DAY 12: September 06, 2011 (Tuesday – schools back in session – full moon)
Klamath Falls, Oregon to Canby, California: 86 miles (364 thus far)
With Labor Day over, schools are back in session and summer vacation traffic has waned quite a bit. Combine that with the fact that today’s region, and those to come, are remote and lesser traveled anyway, and it makes for a quieter ride without so many automobile tires whining by the ears. Well, today was one of mixed feelings, as Gary said goodbye after our complimentary full breakfast at the motel, leaving me to trek the remainder of the journey solo. I know he has been in a lot of pain to this point, so I am happy that he can now begin a healing process, but after 11 days of riding partner(s), I kind of got used to someone to talk with while riding. So, around 7:30 AM, having lubed the drive chain on the Q, I waved farewell to Gary and began pedaling by myself through the heavy rush hour traffic the 6 miles out of town. Once on the rural agricultural/ranch route of Highway 39, traffic was light, amounting to people who were going to California, or to truckers. At about 10:00 AM, I crossed into California, and found the shoulder to improve dramatically compared to Oregon (no cracks or potholes). Hwy 39 becomes 139 once over the border. At 10:30 AM, I arrived in the small agricultural town of Tulelake, making rapid progress due to the flat terrain that allowed riding in some of my highest gears most of the way. My progress was easier this trip than in 2009, where I pulled a very heavy trailer laden with a lot of food and extra supplies. This trip, I took full advantage of Ma & Pa stores, convenience stores, and markets to keep my on board food supply to a minimum, and thus my gross weight down about 100 pounds from my prior journey on this road. Stopped at California agricultural inspection station once in the hilly portions of the Modoc National Forest, rested and chatted with Produce Inspection Officer (PIO) White from Tulelake, and guzzled tons of water from their sink because the day was heating up and low gears awaited me. I was passed by hundreds of bizarre vehicles going the other direction that were coming from the annual Burning Man civilization in the Black Rock Desert of northwestern Nevada. You can tell these vehicles from others due to the covering of fine white silt all over every inch of the rigs. Burning Man ended yesterday. Many of these folks gave me big “thumbs up” signs and smiles as they passed. I pulled into Canby, California about the same time of day that I did in 2009, but I arrived here from Klamath Falls in one day instead of two (longer summer days, plus my gross weight was much less, making the uphills considerably easier). I camped at Canby City Park, where I got hundreds of goatheads last trip, but since it was earlier in the season by a month, they were nowhere to be found. I pitched my REI Arete tent fully hidden from the highway, but on the concrete because the lawn sprinklers come on at 2:00 AM. Strange: no cellular service this year, but full service last time.