July 3rd & 4th, 2012.
The feeling of being free, unchained from the control, influence and obligations to another (in this case my employer), it had been a while since I had enjoyed what it felt like, for a short period of time otherwise known as a vacation. A vacation which almost didn't realize. Just as it is always darkest before the dawn, the laws of the universe dictate that things at work almost always blow up just before you are supposed to run free.
Embark on my celebration of independence, however, I did! A much needed one. I hadn't wandered anywhere fun on my motorcycle for what was beginning to feel like an eternity. I would have been damned if I wasn't going to overdose on some very delectable morsels on this trip.
A couple hours after my garage door closed, I was enjoying my first serving of the delicious "twisted-ness" that Hwy 162 serves up with nary a break. One of my favorite love at first ride roads in the 'Moto Mecca' of northern California.
I had started later than I had hoped for, so instead of stopping in Quincy to refuel both the bike and myself, I only topped off the former - as for myself, Clif bars are a great on the road snack! :)
Do you believe in ghosts? On my way north I stopped for a bit at an eerie sight[site]. The supposedly haunted and now long defunct Keddie Resort, the site of a gruesome quadruple murder in 1981. You can read about it (if you want to WARNING - GRAPHIC) Here.
They would probably let me park right at front, but the place gave me the heebie-jeebies, there was no way in hell would I ever stay here. Would you?
The first glimpse of Mt. Lassen - the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade range. I wasn't going to visit Lassen National Park on the way north - saving it for the return trip. Besides, I have always maintained that Lassen national park is more fun riding from the north to the south.
You ride right past Lake Almanor here and as you head west on Hwy 89/36- climb into some very pretty country, I always enjoy riding past meadows in the mountains and usually stop for a picture or two. So calm and serene, I always imagine horses grazing these grassy fields or cows, but none that I could spot on this stop.
Summer is construction season in the mountains, I had been spared any construction delays so far, but right past the turn-off for Lassen national park, where Hwy 89 splits off north and Hwy 36 continues west - I found myself stopping for the first construction stop of the trip. At least this particular one was a bit more enjoyable talking to this blonde from Chico. Says this is a new job for her this year, along with her new Mustang parked in the shade (not pictured). Although not much shade for her on this job, she mentioned she is kinda liking the bronze tan.
I continued west on Hwy 36, descending from the cool mountains to the cauldron of heat in Red Bluff. I unbuttoned my jacket a little for more air, but only to receive more hot air and a few stings from a wasp which invited itself in. The fun part of Hwy 36 was beckoning west of Red Bluff, but stopping for pictures on this stretch would just have to wait till I had escaped the fire pit and found some cool in some elevation gain.
I didn't stop till I reached the Wildwood store near Hayfork, CA. I knew I was going to rendezvous with a Honda motorcycle for my journey north, but this one wasn't it. This one was a bit more used up than the one I was going to meet up with (but not by much..haha!).
From here on to the coast, Hwy 36 is motorcycle heaven! The road is not as smooth as say Hwy 162, the twisties are a bit more technical, but the adventure of riding Hwy 36 is a heady high.
I wasn't going to the coast this day, I was meandering my way north ultimately to the deliciousness of the gourmet kind...and I was bringing quite the appetite with me, but first more delicious 'twisted-ness' of the Hwy 3 variety...
I was running a bit late and my family of choice was expecting me for dinner. Hwy 3 continues north of Weaverville and has some very fun twisties just south of Callahan. I was making up time through here so as not to be late, so no picture stops or any pictures at all, till I split from Hwy 3 on Gazelle-Callahan road and got past the twisties of Gazelle-Callahan road to the farm and ranch country of Siskiyou county.
I love the rustic charm and unsophisticated character of old barns.
Then suddenly, as you round the turn you come face to face with the imposing magnificence that is Mt. Shasta. The second highest peak in the Cascade range, but the most voluminous (yes, more so than Mt. Rainier), and the fifth highest peak in California. The other four in California are found in the Sierra and White Mountain ranges, but Mt. Shasta just stands apart (both literally and figuratively).
Seen below is the Black Butte mountain. A satellite cone of Mt. Shasta.
A bit over 500 miles of very fun and twisty roads and I was home, in what always feels like a home away from home. Staying with my very dear friends Corinne and Rick in their mountain retreat.Time just slows down here, a perfect place to relax, unwind and feast! Corinne is one heckuva gourmet cook! When it comes to her cooking, I always bring a ravenous appetite!
After dinner, we relaxed on the deck, catching up and watching the mountain turn amber from the setting sun..
The next day we celebrated independence from tyranny the all-american way. It was a gorgeous day, nice and comfortable, not too cool, not too warm - just about perfect with bright sunny skies. In the morning I walked around Corinne's yard - Rick is a landscaper and did all the landscaping himself. The brown-eyed Susans were in bloom and made for a pretty pretty foreground for some shots.
Such a beautiful welcoming home! Made even more so by the residents.
That is the yoga studio in the front.
A great place to view Mt. Shasta is from Corinne's home on the hill.
Signing off with some more deliciousness. This was the main course of our 4th of July supper. Mmmm....so good! I think I ate more than half of one of those huge racks of ribs on the grill there..
Disclaimer: No wieners were harmed at this BBQ. Only loved and spoiled!
The next chapters to the Ring of Fire tour coming sometime soon...
Thanks for reading! :)