Our first stop out of Ore-eh-gone: Susanville, California. Some folks here call it "Snoozinville" and they wander aimlessly past the imposing statue of a lumberjack remembering the good old days when timber was king. But the bleeding heart Golden State liberals put the kibosh on the timber industry some years ago and now the big employer is a maximum security prison. Pretty much the same in many towns throughout the west.
The woman checking us into the RV park said since Susanville is well, so snoozy (boring), all people do here is join a local club, watch TV, and surf the web.
But Susanville does its damndest to attract visitors. It's the gateway to Lassen Volcanic National Park, an hour's drive west. Many of Susanville's old buildings are adorned with murals. Here's one of town founder, Isaac Roop, and his daughter Susan who's missing an eye. The town was originally named "Roopville" but for obvious reasons that didn't fly so "Susanville" it became. Has a better ring to it.
Incidentally (tea baggers, you might want to find that word in a dictionary if you even know what a dictionary are), we live in Sedona, Arizona, a town founded by the Schnebly farm family one hundred years ago. Originally this was to be called "Schnebly" which sounds like something you'd cough up. Fortunately , Mr. Schnebly's wife was named "Sedona" and that sounded a lot better than "Schnebly-ville".
This mural depicts what once was.
Here's a still life of a hot rod shooting through town to nearby Reno and its "Hot August Nights" festival held every year in mid-August. We've actually covered the festival for work (when we did work, many moons ago). The town was overrun by old fat men and their wives cruising through town in thousands of hot rods trying to relive the glory days of America in the 1950s. Come on, get a life. And that goes for you old bikers as well. And while I'm at it, how 'bout muffling that Harley? There is nothing more obnoxious while enjoying the silence of the great out-of-doors in a quiet spot like Susanville than to be blasted by an unmuffled Harley roaring by.
And speaking of the good old days, Susanville does have one of the classiest old Elks Lodges.
It's been standing on a hill above town since 1487, even before Mr. Roop showed up.
And here's where to get all your Susanville visitor information--at the restored train depot where the train no longer stops because the tracks were taken out when the timber industry was pretty much axed.
One thing the town is rightfully proud of are its military members. Their photos appear on banners on light poles all along the main street. Why doesn't every town do this?
The other big attraction -- at least for us -- is the Susanville Cemetery or bury patch.
One of the first headstones you see is that of a very young bride who died in 1897 who has "gone to heaven to ware a crown". There were great monument makers back then but their spelling left a bit to be desired. And did you know that the word "misspell" is among the most misspelled words in the English language? Well, it is.
A number of headstones are falling apart but this one has been super-glued. That stuff really works.
You guessed it: more of the cemetery.
And here's old Mr. Roop himself or at least his headstone. He founded Susanville and at one time was governor of the territory of Nevada.
The cemetery also contains the grave of soldier Lt. Col. Leonard Lowry, among the most highly decorated Native American veterans. He earned two silver stars, two bronze stars and five purple hearts. Impressive.
The other big attraction, for us anyway, was the Susanville RV Park. Clean, comfortable, inexpensive...
close to where you want to go and what you want to see like murals...
the KFC franchise...(that's me hauling a bucket of chicken out to the car--we do eat well on the road)
...and only drink Starbucks...
....and shop at WalMart. So why am I complaining about old fat men in hot rods and on noisy Harleys? We are kindred spirits.
Here we are at the Susanville RV Park, down and locked in the all new for 2014 Lance Travel Trailer with side slide and the quite attractive 2013 Prius V tow car.
We discovered our neighboring campers were Bible thumpers from central California who didn't drink and were totally humorless*. While hooking up the sewer hose, Paul got into a discussion with the woman about their religious affiliation which was some sort of Church of the Blood of the Lamb/Atonement/Living Water/Scientology we-are-infested -with-alien-spirits ersatz "religion" that my parish priest openly calls "cults".
Paul's eyes glazed over as she asked him what his religious affiliation was. He said he didn't go to church and she said, "Hmm. I see." She folded up her knitting, went into her RV and that's the last we saw of her and her husband. They apparently pulled out early the next morning but we didn't hear them because we were hung over. That's our religion. Praise be. What do you think is in those goblets depicted in every image you've ever seen of "The Last Supper"? Hawaiian Punch? Milk? Green tea? No, baby: it's wine. Right on.
*Actually they were pretty nice folks in their late 60s from a large family with great, great grandchildren. That's two "greats". They started young.
We were camped near this fence where a little doe kept showing up curious about Daisy. Daisy went crazy and like the Bible thumpers the deer hightailed it out of there and we never saw it again.
I don't even want to explain what's behind this photo. Paul took it but I managed to get my hand up just in time. We gots to go. Through Reno, Carson City, past the Mother Church, to Bridgeport and the old ghost town known as "Bodie".
So bye-bye. Buy Starbucks. Best damn coffee in the world.