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Any good investigator ends up taking field notes for later documentation.  I'm not a good investigator.  I'm a duck who's pissy about this whole duck race.  I have thus far managed to secure my rage into a tiny little parcel, and tucked it away under the seat of the car, and once done, arranged for a well-wisher to purchase a duck ($25) in the race.  That duck will then act as my agent during this investigation to provide inside details and perspective, as well as giving me a 1:3000 change to win a Jeep Cherokee, or dozens of other valuable prizes... none of which is Rice-a-Roni or a trip to Fresno. This, of course, all started with a couple of news articles and some rage that I alone (apparently) experienced.

So, I went and explored the town.  Population 3,000.  It was 3,200 in the 1990 census, and apparently has been declining since the boon in the 1950s, when logging meant there were lumber mills, jobs, prosperity.  The town once boasted four car dealerships and now sports just one, holding on by the sole virtue of being the only one for at least 50 miles.  (In town is a Buick/Cadillac/Chevy/Olds/Pontiac place; 50 miles for a Ford, 150 miles plus for Lincoln/Mercury, Honda, Toyota.)  There was also a grand total of nine bars to support the 5,000 residents in the 50s, whereas now they're standing at one.  Indeed, it's a stark, sober, Ford-limited environment.  The hills are peppered with pine trees giving you the car freshener scent without the ugly green dangly thing from the rear view (which is also a violation of 26708(a) of the California Vehicle Code, by the by).  

Pictures were taken, FrankPens were handed out to strangers, and I netted some wacky candy from the parade celebrating the debasing of ducks.  But that didn't stop me from betting on trusty 2189, of course...

Trip Chronology:

Fri-06-Jul-01 Wagons North!
  1150 Hrs Left the nest for Alturas, CA (I-5 North)
1504 Hrs Stopped in Redding, CA for gas and snacks for Chubbsy-Wubbsy
1517 Hrs The well-snacked driver FINALLY managed to get us onto 299 East (after ending up on 44 West, 5 South, 5 North, 44 East, and 5 North... humans!)
1639 Hrs Looked out the window after nap, landscape definitely changed.  Tubby driving 79 MPH on the 2-lane 299 East. Twit.
1739 Hrs Arrived in Alturas, CA; checked into Frontier Hotel with clerk who nearly laughed when we expressed concern they may have filled up due to this weekend's centennial event
1849 Hrs Realize that navigation through Alturas is relative to the stop light... the one stop light
1852 Hrs Left Hotel with the boy after he changed clothes and showered and such; lots of info, I know...
1857 Hrs Visited the Vista Point out of town, which talked about the bird habitat (yeah); nice views
1901 Hrs Found that it's not Likely that we're currently visiting
1918 Hrs Ended up having dinner at Harvey's Frosty on Main Street (like there's more than one street)
1941 Hrs Boy conferred with local insider as to obtaining a race duck I can use as my undercover agent
1948 Hrs Boy drove up to someone's house, left me in the car and disappeared inside.  Looking out the window, I could still see the stop light -- the north star of town -- some three miles away
???? Hrs I fell asleep in the car, and the boy snuck back in and went to bed... treacherous bastard
 Sat-07-Jul-01 Seeking out the Tyranny 














