Monday, October 05, 2009

 

Beautiful Northern California

After Labor Day, we spent a week and a half in northern California. We saw some beautiful country, but it was tiring, because we were there for nine days and were in six different hotels. That meant we were packing and moving practically every day. And we moved a lot--we put over 1500 miles on the car.

We got in to Sacramento fairly late and drove to Stockton, which is about an hour drive from Sacramento—so we were checking into the hotel at 1:30 am (which really was 3:30 am to us). We were treated very well—first had complimentary passes to the Sky Club at the airport—so were able to snack, sit in comfortable chairs, and be on the internet. Then I was upgraded to First Class—Bob wasn’t, but he was in seat 5A and I was in 4A, so he was right behind me. I could have passed him snacks, if I would have stayed awake when they were passing them out.

The next day, I had a meeting in the morning here in Stockton, and then chartered a chapter in Concord (it’s about an hour away). Then we drove to Redding—which is about 4 hours—so it was a long day and we were tired. The next day we went back and forth between Redding and Weed, but did get to stay in the same motel for two nights!

The road between Redding and Weed is beautiful, with mountains on both sides and lots of trees. Then all of a sudden Mount Shasta shows up towering above all of the others. It’s beautiful and so much bigger than everything else.

On the weekend, we decided to visit Crater Lake, since neither Bob nor I had ever been there. I had read and heard people say “it’s so blue”, but I was still amazed at the deep beautiful blue it was. And it’s huge—about six miles across with sheer cliffs all around it. Crater Lake lies inside a caldera, or volcanic basin, created when the 12,000 foot high Mount Mazama collapsed 7,700 years ago following a large eruption.

The lake is supplied with rain and winter snow (they said over 500 inches per year). There are no inlets or outlets to the lake. Crater Lake, at 1,943 feet deep, is the seventh deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the United States. This is why the lake is so blue—all the red and yellows are absorbed and the blues and purples are reflected. It’s also cold and pure—you get down to the water at one place, and can swim, but not for long because hypothermia will set in quickly.

We went from there to Bandon, which is on the coast. I’m just like a kid as we are approaching an ocean—I get all excited and can’t wait until I get my first glimpse of water. Then we drove down Hwy 101 which has spectacular views of the ocean. I lived in several of those towns, so remembered some of the places. We even found an old run-down school that I attended for first grade in Langlois. We stayed for two nights in Crescent City. We were able to walk along the ocean a couple times. I love walking barefoot in the sand with the waves lapping at my feet. We could even hear the seals barking out on the rocks.

We continued down Hwy 101 which is beautiful; first, the Oregon and northern California coast is really rugged with lots of rocks and cliffs and second, that’s redwood country—so there are the huge redwoods all around. We left Hwy 101 to go on Hwy 1, which winds through the coastal mountains and redwoods—it’s beautiful, but slow going. We stayed in Fort Bragg which sits on a cliff. One morning, we had some time, so sat out on the cliff and just watched the waves crashing into the rocks and swirling around. We also ate at a restaurant called the Cliff House—which is build on the cliff and has tiered seats, so everyone had a beautiful view. Although it got foggy every evening—we didn’t see a good sunset, but the mornings were clear.

We left the coast to head back to Sacramento, stopping at a couple places in central California. Boy, is it dry there—most of the fields have long brown grass unless they are being irrigated. I can see why there are so many fires happening out there. We had an uneventful trip home. But flew in to Hibbing, so got to see Naomi and her family, and then Ross and Richard came—so we had a great visit.

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