Friday, August 22, 2014

From Burney to Home ~ June 26-28, 2014

Sorry for the delay in finishing the Great Northwest Tour story. Life has a habit of getting in the way now and then. More on that later. Glad you could come along for the ride. 

Up to Burney Falls after breakfast. A light rain just before we arrived left that wonderful fresh smell and jewels on all the trail side sentries. We took the Falls Trail down Burney Creek to Lake Britton. The loop is about 3.4 miles. 

Falls Overlook
Burney Creek

If you've never been to McArthur Burney Falls put it on your bucket list. We posted a short movie on youtube. The link is: http://YouTube/-TEqxkQ_4G8

From Burney we backtrack a few miles to pick up Hwy 89 south to Lassen National Park. There is little or no traffic throughout the park. We pulled over at Devastation to read about the May 1915 eruption. 

Photo Credit National Park Service

Several groups of hot springs and fumaroles, remnants of former volcanic activity, exist in the park: Bumpass Hell (love the name) and the Sulphur Works are two of the better known. We stopped at the Works to read about it's history. Pillars of steam from fumaroles billow across the road, the mudpot bubbles next to the sidewalk. Ah, the smell of sulphur in the morning.

The brilliant coloration of the area is from clay minerals, formed when hot, acidic water percolates through the volcanic rock. Standing next to the mudpot visitors are actually standing in middle of an ancient volcano called Mt. Tehama that once towered at 11,000 feet half a million years ago. Five miles below the ground lies a giant pool of magma. 

Head down out of the mountains on Hwy 89 to Chester and Lake Almanor for the night. The clouds have pulled back to reveal a beautiful afternoon drive.  

June 27th ~ We leave Chester in the morning and head south on Hwy 89 to pick up Hwy 119 west: a varied terrain of lava, woods, wildflowers and stunning views to the west as you come down out of the mountains.

When we come in along the eastern side of Lake Oroville we are totally shocked. The waterline seems to be at least 100 feet below the dam, it's under 35% of capacity. Further evidence of drought conditions in the West. 

Last stop on this adventure is a visit with my Aunt Betty and her husband Bob in Durham. We have a delightful dinner with them and spend the night in Chico.

June 28th ~ Time to head home on our last set of back roads: miles of walnut, olive and fruit groves, rolling hills, aqueducts and farmland. Hwy 45 to Hwy 20 to Hwy 29 to Hwy 12 and home. 

We've been on the ultimate full circle tour of almost three weeks: 23 rural highways in California and Oregon. From the ocean to the high desert, along the Cascades and Sierras, from sea level to 9,000 feet. A grand adventure and a superb time out: songwriters Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Huesen may have said it best lyrics excerpted from their song It's Nice to go Traveling:

It's oh, so nice to go trav'ling, 
But it's so much nicer, 
Yes, it's so much nicer to come home.

It's oh, so nice just to wander,
But it's so much nicer
Yes it's oh, so nice to wander back.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back into California ~ June 25, 2014

We took off from Klammath this morning and continue south on 97. The weather is cloudy and warm, great for driving and walking. Another side trip is in the offing. We head east on 161 to Tule Lake and Lava Beds National Monument. 

On the way into the park, before the ranger station, we stopped at this wildlife overlook with the idea of doing a little bird watching. Rod started to get out of the rig and I yelled at him to close the door. There were swarms, clouds, coruscating columns of mosquitoes all around us. Made me think of a scene out of "The Birds" except this was "The Mosquitoes". When we reached the ranger station we asked about it. She said the swallows were working overtime and that the migrating bats were due back in a couple of days. Too long as far as many were concerned. 

We head northeast to Petroglyph Point to photograph some of the primitive art of the Modoc and do a little bird watching. The petroglyphs are carved along the face of a former island of the ancient Tule Lake. Most estimates date the carvings back to between 2,000 and 6,000 years. Up to 14 species of birds have been recorded roosting in spring and summer: Barn Owl, Great Horned Owl, Prairie Falcon, Red Tailed Hawk, American Kestrel and Canadian Geese to name a few. 

The Big Picture
Photo Credit ~ Scott Harris

At the end of the fence line, protecting the petroglyphs from the public, I started chatting with a woman named Rosalee who just moved to Oregon. I asked her where she moved from and she told me Healdsburg (20 miles from my home). When I told her I was from Sebastopol she said "I kind of got that kinda vibe". We both had a good chuckle, wished each other well and headed off in separate directions.

On the way south we stopped at the Lava Beds Visitor Center. Both of us have achy knees today so we decided we'd do some cave exploring next time. Descending out of high desert the vistas are incredible. Snow capped mountains, ponderosa, sage brush sea, mountain silhouettes, Just stunning, no traffic.

We head south to pick up Hwy 139, then Hwy 91 to Hwy 299. Back roads one and all. Our destination for the night is the small town of Burney. We plan to visit McArthur Burney Falls in the morning and do some hiking. We've been there a number of times and never get tired of the experience. 

Burney ~ small town USA

Okay time to listen up ~ if you are 62 and don't know about the U.S. National Park Service Senior Pass you are missing out on a great opportunity. For $10 you get a lifetime pass into National Parks and Federal Recreation Sites. We got ours on a trip to Montana years ago and have used it many times. You can pick up one a National Park entrance or on line. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Time Out for the Fair ~ July 31, 2014

Today I'll let the pictures do the talking. A perfect day for the Sonoma County Fair. It was 75 degrees and breezy. Back to the 1960's for us grey beards with a peace, love and free admission. There are perks to aging!

 This could be anywhere in Cazadero according to Rod

 The murals are stunning

 Go Ask Alice

 Blue Meanies

 The Love Bug

I could dream this into the back yard

Homage to the Grateful Dead

Logged two miles wandering around the fair. Sat in the shade to share a corn dog and french fries. Good music and people watching at its best. Dessert was our annual vanilla bar dipped in dark chocolate and nuts from the Ginsu Knife Building. Bottom line the Hall of Flowers stole the show. A delightful way to spend an afternoon.