Friday, October 4, 2013

Susanville, California


October 3-5, 2013;

Another smooth ride on route 44 East through Lassen National Forest, except for narrowly missing a deer crossing the highway.  It was a beautiful sunny day with light traffic, no delays or complications.  

We arrived at Susanville RV Park at 1 PM, it is a nice clean well laid out campground with almost all pull through sites.  It was an easy set up, then we went downtown to look around, lots of murals, several nice old bar signs and a great restored theater. 

The Sierra Theater in downtown Susanville

The Pioneer Cafe is a beauty, the Grand Cafe is now closed
but looking into the window is like looking into a  museum

Love this sign

William Vellenowen known to Susanville children
as Dad Popcorn operated a stand from 1918-1931

Iasaac Roop the towns founder and his daughter Susan
who he renamed the town in honor of

The Creehn Building in downtown

We also found the Railroad Depot Museum and across the street, the Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail.  This originally was the Fernley & Lassen branch line of the Central Pacific Railroad from the Westwood Lumber Mill and the main line in Fernley, Nevada. In 1976 the line was converted to a, "Rails to Trails" and is now a 25.4 mile hiking, biking, equestrian, fishing, camping and cross country skiing recreation area.  The Depot Museum has lots of history on the rail line and the town of Susanville.

The Susanville Railroad Depot

The Buzz Johnson Trailhead across for the Depot


Early Wednesday, I went for a ride downtown to find "Roop's Fort".  It was built as a trading post by the Roop brothers in 1854 and is the first building in Lassen County. Roop's fort was also the site of the Sagebrush War in 1863.  This war was a border dispute between the local residents who believed they lived in Roop, Nevada and citizens of Plumas County who rode over to collect taxes.  In the end it was determined that the town was in California, but to keep the tax money local a new County of Lassen was created.  Roop's Trading post became known as Roop's Fort after the Sagebrush War.

Roop's Fort, oldest building in the County, where it all started
and site of the Sagebrush war


The current town of Susanville sort of grew up around Isaac Roop's Trading post, which was originally called Rooptown or Roopville, then latter renamed "Susanville" in honor of Roop's daughter Susan.  The town claim to fame was the lumber Industry and the railroad connection. They once had a lumber Mill that made wooden boxes for Sunkist fruit.

Mural in downtown Susanville

Mural in downtown Susanville

Mural in downtown Susanville

Mural in downtown Susanville

Mural in downtown Susanville


So on Wednesday, we rented bikes downtown and went for a ride on the Bizz Johnson Trail.  It was a nice clear day, but cold and windy to start.  The trail had a slight steady uphill to it that soon warmed us up.  It's a beautiful scenic trail with several bridges and tunnels along the way.  We were sort of sucking wind at the 4 mile mark, the uphill on a loose gravel surface was tough.  My goal was to reach the "Devil's Corral Trestle" which I thought was 6 miles.  Twinkles quit at the 4 mile point, I went another mile, then turned, but met her again half way back.  The return trip was way easier, were able to coast a lot, that was unexpected.  Once back, we ditched the bikes and rode Route 36 to the "Devil's Corral" Trailhead and walked a mile to the Trestle.  So we did reach the objective, although I'm not sure it was really worth it. 

On the Bizz Johnson Trail

The trail goes into a canyon area

Then into a tunnel

Then over many bridges over the Susan River

Then into a second tunnel

The leaves are changing color

Big rocks above

The highway bridge built in 1924 under the rail bridge
is no longer in use

The Devils Corral Trestle Bridge built in 1913, the original wooden
parts of the trestle have  been replaced by steel

There I am striking a pose, trying to straighten my back
Twinkles or Susan (Sue) at the Susan River 

Wednesday night I went down to the Pioneer Cafe in downtown, at this location since 1862, the oldest business in Northeastern California. It has a great neon sign and is very nice inside with a large mural over the bar of hundreds of local cattle ranch brands.  In the Dining room is another large large mural called "History of Lassen".  It is also a brew Pub under the Lassen Ale Works label.  I didn't eat but the food that I saw looked good and the place was very clean, will add to my favorites list.

The Pioneer Cafe at night

Cattle brands from the area over the bar

Mural inside the Dining Room


The old movie theater, the "Sierra" also has a great neon sign, one of the best ever !  It was open and I wanted to go inside to check out the interior, has to be special.

The Sierra Theater at night


We decided on our next campground in Reno, Nevada. This is the part of the RV lifestyle that I hate, finding a place to park the rig.  This is when I want a small RV that can fit anywhere, so much easier and so much more freedom.  

We are going to the Shamrock RV Park in Reno on Friday.  Then on October 10th we store the RV, fly back to New Jersey for a visit and return to Reno on October 20th. Not sure which way the wind will blow us after that, but south for sure, it's getting cold here !


Happy Trails,
Twinkles and Slick

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