Sunday, September 6, 2009

We Continue to Head For Home

(June 7, 2009) From Susanville, CA we followed Highway 89  around Lassen National Park.

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Before long, we came to beautiful Burney Falls State Park. I had been there over 30 years ago and remembered that it was a beautiful area but seeing it once again I realized it was more lovely than I remembered.

There’s a very nice campground here. Along with camping cabins, a store and gift shop, bathrooms and showers.  Lake Britton is also in the park and there you can launch your own boat or reserve one of the park’s boat to use during your stay.   There are lots of  hiking trails in many different lengths and degrees of difficulty.  I hope we can go back there one day and camp for a few days…it’s truly a beautiful place.

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Can you see the critter in the picture below?  They were running all over the hillside above the falls.

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After leaving Burney State Park we continued in a north westerly direction towards I-5.  We hadn’t gone too far when we passed this unusual looking tree.  We were so curious Bob turned around and went back to get a closer look.  There was a huge gravel area around the tree and it was obvious that there has been lots of cars coming and going from there.

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Hundreds of pair of shoes and slippers were hanging from this tree.  It was certainly a curious sight and no where in the area was there any explanation.

We stopped in Weed, California for some lunch. Weed sits in the shadow of Mt Shasta and I was happy to get some pictures of it without being in a moving vehicle. 

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After lunch we soon crossed into Oregon veering back to the east and Highway 97.  We were heading for Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Klamath Falls is a lovely city that sits at 4, 120 feet above sea level, I wish we could have spent more time there.  We did pass by Klamath Lake…20 miles long and in most places only 15 feet deep.   Our destination goal today was Crater Lake. However it was getting late and we couldn’t find a reasonably priced campground.  So we ended up back in Klamath Falls spending the night in the far corner of their Fred Meyer parking lot.

(June 8, 2009) After stocking up on milk and some other groceries we head for Crater Lake National Park.  It’s about a 60 mile drive from Klamath Falls and as you climb to over 6,100 feet the scenery is breathtaking!  Here it was June and there was still snow along the edges of the road.

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This is the explanation of “Fossil Fumaroles” I was able to find on Google. 

The history of the strange rock formations in

front of you began about 7,700 years ago

when the eruptions of Mt. Mazama were reaching

their climax. Torrents of red-hot, gas-charged

pumice poured down Mazama's slopes at speeds

of up to 100 mph (160kph). On top of this came

a flow of heavier rocks called scoria. These

glowing avalanches flooded down slope for many

miles, leaving deep deposits in their wake.

Temperatures in the deposits may have

exceeded 750 F (400 C). Plumes of vapors

appeared, as gasses escaped from the settling

rocks through vents called fumaroles. Minerals

in the gasses, combined with extreme heat,

welded the sides of the fumaroles in the shape

of slender cones. Since then, Annie Creek has

eroded a canyon through the deposits, exposing

the foxxil fumaroles as pinnacles and columns.

The depth of the canyon here at Godfrey Glen

is about 250 feet (75m).”

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As we neared Crater Lake there was more snow.

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And we’re here! Crater Lake was formed over 7,000 years ago with the collapse of Mt Mazama.  At 1,949 feet~it is the deepest lake in the United States. and ranks 7th in the world.   The level remains pretty much the same all year  because it’s fed by rain and snow and only drops during the summer months due to evaporation.  

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The island is called Wizard Island and there is a boat landing out there for tour boats.

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Crater Lake is 6 miles across and 20 miles around the rim.  We went part of the way around but some of the road was still closed due to their heavy snowfall last winter.

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Their gift shop, rest rooms and snack bar are located in this building.  There’s a penny squishing machine in there. The curious watched me squish some pennies and when they saw the Crater Lake penny, several went to get change which included quarters and shiny pennies.

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Crater Lake penny

The snow and the mountains in the distance were so pretty. After being in the desert it was quite a change.

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As we head down from Crater Lake we are treated to different views.

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At this turn-out we climbed up several flights of wide stairs to look at the lake as we turned to head down ~ there was the truck and camper.

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There was a person on the hill below, climbing presumably up to the fire look out on the top.

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Out of Cater Lake National Park we go….

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22 miles south of Bend, Oregon we pulled into La Pine Oregon State Campground.   All Of Oregon’s state parks are great to camp in….they are very well maintained and laid out nicely.  We had two visitors at this campground.  Our first one was this little guy.

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He was very brave and in the picture below, he was just a few feet from where Bob was eating pistachios.  

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Our second visitor(s) were hundreds of mosquitoes.  After we got dinner cooked, we actually had to retreat into the camper. For some reason we left home with no repellent ….not a good thing to do.  (That’s been taken care of~believe me)

(June 9, 2009) We were up and leaving the campground about 9:45am.  I was excited because I knew that tonight I’d be sleeping in my own bed.  But when we came to Bend, Oregon we had to stop.  We both love Bend and after a visit to their Goodwill and the Outlet stores we pulled into the Black Bear Diner for some lunch.

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If you have a Black Bear Diner near you, I highly recommend you stop by and check it out.   The decor is so cute and the food is delish!

