Up bright and early today, managed to eat and get myself on the road by 6:30. Drove through a part of Lake County that’s on fire, and can’t stop thinking this is how it’s gonna be from now on. Fires all summer long. Headed up the 5 to Redding, then cut over the 299. There’s nothing about the landscape in that part of California that interests me, so I never photograph it. Maybe I should just so people who’ve never been can know how completely uninteresting it is.
As I got deeper into Shasta County, then Modoc County, I drove through tiny hamlets that for all intents and purposes, look like ghost towns. There are the little farm towns, and the little towns that must be there for a reason but that reason was probably forgotten long ago, and the sporadic homesteads. There are abandoned farms, decaying bridges, railroad tracks overgrown with weeds, and long stretches of highway bisecting them. I kept telling myself to stop at one of these places to make some abandoned building porn, but I had to make miles today and didn’t have time to snoop around.
I drove past a huge lake that looks manmade, but I can’t tell. It was kinda pretty though. I passed from California into Oregon, winding down a long stretch of highway (The Great Basin?) that looked eerily like Nevada… places where the highway pointed arrow-straight across long valleys, nothing but scrub brush, dust and hills off in the hazy distance, hot. I guess as the crow flies I wasn’t that far away from Nevada… maybe about 100 miles? Well, climates don’t give a shit about state lines anyway.
I had a worrisome dash light come on (not out in the desert, please!), so I pulled over and looked it up in my book, then called my mechanic. He said it might be nothing, but it might be my oil pump malfunctioning. I’ll just have to spend the next however many hours driving with the paranoia that I might have to stop driving and have the van towed to Boise, about 140 miles away. That would suck. I drove on and the light never came back on, but I abandoned my plan to drive 20 miles off the highway to camp at a lake tonight, just in case.
I pulled off the highway on a little dirt road that wound alongside a river (the Ogden?), took a walk around trying to find a place where the river was accessible through the weeds and rocks that lined the bank. Finally did and gave myself a good splash-off to get rid of the sweat and grime from the day. Did I mention it’s hot here? It’s probably in the mid 80’s at 9 PM. Luckily Wyoming will be cooler.
I made myself some dinner and took a walk, realizing there are some hot springs nearby. Do I want to sit in hot springs? Nope. There are some people there too, and I’m not in the mood. I’m parked just off the road that leads to the hot springs, so I’ve had a couple cars drive by and stare into my open door which makes me feel oddly exposed. But I imagine there won’t be many more, so I’m probably OK.
The plan tomorrow is to top in Boise and find a European car mechanic to run a diagnostic on the van to make sure I don’t have some bomb waiting to explode under the hood. I’ve got too much good shit going on to be waylaid by car problems.