Friday, September 19, 2014

Klamath Falls and Lakeview Oregon

September 14 - 17, 2014:

Klamath Falls, Oregon

Crater Lake Mazama campground was a beautiful campsite, but between the campfire smoke of all the weekend campers and the natural wildfire smoke drifting in this direction, I've had enough, time to leave.  

On the way out I stopped at the dump station and witnessed an RV'er who should probably give it up.  He decided when he saw the backup in the dump line to turn around and leave.  He jumped out of his truck and walked away, then his wife started yelling as the rig had started to roll away.  Luckily he was able to open the door, jump inside and stop it before it hit something.  He then proceeded to back it up into a very uneven spot and then as he pulled ahead the trailer hit the rear of his truck breaking his taillight.  

After that excitement, it was back on the road traveling a big 55 mile hop down routes 62 and 97 to Klamath Falls, Oregon.  It was an easy drive on good roads down to a lower elevation into cattle country past old Fort Klamath.

Fort Klamath historical marker
We are in the Klamath county Fairgrounds which has a 20 site campground with several full hookup sites for $20 per night.  The Fairgrounds are conveniently located near the downtown and the adjacent shopping areas.

Klamath County Fairgrounds

Klamath Falls is larger than expected with an old historic downtown surrounded and overtaken by the usual distasteful new development, strip malls and chain store architecture. We took a ride downtown for a walking tour of the virtually deserted downtown and closed stores on Sunday afternoon.  I loved it while Twinkles hated it, we aren't always so compatible in these regards ?  Then we found the local brewery, the "Creamery", which was very nice, we had a couple of beers and all was again well in our world.

Poole's Pelican Theater, turned into a parking lot

Some times the back side of buildings have character too

A beautiful Crater Lake mural

Fabulous downtown building, now a mexican
restaurant on lower level

Building details

There is a huge military air base outside of town, still
active that was a backup space shuttle landing site

Another great downtown building

Observatory time

The Creamery, now a brew pub

Klamath Falls was the home of the Modoc and the Klamath tribes. In 1867 the town was founded and named Linkville after the Link River which runs through town with a section of rapids or Falls.  In 1893 the town's name was changed to Klamath Falls.  Since the Dam was built and the marsh drained the rapids or falls are now mostly gone. Since the 1990's a portion of the downtown has been heated by geothermal power.

The Link River

This is to be a short stay, but two tasks are mandatory, the Jeep needs a wash job real bad and the RV slides and seals need some lube. I also need to trim my beard, it's getting pretty wild and I need to find a good breakfast spot. 

On Monday morning I take a ride to a restaurant "Nibbley's Cafe" for breakfast which turns out to be near perfection.  A great omelet in a clean, comfortable, attractive setting with pleasant music playing, an attractive,cheerful waitress and great service.  It's going on my favorites list.  Next I dropped Twinkles off at a Laundromat while I did the car wash and oil change on the Jeep.  

I take another ride downtown to explore, there are a couple of good museums, but they are not open and there is a really great Egyptian/ Ford building that appears to be under restoration.  Also there are a couple of great old Hotels, Banks and other very interesting historic buildings and murals.  This downtown is still intact, lots of businesses, sort of vibrant, but I don't see many people around, almost deserted, weird.

Arrival of the railroad in Klamath Falls

Ford Egyptian Theater

Right on man auto repair sign

Klamath county museum, former Armory building

Detail on the Egyptian Theater

Interior of the Egyptian Theater

The Ross Ragland Theater

Klamath Falls Bank detail

The bucket brigade was a huge local anti environmental
protest concerning shutting off the irrigation water
to save threatened animal and fish species 

We learned that our friends Jack and Carole who we just visited in Grants Pass were put on alert for possible evacuation due to the "Onion fire" or something like that.  Hopefully that fire gets contained and they are not affected.  It is very dry all over Oregon, the fire warnings are all extreme danger, another thing to consider when traveling in this area of the country. 

I have watched the new Ken Burns documentary the past two nights on the Roosevelt's, so well done as usual and an very interesting.  Teddy Roosevelt was a fascinating president and character although he was , a little too imperialistic, a little nuts, but he accomplished great things.  Sadly, most Americans were watching "Dancing with the Stars" and probably missed it or don't even care. 

