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North America 2004

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Journal for 15-May-2004 : Klamath Falls

Left Weed not that late and started the climb on the busy us97 up Grass Lake Summit. It only took 28km. American climbs are not steep, but they are high and awfully long. Spectacular views of Mt Shasta this morning, despite the cloud cover.

Lots of trucks today, and I made the mistake of counting them. Mercifully the shoulders on this road were paved and very wide. But I'd counted over 1oo before our first break.

We seem to have ditched the trees for a while. The country looks much more arid, with lots of low scrubs and fewer trees. In fact, it looks a lot like the salt bush planes in Australia. Apart from the trees of course. And all the hills. And all the people around. And in the distance the snow caped volcanos etc.

Road also paralleled the Union Pacific Railroad for a while. They run some spectacularly long trains, carrying lots of product of Canada into Southern California, and lots of equally long empty trains heading north.

The Deer Mountain pass wasn't as high, but had a great downhill (other than the spooky cross wind) that lead us down to the Butte Valley.

Once over the passes we were seriously exposed to the cross/head wind, and progress was slow. The roadhouse cafe at Macdoel shut on weekends. Luncheon was taken in the town park: a gravelly, sandy collections of weeds opposite the Post Office. Very windy and pretty cold too.

Stopped to use the loo at the interestingly named town of Doris. We managed to stop as the local car boot markets were closing up. We were given some lycra pants they couldn't sell for 50c.

Quite tired at the “Oregon Welcome Centre”, a tourist info outfit on steroids where we got all sorts of interesting information, including the Oregon bike route map.

The last bit of the highway into Klamath Falls narrower that most bits, with a vicious cross wind that made staying out of harms way rather challenging. When we finally turned off I'd counted 309 trucks passing us, not counting the ones while we were resting. Also not counting the 12 parked at the rest area we rode past, nor the 120 being lugged by Union Pacific. Of those, a fair chunk (at least 50) bore a familiar name: Wal-Mart.

Klamath Falls looks like a town that has been Wal-Marted. Our route into town (via the super-supermarket) took us past this mega-warehouse mega-sell-everything-mart just on the outskirts of town. It had a four lane highway leading to it, and all the town's other businesses lines this pavement to the promised land. The old centre of town was a rather run down affair, with not too many businesses filling the old shops.

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