Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Hostage Situation


We arrived in Redding, CA late Sunday afternoon and settled in at the gated yard of All Wheel Auto, Truck and RV Repair for our appointment on Monday morning. We made the appointment for the Lazy Daze to get new shocks, repack the wheel bearings, replace hoses, inspect the steering components, u-joints, brakes, etc. Also our not quite five year old tires have some uneven wear and sidewall cracks that we were concerned about.

Our tight site. The first night another Lazy Daze was parked there. Turns out we know the owner, Sarah, who was having some things checked out on her way to Washington.


Being close to I-5 and in an industrial area there was nowhere to go for a walk that evening, so we drove north about eight miles to Shasta Dam. Shasta is the third largest of the controversial dam projects built by the Bureau of Reclamation, with only Hoover and Grand Coulee being larger.

Impressive visitor center.


Shasta Dam, almost 7/10 of a mile across. You can drive, walk or bike across, but have to pass through security if you are driving.


Shasta Lake.


Sacramento River on the other side of the dam.





Yesterday they started work on the Lazy Daze about 8:30, and finished up at 4:30. The tire cracks were worse than we thought, so they contacted Michelin, filled out the appropriate forms and documentation, and received notice back that Michelin would give us 56% off on new tires. Since they didn’t have them in stock, they were ordered and should be here by noon today. So this is how we lived last night, on jacks with no wheels. Wish we had this much ground clearance with the tires on.


Unknown to us, our dually extra long valve stems were both damaged due to improper installation when we got new tires back in 2011, and nothing similar was available here in Redding, so Jim called Borg and had them overnight new stems. They should be here by noon, too, and we are hoping to get all this finished sometime this afternoon. Also the front brake pads are quite worn so they are getting replaced. This has turned out to be our most expensive “free” campsite ever.

Last evening we went downtown to check out the Sundial Bridge and walk along the Sacramento River Trail. Designed by Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, it’s a very impressive structure. It is actually a working sundial, but only between 11 am to 3 pm. You can read more about it here if interested.


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It reminded us of a harp.

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Views of the Sacramento River from the trail.



And we saw two deer, lots of ducks,


and this unexpected guy who walked out onto the trail in front of us. Skunks are something we don’t see very often.


If we get “released” today we hope to spend another couple nights in Redding so we can actually get out and ride our bikes and see a bit more of the town and trail. And we still need to figure out where we’re going for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, as we have no reservations.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Merrill Campground, Eagle Lake, Susanville, CA



Our drive from Washoe Lake to Susanville, CA along Hwy 395 was uneventful. Between the two of us we probably checked at least five or six times to make sure the car was hooked up properly. This being new territory for us we weren’t sure what to expect, but traffic was not bad going through Reno, and it was very light the rest of the 135 miles.

We decided to check out Susanville but there is only one RV park in town which we didn’t want to stay at, so we drove another 15 miles northwest on the long and winding road to Eagle Lake in the Lassen National Forest. There are several campgrounds that just opened for the season on the 16th, and we picked Merrill because some of the sites have hookups and the weather for the weekend wasn’t looking good. Our site has water and electric, but there are some really nice non-hookup sites closer to the lake, and full hookups sites farther back. We’re paying $20/night with Jim’s senior pass. It’s $30 without the discount. It’s a nice campground at this time of year since there is hardly anyone here, but I wouldn’t want to be here when it was full.

We have a limited lake view through the trees.


The day we arrived we rode the five mile paved bike path that connects the campgrounds and goes to the marina/boat launch area. It’s a very pleasant ride and mostly level.



The lake level is quite low as this used to be a break wall.


Wonder how many years it’s been since this boat ramp was actually used.


We found this building near the marina.



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Yesterday we took the bikes to Susanville for a ride on the 25 mile Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail. We started downtown at the Susanville Depot and rode 6.5 miles west through the lovely Susan River Canyon.

Eagle Lake, Merrill Campground, Susanville, CA

Going west the dirt/gravel trail is a gradual uphill the entire way, plus we had a strong westerly headwind, so it was a real struggle to make much distance.

But the scenery was beautiful so we stopped frequently for photos, crossing numerous trestles and bridges over the river.








There were two tunnels to go through, and we wished we’d had headlamps, since they were really dark in the middle.




It was much better after we turned back, all downhill and a tailwind, which is why people take a shuttle to the other end at Westwood for a 25 mile downhill ride. It was still an enjoyable ride, although our butts were feeling it having ridden the day before. Jim is back to wanting to trade in his mountain bike for a recumbent.

Since the depot was just a couple blocks from Lassen Ale Works, of course had to stop and try their beer. The Devil’s Corral Imperial Stout and the Belgian Style XXX Tripel were excellent.

After two very nice days in the 70s we were under a winter weather advisory last night, with snow predicted for over 5,000’.  Merrill Campground happens to be at 5,300’, so this morning we woke up to this.



It’s snowing again as I write this, but our high is projected to be 41 today so it will most likely melt. Looks like a good day for some indoor projects. We’ll be here until Sunday when we head to Redding for some Lazy Daze maintenance. Hope we won’t have to shovel our way out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Scenes From Washoe Lake and Skunk Harbor






Other than a day trip to Reno, and one to Lake Tahoe and Carson City, we’ve just been hanging out at Washoe Lake for the past week. Besides hiking along the lake and dunes, there are miles of dirt roads and trails across from the campground. We hiked up one day to check out the views. and the following day Jim was in the mood for working out at a gym, so while he was taking advantage of his Silver Sneakers membership, I was determined to hike up the steep road to where we saw hang gliders taking off last year.

Campground view from across the road and working our way up.





The hill I couldn’t talk Jim into doing with me. It looks and feels much steeper than it appears in the photo.


 After two false summits and a lot of gasping for breath, I finally made it to the top and was surprised to see this.


It sounded like this guy was getting a lesson. I hung around a while but he never took off.


View from the other side. More dirt roads to nowhere.


The lake is by no means full but it looks so much better than last year.


May 2015. Not a drop of water in Washoe Lake.


As I was on my way back down he finally took off. That has got to be such a rush.



2.5 miles later when I got down to the landing zone he was already gone. Or maybe he accidentally landed somewhere else.


The tires on my bike literally dry rotted and disintegrated and were so full of stickers we couldn’t keep air in them, so yesterday it was off to a bike shop in Carson City for some new tires and tubes. Since Carson City is only about 15 miles from the east side of Lake Tahoe we decided to  check out the trail to Skunk Harbor. The trail is really an old dirt road that descends in switchbacks to the lake. We got some hints of what was to come along the way.



As we got closer to the lake we saw some other people continuing on the road but we decided to take a turn off, which led to a house on the lake. At the time we didn’t realize it was no longer occupied, but since the doors were boarded up we walked around it to access the harbor.



This beautiful protected cove is such an idyllic location. We could understand why someone would build a house here.


As we wandered around we came across these signs that answered our questions about the house.







We followed a trail through the woods but there were only a couple places to actually access the water.





We had come two miles and a hundred photos before heading back. About 3/4 of the way back up we turned off on the old road through Slaughterhouse Canyon. It was just a walk through the woods to Prey meadow, which we could see did not have flowers in it yet, so we turned back after another mile since we still had shopping to do at Trader Joe’s on the way home.


Snow plants were popping up all over.



We’re glad we got to see Lake Tahoe in the sunshine. Last year when we spent a night at South Lake Tahoe it rained and was cold and windy so it wasn’t quite as appealing.


Today it’s back to California as we move on to Eagle Lake near Susanville.