Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Road Trip 2015 - Northern California

After a very long Sunday drive from Los Angeles to Red Bluff, Monday was more about the journey while Sunday was about the destination - aka just getting some mileage behind us.  500 miles on Sunday to be exact.   Monday we headed out of Red Bluff - east.  Some people love to do the coast but we really wanted to see Lassen Volcanic National Park and then do the entire Volcanic Scenic Byway tour up through Oregon.

In some ways we hit Lassen at just the right time and in some ways it wasn't.  The park had just opened the roads a couple days before and as a result the park was virtually deserted.  This allowed us to do the park quickly and give Geppetto a great snow play time.  There was tons of snow as we ascended up towards the peak of Mount Lassen.  I'm sure much of it had melted but at the highest point on the road there was probably a snow bank of about 3'.   Normal snowpack for this area in winter is 331 inches, this year - 71".  23% of normal.  In a normal year this park doesn't open until June.

The bad news was that most hiking trails were closed - but that's ok because dogs are not allowed on any trails.  I had planned for that.  Just outside of the park were several trails we were going to hit.   As we cruised out of the park on the Northern end we stopped to admire Lake Manzanita.  Beautiful.

Off to Old Station, CA just up the road and a hike at Spatter Cones trail.  For some reason as we drove up to the trail head the gates were closed but I noticed a service road a little ways up.  We took that and snuck into the area behind the bathrooms.  You can look at some info of the spatter cone trail here.  We saw a cool looking jack rabbit at the start of the trail.  Silly Geppetto didn't even see him.  Bright orange inside his ears, never seen anything quite like that.

After that we drove the short distance into Old Station and stopped at the only place in town - JJ's Cafe.  Wow.  The BEST pastrami sandwich I've ever had.  I think it was equal to Carnegie Deli in New York frankly.  Dena and I split one which was accompanied by some fantastic french fries.  All the beef used is cured locally and is raised right behind the restaurant.  Yummy!  I regretted  not being hungry enough to try a hamburger too!

After that it was off to the subway lave tube.  That was truly amazing.  It was huge, about 1/3 mile long and pitch black.  We had a flashlight and my cell phone which were quite inadequate.  Geppetto had no issues in the pitch black.  I was a little nervous to tell you the truth.

Sorry, no time to upload pictures, check Facebook.  We also hit Burney falls before going to our AirBnB stop in Fall River Mills (best IPA I've ever had!).