As well as we plan ahead and try to cover all our bases, there will be unexpected things happen. We just didn’t think something would come up on our very first day.
All our supplies were laid out and ready to go for the 1st leg of our Spring 2021 PCT Adventure. It sure wasn’t as much planning as we had done in 2018 – we were going to be gone for four months then. This time only three weeks. And having the experience from then helped greatly now.
We left home just after 8am for the 8 hour drive to Klamath Falls, Oregon. The drive took us over familiar territory from Port Ludlow to Tacoma, and on to Portland, Oregon, down the I-5 corridor. Our last evening leftovers from Fiesta Jalisco provided our lunch near Tualatin, Oregon, where we refueled the car too.
The weather was fairly nice but there were showers along the way as well. A somewhat typical early June day in the Pacific Northwest. As we drove, we listened to an audio book, “The President Is Missing” by James Patterson and Bill Clinton. Pretty good. 8 hours of listening so we could finish on the way most likely.
The route left I-5 at Eugene, Oregon and headed southeast into the foothills of the Oregon Cascade Mountains. Good driving past deep forests and many lakes. The road climbs to Willamette Pass at 5,000 feet where there were wonderful views of Odell Lake and Diamond Peak to the south of us. Fond memories flowed as we had hiked around Diamond Peak and by Odell Lake 3 years ago. Here we joyfully crossed the Pacific Crest Trail as it intersected the highway here at Willamette Pass. We joined Hwy 97 toward Klamath Falls just past Crescent Lake Junction and hit some very flat and drier surroundings.
My phone started ringing on the car audio system. I answered and a voice said, “I want to talk to a manager, RIGHT NOW!” I said, “Hello?” But the person hung up. Very strange. Elaine and I looked at each other questioningly but couldn’t understand what that was about until…..
The car phone rang again. It was Linda from Enterprise Rental Cars in Klamath Falls. She told us that they were having a hard time getting cars to rent and not to expect one for tomorrow! What? That was our plan to get our car parked at the Crater Lake Rim and then back to Klamath Falls for our departure on Amtrak Friday evening! Totally unexpected as I had made the reservation for the car in March! Then, I had asked Linda if it there would be any problem getting a car because of the national shortage. She said, “Oh, no problem!” Well, there’s a problem.
The first call was now understandable. We had somehow overheard another customer being told they wouldn’t have a car available and they weren’t happy!
We’re 7 hours from home and in full-on adventure mode. What could we do? The normal sight-seeing service from Klamath Falls was cancelled because of Covid19 this year. We started brainstorming. The possibilities?
- Ask at the Best Western if they knew anyone that would be off tomorrow and we could pay to give us a ride.
- Recheck our Uber app that had no options in March for rides and see if that situation had changed.
- Put out a request on the PCT Trail Angel Facebook page for a ride back from the Crater Rim.
- Park our car at the Crater Rim, and wander the parking lot and see if some other sight-seer would give us a lift back to Klamath Falls.
- Park at the Crater Rim and start walking back with our thumbs out to hitch-hike hoping to somehow get the hour ride back to Klamath Falls.
Just then, a U-Haul van passed us. What about U-Haul? We’d heard that some people had done that. We checked the contact information for U-Haul in Klamath Falls and saw we would arrive there well before they were to close for the evening.
At 5:30pm, we arrived at U-Haul in KF just down the street from our lodging. Two pleasant young guys greeted me and and asked how they could help. I asked about any pick-ups or small trucks being available for tomorrow. They just said, “Sure, which would you like?” OMG, what a relief!
In a few minutes, I’d arranged for a pick-up truck for 10am tomorrow morning at a pretty reasonable price. Problem solved! (We hope!) Very grateful for their kind service.
After that, some tension sure flowed away. We checked in to our lodging (Best Western Olympic Inn), and looked out the window to see Mt Shasta on the horizon. Beautiful! Our hike would begin several miles on the other side of the peak. Thought this was a good omen.
Made our way to Klamath Brewing Company for some good food and beverage and watched NHL playoff hockey. Everything was looking better now. Even the weather was looking a bit cooler for the start of our trek, which was good news.
Now, if we can just get someone to pick us up at the train station in Dunsmuir at 12:30am on Saturday. We’ll find out how that went in my next post. Stay tuned!