Today may be a difficult day because it has to live up to the
expectations we set for ourselves after yesterday's ride. It starts
out in fine fashion with a morning walk by the beach along the western
shore of Lake Tahoe (photos 1, 2, & 3), which is showing
off in the morning shadows before we leave. We wander over to the
dining room and have an enjoyable breakfast supplied by the Cottage
It's time to stop lolly gagging and get on with this ride, so after
re-packing the trailer, we're soon away from the Tahoe traffic and
into the pine trees of northern California. There is a slight bit
of confusion on my part when SR 89 gets mixed up with Interstate
80, a route I do not want to take. After fumbling around and driving
through the quaint little town of Truckee, I'm back on 89 where
Hwy 89 is truly a motorcyclist's road. It takes you through great
tree covered valleys, points you along side various rivers and streams,
and allows you to crank it up a bit for those high-speed sweepers
we all enjoy. Along the way you pass through some small, but attractive
little towns like Graeagle and Greenwood. I think I want to live
One of the down sides of summer travel, in the back roads of anywhere,
is road construction. We got stopped several times and had to wait
for the flagman to let us pass, but what a great place to have to
wait. We were in a beautiful broad meadow with ranch houses off
in the distance, tucked quietly under the mountains. Greens of all
shades and hue make their home in these meadows, along with a variety
of wildflowers and trees. Soon enough we are on our way again and
were no worse for the wait.
At some point past Greenwood, state route 89 continues on through
Lassen National Park while SR36 turns right to Chester, the new
home of family friends Dee and Pam Cahill. We hook a right. After
several calls we find them at their new building site, putting up
the framing on their new home. Dee and Pam are building most of
this themselves. They both took an early retirement and decided
to escape the rat race of the Bay Area for the quieter climes of
Chester, along the shores of Lake Almanor. A lovely lady if ever
there was one. They had just had their new driveway poured on Friday
and we arrived on Monday. We were the first vehicle to use it (photo
I always admire those who can do for themselves. Dee is not a carpenter
by trade but is a talented individual none-the-less, as the framing
and detail work on his garage showed (photos 5 & 6).
Dee and Pam pulled out all the stops to be hospitable. He got folding
lounge chairs out of his new garage, offered us Chester water, direct
from two underground wells that use the cold water tables from Lake
Almanor as their source and is said to be 99 and 44 one-hundredths
percent pure. Damn, I think I want to live here. I may not even
have to buy a house since Pam and Dee offered to let us visit for
as long as we wanted. Silly rabbit. That could cost them.
We reluctantly leave Dee and Pam, since they have lots of work
to do, even if they are retired, and head up to "Polly's Potty"
the name the locals give to the closest rest stop on the lake. It
is a rather nice one with pleasant, if somewhat obstructed views,
of Lake Almanor (photos 7, 8, & 9).
It's starting to get about 3:00 in the afternoon, and we still
had miles to go before we sleep, or words to that effect. We head
west on SR 36 for a fast two-hour ride to Red Bluff. There are more
tree covered mountains to ride through before we get to the low
country, and as we come leaning around one more mountain curve,
we come across an undersized little meadow called, appropriately
enough, Child's Meadow (photos 10 & 11). Here cattle
grazed lazily, thinking they had a pretty good deal. These must
be the cows they use in those California Cheese commercials where
they are all contented and give good milk, which is responsible
for the tasty California cheese, or so the ads would have you believe.
Looking at these cows, I could believe the ads.
As we come down out of the mountains, the temperature gets warmer
and the land gets drier (photo 12). and is littered with
large boulders all over the hillsides. Linda and I speculate on
how these boulders got here in the first place. I offered the glacier
theory where receding ice left them behind but Linda points out
that Mount Lassen is just over the hill and was within rock tossing
range during any kind of major eruption. She's probably right but
our conversation then turned to the commercial value of these medium
to small size boulders. Sure enough, we hadn't gone another ten
miles when we came across an enclosed flatbed truck filled with
these boulders. I'm sure they ended up in some landscapers inventory
somewhere in the Bay Area.
At long last, we see Interstate 5 up ahead and within a short period
of time, we're in a local Travellodge for the night. Two perfect
days completed. I surely like this retirement stuff.
Hwy 89 North through Truckee, Greenwood, Graeagle, Lake Almanor
and Chester. Hwy 36 West to Red Bluff.