Cottonwood to Red Bluff, California

12 running days down, 123 to go

I’m trying to wait out the rain in the motel room. The weather forecast keeps predicting there is going to be a few-hour gap in the rain, but that gap just keeps moving. I realize I need to get going and that there won’t be a gap. Yesterday I was in shorts and slathered in sunscreen. Today, rain pants and rain jacket.

When I go to take the trailer out of the room, I discover the right tire is completely flat. It wasn’t that way when I arrived at the hotel yesterday. I pump it up, and can’t hear any air escaping. Just in case, I pack the pump on the very top.

When I go to check out, “You’re not running in this, are you?” Yep, yep I am. Then I find out I really did misunderstand something last night. When the male owner was talking with me about my route, his wife came over and asked if he minded if she went to the store to get some things for dinner tonight and described what she was fixing and what she needed. I jokingly said, “That sounds wonderful. What time should I be there?” She went along with it, and responded with, “Sure, come on over!” Her husband and I then continued our conversation, and then we talked about places in the area to get dinner. When I checked out, I was informed, “I called you last night regarding dinner, but you apparently went somewhere else.” Ouch, I passed up the opportunity for a home-cooked meal.

Off I head to Red Bluff. It looks like it will rain all day. No big deal. Just so your expectations are set properly… there is nothing between Cottonwood and Red Bluff.

Cottonwood River
Cottonwood River and I-5
State of Jefferson sign
Welcome to the state of Jefferson
Between Cottonwood and Red Bluff
Somewhere between Cottonwood and Red Bluff
Pavement ends
Pavement ends on the way to Red Bluf

This brings back bad memories. Luckily, I knew this would be a dirt road for a couple of miles.

Along this stretch of road is open range. In other words, cattle may be on the road. As I approached, there were cows on both sides of the road. My mere presence caused a stampede from left to right. While one cow decided to stand right in the middle of the road and stare me down, she got moving when I continued my march down the road. No one was hurt during said stampede.

While I’m walking and not trying to run at all on this dirt-mud-gravel-rock road, it is doing a number on my ankle. I’m now done running for the day.

I see pavement ahead, and that makes me very happy, but what is this? “If the water is up to the white line, the river is 8 inches deep and you shouldn’t cross it.” The water isn’t 8 inches deep. The river running across the road, the river that can’t be avoided, is only two inches deep. I know this because of where the water came up to on me, and now my feet are soaked.

As I squelch down the paved road, I see a group of goats to my right. One of the goats is lying down, sleeping. After I pass, the goat raises its head and barks at me. Turns out that animal with the exact same colors as the other goats was really a dog.

As I continue on, I come to a mixed herd of sheep, goats, cows, and horses.

I have no pictures of any of these things because it’s pouring.

As I continue on, trying to ignore the weather and my soaking wet feet, I think about the towns through which I’ve come.

I’ve always disliked Oakridge. I saw a new area of it that isn’t bad, but Hwy 58 through Oakridge is even worse than it used to be given the restaurants that are now closed and just sitting there.

Chemult made me sad because so much of it is closed or for sale.

Chiloquin was a ghost town with a nice community center.

I’ve been through Klamath Falls a number of times, and I still can’t decide my feelings toward it.

I liked Weed. I’ve never previously done more than drive by it or maybe stop and get gas. I didn’t even know it was a college town. It’s much livelier than I thought, and I enjoyed the weekend music.

I liked what I saw of Redding, and I saw a lot of it. If I were going to live anywhere I’ve passed through, this would be it.

I didn’t see anything in Anderson that would make me want to live there, but I appreciate all of the things they’re doing to make their town friendlier to pedestrians and bicyclists.

Cottonwood is very aware of its heritage.

Red Bluff city limit sign
Red Bluff city limit

And there it is. The city limit sign for Red Bluff. Since I haven’t seen the speed limit reduced, I’m not getting excited yet. Once I do see I-5, I know my day is almost done.

I check into a motel, and it might be the worst motel in which I have ever stayed. On the plus side, I don’t see any critters running around my room. This is the only plus. I unload my trailer and flee to the local pizzeria, where I have an excellent pizza. When I splurge on a very good stout, the server asks for ID. I just stared back. Apparently they card everyone. Give me a break.

I return to the hotel and try to work on this blog post, but the hotel’s WiFi is awful. It could be worse. It could be that there is no hot water, the only place in which to charge an electronic device is the bathroom sink, and the drapes don’t close all the way so I can see people walking past my room all night.