Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pit River Casino-Burney, CA

September 26 - 28, 2013;

It's Thursday morning and we are back on Route 5 heading south to the Mount Shasta area.  The sky was a deep blue, with the sun going in and out of alternating huge white and dark foreboding clouds, the Klamath mountains to the west and the Cascade mountains to the east with a dusting of snow on top. Big volcanic peaks in the distance all around, it was really scenic !  Mount Shasta area must go on the list to come back to.  We then left route 5 and took route 89 south to route 299 to the town of Burney.  We were a little apprehensive about route 89, but it was fine, smooth, wide lanes, nice big sweeping curves.  The road went through nothing but forest land, logging country, lots of big logging trucks.  Our destination, the "Pit River Casino RV Park" in the town of Burney.

Dark ominous clouds on Route 5 

View along Route 89 heading for Burney

It is a rather small Casino, it looked much larger and impressive on the website, we were a little disappointed.  The Campground is not free, $25 per night, sort of dumpy, but is a full hookup with wide pull through sites next to the Casino, with a gas station / convenience store across the street.

The Pit River Casino operated by the Pit River tribe

Burney is a small rural town, has all the basic services, even a McDonalds, but not much else.  There is a huge lumber Mill outside of town that must employ most of the town, Lumber is definitely king in Burney.

Very retro Bowling Alley sign in Burney

Main Street Burney

The "Saw Shop' in Burney

View about 5 miles outside of Burney on Route 299

Thursday night the temperature plummeted here and it was 29 degrees Friday morning, the RV heater got a workout !  We are not yet well prepared, (mentally) for this, hopefully it eases up on us.  As one of my Propane Tanks was empty, I went across the street to the gas station and got a refill.  It was a perfect sunny clear day though and quickly warmed up to mid 60's. 

We visited the McArthur-Burney Falls State Park on Friday to see the highly regarded Falls that Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed as one of the wonders of the world.  The Burney Creek drops 129 feet at the Falls, but the exceptional feature is that the water is not all from the Creek, there are probably a hundred other streams of water coming out of the rocks along the canyon wall.  These streams are coming from underground cavities and the total quantity of water over the falls has been estimated at one hundred million gallons a day. The setting in the forest is near perfect too !  There is a Falls loop trail, about a mile which we did, then a side trail along the Creek to the Lake Britton where there are picnic facilities, a beach area and boat docks.  The Creek is prime fishing area for Brook and Rainbow Trout and the Lake is also well stocked.  It was a great hike in perfect weather.

Burney Falls

Wide angle view of Burney Falls

Huge banks of fine powdery earth from ancient seabed

Lake Britton is the end of the trail

Fish in Lake Britton seen from the trail

View from bridge over Burney Creek

At the Casino they were having a Chili and Fry Bread cooking contest, but it seemed rather strange to do having it on a Friday afternoon. It was real low key, seemed to be only a local Indian event.  We came back at the end, I went and saw the awards ceremony, but felt totally out of place, really strange. This is a small Casino, not much in the way of frills or excitement.  The thing they do have, much to our surprise and delight, is excellent WiFI, the best in a long time. 

Saturday's weather forecast is predicting rain on Sunday and Monday, which could be ice or snow in higher elevations of Lassen Volcanic National Park, so I felt we better may a trip there today.  It's an easy hour drive, with a gradual climb through forest lands to the Park.  Once in the Park, it is a good smooth road, only a few hairpin turns, but it climbs steeply to 8,500 foot elevation.  Our destination was the "Bumpass Hell" attraction, which involves a 3 mile hike to a boardwalk that takes you through sulphur gas and steam vents and bubbling pools of water and mud.  This is all heated by the hot magma close to the surface here.  Bumpass Hell is named for Kendall Vanhook Bumpass who discovered this area and was leading a party there in 1865 when his foot broke through the crust severely burning his foot.  He commented that his "descent to Hell was easy".

View from Rt 89 of Lassen Peak

View from Park road

Beautiful lake Helen

Boardwalk area of the trail

Boiling mud vent

Boiling Water shooting out of a vent

Observation platform on Boardwalk

Boardwalk into Hell

Hat Creek with Lassen Peak in the distance

An Aspen leaf under water in a Creek

Leaves in the Creek

Lassen Peak at 10,457 foot elevation, had a major eruption in 1914-1915 with a 30,000 foot high ash cloud, mud and debris slides and lava flows.  It sounds much like the Mt St. Helens eruption in 1980.  While there, you can't help but think when it could occur again.

