Dorris, CA to Grass Lake Rest Area

9 marathons down, 126 to go

A man offered me twenty dollars in the men’s restroom of a rest area… but I’m getting ahead of myself because that doesn’t happen until later tonight. Back to this morning…

For some reason, I have trouble getting going this morning. There is a high wind warning for the next two days. There is a winter storm warning for tomorrow. I can’t decide how to dress. The continental breakfast here isn’t considered to be breakfast on any continent, and the owner glares at me as I grab things to take back to my room as if I’m robbing her.

I finally settle on running tights and shorts, a short-sleeved running shirt, and my rain jacket. I make it about two blocks before I remove the rain jacket and replace it with my winter parka. It is cold, and that doesn’t look like it will change soon.

Dorris, California
Dorris, California

I take a quick photograph when I stop to change coats. I didn’t eat at the Bar 40 Grill so I don’t know if they “now serve good food” or not. I do wonder if that means they used to not serve food at all or if that means they used to serve bad food.

I’m also baffled by the bakery just down from Bar 40. The bakery also sells locally raised and butchered meat. “I’d like a donut, a fritter, a loaf of bread, and a pound of hamburger” sounds like an odd order in a bakery.

Shortly, I come to the mandatory inspection area. For those not familiar with the borders of California, shortly after you enter California, there will be an inspection station where you must stop and declare if you’re bringing in any plants, fruits, or vegetables. I go right past without stopping. It says vehicles have to stop, and I am not a vehicle. No one shoots at me. I stop shortly after this and add snow/rain pants to my attire due to the wind and the storm that is aimed at me.

Due to the incredible head wind that I face the entire rest of the day, and due to my hoping to finish the day before that storm hits me in the face, I am taking no more photographs today.

The big difference in this area vs the area south of Klamath Falls is that southern Oregon is primarily high plains scrub land. The same is naturally true here, but here ranchers also have water rights that allow them to turn that scrub land into grassland. The number one crop here appears to be hay, though there are a number of people now planting some kind of row crop under poly tunnels. Some of the soil has been amended over the years and looks good, and some is just sand. I can verify the sand because someone is creating a dust cloud by tilling the sand, and I lose a couple of layers of skin to the dust cloud. I’m sure the people in the next county appreciate their new topsoil.

I only see parts of the countryside because my head is down a lot of the time due to dust and wind. When I say wind, I mean wind that sometimes makes me work hard just to remain in place. The wind is out of the WSW. Guess which way I’m headed? Yeah, Murphy again. I hate that guy.

Macdeol is the only town through which I’ll be running today so I stop there and get a chicken popper bowl and cup of coffee from the store attached to the gas station. I swallow the food whole and chase it with the coffee and get back on the road. I can’t afford time today because of that headwind and that storm aimed at me.

I stop at a ranger station and talk about the best places to camp. For the first time I experience the wind at my back… from the driveway to the front door. The woman there was great, and she showed me the best places to camp in that part of the national forest. I have trouble getting the door to close as I leave due to that wind. Soon after, I talked with a local who said the camping recommendation would be a good one except if this storm turns bad. He encourages me to continue on to the rest area. If the storm is bad, I’ll have options there and other people around, and at least the restroom is heated if all else fails.

I continue on to the rest area.

Grass Lake rest area shelter
Grass Lake rest area shelter

My accommodations aren’t much, but I can use the building as a wind break, it has hot and cold running water, it has a warm air hand dryer, and it has heat.

Grass Lake
Grass Lake
Grass Lake
Grass Lake
Grass Lake
Grass Lake

And it comes with all of that beautiful scenery!

Facility Pollution Prevention Plan at the Grass Lake Rest Area
Facility Pollution Prevention Plan at the Grass Lake Rest Area, kept under lock and key

And it comes with its very own Facility Pollution Prevention Plan. Did the last place you stayed have such a thing? I’m sure that plan is reviewed often seeing as that lock is about the size of my fist.

I snack on some chips and salsa I have left over from the night before, and then the wind gets even worse. A tree branch breaks off and lands about ten feet away from me, and then a torrential downpour begins. I take refuge in the restroom.

I’m starting to worry about falling asleep with my trailer outside (but under cover), so I bring the trailer into the restroom.

Different people react differently when you move into a restroom. Some are very talkative, and some think you might be one of them perverts. One guy who comes in while I’m leaning against the wall starts talking with me about what I’m doing, as he uses the urinal. I tell him about what I’m doing and why, he shakes off, puts himself away, reaches in his pocket and pulls out a couple of bucks, decides that’s not enough, puts it back, pulls his wallet out, takes out a twenty-dollar bill, and donates it to me.

That is the assumption you made about why I was offered money in a restroom, wasn’t it?

He later comes back and offers me the seat in his rig since he just has the one place to sleep. I decide a chair beats the hell out of a restroom, but he doesn’t have any place to put my trailer, and I can’t risk losing that or the contents of it.

In this restroom, there are two stalls. One of the stall doors has a broken latch. The other stall is disgusting. The pattern everyone follows is walk in the restroom, walk into the first stall, discover the latch doesn’t work, walk into the second stall, make some kind of disparaging sound, walk back into the first stall, and don’t worry about the latch.

At 10:30, I can’t stand any more without falling asleep on my feet so I give up and sit on the floor, leaning up against the trailer. From 10:30 to 2:30, I get maybe an hour of very interrupted sleep. It beats being in the high wind, torrential rain, and now spitting snow, but I do wake up every time someone enters my restroom. I get a little more sleep from 2:30 to 4, and then I just give up. I never did eat dinner because who wants to eat in a restroom. Well, honestly, who wants to sleep on the floor of a restroom? At least the section I was on appeared to be clean. It’s going to be a very long day tomorrow.