Highway 199 was under construction and some delays we're expected so I stopped for some coffee and to take a closer look at the map for some alternate routes. I found a little side road called Patrick Creek Road that paralleled highway 199 and then re-joined the highway just past where the construction supposedly ended. As I headed up the canyon, I came upon a bunch of cars that were stopped in the road. I found the construction zone. I passed the cars up to the roadblock and talked to the flag woman for a few moments and found out that the little side road I wanted to take was gravel all the way, so I opted out of that. She said that there was only about a 25 minute wait at this point, and there was a nice lodge right across the bridge, so I decided to go have a cup of coffee. I pulled up, parked and took off my helmet. As I approached the deck outside the lodge, I heard someone yelling, "There he is." I looked up trying to determine who said that and was it meant for me. A second later I saw who it was coming from. There sitting with a couple of other folks having a cup of coffee was the guy I passed on Hwy 1 riding that old BMW a few days ago. Talk about small world! We talked for a while, had another cup of coffee. We noticed the cars that were waiting for the construction break had started to move up the canyon, so we said our goodbye's to the other folks we were sitting with and hopped on our bikes and started up Highway 199 towards Grants Pass.
We rode together for about a half an hour. I was looking for a road called "Forest 48" at a town called O'brien that took me towards Happy Camp. As I saw my turnoff coming up, signaled to him that I was turning off. We waved, gave each other a thumbs up and parted ways. I turned right and he continued up Hwy 199 to join Hwy 5 north towards Seattle. I never saw him again.
The road to happy camp, Forest 48, was beautiful and warm. A great twisty road that climbed up a mountain and then down into a beautiful forested valley. Reaching Happy Camp I had a decision to make. Do I go south on Hwy 96 along the Klamath River, or do I go east towards Yreka. Looking at the map, I saw a small road that followed the Scott River towards the south. Since I was here to explore, off towards the Scott River I went.
I drove through several very small towns before I got to Scott River Road. I wondered if I should get any food and beer before I turn south but decided not to. I would later regret that decision. I finally came upon Scott River Road and turned south. Not wanting to ride all day, I started to look for a place to camp, swim, relax and just chill. Most of the dwellings along the Scott River were small to medium shacks with lots of old cars scattered around - that is until I came upon the Scott River Lodge - now called the JH Ranch. An Immaculate huge log cabin style building right on the Scott River. After winding down this road for so long, I couldn't believe my eyes. Such a beautiful place - in the middle of nowhere.
I continued down the road until I found a campground near the river. It was right along the road and pretty barren, but it was adjacent to a huge swimming hole. It was really hot and the water was calling to me so I stopped for a quick swim. Wonderful. The water was about 10 feet deep and perfectly clear and clean. I wondered if I should stay here tonight because I couldn't tell if there was going to be anywhere else to camp within a reasonable drive. I thought of calling the Scott River Lodge for information, but my cell phone wouldn't work. I spotted a phone booth near the campground and gave it a try. It didn't work either. It was late in the afternoon, I hadn't eaten all day and had no idea where I could find food so I decided to go back to the lodge and see if they were serving dinner.
Walking inside the lodge I was stunned by its beauty and elegance. Beautiful big bay windows overlooking the river with a huge fireplace and dining table were the centerpiece of the main room. As I walked further into the main room I looked around but found nobody in sight. I heard some sounds coming from around the corner and in the back of another room. Following the sounds I called out "Hello." The Cook came around the corner from the kitchen. I asked about dinner and she referred me to the gentleman approaching from the lobby.
"Hi - that's my motorcycle out in front and I was wondering if you were serving dinner tonight?"
He was the owner of this great place and told me that they were serving only to guests of the lodge. I asked how much a room was.
"Two hundred Fifty per night." A little steep for my budget.
"Thanks, but that's a little steep for me right now."
We chatted about the place for while as he showed me around. Simply spectacular. I just can't say enough about this place. Each room has it's own fireplace with an outside deck overlooking the river. There was a very large outside deck with tables and umbrellas adjacent to the dining room and bar, also overlooking the river.
We exchanged good-byes and I asked him if he knew of any other campsites down the road, other than the one I had already found. He suggested a place a few miles further called Indian Scotty Campground.
Believe me when I say that I had second thoughts about not staying at the Lodge that night. It would have been really great and in retrospect, I wish I had - hindsight is 20-20, but there's a reason for everything.
So I fired up the FJ and headed down Scott River road - past the first campground and the swimming hole I had found to a bridge that took me over the river to Indian Scotty Campground. The campground is right on the river and very nice. I drove around looking for a good campsite and noticed that there was only one other person camping there. I pretty much had my pick of the campground. I found the site and unpacked the bike and headed to the river for a swim.
The water was perfect. Clear and warm. I swam from swimming hole to swimming hole just enjoying the experience. Sitting in a nice deep pool...the sound of the water cascading over rocks as it finds it's way to the Klamath River and eventually the ocean. This is what I had been looking for the entire trip. What contrast from the cold of the coast. I finished my swim and thought I should try and find some food. I knew that there was a town to the south of where I was by about 30 miles. I figured it would be a nice ride into town and back so off I went. Since the bike was quite a bit lighter, I had a wonderful spirited ride into town. The road was in real good shape and very twisty. I came out of the Scott River Valley to a great expanse of green alfalfa fields. The sprinklers occasionally misted across the road, a welcome event. It was really hot. I got to town, Scott River, and found a store, stopped and went inside. There weren't any sandwiches or anything like that so I got some beer, of course, salami, cheese and crackers and some chips and salsa. I loaded up the bike and headed back to camp.
Back at camp, I cracked open a beer, took another swim. And settled in for the evening. As I was sittin' and writin' in this journal, the camp host came by to collect the camp fees. We exchanged some cash and paperwork and began to chat for a while. We talked about the environment and how much we impact it without much thought to what we're doing. She asked me where I live.
"L. A." I said.
She told me that she used to live in L. A. but got out. She asked me what I do for a living. I told her that I was in post production sound.
"Sound," I used to write for an audiophile magazine" she said. "The Absolute Sound" was the magazine she used to write for. Turns out that she knows all about Producers Workshop, the studio I used to run back in the 70's and 80's, The Mastering Lab and Doug Sax and the whole goings on there. Enid Lumley is her name. She used to write "Lumley's Corner" for The Absolute Sound. She was at a couple of the Sheffield Lab sessions that took place at Producers and the Hollywood Presbyterian Church. It was amazing to travel all this way and go through all the things I've gone through in my life to find someone in a place like this that was there when and where I was decades ago. And we had never met before tonight.
You never know where the next turn or decision will take you in life.
We talked until the wee hours of the morning sipping on wine and beer and munching on cheese and salami. Great stories were told by all.
We hugged, said good night and went to bed.
A very interesting day to say the least.