Day 3: Discovering Klamath Falls, Oregon

I checked into the Days Inn in Klamath Falls, OR (population 21,000) around 9:00pm and was given a room on the 2nd floor of the motel. I parked as close as I could but there wasn’t much parking near my room. I had to walk up the stairs of the building next to it and walk across to the building I was staying in. As I started unloading, I noticed a church group with lots of teenagers unloading their vans and trailers and having fun in the parking lot. It reminded me of going to church summer camp when I was in high school. It was always such a fun time and something I hadn’t thought about in a long time. As I started to head towards my room, I noticed 2 middle-aged men, shirtless, smoking weed, hanging out on the 2nd floor walkway, just watching the parking lot….one door away from mine.

Now, if you read my other posts, you’ll know this is the second night in a row that middle-aged men were just hanging out in front of motel rooms, drinking or smoking, being creepers. Men, let me tell you, this is not a turn on. You look like a creep and you make people feel uncomfortable when you stare at them while they unload their car. This is why I avoid eye contact. Just stop it.

I carried all my luggage up the hard, concrete stairs and into my room, wishing I had someone to carry all my stuff for me. I had to make about four trips again because of my poor packing and amount of stuff I didn’t want to leave in the car, like my electronics. The room was decent. It had two queen beds (which is always great when traveling alone because one bed ends up being the “sitting bed” for things like playing on my phone or watching tv, and the other is to sleep). The bathroom was clean and the motel had all the basic amenities.

I was able to get a restful sleep and woke up in the morning looking for a place to hike. I mean, that’s why I came to Klamath Falls. I discovered there wasn’t much directly in Klamath Falls, but within a 25-minute drive, I could hike just under ten miles on Spence Mountain. It had 1,558 elevation gain and had views of a lake. I wasn’t really wanting to hike that far, but my other options were to hike much smaller trails – around three miles. I figured I could handle ten miles.

I drove up the mountain past some farms and parked in the gravel parking lot. There were only two cars there and one guy was sitting in the back of his SUV eating some lunch. There was a couple finishing their hike and getting into the other car. It was around noon on a Tuesday so I figured maybe that’s why it was so empty? Either way, I’ll take it. I don’t like hiking heavily-trafficked trails.

I was pleasantly surprised by how good I felt on the hike. It was hot but there was a cool breeze. About 10 minutes into hiking, the guy who had been eating his lunch past me on a mountain bike. I didn’t see anybody else for the rest of the hike. It was really peaceful to have the trail to myself.

As I climbed and climbed, I discovered amazing views of a bright blue lake. It was so surreal because the lake was so large but also so isolated. I didn’t see any boats or any activity on the lake at all. That made it so much more peaceful. It was just me and the bugs buzzing in the trees. I finished the hike very tired and out of water.

On my way back to the motel, I passed a large tractor-trailer that had slid off the side of the narrow, curvy road that lined the lake. It had fallen into the ditch between the road the mountain and was tilted to the side – but the mountain stopped it from completely tipping over. Thankfully, he slid to the side of the mountain and not the lake. The local police were helping with the little bit of traffic because one lane was closed. As I passed on the curve, I could see men trying to lift all the bales of hay that had fallen off the flatbed truck. I felt sorry for the driver. How embarrassing and hopefully he doesn’t get fired (that’s a lot of work to get all that hay back on the truck). And I don’t even know how they were going to get the truck back on the road.

When I got back to town, I was hungry and thirsty but all of the fast food restaurants sounded like disgusting grease factories. I saw a grocery store and figured I could get some individual items to go. A friend once told me that if you’re ever considering moving to a new town and you want to know what the people there are like, go to the grocery store. Everyone needs to eat, so you see all the people in their natural environment. I looked around and the people seemed fine. It definitely had a small-town feel.

Famished, I grabbed several items that looked fresh: a sandwich, yogurt, peaches, grapes, assorted fruit, and Gatorade. The motel had a small fridge so I figured I could keep whatever I didn’t finish in there. I got back to the motel and ate at the desk, in my dusty socks and sweaty clothes.

Shortly after, my friend Debbie facetimed me. We agreed to facetime once a week so we don’t lose contact with each other. Talking to Debbie and going on the hike made me feel a little better. I was still feeling depressed from the days before, but hiking gave me some time to think about things and appreciate the landscape. She reminded me that I do have people who care about me.

The next morning, I checked out of the motel. I didn’t know where I was going next so I spent some time sitting in my car and looking online. I wanted to stop by Grants Pass as some friends had lived there for a few years, but it looked like Roseburg was a good place to check out. I found a room for 2 nights in an 1890 historic home on Airbnb. I figured I’d stay for 2 nights and then head up to see Eugene (a place I had heard about). It would be a 3-hour drive and I would drive through the forest.

Before leaving Klamath Falls, however, I wanted to stop by this little artisan café in the downtown area to get a late breakfast. The downtown was an old downtown with historic brick buildings. It was really cute but it only lasted a couple of blocks. I got a delicious breakfast sandwich and hit the road.

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