0540 Hrs Woken up by the really noisy air conditioning unit making weird noise.  Struggled with a chair, stacked with the suitcase, to reach it and shut it down; silence at last!
0704 Hrs The boy got up, dialed in, and I got to check my e-mail; 2 messages, both porn ads... delete.  Found the site ( is already reaching 50% of last month's traffic, and it's on the first week... it's good to be king, er duck... King Duck?
0728 Hrs I receive an email alert that the web server at home (the nest, in my case) has a broken ping monitor.   Oh well... I could call Baldie's brother to reset the router, but that's more work than it's worth.  The Bald Boy showered (cleanliness is next to duckliness, or something).
0741 Hrs Walked from hotel down to the donut shop; boy claimed to be investigating local with me, but I think he just was looking for a quick sprinkled donut.  I got carried in the travel backpack.
0758 Hrs Boy, winded and panting, arrived at donut shop; learned of parade at 1100 Hrs., duck race at 1400 Hrs.   I made a note of this, as I thought it quite unusual... what, no bobbing for apples, too?
0801 Hrs En route back to Base Camp, we found the first evidence of this atrocious duck event
0814 Hrs Arrive back at Base Camp; Baldie graces me with two donut holes while I slave over this page (that heartless imbecile)
0822 Hrs Nibble on the boy's maple bar... excellent donut!  The cake is spongy and slightly moist, the maple topping doesn't flake off.  Never before have I experienced such a delicious donut!
1032 Hrs Left for the parade, to bear witness to this exuberance.  The parade ran from 1100 until maybe 1130, and involved every float or parade participant throwing out candy... tons of candy
1045 Hrs Wandered over to investigate the picnic thingy, which spanned two medium sized parks (each measuring one city block by two blocks).  Baldie had a hamburger; I got the crumbs (surprise).
1345 Hrs I silently stood alongside smug humans at the Main Street bridge, the finish line for this event.  The ducks were set to be released at 2pm, which thrilled me, until I heard it wasn't released to freedom, just to float down the river so humans could win prizes... oh, the humanity!
1412 Hrs Poor water flow slowed the event some, although the couple that controls the local dam released water to speed things up.  The first ducks crossed the finish line at 1426pm.
1449 Hrs  It takes forever and a day for them to get through the 36 prizes to be awarded, and it's hotter than a duck's flange out there.  My duck (trusty 2189) did not yield me any prizes, nor was he returned to me per my instruction.  The ducks were scooped up by local Boy Scouts and (presumably) Girl Scouts not in uniform, and not really bright... they were all freaking out that they were all wearing white, and were completely soaked from head to toe.  Quite embarrassing for a girl during that awkward age, I presume.  But I'm a boy duck, so what do I know?
1502 Hrs Returned to the house to nap; the protest was a dismal failure, as was to be expected.
1658 Hrs Woke from quasi-nap with the advent of serving pizza and water.  The festivities begin!
1734 Hrs The festivities were short-lived; we're starting at one another again.
1749 Hrs The majority of the horde disappears to watch the two gigantic Great Danes; I'm left at the place with the boy, and some tall human female types.
1832 Hrs The crowd returns from the dog walk.  Videos are applied to the television viewing box.
1945 Hrs This is apparently as good as it gets in small towns.  Back to the television viewing box.
2003 Hrs Debated taking my own life by lunging into the dog's mouth; decided against it.  Bored, bored, bored...
2037 Hrs A stirring of departure toward the fireworks.  We get into the car with a very tall female type, and one that thinks of herself as a princess.  Odd people that Baldie associates with...
2052 Hrs Went out to California Pines to bear witness to a fireworks show that eventually started around 9:45pm; it wasn't bad.  Not fantastic, but then again, I'm spoiled by big city spending and such.
2123 Hrs The fireworks start... poorly.  There was one fired off, and then nothing for 10 minutes.  They take off as expected around 9:30pm or so...
2150 Hrs They end with an orgasmic explosion, and immediately the car lights of 100+ cars light up the sky and flee this backwater little canyon.  We make reasonably good time home.
2203 Hrs The two female types are dumped on the hill, and we return to Base Camp to sleep.
 Sun-08-Jul-01 Flight Back to Civilization
  0831 Hrs The boy wakes up; I've already been up for an hour, packed, and showed.  Humans...
0903 Hrs We head to the top of the hill, but for what purpose I'm not sure... he left me in the car.  Again.
0927 Hrs We leave the hill for town with some girl in the car; I'm then left in the car at the Brown Bear Restaurant.
1051 Hrs The boy and mystery girl returns, stops, and he kicks her out of the car.  (Good.)  Found that this town may have something of a reviving economy after all.
1104 Hrs The Bald One finally gets his fluffy rear back into the car, and we leave for home.
1641 Hrs After one stop (someone thought the "E" meant he had to stop for gas), we get home.  Yea!

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