Driving up into the mountains, we had the odd experience of being in bright sun on a warm day, but surrounded by snow. We took advantage of this after lunch, where we walked over to one of the sheltered snowbanks and scooped up some snow which we put in Lisa's ice chest to cool down bottles of water. The weather was fairly pleasant over the pass itself, but got progressively hotter on the east side, as it does in central Oregon.
We stopped again an hour later so I could take a blood test, and again in Sisters so Lisa could buy some fuel-system cleaner in the hope that it will help clear an apparently partially-clogged fuel line (about which more in a minute). And finally we stopped at a vista point along US-20 in order for me to give her some stuff that should have been loaded in her little pickup rather than my minivan. Then it was in to Bend, where we parted ways.
I continued on my way to Klamath Falls, with several protracted stops, and never exceeding 55 mph. For instance, I stopped at the rest area south of Chemult, Oregon. While stretching my legs, I noticed that there were a bunch of chipmunks running around behind the picnic area. I got some crackers out of the van and proceeded to feed the chipmunks for a while. They were seriously cute, and cost me half an hour.
About an hour later I stopped at the casino north of Klamath Falls to use the restroom again, and sat down to play just a little blackjack. In fact I didn't play for very long although I sat at the table for quite a while, for I arrived just as they were reshuffling, and just as the dealer was cutting the six-shoe deck, she "pied" the cards, which meant she had to start over. It takes a while to reshuffle that many cards. I had a short run of luck, and decided that turning $20 into $40 was sufficient for me and hit the road again.
I had a strange experience running along Upper Klamath Lake. Ahead of me I saw a 1970s orange Toyota 4WD pickup truck with a camper shell. For a while, I started to think that Lisa might have decided to change course and chase me down to Klamath Falls; however, when I caught up to the truck, I saw that it didn't have any radio antennas and was slightly more red than orange.
Lisa's pickup is not behaving as well as she would like. She has two fuel tanks, one on the left and one on the right side of the truck. This gives her substantially increased range, which she prefers. As we made our way over the pass, she noticed that when drawing high power and taking fuel from the starboard tank, she pickup hesitates and coughs. Changing tanks makes the problem go away. Lisa suspects debris in the tank causing the fuel line to clog slightly when pulling maximum fuel. How this will affect her trip to Columbus and back, I do not know, but I know she was not happy about it when we lost radio contact. At the very least, she'll have to stop for fuel twice as often as she wanted.
Lisa bought a prepaid phone card and says she'll call me from time to time and let me know how she's progressing. My job will include letting her father know where she is and how she's doing.
I finally rolled into the Holiday Inn Express Klamath Falls just before 8 PM, having covered 254 miles in eight hours, for an unimpressive 32 mph average speed. As it happens, eight hours was about what I predicted.
This is actually the first time I think I've ever spent the night in Klamath Falls. I've passed through it many times, both driving and on the train -- on the latter it's usually a good place to get off the train and stretch your legs if you're up that late, because it's a scheduled servicing stop.
I'd wondered why there were two Holiday Inn Express locations shown adjacent to each other, with one not accepting reservations. When I got here, I learned why. The one that is open is an older hotel. A new HIX is being built in front of it, and this existing hotel will change brands when the new one is finished. It's a little shabby, but the front desk clerk was cheerful, and -- luxury! -- the indoor pool and spa are open 24 hours, instead of closing at 9 or 10 PM like so many hotels do.
There's a Safeway supermarket across the street from the hotel, and a Sizzler restaurant shares the hotel's parking lot. I considered going to dinner at Sizzler, but Lisa and I ate at one only a week ago, and I wasn't really very hungry anyway. The hotel room has a refrigerator and microwave oven, so I walked over to the store and bought a microwave meal and a few other things and brought them back to the room. I then cranked up the spare PC and put on a Super 14 rugby match from this past weekend (Blues-Hurricanes) that I'd downloaded earlier.
Internet access includes obvious wireless and "stealth" wired. That is, there's an Ethernet port in the wall, but it's not that obvious that you can get wired service. Luckily, I always carry a length of cable for this purpose, and it worked. The only fault I can find with the internet service is that it won't hold a VPN connection open very long.
All in all, this hotel appears to be decent value for money, and I'm feeling pretty relaxed and happy. I have a lot of driving ahead of me tomorrow, but it is pretty straightforward work.