101 miles; CA-89 to Lassen Volcanic National Park
Another great traveling day for our intrepid explorers. The weather has been cooperating and looks like it'll continue to do so for the rest of the week. Warm sunny days and crisp cold mornings.
With only a hundred miles on the docket for today we felt no urgency or rush to get anywhere. CA-89 is a good two lane road with abundant truck traffic as it's a shortcut between I-5 and Reno. Much of the route is through forest -- tall pines and scrub oak providing cover for deer and cattle, both of which we saw grazing right next to the road. Bright sunlit fall colors contrasting with the dark green of the pines added a sense of season that felt comforting.
Dar found that we'd be passing by Burney Falls State Park on the drive today. We're usually careful about stops like this when we're moving with the bus-house unless we know ahead of time that the park roads and parking lots are set up for big rigs. We had no idea what the setup was here, but felt like taking a chance to see the falls that Teddy Roosevelt described as the 8th wonder of the world. Only because there were so few parked cars I was able to make a tight "180" in their largest parking lot (which was still pretty small) and find an out-of-the-way spot to park, pointing outward. Luck was with us again today.
Burney Falls is fed by underground springs and, regardless of time of year or amount of precipitation, has a very consistent flow of water. There's a viewing platform at the top and a path leading to a few viewing spots at the bottom. There's something about falling water that catches my eye and puts me in a hypnotic trance... a little like watching a campfire, a sunset, wild surf, or a pretty girl. Simply enjoyable.
At Lassen we headed right over to Lake Manzanita campground. There are no RV hookups at any campground in the park and, this late in the year, the water is shut off too. We understood that this campground would be our best bet for finding a campsite where we'd fit. Like many of the National Park campgrounds we've seen, they were designed years ago for tent campers and small trailers. In the two campground loops that were open it took us a while to find one that would work. Most were too small, too unlevel, too many low hanging branches, or all of the above.
Don't get me wrong... we found a great site and have been enjoying the solitude. While I scrubbed bugs off the front end after setting up camp, Dar traipsed through the woods and came up with enough downed wood for a campfire. So in one day, today, I hit the trifecta... waterfall, campfire, and pretty girl... imagine that... all in the same day.
We're at 5900 feet elevation here. Our plan is to explore the park tomorrow and then decided if we'll add a day or more to our stay. As I said above, the weather is fine, so it's really a matter of what we'd like to do here.
Oh, and one more thing... we have NO cell phone or internet service at the campground. We'll post journal entries if/when we find a wifi hotspot. Otherwise, it'll wait until we're back in range.