Days 1 – 10: Washington, Oregon, and Northern California
Sorry for the radio silence. We are alive and well and still talking to each other! We’re counting that as a success.
We are currently in California having a little R&R at a Sierra Club lodge near Truckee. This is a place I’ve been visiting since I was a kid and it’s a bit weird not having my parents here with us. I keep expecting to turn around and see my mom charging up the trail or my dad lagging behind, eyes glued to binoculars, looking for birds. Moments like these have me missing loved ones back home.
We had a fairly relaxed trip down through Washington and Oregon. Our first night we spent with family on the Coast so we eased into the trip in grand style. Since then we’ve generally tried to keep a routine of three nights camping, 1-2 nights in a hotel/lodge. Our somewhat skeezy motel in Chico (Cali) wasn’t super clean but it came with a pool, spotty wifi, and a laundry room so it checked all the necessary boxes. So far my favorite camp experience was a free forest service campground way up in the hills of Las Plumas National Forest, about 2 hours north of Truckee.
Our little girlie is up and riding! And thanks to my Papa’s nifty bike hack, we’re not killing our backs trying to guide her along. She can go forever but so far the concept of braking has eluded her so she has suffered a few spectacular crashes. We’re taking a short bicycle hiatus while her knees recover from her adventures.
And just like that, we were done with Oregon. We zipped down into California to the Lava Beds National Monument which was hot but so very cool. Weirdly. The aptly named Skull Cave had a floor of ice.
One of the things we thought about when planning this trip was the ability to go off paved roads when the mood strikes us. We probably won’t be doing any crazy explorations but it’s nice to occasionally depart the traditional route. This was a lunch spot back in Modoc National Forest. Just us and the lucky ants that discovered our picnic.
The campground at Lava Beds was like a blast furnace: windy, hot, and dry. I was worried about snakes and scorpions while the kids were completely intent on throwing aside their shoes and playing soccer barefoot. We’re still working out our campground kinks.
Well, that’s a wrap on the Pacific Northwest and Northern Cali. We have a few nice weeks ahead: visiting friends in various CA towns and then hoping to pop over to Yosemite and Owens Valley. And who knows, maybe we’ll even hit Death Valley. It was 127 F there the other day. Caliente!!