Corning CA

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Not really much to say about Corning except it is the Olive City of CA!!! Yeah for them.  The above olive stature was located at least 4 miles outside of town has no parking but i guess is pretty cool especially if you like martinis??  It was a nice enough place to stay thru the Memorial Day holiday.  There are miles and miles of Olive groves most of which looked many years old.  Check out the trunk system on these trees.

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The olive trees did not have fruit this time of year or were just beginning.  But there were these other trees everywhere (everywhere that there were not olive trees or cows) that had fruit all over them.   Was not sure, but after investigation we believe they are almond trees. What do you think???

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One day we ventured south to Black Butte national Recreation Area, really nice area nice trails this time of year but little shade so would not suggest in the heat of summer.  Some of the camp sites had really cool flat rounded off patio areas overlooking the reservoir.   Not sure that we would take the bus out there, but anything ~30 or less this is a beautiful campground.  Must mention the campground and recreation area on the west side is nicer than the east.

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Even with ~60-degree weather, Nellie only wants the shade!!!

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We went to the farmers market in Chico, CA on Memorial Day weekend.  The market was very nice and we got veggies for a couple of days.  Chico is close to Paradise which was destroyed during the Camp Fire just 6-8 months ago so we decided not to visit this area (has been a long time, but know what it is like to be the victim being gawked at).  We did drive up the Butte Creek Canyon to see the Honey Run covered bridge.

Not thinking, just not thinking.  Fires like hurricanes effect a large surrounding area,  As we worked our way up the canyon one out of every 4 or 5 houses were burned to the ground.  Sometimes not even able to tell, you just notice a driveway without a house???  The covered bridge was also a victim of the Camp Fire.  But a very eye opening drive, we will do all we can to stay clear of FIRES.  No pictures, just letting you know.

Peace love and Justice for All!!!

 

 

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Lava Beds National Monument

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So, the Cascade mountain range is mostly dormant volcanoes.  This includes Lassen Volcanic NP which erupted last in 1915 and is not accessible at this time due to snow (in the middle of May).  The lava beds are a result of a half million years of eruptions from the Medicine Lake shield volcano.  The last eruption was over 20,000 years ago so this area is truly dormant unlike Lassen.

The main attraction at Lava Beds are the over 700 lava tube caves.  These caves were formed as molten lava flowed from a volcanic eruption.  As the lava on top was exposed to air and cooled the inner (below surface) flows continued to flow.  These tubes cooled slowly from the outside in and when the lava quite flowing the hot molten lava evacuated leaving tube caves.

The caves in the park are not lit you have to take a flashlight, and there were not many people while we were there.  Let me say first that after visiting Carlsbad Caverns just recently these caves are not Carlsbad.  They do not have the nice formations or LED lighting showing you the way.

We visited several of these caves, but to be truthful it was pretty creepy and very dark.  The caves were relatively small ducking and duck walking were involved in each.  There was even one Merrill Cave that they say they use to let visitors ice skate in on the ice floor with lantern light, but it was so small and deep that I wouldn’t even go that far in.  Randy said it was pretty small for skating.  Anyway, something new to learn and experience.  Here are some cave pictures.

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There was one cave called Sunshine.  The name is due to a couple of cave ins that allowed sunlight into the cave.  This is worrisome to me??

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There were a couple of areas we saw that appear to have been total cave collapses, not sure when or if this was an actual cave collapse, but it ended our caving for the day.  This plus the caves were pretty creepy.

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We also visited an actual volcanic crater.  This was pretty cool, it looked like if you fell in that it would be very difficult to climb out so we made sure not to fall.

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The area is high desert so there are not many trees etc, but I found it really interesting that these lava rock fields had not been overcome with vegetation after thousands of years.  And when I was reading about Lassen and the devastated area from the 1915 eruption, they say it is mostly returned to its original forested state only a hundred years later???  Why??? Forest vs desert… The darker areas are the lava rocks and the lighter (green??) areas are natural high desert landscape.

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One story that we learned here is of the Modoc Indians.  There was a small band of Modoc Indians in the 1870s that the US Army decided should not be here (this of course is a simplified version, if you want the whole story look it up).  The army outnumbered the Indians about 10 to 1 yet the Modoc were able to hold them off for several months.  Eventually the tribe lost and the remaining (approx.) 150 Modoc were overtaken.  After the conflict the US Army moved them to Oklahoma??  OKLAHOMA really, we civilized white people are not always so kind…  Why would you take indigenous people 2 thousand miles away for keeping except to be cruel???  And less than 200 people, Wow just Wow.

And right here in the same area is the Tule Lake segregation center where over 15,000 (of the total 120,000) Japanese AMERICANS were incarcerated during the 2nd WW.  The Japanese Americans were forcibly taken from their homes and kept in concentration camps, approximately 2/3 were American Citizens.  Informational tours are given on certain days but not the day we were there, check web site before going.

