Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chilling in Lake Tahoe

Hi! We are alive and well and chilling in Lake Tahoe. Here is where we have been since last time.

Sunday 7-28-2013 Ashland, OR to Yreka, CA

We had noticed that the smoke was getting thicker, and today we were told that the Grants Pass, Oregon fire was growing. It is to the north of us, and no danger to us. So off we went to Siskiyou Pass. The road was quiet, gentle grade, and low traffic.
Climbing Siskiyou Pass

The excitement that morning was provided by some teenagers skate boarding down the pass. We saw them go by once fast and a little out of control. As far as I know, they lived through it. The top of the pass has a restaurant and a bar that the Pacific Crest trail hikers stop at for a drink (or two). We stopped for a snack and saw a few hikers. They looked like they had been in the woods for a while. After that we ended up on I-5 to descend into California. It is the only road there, but is safe and all downhill. We again departed the route on the advice of some locals and got off at a rest stop to take Rt. 263 into Yreka. Rt 263 is like Canyon Road near Yakima, rollers and warm. 
Kalamath River from Rt. 263

We ended up at an RV park in Yreka, and enjoyed the sunset with the large RV crowd. Great place, new and clean, but be sure to have them turn off the sprinklers at night.

Monday 7-29-2013 Yreka, CA to Mt. Shasta, CA

Today we took small roads that paralleled I-5 south to Mt. Shasta. The roads had great names like Easy Street, Old Highway 99, and Old Stage Road. We did notice the smoke in the air got so thick that we could barely see Mt. Shasta.
Mt. Shasta in Smoke

The smoke did not clear off that night, but we did check with the Forest Service. No local fires, and all the smoke was still from the Grants Pass fire. We also noticed a large population of young transients. We talked to one at the grocery store and he said there were at least 50 of them living in some camp by the river. There also were several firefighting crews resting at the Forest Service Headquarters. We were glad to see they were getting a break.

Tuesday 7-30-2013 Mt. Shasta, CA to Mc Arthur-Burney Falls State Park, CA 

Today we got our first look at CA Rt. 89. The Adventure Cycling route uses this road for the next couple hundred miles, and warns about it being narrow and busy. They are correct about that. We had one person in McCloud warn us about it and give us a run-down on the recent bicyclist fatalities. Rt. 89 is a busy road with many semi’s and RV’s. We came up with a system to get off the road when we saw truck traffic coming from behind us and in front of us. We got off the road several times an hour. It was very tense all day and we did not get to look around that much. We did try to find alternates, but had no luck at that. We found the traffic tapered off later in the day, but we only felt better after we were off the road. Just to add a little more excitement to the day, Esther had a bee fly into her glasses and sting her a couple of times. It didn’t look too bad at the end of the day (Smile). We stayed at a state park that night with really nice staff, nice sites, and a beautiful waterfall. 
Qunicy 447
Looking West from Rt. 89 near McArther Burney Falls State Park

Burney Falls

The waterfall is amazing because much of the water comes out of the ground on the face of the falls. They also had varmint boxes, to keep all the little critters from crewing holes in your gear.  The fire smoke seemed to have gone away today, and that was fine with us. It also cooled off into the 50’s at night. Good sleeping weather!

Wednesday 7-31-2013 Mc Arthur-Burney Falls State Park, CA to Manzanita Village, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA. 
We woke up this morning and Esther’s eye had swollen shut over night. Guess the bee really did sting her. What do you think?

We had a little better day on the road of death today. The traffic was lighter and the heavy truck traffic died off as we approached the Park. The skies were clear and smoke from the fires up north was gone. 
Rt. 89 near Lassen Volcanic National Park

Memorial to Cyclist near Lassen Volcanic National Park

We ended up in a large campground just inside the park gate. We had not heard of Lassen Volcanic National Park before, and really didn't know what to expect. All we knew for sure was we would climb most of tomorrow to 8500 feet. We couldn't wait!

Thursday 8-1-2013 Manzanita Village, Lassen Volcanic National Park, CA to Childs Meadow, CA

Lassen National Park is the high point of our trip so far in a couple of ways. First, the park is beautiful: quiet roads, slow traffic, amazing vistas. Second, Lassen Peak summit was at 8500’. That is our highest road so far. The history of the park is similar to Mt. St. Helens, except it blew in 1914. It is amazing how much it changed the surroundings. The Park also had a major fire, the Reading Fire, in August 2012. 
Some of the Burn from the Reading Fire
Getting Close to the Top

Vista of Lake Almanor from Near the Top

The descent was a little nervous, as we had gusty winds on top which moved our bikes around. 
Getting Dressed for the Descent

The park is like a little Yellowstone, mud pots and all. We really liked it. 
Boiling Mud Pot 

We dropped out of the park and stayed at the first place we found. It was getting late and we were tired from the day. Childs Meadow is an old resort near the south park gate. 
Mt. Lassen from Child's Meadow

It was a very dated and weathered place, but it worked out fine. Esther kept saying something about the Bates Motel under her breath. We even got the owners opinion about everything also (No charge!).

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