Chiloquin, Oregon

6 marathons down, 129 to go

When I went to bed last night, it was overcast and warm. During the night, the clouds cleared and it got cold. I am freezing. Chilled to the bone, freezing. I’m feeling very dispirited as I quickly pack up. I know it’s caused by the cold, and I know it will get better once I warm up, but my spirits are low. I expected to camp a fair bit between Klamath Falls and Red Bluff because of the locale, but I didn’t expect to camp this much so soon. A lot of reaching out to friends, friends reaching out to people they know, reaching out to organizations involved with mental illness and veterans, and friends who are involved with those groups reaching out to organizations… and nothing.

Hwy 97
Hwy 97 at dawn

This is my starting point. It is gorgeous, but damn, it’s cold. I already know I won’t be taking a whole lot of photographs today. I’m too cold to be stopping, taking off gloves, etc. I just want to keep going.

Entering Chiloquin sign
Entering Chiloquin

I knew I wouldn’t take many photographs, and it turns out I was quite serious.

Most of Hwy 97 is very straight and has nice shoulders. There are some curvy parts with narrow shoulders, but not many. It was one of those curvy parts with narrow shoulders in which I got stopped by a state trooper. This one started out just not liking my existence. He actually ran wants and warrants on me. Once he decided I wasn’t a bad guy, it was okay. Ultimately, he was more concerned about my safety than he was about my doing anything illegal since even he had to admit I was completely legal and even on the correct side of the road. Since he knows those roads better than I do, he recommended I walk on the wrong side of the road until I got through the curvy section because the shoulder on that side is a bit wider.

So now I’m arriving in Chiloquin. It’s a bit short of my desired mileage for the day, but there should be places to stay. So I get off of Hwy 97 north of Chiloquin, and take a back road into town. This also saves me from having to climb a steep hill.

Chiloquin, Oregon
Chiloquin, Oregon

This is promising. Looks like it could be a pretty, little town.

Then I walk into a restaurant and get shouted at that they’re not open. They look open, but I guess they’ve decided to host a memorial service for someone, so I keep going.

Chiloquin, Oregon
Chiloquin, Oregon

Oh my. This does not look good.

Down there at the end of this deserted street is a little market. I head in there and ask the clerk if there is a motel nearby. “If you go toward Crater Lake…” No, no, I’m on foot so it needs to be something really nearby. We finally settle on nearby as meaning within five miles. She thinks of one that is a couple of minutes by car but she’s not sure how far away it really is. I ask her how to get there, and an older gentleman walks up at this point. The clerk defers to him since he should be able to give better directions.

She first asks him how far away it is. He says it’s only a minute away if you cut across the airport. She points out I’m on foot and asks how to cut across the airport. “Well, it might not be legal… huh, huh, huh.” The clerk and I both look at him. How does he get there? “Are you going north or south on Hwy 97?” he asks. The clerk responds, “Which way should he go?” Captain Helpful responds, “It’s between the two.” So I should go back to the highway, turn some direction, look for something between the two (whatever that means, since this isn’t a divided highway with businesses between the two), and I should find it with no problem. I bought a soda, thanked the clerk, and went across the street to sit at the really nice community center. Google gave me better directions.

If I had stayed on Hwy 97 instead of turning off, I would have walked right past the motel. But if I had done that, I would have had to walk up that steep hill, and I wouldn’t have tried to get directions out of a very helpful old man. If you’re curious, the real directions are “go to the highway, turn right, the motel will be on your left.”

Melita's
Melita’s Restaurant, Lounge, Motel, RV Park, and Greyhound Bus Stop

Following those simple directions leads me to here, my stopping point for the night. I get a room, discover my trailer won’t fit through the door, empty the contents of the trailer into the room, hop in the shower, and discover, oh dear God, I am burned to a crisp. My face, neck, lower arms, backs of hands, and even the place on my ankles that is between my running tights and my socks are scorched.

This is a serious problem since there is nothing here I can put on it, nor is there anything I can get here to keep it from happening more tomorrow. I can solve this in Klamath Falls, but I’m not there until the end of tomorrow. I’ll have to rig something with a shirt over my head to protect my neck, and I may have to wear my rain jacket on a nice day to protect my arms. That leaves my face. Maybe I can buy a hat off of some passing stranger who will take pity on me. I knew the sun would become an issue, and I planned on adding to my kit about the same time I jettison my winter coat. I just wasn’t anticipating it this early. If I had, I would have just packed for it initially.

My ankle isn’t any worse, and I think I have a little more range of mobility. I still hope to be running again before I leave Oregon. As for my spirits, I’m okay. I’m viewing Oregon as a dress rehearsal to work out the kinks. As anyone in theatre knows, you never want a great final dress rehearsal, and I’m learning as I go how to do things better. So I’m now down to my final dress rehearsal before the production begins!