Our sandwich maker was a true winner, providing hot food while the temperature hovered at twenty-something. It might have been a waffle iron, had the serrations been of a different pattern, and we might have put it to the test, had we been at home where cleanup was easier.
We weren’t sure of the exact temperature in our little pavilion, other than it was mighty cold. Therefore, we were grateful for the stone wall shielding us from the frigid gusts skating across the frozen lake. The one creature seeming not to notice the chill was the resident Blue Jay who was determined to share our meal. He became more bold and boisterous as time passed. When we were finished, we were hardly clear of the area before he began policing big time.
Pressing on, we drove into the Central Oregon desert country, and then into Northern California. By this time we’d agreed on Reno where inexpensive lodging and meals were available. But by the time we reached a California hamlet called Aden, we were used up, exhausted. Had we been a pair of shoes we most certainly would have been run down at the heel. At the south edge of town we found an affordable motel where we stayed until the following morning.
Reno was unchanged, cigarette smoke, noise, slot machines, and blackjack tables. Neither of us are serious gamblers. Instead, we are people watchers. Any one of the casinos, take your pick, is as good an observation post as the next. However, Barb seems to have a feel for the nickel machines that accommodate fistfuls of coins. By evening she’d won back the cost of our Aden motel room. Stopping while we were ahead, we gravitated to Circus Circus for an evening buffet on wheel-cover size plates. Then, since the temperature had moderated considerably, we rented space at the Reno KOA Kampground.
During my nightly trips with the semi, I often listened to Art Bell’s Coast-To-Coast AM. His paranormal guests were always a hoot. Whether or not I believed their tales is not the issue. They helped the miles slide past when the roads were clear. They were especially helpful on wintery nights when chaining up and getting past Hog Rock was a long, ugly ordeal.
On this night we tuned in Art and then snuggled deeper into our sleeping bags, expecting him to talk us to sleep. However, some fellow called in from the California Coast to report a flashing light atop a nearby hill he said he had not noticed before. By the time he’d finished his tale I knew the place he was describing. It was the Clear Lake area.
“Barb, you want to chase down a UFO?”
“How far do we have to go?”
“Two, maybe three hundred miles. We’ve never had this opportunity before. We can be there before dawn, if we hurry,” I urged.
She said she didn’t care as long as she didn’t have to drive.
We packed up, and jumped on Interstate 80. I headed west toward Donner Pass while Barb reclined her backrest and closed her eyes. She was always a good sport.