Monthly Archives: June 2015

A last trip to Alturas, with a roadtrip coming back…

The morning after wondering what the dogs were thinking we roll out at 5:30, walk the ponds and close the curtains but it ‘s still after seven before we’re on the road..

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At pavement the “check engine” light comes on for reasons undiscernible, so clear out the beginnings of a rat’s nest to no effect and drive the remaining hundred miles to Alturas Tire fretting to find that, in addition to finally coming up with the flatbed spare [which Rusty gives me after all this time], it’s just some smog control oxygen sensor in the depths of the exhaust, though what the thing does and whether it will hurt the engine remains a mystery.

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Reset, the light vanishes, at least until I’ve run around town and made it back over Cedar Pass for gas, learning that the secret bug-dissolving ingredient in Rabbit Trax’ windshield-cleaning fluid is Dove Dishwashing Soap. At the Surprise! Cafe I get coffee and an absolutely perfect description of the road down the east side of Lower Lake from Adrien so head south, hazy country, first cuttings…

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No surprises; cross the valley at Eagleville then halfway down the potholed airstrip locate a vague track stage left, follow same through boulder fields, washouts and alluvium to the sodden remains of Murphy Spring.

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Abandoned ranch buildings and an indifferent bull ranging about the muck are what remain;

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After Murphy’s the ‘track’ becomes ‘road’, a considerable improvement, reaching 447 at the valley’s south end before noon [a movie]…

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Home before one; a hundred and four in the shade of the porch…flat light up the desert from California fires [in Alturas they say the fires are in Oregon].

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Nice little trip, food for thought and paintings.