Imagine the indignity  – and they weren’t even BLACK!!!  (If you know us you know this is tongue in cheek).  Very thought-provoking quote on the signage outside of the “segregation camp” that we would like to share – THE TULE LAKE UNIT IS A REMINDER TO ALL AMERICANS THAT THE CONSTITUTION IS NO MORE THAN A PIECE OF PAPER UNLESS WE ARE WILLING TO DEFEND ITS PRINCIPLES.  Food for thought especially at this time in history.

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Peace Love and Justice for all!!!

Waterfalls

Near McArthur we found a couple of waterfalls to check out.  The upper, middle and lower McCloud river falls were within an hour and in the direction of Mt Shasta.  Mt Shasta is one of the things we wanted to see in the area, and since we now knew that it would be snow covered a good view would be nice.

Mt Shasta is a little over 14,000 ft and the second tallest mountain in the Cascade Range.  Also the 5th tallest in California so it should dominate the landscape, but as of yet we had not been able to see it due to weather.  We were hoping that getting closer would provide the view.

The waterfalls were very nice, upper was a pretty narrow gorge with worn circular whirlpool rings and a nice fall into a wider pool.

Lower was a nice cascade with a small drop into a round pool and lots of rocks for lounging on a warmer day.

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And middle was the grandest with an approximate 40 foot drop and one of the widest ledges in the state at 120 feet wide.

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At middle falls we got a really big surprise and quite a show.  There was a kayaker preparing to run the fall.  A 40 foot fall…  Not really sure what you call a person that does this, crazy, daring, foolish, brave, dumb but what ever you call him, he did it successfully and I guess we enjoyed the show.  Although I did not get the actual fall (he was too close to the bank on our side) you can see the before and after.

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There was also a nice river trail that connected the three waterfalls it was about 2 miles and would have been very nice if not on the verge of rain.  Here is another waterfall from the area.

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And we did not get to see Mt. Shasta, the weather was drizzly with low clouds.  Maybe on the way back south??  PEACE LOVE AND JUSTICE FOR ALL…..

Lassen Volcanic NP

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We moved from Verdi just as the weather was beginning to turn back to winter.  There was prediction of snow, up to a foot of snow at higher elevations (like Lake Tahoe) and the pass.  The news was talking about the need to get your snow chains back out, so we were more than glad that our week was up and we headed back to CA and a lower elevation in McArthur.

We set out to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park a little over an hour south of McArthur.   The drive south was beautiful.   Until the elevations began to rise and snow appeared on the ground.  I knew that Lassen Peak was over 10,000 ft, and that the before mentioned snow storm was predicted for elevations over 6,000 ft, but never put two and two together that Lassen might be very snowy…  We also never imagined that the main park road would be closed.

So long story short, we enjoyed a nice drive with lovely snowy forest and a view of Lassen Peak, but did not get to explore the main park.

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Being an hour away from home we decided to find something else to do instead of simply returning.  There is another part of the park accessible via unpaved roads that go to Butte Lake, a large cinder cone and “fantastic” lava beds.   The lake was at a lower elevation and we assumed we could get there.  Google maps showed 2 routes to the lake, we decided to take the shortest route.  Randy joking said that there would probably be a fallen tree over the road.  Well after about 5 miles on the dirt road…

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Sooo we decided to still go to the lake and cinder cone on the other dirt road.  And about 5 miles into the forest the road was covered with snow.

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All in all it was a pretty day of driving, but did not get to see much if any of Lassen NP maybe another day…

Peace Love and Justice for all.

 

 

Tahoe – Reno

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After too long of a stop in Sacramento at the Sacramento Truck Shop, we headed east and up.  Climbing the Sierra Nevada mountains to Lake Tahoe and back down some to near Reno, NV.  We landed in the very small Reno suburb of Verdi, NV right on the Truckee River and CA boarder.  Nevada was planned to fuel up the bus and get some supplies before continuing in California where everything is just a little bit more expensive.

Lake Tahoe’s beauty alone is worth the visit, but it also has some interesting statistics.  It is the largest alpine lake in North America resting at 6,226 feet above sea level.  It is also the second deepest lake in the US at 1,645 ft at its deepest.  Crater lake in Oregon is the deepest at 1,949 ft will report on it when we get there.  And with an average depth of 1,100 feet it is the 6th largest in the US by volume surpassed only by the 5 great lakes.

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At 12 miles wide (E to W) by 21 miles long (N to S) you can see the curvature of the earth looking across.  The shore directly across either way is invisible as on the horizon you see only lake.  I read that east to west your view point would be about 30 feet above the ground and the long way north to south your view would be 100 feet above the ground.  Didn’t really think of the curvature of the earth at the great lakes we visited last summer.  I knew it was too far to see the other side, via atmosphere/air etc, but obviously the curvature of the earth would make it impossible to see the other side!!!  Duh.  We are not part of the flat earth society…

The lake is surrounded on all sides by mountains reaching over 9,000 ft most of which were still covered with snow during our visit.

