We said goodbye to Oregon and began our trip back to Southern California. Our first stop was in Tulelake, California. We stayed at the Tulelake Butte Valley Fairground RV Park. We got a full hookup site for $18 with Passport America. You are basically just parked on grass with a row of other RVs. We were certainly the largest RV there, and we were glad to be at the very end of the row with the large grass field beside us, rather than sandwiched between others. However, our reasons for coming here weren’t about the park (even though Lucy loved running in the grass).
We came here because two things in this area intrigued us. First, the largest World War II Japanese Internment Camp is located here.
“Tulelake was the largest and most controversial of the 10 war relocation authority camps used to carry out the government system of exclusion and detention of persons of Japanese decent during World War II. It’s peak population was 18,700 Japanese Americans. Two-thirds of the 120,000 persons incarcerated in American concentration camps were American citizens. An act that culminated decades of discrimination, violence and propaganda.”
The museum at the Tulelake fairgrounds was rich with the history of this era. Watching the short films made by those who experienced this travesty was moving and enlightening.
We drove out to the actual site where only a few of the structures remain, preserved behind a barbed wire fence.
If I hadn’t seen the pictures in the museum and watched the film, I would look at the above picture and think “Oh, how pretty this is! It looks like an old ranch house!” By contrast, below is a picture of Camp Tulelake during World War II.
Our second reason for visiting this area is the Lava Beds National Monument. In addition to viewing miles and miles of the massive lava beds created about 30,000 years ago, we were also eager to go into a few of the lava tube caves. Over 700 caves have been discovered here! The Visitor’s Center loaned us lanterns so we could explore the caves.
This particular cave is about 1/2 mile long to the other side. We worked our way through with the weak flashlight provided by the Park Service. It is pitch black in there without the lantern. And you had to be careful not to hit your head. We didn’t go into any of the caves that required crawling, but we still had to watch our footing and our heads. The rocks jut out all around you.
I was a little surprised that I didn’t feel claustrophobic in a 1/2 mile long lava tube. But I continue to surprise myself all the time! (for example, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a sailboat by ourselves and never feeling afraid … uncomfortable at times, but not afraid!)
Moving on to Eagle Lake in the Lassen National Forest for a few days. Talk to you later!