Oct 20 - Wrong Restroom

Needing a few supplies and an internet fix, we drove over to the nearby town of Shingletown today, a mere 17 miles to the west.

First stop was the library where I used their wifi i-connection to post an update or two on the blog, download email, send a few emails, and browse some used books (Dar). 

Then, over to the cafe across the street for a late lunch/early dinner... some refer to it as "lunner". The cafe is run by a Mexican couple and it was fun trying to understand them and absorb the chaotic small town nature of things as the two of them were rushing around trying to hurriedly get a delivery order ready and out the door. We showed up just after their noon "crowd" and were the only customers at that point.

I asked to use the restroom and it turned into a major project. First off, we noticed a few signs as we entered that warned "Restrooms Only for Use by Customers". Well, I was a customer so I got the run-down... "Here, use these keys, go through that store room, unlock a door about half way down to hallway, restrooms in there... when done, lock things back up again, leave keys in door (??), find your way back to the dining room.  I was so discombobulated and amused by the whole affair I ended up walking into the women's room by mistake, which I didn't know until the proprietress herself walks in on me and gives me hell, in a combination of Spanish and English, telling me I'm in the wrong room... I'm in the women's room... what's with these Americans?... can't they read...and on and on. We all had a good laugh at my expense, but I know exactly where I stood with her. We found the food excellent and generally enjoyed our visit. Took home enough leftover burritos for another meal.

Also stopped at grocery store/hardware store. This is such a great combination for a guy... I can pick up bread and milk at the same time I'm getting nails, tools, and bags of sack-crete. Grocery prices were about 30 or 40% higher than I'm used to. But this is rural N. Cal., and there are no options anywhere nearby at all. "Do I want the half gallon of milk?... that'll be $3.49... and thank you for shopping with us."

Once back at camp we got a campfire going and enjoyed it immensely until it got dark and cold.  Last night it got down to 33 degrees... and expect about the same tonight. We've been using a combination of the propane bus-house furnace (noisy battery hog) and our portable buddy propane heater during the evening. But once it's bed-time, all heaters of any kind are turned off for safety's sake. I sleep better that way... I know the safety director does too. Without much wind and with the low 30's temps, our inside temp can be down to the upper 40's by morning. (Don't believe RV salespeople who tell you how well insulated these things are)  Then it's rock-paper-scissors to see who gets to run around getting coffee going, firing up the genny, starting a heater. I usually volunteer but one of these days it'll be Dar's turn... she promises.

We'd use more solar power if we had more sunlight shining on the bus-house roof here at Lassen. Trees are another love/hate thing for us... we love them for atmosphere, the shade, the feeling of being in the forest, the wildlife they harbor, the fact that they block satellite TV signals so well. But they don't give our solar panels much to work with. Besides the already low sun this time of year, and the short days, when a tree shadow gets in the way it really downgrades the amount of power they produce. I like the whole concept of solar, but there's no way to ever get a positive return on your investment. You buy solar for the green "feel-good" of turning simple sunlight into electricity, and for the flexibility of not having to run a generator as much.

We decided to stay here until Sunday morning, really preferring this environment to that of an RV park. Tomorrow we're going to take in a longer hike... perhaps to Bumpass Hell or the Cinder Cone... we'll decide in the morning. Weather is supposed to hold out NICE until into next week.
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