Saturday, July 10, 2010

part 4 - back to Happy Camp

                       Back at Happy Camp

                                pedin' past Shasta

 Figuring Happy Camp should have had the whole "capture of bigfoot" thing wrapped up by now, I headed west. Excitement rose out of Yreka, then one of the worst days of my trip started. I got a little more than 4 miles out when pop goes the tire. Now, it was friggin hot that day, not as hot as the sweat lodge but close, over 100 degrees. I pulled off the road around midday and took everything off the moped. I got the tire patched in 45minutes. It wasn't easy but it seemed to be fixed so I threw everything back on and took off down the road. About 30 feet later I got a flat tire again, long story short, 3 hours and 5 tire changes later I finally got it! I put everything back on once again and started off, I got another 30 feet and the tire went flat. I almost lost my shit. I'll admit that I cried a little but since I ran out of water earlier I sucked it up because I was afraid I'd dehydrate more. Obviously these patches weren't working and I had to go back to town. I pushed my moped and all the crap gear with it the 4 miles back into town. The first motel I saw I checked into even though I was against wasting money on such luxuries. I got myself all showered up and fed. The right state of mind made sure the proper patchwork gone done. The rest of the night was spent watching animals on TV and talking to Brianna who I missed more than ever.
The next day I headed off for my 4 hour trek to Happy Camp. Almost as soon as I see the town center I shit you not my tire goes flat! Right before that happened I saw a sign for motorcycle camping. I went there hoping they would have the proper tools to fix this crap tire. Along my way I saw a nice little white trash family having a cookout. I asked if they knew where the motorcycle camping place was and they laughed at me and said "keep walking" in a menacing kinda way. Apparently not everyone was happy in Happy Camp. The camp area was two houses down, so I popped in. It seemed like a redneck hideaway and not needing to hear "get that pussy bike outta here", I kept ahead looking for the perfect spot. I hid the moped off the side of the road and set up camp near a small stream and partied with some mosquitoes all night. They had more of a party than I did. Mid morning I headed to Java Bob's to see about my big newspaper interview as well as the capture of bigfoot! I pushed the moped two miles into town and ordered a turkey sandwich learning to my utter surprise that bigfoot was not officially captured! It seemed weird that I dedicated my summer to look for bigfoot and here I was in this little town where there was supposedly the bigfoot story of a lifetime!

                                                       heavy metalsquatch
Well, I found out the guy who had bigfoot cornered was Tom Biscardi, whose name rang a bell. It was hard to get a straight answer as to what happened with this whole sighting thing. The rumor I heard was that a forest service worker spotted an eight foot creature cross the road. Eventually Tom Biscardi comes in and tracks it to a cave where he gets a biologist to get a tranquillizer ready for it. I may have got the "facts" mixed up a little but it was close to that. I felt there was something fishy about the whole thing and it seemed that people were kinda tight lipped about what was going on. It was so hot at Happy Camp, I couldn't see how a bigfoot would be dumb enough to live there with all that fur on its body. Biscardi's theory is that squatches migrate near town in the summer, but this made no sense to me. As the bigfoot story started to unfold and more people in town were saying they saw one, I just kinda lost interest. Tom Biscardi and his Great American Bigfoot Research crew were days away from coming in to throw down on this Bigfoot capture, and though it seemed like something to stick around for, I was itching to go further north. But first, I needed some repairs.
I called my main moped man Shaun down at Myron's Mopeds, and he sent out two new tubes muy rapido! It would take about 3 days to arrive so until then I would be forced to get to know the town.
As I fiddled with the moped outside of Java Bob's an inquisitive Gallagher looking dude rolled up and was all "you're the guy that rode a moped all the way here, huh?" He seemed kinda jumpy and kept trying to get his bald head out of the bright scorching sun. He introduced me as the moped guy from "smell-A" to anyone that came to the coffee shop.
His shirtless, cut-off jean shorts wearing ass offered me to go toking on a joint. When I declined he told me he was just kidding anyways. I told him I was just kidding too, then he asked me if I wanted to again to which I replied "no thanks"! After awhile of this I decided I needed to get the hell out of town. Java Bob and his family were awesome enough to let me store my moped in the garage for a few days. So I went squatching. 

  I walked a few miles out of town, exploring hills, streams and woods for clues. I found the biggest freshest best smelling pile of bear crap that I have ever seen. Berry season made the woods chock full of them and I wondered if anyone's ever fried up a bear turd?
I spent the hot days in the cold cool greenish river where I found bits of jade. Turns out, years ago this very river was one of the biggest producers of jade in America
During dusk and dawn I looked for bigfoot clues. At night I watched the stars. By the end of three days I was ready to go. My curiosity of the Pacific Northwest was getting the best of me. bigfoot "hotspot" or not, I was ready to explore rain forest country. I decided to go straight north towards Portland instead of going out of the way to the Cascades. Although impressed by the mopeds ability to climb mountains at about 5-10mph, I wanted to get farther north. 
Myron's package arrived on time and I popped on that new tube with a smile. I had another turkey murdered into sandwich form by Bob's son. He weirdly appeared to be "mad dogging" me when I wasn't looking his way. When I caught his glance he would still have his mad face on, hold it for a couple awkward seconds then slowly smile. This happened a couple of times and made me happy. I love shit like that. Later he told me a tale of coming face to face with a cougar in his backyard. Maybe that cool semi creepy gaze saved his life that day. After the sandwich was annihilated my interview took place.
I sat down with the editor of the Happy Camp News online newspaper, Linda. She reminded me of an old whimsical hippy lady who seemed wise and knowledgable yet dazed at the same time. She had a notebook and a pencil and asked what brought me to Happy Camp. As I told my story I noticed that she barely wrote anything down. I just figured she was one of those people who retain all knowledge in their minds. But 3 months later when I checked the website my story was still not there. I assume that either the version of my story I told was too boring or she forgot everything I told her. Last time I checked the site there was a story of a dude who threw an open can of beer in a cop's face who then let loose the police dog chasing the guy into the Klamath River where both man and dog drowned. A sissy 800 mile moped ride can't compete with that!
Promptly upon finishing my interview this weird man rolled in looking like an old time miner. Bob introduced us and as he reached his hand out there was a pause before the shake when I noticed his hand was a stump with a couple small protruding finger- looking things. I thought about my turkey sandwich, then I thought about the turkey gizzard hand in front of me, not wanting to be rude I reached my hand out just as the man yelled, "oh come on! Shake this god damn thing", as he chased me with it. My immediate response was that this guy rules. I shook his hand thing, pleased to meet a great human.

 I also met a relative of Bob's, Bill, who oversees Curly Jack campground down the road. He invited me to stay the night so I headed over to the campground spending yet another night on top of a picnic table looking up at the stars. In the morning Bill woke me up and we hung out in his RV. He was a retiree who went around the country with his wife in their RV. Their gig was to get paid to take care of different campgrounds. They only had to keep the toilet paper in the bathrooms, shit off the walls and kids quiet after 10pm. Bill reminded me of Hank from the King of the hill cartoon. The kind of guy that put his time in, payed his dues, and now reaps the rewards! 
There was a Christian rafting group staying there and he knew their schedule well. "Let's get over there by 8 so we can scam some breakfast off these guys". He was a reminder to me that, much like my Grandparents, you can still be rad when you're old. We scuffed down some crappy breakfast from some less then thrilled Christian rafters, some of which looked like they were in a Christian metal band or something. Soon after I had to say my good byes and thanks to Bill and his wife and head off to Oregon!

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