We left Reno, Nevada and headed north with the plan of stopping at Likely, California or the Tulelake Fairground in northeastern California. The drive out of Reno was uneventful and then we turned north on 395. This road started out really nice but when we hit Susanville and it became a narrow, windy road with shear drop-offs along the passenger side. Needless to say Sharon was not enjoying this part of the drive. It was odd since I didn’t remember any mountain roads in my planning.
After about 150 miles I started looking for Likely, CA and never saw it. I assumed we must have missed it which was no big deal since I really thought we would end up at Tulelake instead. It wasn’t until after we pulled into the agricultural town of Tulelake that I realized that if I removed Likely, Ca. on my Microsoft Streets and Trips map it rerouted us over the mountains. I think we got lucky there were no other problems with the road other than it was a long and narrow road. It was an enjoyable scenic drive despite the challenges.
We parked our rig in Tulelake-Butte Fairgrounds where we are the only ones here and have full hookups for only $18.00 per night. About half of what we were paying in Reno, NV. which will help this month’s budget.
The location is great for visiting the Lava Beds National Monument and the next day we planned to visit it. However, mother nature conjured up a cold snap that brought morning rains and chilly temperatures. We waited until the rain stopped after lunch and drove west of town for a few miles. Unfortunately the drizzle started again and when we got near Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge we noticed a road on the dikes around the lake so we got on it and found ourselves on a Self Guided Auto Tour, 9.6 miles one way.
Perfect! Drizzle or not we found something to enjoy. What we learned was that at one time Tule Lake was much larger but the settlers of course decided that by draining this land they could farm the rich soils beneath the waters. This was the explanation for all the agriculture in this otherwise xeric grassland. As a result the lake currently is only 25 percent of what it once was!
What we saw was an abundance of wetland birds and the highlights were sightings of Yellow Headed Black Birds,Eared Clarks’ and Western Grebes as well as several pairs of Cinnamon Teal. Teems of ducks including Gadwall, Mallards, Red Heads, Lesser Scaup, Buffleheads and many other wetland birds were spotted.
After the tour the weather broke and we headed for the Lava Beds National Monument but that will have to be another blog as this one is long enough…