One of the perks of jet lag is that you can actually get up early, but it is really late in your real time-zone. That allowed us to be on the road by 7 AM. The original goal was to try and see the sunrise in Lake Tahoe, but we didn't quite make it in time.
The long early morning shadows were beautiful, and even though this was the same route that we took yesterday, it looked different and amazing.
Part of this road follows the top of a ridge for a few hundred yards. Sheer drop offs on both sides is quite unnerving, and I always take this road slow.
Emerald Bay early in the morning is also beautiful and different.
We held off on breakfast to enjoy the scenery, so by the time we reached the north end of the lake, we had to stop and eat. Eggs benedict and a side of bacon, please.
One last look at Lake Tahoe at Kings Beach.
The next stop that we made was in Truckee, California. I had no idea what to expect, other than just a small town with a gas station and a few shops.
Directly across the street was a marshaling yard for trains. This train was sitting here while we were poking about. I heard several blasts of the air horn, and it pulled out.
The two locomotives at the head of the train were pulling at least 100 cars. If they were full, with a loaded weight of 200,000 pounds, they motivated at least 10 million pounds. An impressive feat. The fact that this train station is still in use by Amtrak is amazing. All in all, Truckee is a place I want to come back and visit again.
After stopping in Truckee, I pointed Dexy north on CA 89, the eventual destination of Lassen Volcanic Park. There was some neat scenery along the way, including several old Caterpillar dozers.
Much like the terrain in upstate New York, many people only think of LA or San Francisco when they think of California. The plains of eastern California are beautiful and desolate, with orchards, farmland and huge cattle ranches dotting the land.
This part of California is also criss-crossed with trains. Here you can see Sante Fe and BNSF trains chugging along.
This train was stopped along the tracks. It looked as if it could have been sitting there for a year, or a few minutes. We weren't sure until it actually started moving.
It looked so small against the backdrop of pine-trees and rocks, that I couldn't help shake the feeling that it was a model railroad set.
And eventually far off in the distance: Lassen Peak.
And finally, a return to the scene of the crime.
That's me poking out behind my mother in 1984, thirty years ago.
Here is a view of Lassen from Lake Helen, where we had lunch. What a view!
We ended up camping at Manzanita Lake, on the far end of the park. Far better than Butte Lake, which was 45 minutes out of the park and back into the park to get to that campground. Fortunately the first-come first-serve portion of the campground had several openings, and we managed to score a really nice one that backed up on forest.
I set up my usual camp setup, even with my "travel" kit.
"Half Match Tim" strikes again (heh), although this was an easy one as the wood was so dry that it would have gone up with a smoldering glance.
The original plan of a borrowed air mattress from John didn't quite pan out (thanks to a slow air leak) but two single-sized mattresses worked out even better. Finding those mattresses was a big of an adventure itself, as every place we stopped along the way (Ace Hareware's mostly) either had a very expensive twin sized mattress, or only ONE single. At the very last stop before Lassen itself in Chester CA, we actually came across a well stocked camping store that had exactly what we wanted: two single mattresses. Success at last!
It was very cold that night, probably in the low 40's, but otherwise sleeping was quite comfortable.
Tomorrow we tackled Lassen itself, and our game plan was ambitious.