Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Many western states have been hit hard this year by fires.  Smoke from those fires have covered big parts of many states.  We kn20170917_140740_resized (1)ow quite a few people who have changed their travel plans because of it.  Some to avoid the smoky areas and others _18sep1-not able to visit where they had planned.   The rain was coming in and hopefully it would help with the fires and smoke.  We were slightly ahead of the storm and only got a few rain drops on our windshield.

Due to the fires and closed roads in Oregon we headed south through Oregon and California.  We’ve taken I-5 and the 101 many times but we had never traveled Hwy 58 east through the Willamette Pass.  Some folks prefer this route over the Siskiyou Mountain Range.  It’s also popular with truckers trying to avoid the steep mountain downgrades.  

This is a popular alternate route for trucks on the I-5 corridor, avoiding the steep grades and winter closures of I-5 over Siskiyou Summit.  It’s only been since 2012 that some of the taller RVs and trucks have been able to travel this route.  Salt Creek Tunnel built in 1939 is midway through the route underwent a major construction project then when the pavement was lowered 18 inches to increase the height of the tunnel. 

   < ---------Borrowed photo

Hwy 58 is a two lane road and since it was Sunday, the road was packed with weekenders.  There were boats and campers going both directions.  It’s a beautiful lowellbridgearea with RV parks, small towns, river and lakes.  We wondered what traffic would be like during the week.  We even passed by the Lowell covered bridge.  It’s the widest covered bridge in Oregon.  The original one was built in 1909 and the current one replaced it in 1945.   

Borrowed photo  ------>    

The smoke was everywhere. We could see it.  We could taste it and we could feel it.   After all, Crater Lake was just south of this road and fires had closed the north entrance.  We passed a firefighter camp and hoped with the forecast of rain finally coming in that it would help extinguish all the fires.


Once Hwy 58 connected with Hwy 97 heading south the winds seemed to pull the smoke in the other direction and the area cleared.  By the time we were a few miles north of Klamath Falls, the sky was blue and the smoke all to the north of us instead of where we were.  We were even able to see the driveway into a cute newly updated RV park and that’s where we pulled in.  _18sep6-

The Waterwheel RV park had just had a new face lift from new owners.  It was nearly immaculate.  All sites were pull throughs with beautiful river views.  We walked along the river and Buck even waded in it on one of his walks. 


When we woke the temperature was a frigid 50 f.  Now that might not sound cold to some but with the wind blowing, it was frigid. 

Monday felt like a long day.  We headed towards Susanville.  Originally we were going to take the route around and go via Alturas but decided to cut 17 miles off and take the “short-cut” so we traveld Hwy 139 all the way to Susanville.  Well, the short-cut was not recommended for vehicles over 30'.  It also had a steep grade with some pretty tight curves we'd been told.  We were just hauling our little “gadabout” trailer and not the 5th wheel so why not?  Well, the extra 17 miles would have been faster and better I'm sure. To begin with the road needed to be paved desperately.  Terry called it a cow trail.  We bumped along trying to avoid all the mended but uneven pieces of roadway. 

We were also trying to get more familiar with our new Rand McNally RV GPS so we had both that one programmed along with our old faithful Garmin.  Confusion set in when one directed us to turn right and one directed us to turn left.  Thank goodness for the old fashioned maps we carry with us!

This was the good road . ----->   

There was construction work and flaggers.  So, we traveled slow and even followed the pilot cars when we had to.  There was certainly a steep downgrade with some curves but really no tight curves.  It was more the condition of the road, the mess in the trailer and the delays that we didn’t like.  


     Definitely a pretty route though.

weatherChecking the weather we also discovered there was a Red Alert for our route into Reno.  Wind gusts were possible up to 50mph.   That was good reason to pull off the road and call it a day.  Just outside of Reno we pulled into the Bordertown Casino RV park. 


It was another immaculate RV park with nice pull through sites.  We were given coupons for $2 off on dinner at the restaurant inside the casino so after setting up we walked over to it.  It’s a tiny casino but I guess it’s enough to bring people in. The food in the restaurant was good but we didn’t hang around long in the casino.  It was pretty smoky.

Tuesday is another day.  There’s no smoke.  There’s no rain and the high winds will have passed.  Onward we go.  High winds return to Nevada late Wednesday for a couple days.  Our plan is to be beyond them.  At least that's the plan.

‘Tis life on the road.


  1. Oh the adventures we have. We were going to head out tomorrow but wind is coming through tomorrow so we'll try again on Thursday.

  2. The wildfires have been epic this year, we managed to get thru before the worst of it and still had some lingering smoke odor on the cushions. An alternative to an overnight at the Waterwheel RV, which is a nice place, we have used the Kla-Mo-Ya Casino which offers free RV parking.

  3. Haha, saw that tunnel pic and was like "whhhhaaaaattt???" Then I read the verbiage.

  4. It figures, you drive out of the smoke outside only to get hit with the smoke inside. Some days you can't win for losing. I hope your remaining days are winning ones.

  5. We didn't get any discount coupons when we stayed at Bordertown RV last summer. Maybe you've got the magic touch, or lots of luck?

  6. I just hate seeing all these disasters all over the country. My heart cries out to all those in danger. Our friends just left Carter Lake about two weeks ago. They are so blessed to be able to see that area before they closed one entrance.
    We have taken "short cuts" before too. Usually takes us about an hour longer than just going on the " right" route. Lol.

    Be safe. Enjoy the journey.


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