On my own in Klamath Falls

I had a grand experience this past week. For the first time in my life, I went on a traveling, overnight adventure all on my own. I still can’t believe I’d never done this before.

Although I love to travel with others, I was really looking forward to being on my own. I had been invited to a wedding in Klamath Falls, Oregon, and I was almost as eager for the event to occur as the bride!

I’ll just give you a little bit of info on the town, taken from Wikipedia, so you get an idea as to where this town is:

“Klamath Falls” is a city in and the county seat of Klamath County, Oregon, United States. The city was originally called Linkville when George Nurse founded the town in 1867. It was named after the Link River, on whose falls the city was sited. The name was changed to Klamath Falls in 1893. The population was 20,840 at the 2010 census. The city is situated on the south east shore of the Upper Klamath Lake and about 25 miles (40 km) north of the California-Oregon border.

The Klamath Falls area had been inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent settlers. The Klamath Basin became part of the Oregon Trail with the opening of the Applegate Trail.

I’ll let you look up further info at your leisure. I just wanted to share my experiences and some of the pictures I took–both this past week and during a trip down there earlier with my husband.

A day or so before I packed and drove south, I checked out the weather–and was dismayed at the weather forecast.

Snow.

Oh, hooray.

I had wanted to see snow this year, and it refused to fall at home during the entire winter. Now I would be driving through it. Not my idea of fun–and the drive confirmed the un-funness.

I left at 10am on Tuesday, with the intention of getting on the road early; it is a five- or six-hour drive, so I wanted to get there with plenty of daylight to spare.

First, I had to go buy some tire chains. When I walked into the NAPA auto parts store and told the clerk what I wanted, he just gave me a slow, steady stare for a minute. Then he whipped his head around and looked out the windows, puzzled.

All I had to say was, “Klamath Falls”. He laughed and said, “Oh. I understand now.” Turns out he used to take the route south a couple of times a month. We chatted a bit (it’s what you do in a smallish town such as mine), then I got the chains I needed and headed off.

No real problem the first half of the journey. There was certainly snow in the higher passes, but not on the road, and the temperature never got below 33 degrees (32 is freezing, for those of a Celsius mentality.) I got to Sisters, Oregon thinking I had gotten lucky.

It’s pretty fascinating how the environment changes in this state. Where I live, just below Portland, moss is king. Buildings, car windows, tree trunks–nothing escapes the green fuzzy stuff. Going over the Cascade range, this changes to high desert, which is so much drier. The trees are just as tall, but shrubs and ferns are gone, replaced by scrub bushes. It’s also a lot colder in the winter/early spring months.

South of Sisters (which is a fascinating little town itself), the snows came in. I couldn’t help but think of how, the last time I went through here, I was pointing out the different mountains and volcanoes to my husband, who had never been through this area. This time, however, the Three Sisters, Three-Finger Jack, Broken Top, and all of the others were shrouded in dark, threatening clouds.

I could see ahead of me on the highway where the snow was starting to hit. From a distance, it looked like fog. But it certainly wasn’t anything that harmless.

No, I didn’t get into an accident. But it was really a nerve-wracking drive, especially during the last twenty miles into Klamath Falls. For the snow was starting to accumulate on the road, and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve driven in the snow…and have several fingers left over.

I got into KF and went directly over to the Safeway grocery store to pick up my food for the two days I would be there–I determined not to go out to dinner, to reduce expense. I also got a decent beer–of the largish variety. Then I got to the motel.

I had already walked KF on my previous visit, so I knew exactly where I was going. Once I checked in, I decided to take a short walk to get the kinks out of my legs. I was only a few steps away from Lake Ewana, so I headed that way and walked a short path. I had considered walking around the lake the next day, but decided against it when I saw how big the thing was (computer look-up).

I did get a couple of pictures around the lake:

KF5 KF23

There were a lot of birds–ducks, pigeons, seagulls–and a gaggle of geese that strutted around like the playground bullies.

The park had a veterans memorial and a big ol’ train engine, which was interesting but unapproachable.

The following day, Wednesday, was the day of the wedding, but it wasn’t until 5pm. So, instead of staying in my motel room working on editing or writing (which was my original intent, but I’d left my thumb drive at home…), I went on a rather lengthy walk.

I saw this historical marker, which sent me on a trip through the neighborhood above the old downtown area:

KF9

The last word, “cemetery”, caught my eye. So where else would a paranormal author with Goth leanings go on a cold, clear spring day?

I pulled out my phone and looked up “cemetery” on my phone’s map app. Another reason to love technology. It was close enough, so I decided to take on the journey.

Something I learned right away was that this neighborhood was not for the faint of knees. This particular street was in relatively better shape than the one I was on:

KF13

You can’t see the downward slope all that well, but it was there. Steps have been built in to the sidewalk in places.

 

 

 

 

As I topped a rise, I saw a sight that made me fall in love:

KF12I would be very happy to have this house. Especially if it was haunted…

 

 

 

 

It was quite the roundabout route to the cemetery, because I only knew the name of the street it was on. Thankfully, it wasn’t all that long, so I decided to walk to where it started and go from there.

Of course, my destination turned out to be almost to the OTHER end of the street…

KF22 KF21 KF20 KF19 KF17 KF14 KF7 KF6

I wandered around for about a half-hour. For awhile, I didn’t think there were any burials beyond the early 20th-century, but I finally found one as recent as 2013. Knowing full well that my own ancestral family members wouldn’t be interred here, I didn’t pay that much attention to last names. I hoped to pick up some photographic evidence of ghosts, but was disappointed in that regard. It was a very peaceful place though, with lovely views, so it was all worth it.

A very short, and I mean VERY short, walk brought me back into downtown. I have to share some of the pictures I took of some of the more interesting historical buildings along the main street.

This used to be a Ford car dealership:

Klamath11Can you see the Egyptian architectural details? I’d love to know the background for this particular building.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And no town of any largish size would be complete without a brewery. Good beer!

Klamath7

I managed to get to the Klamath County Museum, which is housed in a building that once was the Armory, and was built in the 1930s:

KF11

KF25And here we have the scene of the crime, a.k.a. where the wedding took place: the Baldwin Hotel Museum.

I didn’t ask the bride if I could post pictures, so you’ll just have to believe me that the Victorian-era wedding was absolutely gorgeous.

 

 

 

 

The reception was held at the small building next to this grand old theatre:

Klamath19

I got all dressed up for this, which is highly unusual for me:

KF4

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day I was able to drive home on warm, dry roads in absolute clarity. I thoroughly enjoyed it, what with the improved weather and the audiobook series I was listening to. The only hitch was when my car started whining about low pressure in a tire. I took care of that at a casino about a half-hour north of KF, then I drove non-stop (except for a stop for the necessaries), to arrive home at 2:30pm yesterday.

It was a lot of fun, and a great experience for my first-ever solo trip. I may have to do it again some time…

 

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