Friday, 2 November 2018

Oct. 21 - Oct. 24 A Few Down Days in California and Nevada

Oct 21 
We're taking a couple days to relax and enjoy some trails around Susanville, Ca. The park we're in is not incredibly busy and it's great here. Days End RV is $30 US/night. I phoned this morning and got a Passport America card that gives 50% discounts on camp fees at participating campgrounds. Days End gives one night at 50%with the card, cool! We chatted with Arnie, the owner, and he gave us some booklets with trails and he recommended a couple. We are trying the Bizz Johnson Trail that runs through Susanville on an abandoned rail line. It's going to be a hot day 27C/82F but a good portion of the trail is shaded and it's early enough that we haven't peaked yet. On the drive into Susanville we noticed a large fire in a field. Turns out it was a prescribed burn, there were signs on the highway and fire trucks all over the place.
Grass fire cleaning the field.
It took a little GPS work to find the trailhead but we found it and got ready to go for a nice walk. It's a multi use trail just like the Ironhorse Trail in Bonnyville. There were mountain bikers getting ready too and evidence of horses on the trail.
Start of the trail.
We did about 4 miles out and back. Margaret wasn't into going any further anyway. Really cool trail in all the rocks and pine trees. It runs beside the river for a large part so it had a little of everything.
Cool twist in this tree.

The fall leaves continue.
We stopped at the Susanville Market on the way home and grabbed a few groceries for Les to make spaghetti and meatballs tonight. So excited! I love Leslie's pasta sauce and with meatballs.... fugetabout it haha.
Oct 22
Had a pretty good night last night. We're a little close to the highway and there is some heavy truck traffic but it wasn't too bad. Oh but the farm next door has chickens and a rooster that crows super early every morning. Ahh nature sounds lol.
We decided to get the bikes off the rig today and ride farther out on the Bizz Johnson Trail. We parked further up the trail than yesterday when were walking the trail.  Before we take off from the park I have to clean the bikes up and lube the chains with dry lube. They get surprisingly dirty in the bag on the back. Before long we were unloading at Miller Rd access and getting geared up to go. Margaret gets to ride with us in a backpack on my back.
Ready to ride.
Riding the trail is a great idea! We went way farther up the trail and saw some great spots. The fall leaves and the rock walls all beside the river made for a great ride.
Nice little waterfall coming down in the trees.

Susan River. 
We stopped at the 5 mile post and let Margaret out for a stretch. She seems pretty happy on the ride, just lies down on the towel in the pack. 
A little break at the turnaround.

Happy faces.
We took our time on the way back to the truck and enjoyed the slight downhill grade. What a beautiful place here in California. We met two really nice women out for a walk by our truck. They noticed the Alberta plates and wanted to tell us about some other places to see while here. How nice is that? We chatted for a little bit and then took their advice and took highway 189 to North Eagle Lake. I had looked at that before on Google Maps because there is a campground out there. Beautiful afternoon for a drive. 
Eagle Lake in front of us.
Lake level is way down, cattle grazing out there.
We turned at the junction for secondary 201 or Eagle Lake Road and headed south again. This area used to be really popular for boating and fishing but the lake is so far down. Feel sorry for the property owners around here. There are for sale signs everywhere and the houses look empty already.
See the dock in the brown grass? 
We drove further south and turned into the National Park to check out the marina. The water gets closer to the south shore. I was curious to see what the marina would look like with lake levels so low.

Unbelievable right? The boat launch is on the other side now.
We walked out to the end of the breakwater and back. There was a few boats out there still so there must be enough water but it looks awfully shallow. They need rain around here.

Our walk to the end of the breakwater.
We drove back to the main highway, then back to Standish and our rig. We cleaned up the bikes again and stowed them on the rig as we're pulling out tomorrow heading east to Fallon, Nevada. Leslie decided to do a load of laundry before we left and the laundry room here is spectacular. I know that sounds weird but this place is unbelievably clean. The laundry is the cheapest we've ever seen too. It was $1.25 for a wash and Leslie only used 75 cents to dry what we had. Unreal. 
Oct 23
We left Standish around 10:00. It's not far to Fallon Nevada. We are driving through Reno and overnighting in Fallon Walmart to stock up a little.
Heading east.
Casino in Reno

The freeway on the north side of Reno heading east.

The start of US 50 going east to Fallon.
We got parked at the Walmart in Fallon and headed in to do some shopping. We are planning on boondocking all week so we loaded up pretty good. The spot we have at Walmart is pretty close to the highway so it's going to be noisy. It's an earplug night tonight. On the plus side we get a few TV channels and price is right. Leslie managed to catch a great sunset pic on our first night in Nevada. 
Pretty sweet sunset.

