“Sort-of-Sabbatical” Day Eighteen, Wednesday June 20
It may have taken having narrowly escaped both a run in with an axe murderer and/or Bigfoot yesterday and near assault by dinosaurs this morning, but I am actually glad to be headed away from the ever-mesmerizing Pacific Ocean.
Since I’ve been so cold while riding the last few days, I pass over a recommended bakery and begin my morning with what probably amounts to more calories than I usually eat in an entire day. The hippy happy Blue Cafe in Arcata provides me a delicious veggie omelet, buttery biscuits, sausage, coffee, juice and… a power outlet. Stomach and gizmos fully charged! Go!
The Trinity Scenic Byway doesn’t start off promising, but - twists and turns and hills, oh my! - by the time I get further east, I find what very well may be the sportiest section of asphalt since my day ride in Marin County. The hairpins on the downhill slope are laid out before me with nothing to obstruct my view. And despite yesterday’s fun, I am more than ready to lean over the tank and explore the edges of my tires in earnest. Except I’m moving so slowly I’m forced to carve out serpentines within my lane just to keep off the clutch. I and at least 50 other cars are following a construction pilot car, creeping along at a painful pace for miles. It’s hot and getting hotter, and I am still wearing my wool riding clothes and electric vest. By the time I reach Redding, the dash tells me it’s 102 degrees. Even so, I am handling this weather challenge with much more grace than the cold conditions of two days ago, and I resist removing any layers because I look ahead and see snow. Lots of it. I know that within a half hour I will be Up There.
And here is Up There. “There” being Lassen Volcanic National Park. I had never even heard of it until I started planning my trip, but after seeing it on the map, I declared it a necessary destination.
I snap a photo of the bike. Why have I taken so few of it, when it's the very point of my trip? Probably because I can see the real live thing any time I want to. I already know what it looks like.
Alas, much like at Crater Lake National Park, all the trails at Lassen are still under many feet of snow. I will not be hiking “Bumpass Hell” (so named by Kendall Bumpass who, in 1864, fell into a boiling pool, losing his leg) and viewing interesting hydrothermal features today. Nor will I be summiting Lassen Peak, viewing Kings Creek Falls, or even learning a bit about the park at any of the Visitor’s Centers, because they are closed.
Instead, I take great joy in my consolation prize – riding back and forth along the twisty scenic bit of CA 89, more of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, that runs through the park. One pass for the scenery, another for the corners...
I pull in near my campsite to catch my breath and fill the tank. This road is good fun and deserves yet another pass. But something is wrong with the fueling station credit card reader, and the attendant, who is just closing up shop, will not take a cash sale. Looks like I’m marooned until morning.
No matter. I amuse myself by stalking geese…
… and watching the light turn golden on the trees across Manzanita Lake.
Lucky me. It’s been another good day.