Susanville, the county seat for Lassen County, grew out of logging and mining, and lives a stone’s throw (well, maybe a rock’s throw) from Lassen National Volcanic Park and if you haven’t been there, that should be on your Bucket List. As with all our national parks, it is spectacular.
I followed State Hwy #139 from its beginning at Susanville to its end near the Oregon Border, approximately 121 miles. It runs along the eastern shore of Eagle Lake, the second largest natural lake entirely within the State of California, and a good bit of it through miles and miles of Modoc National Forest. This was virgin territory for me. While in that part of California in the past, I had usually driven north or south on I-395.
I connected with I-97 at Klamath Falls, OR and continued north past 30-mile long Upper Klamath Lake, seeing a snow-covered mountain in the distance. The west didn’t get much snow this year and it really showed in the lakes. This particular lake seemed quite low but apparently natural for this time of year. It is also home to the Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge and as you travel through the higher elevations, you see forests of Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, and lodgepole pine. I passed another Bucket List candidate, Crater Lake National Park. I have seen it in every season and it is worthy of hiking, biking, and camping. If nothing else, drive the circle around it.
In winding my way along, I saw lots of springtime babies, goats, calves, and horses. I watched cows and their calves walking in a line, nobody straying off the path. There were white egrets and swans. Lush green fields, tractors, cupolas on barns, hay trucks, and other signs of springtime. And buzzards. What would we do without buzzards to clean up the roads? Somewhere in farm country, I saw a big sign, “WONG Potatoes” and the silly side of me wanted to ask, “What’s wong with them” but they probably get that all the time.
I turned on to State Hwy #58. Without making reservations, I was always taking a chance on not finding a place. It was 5 p.m. when I saw a Visitor/Chamber of Commerce in the little berg of Crescent Lake. I explained to the lady in charge that I was exhausted and looking for a place to stay. She knew just the place. She called and made reservations at Odell Lake Lodge & Resort on the SE side of the lake. I saw dollar signs but I was too tired to argue and they had a restaurant as well.
I pulled in and really saw dollar signs. It is a magnificent lodge “Nestled between the Peaks and tall pines of the Cascade Mountains.” I saw and heard Odell Creek and just beyond, saw beautiful Odell Lake and beyond that the Diamond Peak Wilderness. As I wearily dragged my heavy overnight suitcase up the many steps of this lodge, it reminded me of the Bar-M Ranch where I worked for six months once upon a time as a full-time RVer. As I went inside, I looked into a room offering comfortable seating and a fireplace. They offered every kind of water sport, along with trail hiking, horseback riding…and by then I was more than exhausted.
Of course, I didn’t do all those things; I was tired from pulling my suitcase up all those stairs. Cabins went up to $200 a night.
Rooms were $160/night with variations in price and I got the last room at $70/night. Whew!! And that restaurant…Wow! It was early in the season so it was nice to sit inside and look out on to the deck, trees, and lake while eating my hot homemade chili and half sandwich. My room was tiny but comfortable. I opened the window and…just….zzzzzzz God Bless until next week.
Winter in the Wilderness, the first e-book novel published by Minshall, is offered at most Internet book sites. A print edition may be obtained from Amazon, or you can order an autographed copy from the author at 1009 W. Brackett Rd, Apt 234, Sequim, WA 98382 for $7.95 plus $3.50 for postage and handling.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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At 45, Widow Minshall began 20 years of solo full-time RVing throughout Alaska, Mexico, and Canada. Sharlene canoed the Yukon, mushed sled dogs, worked a dude ranch, visited Hudson Bay polar bears, and lived six months on a Mexican beach. She lectured at Life on Wheels, published six RV-related books and wrote a novel, “Winter in the Wilderness.”