I missed the annual dinner in the chamber because I was with 20 old and new friends on Mt. Lassen Motor Transit Mystery Tour with Troy Blank, our driver. From Chico there were Marilyn Williams, Carolyn Sullivan, Joyce Cooper. Red Bluff: Bonnie Love, Cheri Smith, Carol Mieske, Christine Rainwater, Mary Brown, Fran Potts. Anderson: Wanda Ragland, Donna Matheson, Brian Cole, Carol Huang, Linda Harness, Bill Harvey. Redding: Christine Orr, Sandra Black, Todd and Helen Thurman.
Thurman’s was in San Francisco the other day with Mt Lassen Motor Transit for the Giants baseball game, and Helen wore her new t-shirt that read: “National League West Division Champs, SF 2021.” Sorry I missed that trip.
We knew we were going north, but that was all we knew. Our first stop was Mt Shasta Big Springs, 3,567 feet high with snacks, juice and bottled water, set for us by our bus driver. We walked to a large fountain, coming out of rocks at Mt Shasta City Park, and saw a woman filling a 5 gallon pitcher as she stood on some rocks.
The sign read: “Is this really where the Sacramento River begins? Many local streams combine to form the Sacramento River, but many consider Mount Shasta Big Springs to be the main tree.
“The water gushing from the spring outlets came from snow packs and rain that fell on Mount Shasta at approximately 8,200 feet high. Age dating shows that the spring water that sprouted here fell as the rain on Mount Shasta more than fifty years ago. “
A beautiful park with camping people, children’s playground, and trees is colorful. First time I went there.
Continued north, and we didn’t take Hwy 97 for Klamath Falls to Weed, probably to Ashland and ocean. We left I-5 at Medford, instead of the ocean and headed to Crater Lake. But there was a roundabout on the highway that cycled our driver, and we headed to Lake of Woods and Klamath Falls instead of lakes.
Highway 140 was new country for me, and beautiful valleys with oak trees, irrigation pastures with cattle pastures. Then we were in pines, cedar and yellow maple, aspen and dogwood. The Fish Lake turnoff passed, and we were in the Rogue River / Siskiyou National Forest, and the trees were fir and pine instead of cedar.
What a surprise, when we turned south to Lake of the Woods, a beautiful resort with camping, cabins, marina, general store, restaurant, founded in 1922. Never knew the name of the big lake, but there is a small boat on the water. There were many red Adirondack chairs on the beach, a red boat full of red geraniums, and I had to feel them to check if they were real. A sheet pinned to a wall, and signed “movie every Friday night,” with nearby log benches.
Our lunch at the restaurant was wonderful. My club sandwich with salad was so big, I was looking for a doggie bag. Delicious too. Others also enjoyed their chosen food. Ice tea or soda pop is served in a quart jar, while glasses of water are door jars.
There was a quick breeze and the wooden fireplace was welcome in the dining room, and next to the fireplace was an old telephone switch board on display.
Back on the highway, and east for Klamath Falls. A sign was noticed along the highway, “Private property – Christmas tree cutting prohibited.” The Doak Mt. The pass is 4,000 feet, with beautiful large meadows and cattle dreaming to the west of the pass.
We did not turn toward Fort Klamath to the north, but drove on the west side of Upper Klamath Lake to Klamath Falls, and to Running Y Resort for our overnight stop.
For the first time on a tour we had to individually check in, to get a key to the room. I will admit this was the first time our suitcases were waiting inside the room when we opened the door.
Those of us who posted on Facebook were having a horrible time for hours from Mt Shasta north, when our photos had no connection. We couldn’t post the photos and said “great mystery tour.”
The next morning we headed east, and saw the Wong Potatoes warehouse in Merrill, Oregon, a truck loaded with red potatoes and a large solar farm.
We were lucky Carol Mieske got the microphone and told us about growing up in Tulelake, and the history of the area including the Tule Lake Segregation Center and Camp Tulelake.
We were on our way to the Lava Beds National Monument, height 4791 ft., With the opportunity to visit the Mushpot Cave. It was a steep staircase, but the surface was paved and there was lighting, as we had no helmets, gloves, school shoes or flashlights. We have warm clothes because it is cloudy, or smoky.
We are on the north side of Medicine Lake Shield Volcano, some 32,000 years ago a massive eruption of basalt from Mammoth Crater flooded the area. Lava pipes act as veins carrying molten lava from the heart of the flow to the edge of the valley below us.
By the way there is an example of ‘A’a Lava: which is cooler and chunkier than the pahoehoe flow. Pahoehoe Lava is rope -like, smooth basaltic lava. This type of flow formed all of the park’s caves as well as Captain Jack’s Fortress.
The ranger told us that 97% of the Lava Beds were burned. Last year the Caldwell Fire came from Adin, and this year it was the Antelope Fire from the west. Many junipers were burned in the fire.
A picnic lunch is enjoyed before returning to the bus, and wondering, where next? It was south on hwy 10 to Tulelake Inspection Station on hwy 139, then we took the paved road to the South on Lookout and eventually 299E.
At McArthur, Troy mentioned that we needed to find a rest stop. We got a lot of suggestions for him, and he approached Fall River Mills and the Fort Crook Museum where they expected us to be. The Beaver Creek Ranch Round Barn is visible from the highway.
It’s been a few years since I was there and marveled at all the different buildings besides the Museum, full of machinery, household goods, school house, blacksmith shop, Fall River jail, a cabin from Fort Crook built. In 1857, a tack room with saddles and harnesses, along with a collection of saws in Pondosa Time Keeper’s Cabin. Peggy (Canavan) Bidwell is president of the museum, and I remember her as a Bowman 4-Her.
A wonderful Mystery Tour.
Jean Barton has been writing his column in the Daily News since the early 1990s. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]