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After some shopping and some eating we continue north on Highway 97 and then west on Highway 27. With Mt Hood barely visible in the  distance…we crossed a mountain pass in a storm…thunder, lightening, heavy rain and hail.   It was so scary…and of course those who are familiar with the road did not slow down.   Talk about a “white knuckle” ride !  

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When we got over the pass, Bob pulled into a Dairy Queen where we had to have a Peanut Buster Parfait to calm our nerves.

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We eventually came to Interstate 5 and crossed the mighty Columbia River into Washington state at 6:05pm.

Up I-5 we went, pulling into the driveway at 8:30pm.  We’d been gone 29 days and traveled 3,079.3 miles.  Safe at home again.

Thank you all so much for coming along on this road trip.

We took a short 5 day road trip on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in August….I’ll be posting those entries in the future.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Virginia City, Nevada

(June 4, 2009) We got into Virginia City, NV late in the afternoon. We got a spot in the Virginia City RV park overlooking Boot Hill.

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It was dinner time by the time we got settled so we went into town (just a few blocks) and got some dinner. We ate at the Chinese Restaurant there and I have to say, it was probably the worst Chinese meal we’ve ever had. They people working there were all very nice but oh my…..the food was just awful. We were going to walk around some more but the wind picked up and a heavy rain followed to we beat it back to the camper and settled in for the night.

I have to say this campground had the nicest shower facilities we have ever encountered. It was just like being at home. They had 6 shower rooms, all were sparkling clean, decorated nicely, each room had pegs for hanging clothes, towels etc. each room had a large bench to sit on, electrical outlets for a hair dryer and each had a toilet and washbowl. I could write a whole Blog entry on campground showers & bathrooms. Some are deplorable !!!! This one gets an A+. I wrote a review on their website and we also called them after we got home to tell them how we appreciated their accommodations.

Friday morning, we checked out of the campground and drove into town to explore. We’ve been here before but Virginia City is such a neat little town. There’s board sidewalks and you never know what you’ll see. This particular weekend they were celebrating their 150th Anniversary. We were wishing we could stick around and enjoy all the events but after a few hours we needed to move on.

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When we were last here, there was a fund raising drive going on to restore the steeple and front of the St Mary In The Mountains Catholic Church. I was happy to see that they apparently reached their goal and the work was in progress. This beautiful church dates back to 1875.

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You can pan for gold..

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Didn’t every western town have a Bucket of Blood Saloon?

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This place was so neat! Down this alley were all kinds of shops, the one on the right was a consignment shop with some of the neatest stuff I’ve ever seen. Lots of antiques and stuff from the 1950’s.

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The Suicide Table (a Faro table) is located in the Delta Saloon. It’s reported that back in the 1800’s former owner Black Jake shot himself at the table, after loosing his entire life savings in one evening.

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I think every old west town has a Ponderosa Saloon too. From this saloon you can take an underground mine tour. We did that last time we were here. It was very interesting and it gave me a new respect for miners.

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The walk in vault inside the Ponderosa

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Two cowboys (or bank robbers) in town, hanging out and having a beer.

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An old ore car at the end of a parking lot. As you can see it’s actually sitting on a little piece of track.

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The Silver Queen Hotel and Wedding Chapel is the home of this unusual wall hanging. The Silver Queen’s dress contains 3,261 silver dollars and her belt contains 28 twenty dollar gold pieces. This picture is a tribute to Virginia City’s once great silver mining industry.

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As I mentioned earlier, this was the weekend of their 150th anniversary celebration so there were lots of folks in different outfits from the past.

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These cow pokes were coming into town after months out on the range (I think).

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Leaving Virginia City, heading down into the Carson City area, the road is narrow and slow going.

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Our next stop was at the home of Bob’s 91 year old Aunt Helen and her two son’s and grandson, just outside Carson City. All the guys were away, so we went to visit her and spend the night so she wouldn’t have to be home alone. She was so glad to see us and I think relieved because her grandson has two dogs that needed fed and exercised and it would have been difficult for her.

Bob and his Aunt Helen looking at old pictures.

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Bob out exercising Roxy & Tucker. They are a handful !!!! But sooooo sweet!

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Aunt Helen’s grandson came home early the next morning. He plays in a band and they had a gig in Reno so he got home as soon as he could. Bob’s cousin Andy was in southern California making the rounds of places that sell his Jerky. And his cousin Ian was over in Truckee, CA taking his turn at their caboose where they sell the jerky and Ian’s beautiful candles.

(June 6, 2009) About 11:30am we hugged Aunt Helen goodbye and headed out for Truckee. It was a miserable drive around Lake Tahoe, foggy and raining….couldn’t even really see the lake. I was really disappointed at the weather.

This was the best view of Lake Tahoe I could get.

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But we finally got to Truckee and found the caboose and Ian.

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After a nice dinner at the Italian place just to the right of the caboose, we went over to the apartment that the guys use while they’re in Truckee and visited with Ian until the wee hours. When we left him, we came back to this parking lot and spent the night in front of the caboose. The next morning we were up and ready to hit the road about 8:30am. We did drive down thru Truckee but there wasn’t much open.

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I love it that this old Flying A station has been restored and is being used.

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After driving thru town we were back on the freeway heading for Susanville, CA.