With that in mind, we are moving closer to the Volcano on Sunday, to Hat Creek RV Resort about 15 miles form the northwestern park entrance. Stay tuned for more Volcanic adventures ! 

Take care,
Twinkles and Slick   

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Rogue River days

September 23 - 25, 2013;

I awoke early in the morning to the sound of rain, not what I wanted to hear on a travel day, especially one that was going to involve much driving up, down and around tight curves on narrow roads. To my relief, the rain tapered off by 8:30 AM, and we were able to get hooked up without getting wet and on the road at 10 AM.  We went north on route 101 to Crescent City, then route 199 east through the beautiful Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Forest area.  It was especially beautiful with the wetness and the fog although I couldn't take my eyes of the road much, very narrow in places with Redwoods right on the edge of the pavement and oncoming traffic.  We then came upon a warning sign, accident ahead and sure enough a few miles we were in a long line of stopped vehicles.  After 20 minutes or so started moving again and we came upon the accident scene.  A lumber truck rounding a curve had lost the load, boards were strewn all over, blocking one side of the road.  It must have been a crazy accident blocking the whole road initially.  That was the big excitement, the rest of the trip was uneventful, just the way I like it.  We passed by a few towns along the way on Rt 199 that I wished we could have stopped at and explored, but parking this rig is usually impossible.  We arrive at the Valley of the Rogue  State Park, right off Rt 5 near Gold Hill, Oregon at 1:30, our reserved site was an easy one to deal with, a pull through, nice width and length, full hookup and very nice. 

The Rogue River is the big attraction here, it is another great fishing, boating and rafting river that runs 215 miles across Oregon from around Crater Lake to the Pacific Ocean.  Lots of RV parks and interesting places to see, things to do along its length. The other big tourist attraction here is the Oregon Vortex and house of mystery, where strange unexplainable things happen, everything naturally takes on a lean and is out of perspective.  

Blackberries are everywhere along the river

The Rogue River also has a "Trail of Tears"

Old wagon at the Valley of the Rogue State Park

Beautiful lichens in trees here along river

It rained overnight, the rain season seems to be starting here and continued in the early morning.  It did stop at which point I went for a short walk to the Rogue river trail very close to the campsite.  It is a beautiful fast flowing river, one of the original 8 rivers that were 

We decided to check out the nearby town of Jacksonville, established in the early 1850's with the discovery of gold in the area.  The gold didn't last, it then became a center of commerce, then the railroad bypassed the town and it went into a period of decline.  In the 1960's it rebounded and is now one of the nicest and coolest little towns on the planet.  We started walking around town and as I was admiring the Odd Fellows Hall, (now a senior center) with a few local elderly musicians playing inside a lady came out and invited us. She was very gracious and explained how they help feed the poor and the elderly and serve meals during the day.  Once a month a few mostly senior musicians get together to play at the Hall.  It was mostly old country music, good old Americana at its best.  Especially touching was the fact that they had two vacant chairs out for two of the group who are no longer with us.

Old advertising images on Jacksonville building

The senior center music jam

View along sidewalk in Jacksonville

The J Ville sign is a classic, the inside of the bar was too !

Downtown Jacksonville street scene

Sewer Cover dedicated to tireless worker, Art Carney would love it

Your Wate and Fate in Jacksonville

We then went a few doors down where I was admiring the Masons Club when a man there was moving some stuff inside.  He asked us if we would like to see inside and he showed around upstairs and pointed out some of the historical photos and items.  He was very proud to show us around and it was great, the inside was like a museum, all sorts of original things from the mid 1800's.

The Masons Lodge in Jacksonville

We then did some shopping, great interesting shops, then lunch at "Bella Union Restaurant" which was one best lunches we have had in a long time.  In fact I'm pretty sure the Tomato basil soup was the best soup I've ever had.  It then started raining, we cut off the tour, couldn't see it all, but saw enough to know that this is a wonderful town. 

The Bella Union in Jacksonville for great food

As it has been raining on and off, making hiking and outdoor activity not appealing, we went to another interesting town, Grants Pass on Wednesday.  It has another lively artsy downtown with several restaurants, shops, cafes and bars.  We again did lunch at a Tavern called the "Laughing Clam".  It was a nice old rustic 1800's Tavern, very original and very cool.  We have been doing a lot of eating lately, need to get back on the trail. 

