Shout to a stop: Crater Lake Junction in Chiloquin, Ore.

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I’m back in today from a couple weeks of R&R out west, and though little of my run around various points and landmarks and byways between the Seattle area and southern/central Oregon had anything to do with trucking, during the driving portions of the trip I was of course struck dumb by the incredibly diverse landscapes of the two states we traversed. Love those giant evergreens in areas high and low, the arid buttes of the Warm Springs reservation, the Bigfoot I didn’t see….  I also didn’t see the log-haulers’ (and others’) protests at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem late last week against a bill to introduce a cap-and-trade approach to commercial emissions statewide. It happened that I was just a couple hours or so away from where I was checked out that particular day — thankfully, Matt Cole and others were here steering the ship to cover the story from well farther away in Overdrive offices in Alabama. (If you were in Salem that day, drop a line to me or a note here below — would love to talk more about it.)

Greetings to this hauler on I-84 over the Hood River in Hood River, Oregon, the picture from Monday a week ago, one among several “truck-involved,” so to speak, scenes I came across traveling.Greetings to this hauler on I-84 over the Hood River in Hood River, Oregon, the picture from Monday a week ago, one among several “truck-involved,” so to speak, scenes I came across traveling.

And: I’m thankful for the kindness of strangers at the Crater Lake Junction Travel Center in rural Chiloquin, Oregon, which sits next to a casino there at the base of the mountain that summits around Crater Lake National Park, due northwest of Chiloquin. The same day the above picture was taken, we rolled around the rim of the caldera that is the lake there at 6,000 feet and, somewhere along the route, picked up a hitchhiker.

Not of the living, breathing, variety, mind you, though the three-inch (and sharp) piece of metal did cause certain rubber-and-steel items necessary for travel to breathe, of a fashion.

We were right at 36 pounds of pressure in the passenger-side rear as we started down the mountain toward the place we were staying in Chiloquin. By the time we got to the nearest service location, we were at 25 pounds and it was around 7 p.m. The rental SUV we rolled in had a spare on board, but no plug kit that I could find. Not that a plug kit would have done me a whole lot of good. I’ve done exactly one plug in my entire life — I was mostly assisted by my neighbor in that one by way of showing me how it’s done.

And though plugs I know aren’t the best way to long-term repair a truck tire or an auto tire, they (I also knew) can get you down the road short-term if done right. Thankfully, the gent working the main counter at the stop, after I made some quick initial inquiries about potential local repair service should it come to that, offered to do it himself.

Can’t say enough about these two — and the stop. Big thanks for the help!Can’t say enough about these two — and the stop. Big thanks for the help!

If you run U.S. 97 north-south through Oregon and need a stop in the vicinity, make it here. And tell ’em thanks again for me. We got down the road just fine, pressure monitors in the SUV showing no loss the next days of the trip.

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