind, yet.

We made it out of Las Vegas without mishap, which was pretty amazing, then Diane drove her 200 miles which placed us a little north of Tonopah. If you do a little math on a map, you may figure out that Tonopah is more than 200 miles from Las Vegas, but don’t tell Diane. We were looking for the Subway Sandwich shop for lunch, but drove all the way through town without seeing it. So, she pulled over to the side of the road and made us PB&J sandwiches. I got apples and our bag of grapes for dessert, Diane got peppermint patties and carrots. We were set, so I crawled into the driver’s seat, readjusted all the mirrors, the seat, and steering wheel the clawed my way back into the northbound traffic on US 395. It wasn’t too difficult because there wasn’t a lot of it.

I have to mention that while Diane was driving, we drove passed Cheech AFB and she was affected by all the UMDE fowling the air. Cheech is, perhaps, the main facility where Unmanned Drone pilots are trained. It may also be the facility from which all the overseas drones are controlled. I don’t know that, of course, but it could be true. We do know they fly drones because you can watch them takeoff and land quite often. Just like the ones you see on TV. The “E” on UMDE is for exhaust, of course. It’s probably not true that it really bothers her, but she started sneezing right about then. So, that could also be true.

I drove my allotted 200 miles, that actually worked out to about 170, then Diane exerted her authority and recaptured the driver’s seat and drove the rest of the way to Susanville. I expertly guided us to our abode for the evening, the High Country Inn. Nice facilities. Overpriced, I thought, until I paid $18 for a medium pizza that was about the size of a Papa Murphy’s small pizza. We can get their mediums for $5. Once in a while. A caveat to this is that tonight’s pizza was a pretty awesome hand-tossed piece of culinary wonderment. I ate all four of my pieces but Diane stopped at three. She has one left for breakfast, lucky duck.

Now we’re just lounging in the room watching American Idol. So far our favorites are Alex and Sam. We loved the guitars. Nice.

Remember Reno

Remember Reno … I had to do that because of an encounter we had with a nice lady in one of the thrift stores we visited our last day in Reno. It was a long conversation that started when the lady sitting behind a desk, doing financial ‘stuff’, telling us that she was just minding the store for the owner who had stepped out for a moment, but she would attempt to answer any questions we had.

At that particular moment we didn’t have any questions, so thanked her and started looking around. Shortly, however, my natural affinity for communicating with strangers broke out and I found myself in need of striking up a conversation with this stranger. The store was small enough that both Diane and I could participate in the conversation as no one else was in the store.

Though we have no idea what her name is, we learned that she’s lived in Reno for about 40 years and has never, ever been to the Oregon coast. She said that when we told her we were from Oregon. Much of the conversation revolved around various travel events and eventually progressed to bucket lists. Hers, specifically. On her list is the Oregon Coast to which we added, Mt. St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake, Silver Falls State Park, and Sparks. Another item on her list was Burney Falls. Since we had never heard of it we quizzed her about where it was and she took her best guess, but didn’t really know. So, that conversation dwindled to a stop, and we decided it was time to leave and returned to our room.

Once back at the hotel, we got to talking about out route home. The original plan was to head up to Klamath Falls and spend the night, then head home. Upon looking at the map, however, the wiser choice became a trip up through Susanville, then kinda NW to I-5 just below Weed, California. That’s a little ways north of Redding. So, plans were changed and we decided we’d head for Medford for the night.

After a terrific breakfast at Hart’s Cafe in Susanville, we took Highway 36 then split northwest on Highway 44, part of which was on Hillcrest Road, go figure, then we took a hard right turn onto Highway 89 just about directly north of Lassen Volcanic National Park. We didn’t stop there.

On on Highway 89 Diane asked it there was something interesting to see along the way. So I looked on my trusty iPad to see. Up ahead there was a place called McArthur-Burney State Park. We considered this an omen because of yesterday’s conversation with the thrift store lady. Apparently fate placed this location directly in our path because we were supposed to stop there. So we did.

It normally costs $8 to enter the park but, since we’re old, we got a dollar off. Considering that we needed to get to our hotel, that we hadn’t yet picked, before headlights were mandatory, I asked the Ranger at the gate (RATG) how far it was to the falls. He looked to his left, pointed, and said, “about 75 feet that way.” Funny guy.

When we pulled into a parking spot we were delighted to meet Stan & Irene whom we’ve never ever in our lives met before. They were just climbing out of their 5th wheel trailer in which they spent the winter in Laughlin, Nevada, like they do every year. Since their license plates revealed they were from North Dakota, we understood why. Together, we all walked to the bathrooms, relieved ourselves, then walked back to the parking lot adjacent to the falls and here’s what we saw …















OK, it’s really pretty, but the falls are only about 40-50 feet high. Pretty, but not Bucket List Pretty. But, this lady lives in Reno so who am I to cast aspersions upon those dreams. I can only compare what I see with what I’ve seen. Normal, right? I try to not display bias when visiting new visual delights, like Burney Falls, but living in the Great Northwest and having so many beautiful places to visit by accident, spoils us. Sounds snobby, I know, but it’s true.

Oh yes … we made it to Medford for the night and will be home tomorrow afternoon. We had a Pizza Hut dinner.