Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chico to Red Rocks

The stock Michelin tires on my car have weathered to a respectable 55,000 miles. I hit a piece of reinforcement bar about five inches long up Euchre creek road. I thought that would sure give someone a flat, so I backed up and threw if off in the trees and continued about two miles up another side logging road. I went up there for some quiet, but at the end of the road I could hear several guns being fired. Target practice. My car turned around strange. Passenger front flat. That is when I realized just how worn the tires had become. I limped into town on the small spare; the donut. I picked up a used tire and rotated the wheels through. The mechanic made some comment that I should not have driven with the donut on the front. Seeing as how I was 5 miles up a dirt road, I didn’t think to make twice the work for myself, nor had I heard what he said: that it can mess up your alignment.

As the tires rotated through, the front felt strange and the steering was wobbly. Uh oh. Okay, I get it, it is time for tires. (This is not my car.)
Chico Peugot, Andrew D. Barron©6/2/11
Chico groceries, Andrew D. Barron©6/2/11
I had a plan to explore an area northwest of Susanville where I had traveled through on a few occasions in the last year. I retrieved the geologic map for the area at 1:250,000 named Westwood. Awake. Dogwood at daybreak.
Downtown Chico, Andrew D. Barron©6/3/11
I made my way east on Highway 44 following the signs for Westwood. I don’t recall having been there before. There was an old grocery store called the Y Junction. The film area was right near the door, and there was no 110 film. There was some Kodak 126 film for $8, expired 6 years ago. The woman was friendly, but lamented about the horrible economy. I made my way to Westwood proper where I found the closed library, but an interesting old man. After an hour of conversation, I cruised up and down the streets of Westwood. The mortuary was boarded up. It is in poor taste, but makes an easy joke; “the town is so dead, the mortuary is closed.”.
Westwood train station, Andrew D. Barron©6/3/11
The above shot was more successful with the Instax 210. I checked in about my left front tire which has lost 5 pounds of pressure in 18 hours. I was feeling as uncertain as the weather had become. It was cold and raining. I double checked my calendar. Yes, it is June 3rd in Northern California. There were two places I considered camping north of Westwood. First up:
North of Westwood, Andrew D. Barron©6/3/11
And the other:
North of Westwood, Andrew D. Barron©6/3/11
As the rain continued to pour down, I flowed downhill to Susanville. I have been interested in shooting some new stuff, but the light just wasn’t cooperating.
Pioneer Cafe, Downtown Susanville, Andrew D. Barron©6/3/11
I cruised up and down the main street and noticed a tire shop with quite a heap of old tires. I parked. As I walked up, I spotted a pair of Goodyear tires in the correct size. One had been driven flat. I checked in with the owner who had five employees and no customers. The fellows kindly replaced my leaking stock tire on the driver side front. There was some significant wear on the tread, a bald patch as big as a tea plate. That explained the shoddy steering. He said that kind of wear is from alignment issues. Well, there is some hope because that wheel had received part of minor collision in the fall of 2009. I had stupidly not rotated the tires since then, but I suspect the funky tire wear and steering issues was a consequence of the accident. The car felt much better with that tire out of the mix.

I just kept rolling down the road. I am so used to long haul trips that I had made nearly to Reno and it was getting dark. There was a neat place I photographed in early December 2009. See those photos in this blog. I turned east onto Red Rock road and found a new fence. A little further I found another turnout. This area is very neat, but the weather was uncertain and I was tired and certainly not where I had planned to be. In the morning I took a few macro photos.
Abandoned choke collar, Red Rocks California, Andrew D. Barron©6/4/11

Ant view of the world, Red Rocks California, Andrew D. Barron©6/4/11
I made some calls and thought of shooting some in Reno, so I headed south and east. Once in town, I checked a few thrift stores for used camera stuff.I was glad to find a couple of 52mm filters for the Owle Bubo/Hipstamatic; a yellow, red and a +4 neutral density. $10. There is always something that surprises me in thrift stores.
Mail Boats hat, Reno, NV, Andrew D. Barron©6/4/11
While I lived in Gold Beach last year, the Mail Boats were bought out by the competitor and effectively shut down. A sign of the times that the older jet boat tour company disappeared after something like 100 years. The weather-beaten sign on the south side of Highway 101 north of Wedderburn was a landmark. That sign was removed about a year ago after decades in place.

Okay, back in the heart of Reno, a gnarly storm was coming in through the Truckee River canyon. Sand and trash was blowing all around. I knew better than to double check the date; it is somehow June third, feeling much more like February. As always when I don’t have anywhere to be in Reno, there is nowhere in Reno I want to be. So I returned to Red Rocks, only thirty miles up Highway 395N. I will leave out some of the unhappy details of my camping conditions over the last several nights. It rained all night long. June. The Great Basin. Due east of the Sierra Nevada in what is known as the rainshadow. It rained all night. But for a moment on Sunday morning it stopped and I went out for a few shots.
Red Rocks California, Andrew D. Barron©6/5/11
Here is a shot from the infrared camera.
Red Rocks California, Andrew D. Barron©6/5/11
I may just deal with the problems associated with my much sharper prime lens, because there seems to be nothing I can do to capture a sharp image with the 18-55 kit lens.
Sage at Red Rocks California, Andrew D. Barron©6/5/11
I was dubious of the weather.
Red Rocks California, Andrew D. Barron©6/5/11
After the early morning photoshoot I made coffee. It began to rain again.
Red Rocks California, Andrew D. Barron©6/5/11

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