Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 9: Back Home

Sunday, September 12, 2010: The drive back to Mountain View from Lassen was speedy down Highway 5 even for our Westy whose top speed is 55 mph on a completely flat surface with a tail wind. Her 0-to-60 time is actually infinite. We reveled in how well she did on the trip. Other than some leaks in the gas line when when the tank was full, she did just fine.

Total trip miles: 1300
MPG: roughly 20 (it became impossible to measure as soon as we realized that filling the tank to capacity made the gas lines leak)
Highest altitude: 10,000 feet
Hottest temperature: 85 degrees
Coolest temperature: 38 degrees

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 8: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Saturday, September 11, 2010: We got up early in the morning and drove to Lassen Volcanic National Park. We parked at the north visitor center and hiked around Manzanita Lake.

Next, we drove further into the park and hiked around Summit Lake and then hiked to Terrace Lake and Shadow Lake.  

The water at Shadow Lake really was this blue:

Next, we drove to the Bumpass Hell trial head and hiked in to see this geothermic area named after a man who laid claim to the area in the 1800s. Mr. Bumpass lost his leg when the crust he stepped on broke and his leg was burned in the boiling sulphuric water underneath. We were sure to stay on the designated path.


We stopped at the boiling and bubbling Sulphur Works before heading to the walk-in campground a the Southwest Visitor Center, where we parked and camped for the night ($14/night).

Day 7: From Lava Beds to McArthur-Burney State Park

Friday, September 10, 2010: We spent the first half of the day exploring more of the hundreds of caves at Lava Beds. Here's an example of the lavacicles in the caves (we learned that "lavacicles" is the correct term -- they're different than stalagtites):

Midday, we bid farewell to Lava Beds and headed southeast. We stopped at McArthur-Burney falls and hiked the falls loop trail. It's a super-nice state park with a river, lake, amazing falls, and a campground, so we decided to stay for the night ($22/night camping fee plus an $8 entrance fee).

Day 6: Lava Beds National Monument

Thursday, September 9, 2010: In the morning, we hiked 6.6 miles round trip on the Whitney Butte Trail. The trail ends at a large lava flow.

Then we explored several of the caves.

Before the sun went down, we hiked to the top of Schonchin Butte (a cinder cone) and took in the views.


One of the most beautiful sights from the top of the butte was our Westy in the panarama -- the sole vehicle in sight as far as the eye can see. Can you find it?

Ok, ok, I'll zoom in. Now do you see it?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 5: To Ashland, OR and Lava Beds National Monument

Wednesday, September 8, 2010: We headed up Highway 199 to Ashland, OR. We drank from the sulphur and mineral rich Lithia fountain in the town square and then washed our mouths out at the Carter Memorial fountain also in the town square.

Next, we took a walking tour of the historic old railroad district and had lunch at Brother's Restaurant Deli near Ashland Creek. Then it was time to hit the road and make it to our next destination before nightfall: Lava Beds National Monument.

Arriving at Lava Beds was like driving on the surface of another planet. The park is full of interesting geologic features and lava flows. And, it is full of bats.

The Lava Beds campground looks over high plains that stretch forever and is $10/night. It was also almost empty and the ranger at the visitor center said that the campground rarely fills so they don't bother with reservations. The park is very remote with no food and gas for miles and miles. If you visit, pack your own food and water.

Day 4: Up the coast through redwoods to Crescent City

Tuesday, September 4, 2010: We hiked in the redwoods at Humboldt Redwoods State Park and then drove up the coast, stopping to view a herd of wild elks by the highway. The alpha male elk was riled up trying to reign in his many disobedient wives. We talked with someone later in the day whose truck was damaged when the elk rammed it.

We stopped for lunch in Eureka at Marina Cafe on Woodley Island. It started to rain and then to pour as we headed up the coast. In Crescent City, we decided to stay at the Curly Redwood Lodge instead of camp ($62/night). It's a neat 1950s vintage motel made out of a single redwood tree.

Day 3: Up Highway 1 to Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Monday, September 5, 2010: We drove up beautiful Highway 1 and stopped in Mendocino for ice cream at Frankie's. In Humboldt County, we drove the 31-mile Avenue of the Giants to see the largest old growth redwoods in California. We came to Burlington Campground in Humboldt Redwoods State Park and stayed for the night among the giant redwoods.

Day 2: Point Reyes National Seashore

Sunday, September 5, 2010: We headed for nearby Point Reyes National Seashore and stopped at Olema RV Resort and Campground on the way to reserve a legitimate spot for the night ($44/night). At Point Reyes, we hiked eight miles through the Tule Elk Reserve out past Bird Rock near the end of Tomales Point since it was an unusually clear fog-free day. The reserve is home to 500 endangered tule elk. By the end of the hike, we had seen just about all 500 elk.

Then we drove to Point Reyes hostel to check it out and then to beautiful Limantour Beach.

After leaving Point Reyes, we stopped for dinner in Inverness at Vladimir's Czechoslavaki Restuarant. The food was great, especially the big lump of whole grain rye bread that's brought to the table before dinner. Jon ordered the duck.

Day 1: Angel Island, California

September 4, 2010: Our destination for Day 1 was Muir Woods, just above San Francisco. But Muir Woods was shrouded in fog, so we quickly changed plans and headed for Angel Island, which was completely sunny. We drove to Tiburon and hopped on the Angel Island Ferry ($13.50 round trip to Angel Island, departs every hour on the hour). Angel Island is a state park and has hiking trails with panoramic views of SF Bay.

After hiking on Angel Island, we took a sunset tour of the SF Bay ($20 Friday and Saturday nights 6:30-8:00 p.m.).

We stopped into Bistro 35 for dinner. For dessert we had chocolate espresso mousse in a chocolate cup!

Given that it was Labor Day Weekend and we didn't make any advance reservations, we decided to "stealth camp" in Tiburon and found a quiet street where we parked for the night.

Trivia question: Is sleeping in your vehicle legal?

Go Road Trip!

We set out from Mountain View to see areas of Northern California we had never seen before in our 1985 Westy. This blog chronicles our nine-day Northern California loop road trip, which is loosely based on this itinerary (which, despite the title, really isn't possible to do in just a week).