Ashland, OR, Day Four at Emigrant Lake RV Park.
Seven weeks, four days in our bus.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30. DRIVE TO ASHLAND.
On Thursday we drove from Eugene to Ashland, another easy two hour transition south from the Willamette River National Forest to the Rogue River National Forest. We are settled about six miles outside of Ashland at Emigrant Lake RV Park. The RV park is carved into an upper and lower loop on a hill above the lake. We lucked out and backed into a site with two fairly mature trees that provide much needed shade and an excellent view of the lake and it’s launch ramp.
The RV park is fairly new and most of the trees are small so larger trees are an asset. Other than that there is no landscaping and it is hard to understand why they didn’t put in a sprinkling system and some grass while they were at it. Walking the dogs is an invitation to an hour of grooming to remove the millions of immature thistles that grow on those pretty little green plants with the yellow flowers. In a month they will have very large thistles. We look down on the tent campers in the older part of the park across the lake and they have the luxury of tall shade trees and green grass.
Settled in by 2:00 pm on our sun-baked hill with a temperature of 87º we watched the wind rise and dark clouds stream in until we were hit by a thunderstorm about 3:30 pm. It was a sudden and forceful thunderstorm. I saw lightening hit the hill above us and we all lost power for a while. About 4:30 we thought it was over so we decided to go into town to find a grocery store. No such luck. We were hit by hail as we drove and I couldn’t believe the size of those little icy pellets. We had to detour around a flooded intersection but we finally found a Safeway and ran inside to shop. We had the dogs with us in the car because the rain and wind were so noisy that we figured they’d freak out if we left them alone in the bus. Armed with comfort food and staples we returned to the bus with a temperature that had dropped to 67º by 5:00 pm. Pretty amazing.
Our immediate decision was whether to continue on to Clearlake on Friday. We’d made plans with my girlfriend, Karen Magnuson, to be at Clearlake for Labor Day. However, we didn’t have reservations at any RV park there and we were worried about the approaching holiday weekend in terms of traffic and a place to stay. The distance is 300 miles and that is possible but we prefer to make shorter jumps. I was starting a head cold and didn’t feel up to making a big push. So finally, we decided to stay put where we were safely ensconced out of traffic for the long weekend.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1. VISIT ASHLAND.
On Friday I actually slept late and woke knowing that I didn’t feel well. I still don’t know if I have a cold or allergies but now I suspect the latter. I cough and sneeze and have a sinus headache but on Sunday we drove to a higher elevation amid evergreens to see Howard Prairie Lake and I began to feel better. Here by Emigrant Lake we are in oak and meadow land and there is a lot of dry, yellow grassland. I’m allergic to grass and a nearby farmer just harvested his hay, so that may be the problem. So Friday was a day of rest and we sat outside in the shade watching the lake and the activity of backing a trailer down the ramp to launch or retrieve a boat. It’s a very long ramp because the lake is very, very low. On Friday we even rallied and used the campground fire pit to light coals and BBQ some steaks. Wow. I think this is only the second time we’ve cooked over a campfire in more than three months.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1. VISIT ASHLAND.
On Saturday we made an effort to go into Ashland. I’ve driven through before but never stopped to see the town. The festival is still going on and there are many plays to be seen. But I don’t feel up to more than a few hours of activity. We sat on the balcony of Greenleaf for lunch and then walked up the main street, Siskiyou Blvd. to look at the shops. The town is crowded and we had to park far above town at the top of beautiful Lithia Park. We enjoyed walking on the paths of this lovely park as much as the town itself. Ashland is a beautiful and charming town with much to offer. We will have to plan to come back to take advantage of the plays and concerts. Right now, I’m just not up to making the effort.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 2. HOWARD PRARIE LAKE.
Sunday we drove up to Howard Prairie Lake Resort where we stopped to have breakfast. It’s about thirty minutes from Ashland at an elevation of almost 5000 feet. We took Hwy 66 to Hyatt-Prairie Rd., which led us past Hyatt Lake and then down to the larger Prairie Lake, which is about six miles long and one mile wide. All three lakes, Emigrant, Hyatt and Prairie are reservoirs. The 60,000 acre feet of water from Prairie ultimately makes its way down to Emigrant before being diverted into the irrigation system that feeds most of the southern Rogue Valley. Prairie Lake has campgrounds with 250 sites. It is also one of the largest inland marinas in the Northwest. We looked at the RV sites and decided that we would not want to bring the bus into these sites because they are tight and dark — located under evergreen trees. The place is attractive for young families, boaters and sportsman but it isn’t what we require.
Breakfast at the lodge was adequate but we had to grab our food and run from the patio to the indoor dining room. I can share my meal with several wasps but when they build up to six or more and get excited over my sausage, I take the prudent course and evacuate. We brought the dogs with us and gave them a short walk. We made a loop by driving back down to Emigrant Lake on Dead Indian Memorial Road. I guess I don’t need to ask what happened there.
Emigrant Lake has been entertaining for one who doesn’t feel well and sits around a lot. Our situation gives us an excellent view of all the RVs parked on the hill above us. We are in Site #4 and immediately in front of us is site #5, a very desirable pull-thru. We pulled into it when we first arrived. It took us about ten minutes to figure out the park reservation system and the OPEN or OCCUPIED signs. We saw that we could stay in #5 on the 30th but it was reserved from the 31st through the 3rd. So we backed into #4, which had no reservation sign and no OCCUPIED sign.
After that we got two days of cheap entertainment. Every newcomer pulled into that site. You could hear them thinking, “The gods are with me. Somehow this nice big site hasn’t been taken and I’ve scored the perfect location.” There must have been a dozen big trailers that pulled in and then pulled out. Some figured it out sooner and some later. Some actually hooked up and then had to unhook. Finally a large trailer stayed overnight on Thursday (30th) — but he did not leave by noon on Friday (31st). We watched as the camp hosts asked them to leave. Later the hosts told us that the trailer squatters said they’d paid for the weekend and wanted a refund. They made a fuss. Of course the money goes into envelopes and is collected by the rangers and of course the campers knew it was reserved. They were working on the “possession is nine tenths of the law” theory — but it didn’t work and they had to leave. We awaited the arrival of the legally reserved RV with some anticipation. They pulled in late on the 31st — a fashionably late entrance. They were everything we could have hoped for. They are a big toy hauler (trailer) pulled by a huge Peterbilt truck. It is overkill but showy. There are lots of teens, friends with trucks, boats and bikes and equipment of all kinds. This is serious stuff. There is room behind the truck cab for people to sleep.
This place is actually surprisingly quiet. People go to sleep early and get up early to launch their boats and go fishing. There are no noisy, drunken parties. Well there was the couple that woke me Friday morning about 3:00 am. They were down on the launch ramp with his truck running and headlights shining into the water. It was a loud domestic squabble. Apparently she walked out of the camp and down to the boat launch and he followed in the truck where they yelled a lot and he demanded that she get in the truck. She didn’t and he finally gave up and drove back to camp. She walked back. That’s the only disturbance we’ve had, so I don’t call that too bad.We had almost four full days here so it gave us a chance to catch up on housework and just hang out. Dennis polished the entire bus from top to bottom. The dogs got to sit outside and be with us. The Labor Day holiday campers got to enjoy their boats and the lake. I coughed and sneezed. Is it allergies or a cold?
On Tuesday we will be back in California! We will stay overnight near Redding or Red Bluff or maybe aim for the Corning RV Park. On Wednesday we will be in Clearlake to see Karen who owns a home up on the hill in Kelseyville.