Oct 24
Up pretty early because of traffic noise but that's okay. We want to get going anyway. After I secured us a lovely McDonalds breakfast we pulled out of Fallon, Nevada. We are heading east on US 50 aka "The Loneliest Road in America". Looking at it on the map it is fairly straight with hardly any towns and goes through some empty country. Hills and desert, dat it. It didn't take long and we saw evidence of loneliness....
Salt mud on both sides of the highway.
Shortly after the salt flat we saw this huge pile of sand.
Aptly named Sand Mountain

You can play here!
We have been seeing lots of rigs with trailers and all kinds of ATV's on the back. From regular looking side by sides to pimped out sand rigs that look awesome.
Not the tires you have in Bonnyville.
Of course we had to pull in for a look. There were rigs parked all over on the sand and piped up ATV's everywhere. Very cool!! It reminded me of offloading snowmobiles in the mountains at a staging area. Just way warmer!
Some can make the top and others have to bail out.
We parked off to the side and watched a few runs to the top. Man it looks fun but my pedal bike ain't going up, that's for sure. Time to get back to the lonely highway. Leslie has been looking online and picked our first BLM campsite to stay at for a few days. BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management and is similar to Crown Land in Canada. Here the US government has set up no frills camping areas for free to anyone! How freakin' cool is that. Our destination for today is Illipah Reservoir Recreation Area just this side of Ely, Nevada. First we have to cover about 175 miles of desert and mountains. There are a couple 8% grades that I saw and lots of twists but it's dry and warm with smooth pavement.
Pretty lonely but incredible.

Margaret is absolutely thrilled with the drive ;)
And then while Leslie and I are commenting about how there is nothing out here forever.... we see this guy!
Dude are you kidding me?? He looked pretty happy.
The first town we hit was Austin, Nevada, not Texas that will be another post. Austin is built on a steep hill, like "I'm not stopping for pictures here Les or we'll get dragged backwards" steep! Very cool little town and there is an RV park but we just kept going. Even the parking areas are steep slopes.
Doesn't show the grade very well but it's a good one.
Looking back at Austin from on top of the climb out of town.
The coolest thing about travel days is you get to see what's on the other side of the hill. We run out of words all the time but we are blown away how rugged and beautiful it is here. Mountains, trees, rocks and sage brush, lots of it. Actual tumbleweeds rolling across the highway. If I see a roadrunner and a coyote with ACME boxes my life is complete. Sorry got off track there.
The next small town is Eureka. I need fuel so we are stopping here and it's fairly flat so it's good. They have refurbished much of the old buildings in town and it looks great! What a cool place to visit but unfortunately we want to press on so we can find this BLM in daylight.
We found out how friendly this place is.

We saw a write up saying they have weekly shows at the opera house still.

Love how they refinished everything.
According to the GPS we have just over 40 miles to the BLM left so I want to put on some water for our stay there. The gas station is not set up to get our rig close enough to a hose bib to fill so we need to look elsewhere. I spotted a restaurant up ahead that had a huge parking lot so I pulled in there. Sure enough I can see a tap on the back of the restaurant. I walked in expecting to pay $5 or something to fill our water but not in Eureka! The gas station folks were nice and apologized that we couldn't fill there and as soon as I asked the waitress she said "sure, help yourself". We get pulled in behind the place and the owner comes out and says hi and wants to make sure we knew how to use the hydrant. They were great, I felt bad that we couldn't stop for a burger or something but I'll remember if I'm back this way.
DJ's Diner, stop here if you can.
Now full of fuel and about 50 gallons of water on board we have yet another climb up another mountain before we get to the BLM. The truck is pulling like a champ and the shocks are really controlling the bounce we used to have so it's not a huge deal. We're averaging about 10 mpg pulling the trailer through all the hills but I rarely go under 50 mph/ 80 kmh going up 6 to 8% grades.
These are good hills with decent peaks.
We dropped down a little before we started looking for the sign to our camp spot for the next few days. The site is 1.5 miles or 3 km's off the highway and should be so nice and quiet. I can't wait The Walmart last night was the opposite of quiet. With awesome directions from we found our sign easily and turned off on a dirt road and over a cattle guard to peace and quiet.

A little piece of heaven coming up!
I'll post what we have here and we'll start fresh at Illipah Reservoir. I was a little worried at first but when we saw the spot!!! Ahhhh. At 6880 ft elevation the nights will be chilly but the days are close to 20C/70F. Looking forward to more relaxing and I want to try a run at this elevation. But now it's frosty beverage time. Cheers!


  1. When it comes to scenery you could not have been to two more opposite places. We have been through Susanville a few times and just love the scenery there.

    1. There was definitely some differences! Susanville was a great find and that RV park was great too. Arnie is an older salt of the earth fella. Glad we stopped there.