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The surrounding mountains are dotted with smaller lakes filled to the brim with snow melt, and overflowing into water falls and finally into Lake Tahoe.   We love waterfalls and there are many in the area.  This is Eagle falls which flows into scenic Emerald Bay a popular state park in the area.  Travel hint – the state park further away from the water fall charges $10 to park, where there is a National Forest Service parking lot right on the river and your annual pass works for the fee.

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There must be a fantastic view of the falls into the bay, our view was a short walk up river.  The hike to the bay was 2 miles straight down with 2 mile return straight up.  Hmmm..  Did not attempt the hike instead went to Glenn Alpine Falls 10 miles into the country side past beautiful lakes mountain sides and small vacation villages.  Wow just wow could enjoy being tucked away in this area, but way out of the budget!!!

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Lake Tahoe has over 60 tributaries pouring water in but only one escape route or outlet for all that water the Truckee River.  The Truckee leaves the lake in Tahoe City and descends the Sierra Nevada mountains on the eastern side, running right thru downtown Reno.  While we were there they were having a Riverfest to celebrate the Truckee, the festivities included whitewater kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.  They were doing the slalom having to go thru different gates.  The kayaking looked hard enough, but SUPing thru the gates was virtually impossible.

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The Truckee River flows about 100 miles to Pyramid Lake, NV.  Nellie celebrated her 6th birthday while we were in Verdi and she loves nothing more than running on a beach so we ventured to Pyramid Lake hoping to find a picnic spot with a beach for her to run.  Success on both parts.

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Interesting fact that I found surprising, Pyramid Lake like most lakes in Nevada has no outflow.  The water simply evaporates or seeps into the subsurface.  So, the 6th largest lake by volume in the US flows to a lake with no outflow, all that water simply evaporates!!!  What an interesting and beautiful world we live in.  Amazing how it all fits together, just wish us PEOPLE would learn to fit together as well.    Love the blue sky days we have!!!  Love all days, but blue skies are special.

PEACE LOVE AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!!!!!

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Pacific Coast Highway, Morro to Big Sur

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From Morro Bay we really enjoyed the drive-up CA Highway 1 – PCH.  It is a spectacular road with magnificent ocean and mountain views.  This road and many scenic highways on our journey bode the question, why?  Don’t get me wrong, it really is magnificent, but why is it there except to showcase the views.  There are not really any towns to speak of and there are other ways to get to Monterey.  There are a couple of houses but I believe they are a result of the highway not the other way around.  The coast as beautiful as it is, is basically inaccessible with the steep cliffs so not much for water sports…  Anyway, just random thoughts from us that have too much time to think.  So glad that for what ever reason the road was built and we were allowed to enjoy it!!!  Hope you do too one day.

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We must mention the “marine effect.”  This is basically fog that covers the coast and a couple of miles inland.  Morro Bay and the PCH both had substantial Marine effect while we were there, at times the Morro Rock just disappeared, it reminded us a lot of the fog in Maine…

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Peace, Love and Justice for all.

Morro Bay, CA

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We had a very nice stay in Morro Bay, a quaint little village just north of San Luis Obispo (SLO) on CA Hwy 1, better known as Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).  The most notable feature in Morro is the Morro Rock, at 580 feet tall it dominates the landscape from every vantage point.  It is a volcanic plug from an extinct line of volcanos reaching south to SLO.  Below is a view from Black Hill in town.

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We were fortunate to get here in time to see Gibson and Lydia during their CA vacation.  They shared a house less than 2 miles from our campground with Lydia’s brother Bennett and his family Kira and Elizabeth, and Lydia’s best friend Brandi and her daughter Scout.  They were all very kind to share their time with us, we really loved the friendly faces and family love!!!  Gibson, Bennett and Brandi took advantage of the nice waves surfing in the cold Pacific waters.  Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of the entire crew, but here are some of the highlights.

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One interesting thing was all of the sand dollars on the beach.  It was absolutely amazing, there must have been thousands you couldn’t hardly walk without stepping on them.  Much smaller than we are used to from Hailey’s adventures on Masonboro, about 1.5 inches across.

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Another interesting thing to watch in Morro Bay are the sea otters.  There numerous in the harbor.  Gibson and the kids saw them around the docks, but Randy and I saw them a couple of times just swimming in the open harbor near the rock.  Mostly doing the back stroke…  I understand that they can be quite a nuisance around docks and boats, but they were fun to watch!!!

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The flowers were also quite beautiful.  Both wild and planted flowers.  These great blue corn cob like flowers were especially beautiful and everywhere…  loving California spring!!!

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Peace and Love from Morro Bay and feeling grateful for friends and family love!!!