horseHoney Lake, California

We were a weary trio when we crossed over into California, eager for a place to sleep. We drove up Highway 89 from Reno to Honey Lake, and found a campground in the AAA camp book that promised a "view of the lake" and hot showers. The bathroom was incredibly funky -- tipsy toilet, broken sink, peeling linoleum nailed to the wall. And the morning revealed a view of a vast dry lake. But, hey -- for $14.95, it was fine. We cooked up quesadillas and tomato soup and hit the sack.

Kate's landThe next morning, we continued up Highway 89 to Alturas, a town near where Kate owns some land she bought as a teenager. (California Pines TV commercials promised a vibrant retirement community; I suppose she was looking ahead.) In fact, the "retirement community" never launched, and she's been trying to sell the land for years with no luck.

We stopped by the realtor's office and got directions to Kate's plot. We headed up the mountain with a picnic lunch. It was much further than we'd anticipated, and what we found was a maze of well-marked gravel roads and no sign of life for miles. Traveling the sometimes steep roads, pulling the trailer, was a challenge, and we were getting low on gas, with no cell phone coverage. We finally stopped at one of the "intersections" and called it close enough. Wolfed down a quick lunch and sweated it back to town and a gas station.

The land itself is quite beautiful. Too bad it's in the middle of absolute nowhere!

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