We are headed to Lakeview, Oregon on Tuesday morning hoping to camp at an RV campground on a huge working ranch.  That could be interesting, we will see ?

Lakeview, Oregon

An 85 mile drive from Klamath Falls to Lakeview almost entirely on route 140.  Route 140 had about a 10 mile stretch of construction, it appears they are totally rebuilding the highway.  We are now in the high desert region and as we traveled it became more and more apparent.  We also passed many farms, cattle ranches and were in and out of forest lands.  We stopped at the town of Bly to stretch and found many old wagons in front of a house and a movie theater that were of interest.

Old manure spreader in Bly
Hot food, bakery and worms available

We arrived at Juniper Reservoir RV Park around noon which is a very nice RV Park on a working cattle ranch.  We have water and electric with a dump station, good phone service, working WiFi and a nice clean shower room.  There are hiking trails from the campground that go for miles, just have to watch for the cow pies, although nothing looks fresh.  Lots of cattle here in nice green pastures that are being irrigated, the pastures that aren't are dry brown grass.

A campground view

Ranch land, notice how green the irrigated part
is compared to the foreground

All that's left of the old homestead
View from our campsite

Trail view behind the campground

We took a ride to downtown Lakeview, it's a typical small rural town, a few nice old historic register buildings, is kind of rough around the edges, has seen better days with a country, cowboy, lumberjack flavor. One of the main tourist attractions in Lakeview was the "perpetual Geyser" which erupted a fountain of hot water (like Old Faithful in Yellowstone) at set intervals.  I say "was" because it has dried up for the past few years except for one eruption last May.  They don't even have a sign for it at present.  The other attraction is a hill that is one of the best hang glider spots in the country, it has held the championships a number of years.

Downtown mural

Lakeview street banners

Lots of western gear

Gone Hunting sign on shop door

WWII Balloon bomb killed local people

Everyone waves here

One of the highest towns in Oregon

The town Water Tank

The Geyser is no longer faithful

Nice downtown building facade

I was awakened in the morning by the cows, they were really loud and I kind of wondered why, then I looked outside and saw that the cowboys on horses were driving them across the range to another area.  It looked to be at least 100 cows or head or whatever they call them.  

I went back into town to explore some more and found the MC Chuck wagon exhibit building.  It looks like a ranch house with many windows on the sides, each window has a display about the MC Ranch history, how the ranch came to be and the impressive cowboys who worked on it.  Many of the cowboys were rodeo champions, worked in Hollywood movies and are now in the Cowboy and Rodeo Hall of Fame. One of the Chuck Wagons used on the ranch for cattle drives is inside along with saddles and other ranch artifacts.  The story board displays in the windows were quite incredible, the stuff of legends, really !  William Kittredge (1876-1958) came to Oregon with virtually nothing, started working as a cowboy on a ranch, saved every penny he made, bought a cow, then another and another, they multiplied, eventually he had a herd, then he bought the MC Ranch and through hard work, drive, ambition, and shrewd business dealings built it into an empire.  At it's height the MC Ranch was one of the largest in the west, it owned, leased or had range rights to almost a million acres of land, the size of Rhode Island.  I have heard many similar stories in the west, the land and the natural resources were virtually free back then, a resourceful person could make it.  It's not the case anymore, the free ride is over.

MC Chuck Wagon exhibit

Famous cowboys

MC Buckaroos 

World Championship winner

William Kittridge

Old Train Station, now a private residence

Safeway Market

Lake view welcome sign

Old Windmill scene outside of town

As I was walking around the middle of remote Lakeview, they call this area of Oregon, "the outback", there were many really exotic antique cars stopped in town or riding through, such as a rare Case raceabout, a Pierce Arrows and a Stevens-Duryea and many others.  I thought why here ?, it seems that there is some kind of tour going on that is traveling this remote route.  After a nice lunch at "The Dinner Bell Cafe", very folksy with very home style cooking, my kind of place.

A Case car

A Piece Arrow

A Stevens-Duryea

Back at the ranch, the cows are still very agitated, moo'ing constantly, wish I understand what was bothering them.  I think the cowboys must have split up the herd or removed the children ?  I wish I could attach a audio file for your listening pleasure. This is a great RV Park, but I've about had enough of the Cows, time to move on.

Farewell Oregon, next stop is Winnemucca, Nevada.

Twinkles and Slick

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