Wednesday, May 25, 2016

It's weird in Weed, California

May 18- 21, 2016:

Our path today is Route 89 north through many miles of a burnt forest in the Lassen National Forest. Once out of the burnt area it is again dense green forest and then spectacular views of Mount Shasta.  There was a deer, probably hit by a logging truck that was spread all over the road, pretty nasty. I then saw another guy standing by his pickup truck on the side of the road, cell phone in hand, with heavy damage to his grille area.  This made me a bit nervous for the rest of the drive.  We get on route 5 at the town of Mt. Shasta and then it’s 10 miles to the exit for Weed, California.  Our destination, Lake Shastina, is about 5 miles outside of Weed which turned out to be easy to find.

Heading down the road towards Mt Shasta

Lake Shastina is a huge reservoir with boating and fishing access.  It is a primitive county campground, no hookups and is totally free.  The lake is fairly full at present, but in the past two years it has been practically dry during the summer due to water being diverted to other areas of California.  Shastina Mountain is the second highest volcanic cone of Mount Shasta.  There is a private golf community on the shores of the lake adjacent to the public access park.

A island in the lake take is a nesting site for gulls

Like like it is fully inhabited

Morning view from the RV

In 1897, Abner Weed realiized that this location due to its constant wind condition on the face of Mt Shasta would be a great site for drying green lumber.  He therefore bought some land, built a lumber mill and a railroad to transport his lumber, then built  a bunkhouse, a warehouse, a cookhouse and a company town came to life.  In time other merchants started businesses and it became the town of Weed.

There remains a lumber mill in town

Abner is almost forgotten today, but his last name has become popular as it identifies with marijuana and has become a marketing and tourist draw for the city.  Most of the local businesses seem to incorporate a weed somehow into their advertising and most souvenir items are also weed related. It all seems a little sick to me ?

Get spaced out in Weed

Lumber still has a big precense here, there are lots of trees and one large lumber mill still remains in business.  It is common to see lumber trucks come through downtown and I believe about everyone here can use a chainsaw and heats with wood.

Following a lumber truck on Main Street

There is an excellent internet cafe and bakery, Ellie’s Espresso and Bakery, and we spent some time there, using their internet and they make a great Bears Claw.

The entry gate to Weed

Looks like an old theater, no movies these days

We also found the “Mt Shasta Brewing Company” and went for dinner at their “Ale House Bistro”.  Their entire promotional scheme has to do with Marijuana and their beer bottle caps even say “try legal weed”.  They have something called Brewglass night on Thursday evening with a group of local musicians playing 60-70’s classic music.  I really liked their restored old Divco dairy truck.

Sign on the Brewery building

It snowed on the surrounding mountains overnight and rained at the lake fairly steady.  The high temperature on Friday was about 50 degrees, but there were a few periods of sun.  We drove to the town of Mt Shasta, walked around the main street, it’s a more upscale town than Weed and is in close proximity to the Mt Shasta Ski area.   We then drove to the small town of Dunsmuir and did a short trail to the Hedge Creek Waterfall.

Mt Shasta is a stunning mountain

Of course John Muir liked it

I might join this Veteran's Club

The Hedge Creek Waterfall

Engine 1727 needs some attention

Nice paint scheme on caboose

It was then to the former lumber company town of McCloud where we found a number of nice looking hotels and bed and breakfast places.  A huge old building has been restored and converted into several shops and cafe’s now called “The Mercantile Hotel”.  McCloud seems to have a good tourist thing going and has several festivals during the year.

The Mercantile Hotel

Old McCloud logging photo

The Lake Shastina campground, like the town of Weed, is weird with several really scary locals who could be used on one of those survival reality TV shows.  They are constantly racing around in an old pickup trucks, looking for wood, running chain saws, kids running around with no shoes, dangerous looking pit bull dogs.  Actually, they are fine, no problems, as long as you don't annoy them.

Then on Friday evening it really got strange, when a seemingly endless stream of cars and trucks going past our campsite and up this rough dirt road along the lake.  This road seems to go up to this mountain top, a private area with a huge mansion on top.  It seemed to be all young people by the speed they were driving and noise they were making.  It kept us awake for a few extra hours with the headlights and noise.  No idea what was going on and Saturday night all was quiet ?

On Saturday we took a ride to the old mining town of Yureka, California.  It has a small interesting historic area, but most businesses appear to be hurting.  This area of California is beautiful, but it’s really backwoods and backwards in many ways.

Yreka's Miner Street view

There is a new brew pub that looks interesting

I'd rather go into the Log Cabin Club

Or the Rex Club, now closed

Mural in the historic area

The old Yreka Train Depot

Next stop is Tukelake, California
Twinkles and Slick 

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