Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Surprise in Alturas, California

Signal is sketchy here, and our battery is low...I'll add more pictues when we are in a better cell reception area.
Pictures: Locomobile; 1921 Marmot.

4 August 2009 Lakeview, OR to Alturas, CA 54 miles

Three months on the road! Wow! However, I actually thought we’d be a whole lot longer getting to this point. It will be a short drive today to Alturas, to visit with Peggy's dad for a few days. We are much later in leaving the campground this morning (10:30) because he has plans for this morning.

The drive was pretty quiet as we passed small ranches/homesteads in the high desert. We were surprised to see how low Goose Lake water levels were. They were so low that we could barely see the water’s edge—most of what we saw was the white lake bottom. We found out later that this lake has an average depth of only eight feet—its deepest point is about 20 feet, but that is on the western shore of the lake, and we were traveling down the eastern shore. We only had one small climb today, up into the pines near the Pit River XL Ranch Indian Reservation. After this small climb we dropped down into Alturas, CA, which sits at 4,372 feet. Dave was pleasantly surprised…no ecstatically excited…at what he found in Alturas…

Each year, for the past 31 years, a local rancher by the name of Mr. Flournoy (who is a big Pierce Arrow collector) sponsors the Modoc Tour. The Modoc Tour is an invitation only tour for pre-1921 luxury touring cars. Their homebase and starting point is in Alturas, CA, (where they book all available hotel rooms in town) and on Tuesday, everyone arrives and they do a short 30 mile drive around a local reservoir, before a big dinner at the ranch. On Wednesday and Thursday they tour to different places, including Crater Lake and Kalamath Falls, OR.

We stopped to look at the cars, and had some people ask if we were there for the tour…it was intriguing to think we could join them, but after talking to some of the owners, it was mentioned that the only A’s on the tour were very, very, good friends of the Flournoy family. We didn’t quite fit in, either age-wise, or in horsepower…Pierce Arrows, an early Cadillac, a Hispana Suiza, a Marmot, and many others that were not off the trailers yet. It was nice to see that these cars were being driven! One of the couples, who trailered their Pierce Arrow all the way from Minnesota asked us if we had been up in Burns, OR a few days ago. I guess they had seen the car, but never did manage to catch us to talk. We also met Vince Bakich, the owner of the 1921 Marmot, along with his wife Sandy, and 5-year old son, Pierce—obviously, a big car fanatic.

We also got a new idea for a tour for our club…One gentleman mentioned that he also had an A, and had just gotten back from a tour in Hilo, Hawaii. I guess they put the cars on a transport, and then had a week long tour on the Island. Could be fun…

5/6 August 2009 Alturas, CA 16 miles

We spent the morning visiting, and then got our laundry done while my Dad and Lydia delivered their newspapers, something they do once a month. This gave us a chance to get the car cleaned up, pictures transferred and labeled on the computer, and my journaling caught up.

This afternoon, we are heading out to some pond, “up the hill” to see where my dad does most of his fishing, and then later this evening, Dave and I are going to Doc Martin’s for dinner. Doc is a retired Riverside Sherriffs Lieutenant, who Dave knew from Palm Desert days.

Dad’s fishing pond is about a 45 minute drive from his house—it is up in the “high” country—more pines and mountain than high desert sagebrush. It was a nice drive, and I think my dad and Lydia are enjoying showing us around their area.


  1. DAVE

  2. I love car shows because you can see firsthand cars which have not yet been revealed to the public. Classic cars such as those in the pictures that you've taken are just some examples. My choice would be the yellow one. It looks like Bumblebee. Haha!

    Erwin Calverley