Grants Pass mural

Brilliant Sun Flowers for the moment the sun was out

Grants Pass street sign as it started to rain

The Wonder Bur for cocktails in Grants Pass

The Odd Fellows Hall in Grants Pass

Private Detective sign

Grants Pass Stage mural

The Rogue Theater in Grants Pass

Tile mural in the sidewalk

Store window in Grants Pass
The Laughing Clam in Grants Pass

Tomorrow we are on the road heading south back into California again to the "Pit River Casino RV Park" near Burney, California.  It is a full service RV Park at the Casino.  Hopefully the weather dries out, visiting Lassen Volcanic National Park is the plan.

Take care, 
Twinkles and Slick

Monday, September 23, 2013

Klamath River continued

September 20 - 22, 2013;

We went to the hilltop on Friday to get a good phone signal for the MIFI card to update the blog and look for our next campground. The signal at the campground is very weak.  We then drove to Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park to do a hike on the Ossagon Trail, which started off wonderful, it's a really lush old growth forest.  Along the way we started seeing lots of Elk scat and tracks, making us more than a little nervous, so I had to walk ahead ?  Then it started getting darker and darker and then about a mile in, it started raining, not good.  It started as a light drizzle which quickly turned into a downpour, very bad.  Of course, we had no rain gear, so we did a turn around and headed back getting soaking wet in the process.  The forecast is calling for more rain off and on for the next two days. 

First we saw this, then lots of tracks and then we started
nervous.  They are huge and aggressive this time of year

The trees were covered with lichens

Friday evening, everyone is anxiously watching the river rise, thinking of the Colorado River flooding and the fact that this place has a history of similar floods. The river has been high this week due to the sand bar blockage at the rivers mouth.  The rain today along with the full moon and rough ocean has flooded the campground boat dock area. You now need a boat to get to the boats ! This campground is in the floodplain of the river and also in the Tsunami zone, not a comforting thought ?

View of our campground from the highway bridge

A roadside marker honoring a steer, Captain Courageous, who
floated downstream, survived and lived another 19 years

The rain stopped, the sun came out and I went to the "Trees of Mystery" tourist trap down the road.  They advertise an Indian museum which I wanted to see.  It turned out to be way larger than I thought, a serious collection of artifacts and very good ! They also have a great gift shop if you need any stuff and huge Paul Bunyan and Babe statues that everyone needs a photo in front of.  This place has been around for a long time, it is quite a famous tourist attraction.  They have a ski lift ride into the Redwood forest through the tree tops to an observation deck and assorted unusual trees and wood carvings.

The natives knew how to dress !

Indian artifacts in Trees of Mystery museum

Paul Bunyan and Babe at Trees of Mystery

I then took a 2 mile walk on the Yurok Loop trail and the Coastal Trail from the Lagoon Creek picnic area.  The Yurok loop trail was the actual Yurok Indian village of O'men.  I tried to imagine all the ancient footsteps that have tread on this trail.  The Coastal Trail runs intermittently all along the Pacific coast from Oregon to Mexico, I don't think there is such a thing as a bad section.  The pounding surf, bright sun, blue sky, big white clouds combined to make an invigorating walk.

The clouds were cooperating today

Coastal beach strewn with driftwood

A hidden little tidal pool near the Coastal Trail

Flowers against a piece of driftwood

View from the Coastal Trail

Sea Stacks off the coast

A found a number of these snails in trees with large
beautiful shells

The pounding surf below

The gentle waves on the beach

The essence of Green

I have been trying to read some of the classic books, the ones I didn't read when I should have or needed them ?  Just finished reading Jack Kerouac's "On the road", I thought it might be appropriate for our nomadic lifestyle.  I didn't care for it in the beginning, but it grew on me, the further I read, the better it became and by the end I wan't more.  The ending was personally very touching for me.  How can you not like an excerpt from the book that reads;
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars"

We are reluctantly leaving the California coast today, making a turn east to the "Valley of the Rogue State Park" in Gold Hill, Oregon about 120 miles away.

View looking up river from the campground

Boat coming up the Klamath River at dusk

On the road again;
Twinkles and Slick