Sunday, October 11, 2009

39-2009 Redding California to Carson City Nevada


Redding Calif. To Reno Nv

Northern California.  I’ve been traveling along the northern corridor of California.  The roads are windy and rising in elevation from sea level along the Pacific coast to 3,000 feet as I enter Redding.  What a modern northern Calif. Town with all the big box stores and restaurants.

I stopped briefly at Whiskeytown National Park Recreation area.  I think this is the first NP recreation area I’ve been too. As you may know by watching the wonderful PBS special “Americas best Idea, the National Parks”, they don’t contain dams.  Well all except one.  Well, NP Rec. Areas do have dams and this one has a doosey, including a  “glory hole”.  Which is actually a round Intake structure for siphoning off excess water in the reservoir.  I was going to stay I their campground,  figuring that a NP would have some great campsites along the lake.  Checked out the one on the far side of the lake.  What a disappointment.  It was a freshly paved rectangular parking lot! On top of a hill.  Surrounded by trees, one couldn’t even see the lake.  No hookups either.  Now who would want to park their rig in a parking lot with a sticky asphalt coating.   I was told the other one near the marina was also a parking lot configuration (no hookups either).  The cost was only $7 off season along with a $5 day use fee, but it still wasn‘t worth it to me.

I’ve been able to use my Passport America discount club to get half off the last 4 parks I’ve been in.  Great deal considering the State Parks in Calif. Doubled their fees to $35 a night and most commercial campgrounds in the area are in the $35 range as well.

Since I was heading south east toward Reno, I decided to drive through Lassen Volcano NP.  $10 entrance fee.  I’d never heard of this NP.  The road leading from Redding to Lassen Volcano was a great secondary road.  Once I got into the park though it was a well paved, as so many roads have been repaved recently, but it was winding and climbed from about 3,000 feet up to 8,500 feet over the top of the volcano.  What spectacular views.  Thank goodness I got to the park early in the morning.  I was able to tow the camper up and over all the winding roads with no problem… as I pretty much used most of the road for driving at the slow pace required.  Not the smartest decision as far as fuel usage goes, but it was actually on my route so it all worked out well.

At these elevations, it has been a cold day.  Temps were in the 30’s to 40’s depending on elevation.  Sunny clear blue skies and bone chilling cold.  I even saw a dusting of snow along the ground and an alpine river had ice forming on tree branches in the river.  Burrr.   The volcano erupted in 1915 and still has some activity today in the form of sulfur works, hot springs, and mud pots.  Not all are viewable from the main roads so hiking is encouraged.  I would have enjoyed some hiking if is wasn’t so darn cold and windy out.  Being able to hike to some of these unique sites without the commercial paved sidewalks and roads would have been really cool.

When I finally drove into the valley below the temps stayed in the 65 degree range but I have to tell you with the huge expanse of blue skies and bright sun I just don’t seem to think it’s that’s cool out.  I arrived at another Passport America campground called Honey Lake Rv and Resort, though I’m not sure I’d rate it a “resort”.  I passed through some small Calif. Towns like Susanville, Janesville, Johnsonville and Milford.  What I’m really enjoying are the large open spaces after having left the high country and it’s massive Ponderosa Pines.

Now I have views of a large shallow valley and the dried up Honey Lake which creates a landscape of white, tans and shades of plum and lavender lines against the soft rounded mountain ranges.  To me a breathtaking view of simple horizontal lines and all in those pastel shades.  The vast distances that one can see are like nourishment for my eyes and soul.  I’ve almost become addicted to these vast landscapes that one just doesn’t get back east.

Nevada.  A few days later and I’ve driven across the Calif.-Nevada line, through Reno and south to Washoe Lake St Pk.  It’s only a couple mile outside of Carson City, the capital of Nevada.  The last couple of days the other things besides the expansive scenery, I’ve also become aware of is how clear the air is.  It’s almost as if everything looks sharper and more distinct.  Like having razor sharp vision or something.

I had to scramble today to find an Rv repair shop that could look at my camper.  The furnace wouldn’t come on the other night and it was really, really cold out.  Had to pile on more blankets on the bed, brrrr.  Apparently one of the circuit boards was damaged by water.  I think it occurred sometime ago when I had some water heater problems, but that goes back over two years ago.  But the damage had been done and rust and corrosion had set in and eventually ruined the board.  It’ll be repaired in a couple of days when the part comes in.  In the mean time, I’ll just explore my polar bear side and embrace the crisp cool air at night and pile on the blankets.

Oh, I stopped in at the Nevada State Museum in Carson City but will tell you I wasn’t overly enthused about their state museum.  Basic museum stuff, extremely small print on most all the exhibits which were average at best and the content just wasn’t that compelling.  Many of the descriptions had the text backlit against a black or red background which didn’t help in being able to read the data.  Maybe the descriptions were compelling, but I just couldn’t read them hey.

I’ve had a couple cheap and very good meals at the Casino’s.  I’m no dummy, I know that many of them compete to get us into their establishments through our stomachs… and it worked.  Like a breakfast of steak and eggs, hash browns and toast all for $4.95.

This is a great location for touring around.  It’s close to Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, Reno and Truckee.  And at $14 a night a good deal.  The feel of being in the country, yet close to all the attractions.  Too much to report on.

I will tell a little story though.  While waiting in line in a store, I mentioned to the lady next to me that it was pretty cold last night (33 degrees).  She said, “yes it was, but as soon as her garden freezes, she’s ready for winter”.  I said, it must be hard to have a garden around here.  (we are in the desert you know).  She said,  “It is, but she had her husband build a raised garden for her with timbers.  But it still doesn’t keep out the snakes.”

The camper should be fixed Tomorrow and I’ll probably be heading out shortly after that.  Heading south, south east.

ps, there are two new photo albums on the Picasa site.

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