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Where's Davis Creek?


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So, you say, where is Davis Creek? Well it is in Northeastern California, possibly one of the best kept secrets of the state. I live in Burney, right on the western edge of this delightful, full of surprise corner of California. The area offers a diverse landscape with timber forest, mountains such as the Warner Mtns, vast valleys of Alfalfa and high desert. The combination of all these things makes for such a unique picture when you can see all these elements from any particular place. I especially like riding down the Adin summit eastward on Hwy 299 when the scenery opens up to a view looking eastward towards Alturas. Before you lays a large flat valley with the Pit River snaking its way across with soft somewhat bare mountains to the north, more pointed mountains to the south and the beautiful Warner mountains to the east. Its is interesting to see the timber stands sprawling down from the mountains to the floor of the valley and the contrast it creates. As you reach the bottom of the Adin grade, you cross over the Pit river and the Lassen imigrant trail. There is the reminents of an old bridge, just the hand layed abutments of stone on each side of the river, and you wonder who built the bridge and when and what type of rigs did travel over it. I live and work for the power company up here and I get out and see alot in my job, I know it must be difficult and they pay me too. It is very rural up here and there is not much choice of what to listen to on the radio, but I listen to an AM station out of Alturas that somehow reaches for hundreds of miles in each direction and in the various valleys you wouldn't think possible. Many of the local businesses advertise on the station such as the Davis Creek store and cafe. I hear the ad all the time and I would finally said to myself that I am going to make it a ride some saturday to go visit this place. So, last winter in early March (that is still winter here) I layer up with my clothing because it is 22f outside and I mount my Triumph Sprint ST I just got back from the shop.I set out for Davis Creek. Davis Creek is located about 20 miles north of Alturas on Hwy 395 and Alturas is around 90 miles east of my home at the intersection of Hwy 299 and Hwy 395. It is a cloudy day so the sun isn't helping much with the cold temp and the ST doesn't offer much in protection against the elements but I don't care because I am doing what I like best.I take my time on the way over, taking in all the scenery, snow covered landscape, various views of Mt Shasta (did you know that Mount Shasta is the second best known mountain in the world? that's what I am told) and those little farm houses in the middle of nowhere. Those little farm houses interest me a lot. I wonder what the farm family's view of the world is, they don't see the big malls, the traffic snarls, the skate boards, the stock market and all the other stuff we take for granted. Their life is working on their farm, moving cattle to different fields, mending fences, growing hay, cutting hay, hauling hay. They have daily hardships but they are more basic in nature and something they can put their arms around. Their pleasures in life are more simple than the city folks, like a ride into town for shopping, fishing the local creeks and lakes, a jeep ride through a Warner mountain pass or a friendly visit to the Davis Creek Cafe. After two hours of riding I reach the cafe, there is not much here, it is not what I pictured from the ads on the radio. It looks like a small house someone converted to a store. It is unkept outside, these people never through anything away, they just drop it where it was last used and there it is to become yard art. The trees are unkept, the shrubs are overgrown in front of the store, I am not sure I want to go in. These people look a little rough in appearance, their clothes are old and dirty, their faces show miles of life and they may not like strangers. I am standing near my bike when a pickup pulls up to the store with a coulple of guys in it and another couple just walks out the front door of the store with a small bag of something in hand. They all look over at me at about the same time when one of the younger guys comes over to see what in the heck is the machine I am riding. He starts to ask questions and before you know we are talking about motorcycles. They must have noticed how cold I was, because not long after we started conversing, they invited me into the store. They told me there is a big old parlar stove towards the back of the store and the coffee is hot. So, we all head into the store, even the couple who I assume was headed home. It is a small country store with just enough items to get you through until you can get to town. The floors are bare wood with oil soaked in to keep the dust down and preserve the wood. At the back wall, in the corner are three tables with chairs and the stove. There is also a door leading to the kitchen and there are some pretty good smells coming from there. Sitting at the tables are some real cowboys, chaps, spurs and all. I slide up to the wood stove and start the melt down. For the next hour and a half I get to know these wonderful people and discuss life on the farm and life on the motorcycle. In time they made me feel like I had made friends for the rest of my life. They invited me to come back in the summer time when they barbeque steaks outside every night and sit around the tables set up on their patio. This store/cafe sits on the east side of the Hwy 395 which runs north and south between Alturas and Lakeview OR. Along its west side lie flat fields of hay and cattle grazing land.The east side of the highway gives rise to the Warner mountains, they string out perfectly in line with the highway from below Alturas to beyond Lakeview, I think the two towns are about sixty miles apart. The mountains are beautiful with ranches nustled at the base of them where they touch down to the valley floor. There is a large lake just north of Davis Creek on the west side of the highway called Goose Lake. I would say it is twenty or thirty miles long and only a few feet deep. It adds greatly to the already beautiful landscape. I love this place because it takes me back to a time much before my generation when most of the families lived on a farm and though I am not sure I would want to live there, I sure like to visit it for a short time. I will go back to visit my friends and step through that curtain of time often I hope. The ride home felt wonderful after my visit to Davis Creek and when I hear the ad on the radio station I relive that wonderful visit. This is what motorcycling is to me.

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Another nice read, Mike.


I note that you did this about a year ago. Have you been back since? 'Sounds like an interesting place.

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No, I haven't. I have been by twice, but both times I was at the start of a long ride, Burns OR and Salt Lake City UT. Last Sunday I rode to Alturas but I turned south to a small little stop called Likely. I am thinking about riding over some summer day and try out their barbeque, then a evening ride home. I can't get over how much I like riding into Alturas with the Warner Mountains in the backdrop. It makes you feel like you are in the middle of Montana. I have attached a picture 10 miles west of Alturas.



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That was on my route to and from the MOA rally in Redmond, OR, Mike. On the way back, I'd been to Idaho, I keep looking for that piece of country. One pass through had made it a "significant landmark". For the rest of that 1100+ mile day, visions of it popped up. And there it is for you, virually "any old time". Lucky guy.

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