Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vacation 2012: From Yreka to Eureka or 1,374 miles (Part II)

(Part I, the Boring Part can be found over here)

Wide Open Road Wednesday
Wednesday morning Rachel and I got a slow start around Reno -- including a drive by the post office so she could get one of her student loan payments posted in time, and of course the somewhat famous "Reno: The Biggest Little City in the World" sign
Reno, it really does seem like a small city

Leaving Reno -- with another stop at In-N-Out -- we had a quick jaunt on Interstate 80 before hitting US Highway 395. For the first several miles US 395 looks like any other limited access highway. Shortly after crossing the California boarder we encounter one of California's Agricultural Inspection Stations.

"Do you have anything agricultural to declare?" I asked Rachel, "Well there are the bales of hay I bought at the airport..." she answered, "How about anything biological?" I asked Rachel as we got closer to the station. "Paco?!? Do I have to leave Paco behind?" her mock answer. Free from threats to California's economy, we're waved through and resume freeway speeds. As we departed, Rachel noted the particularly large incinerator located next to the checkpoint. Yes, they do take that seriously.

For some reason I'm always taken by the image of the lone barn or farmhouse.
As US 395 continues the environment takes on a far more rural character as it narrows to a two-lane undivided road (fortunately the speed limit stays at a comfortable 65) as it parallels the West side of the California-Nevada boarder for a little over twenty miles before diverging westward and northbound.

US 395 gives way to California Highway 36, taking us through Susanville -- passing the River Inn with a "Wi-Fi Heated Pool" (who knew Internet access was so hot?) before leaving civilization again for the wide open road:
Our Right Turn from CA 36 on to CA 44/Feather Lake Highway.
From this point on we would go fifteen or twenty minutes at a time without seeing another car, much less human. Skirting the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas (and the Plumas and Lassen National Forests) and only the occasional bird. There were, however, plenty of large trees.

Finding a hint of civilization in a "<- Gas" sign serving as a companion to the first stop sign in over fifty miles, we turned Right from California Highway 44 on to California Highway 89, with signs along the route proclaiming the California's "Volcanic Legacy".

My Garmin, however, kept us entertained with an increasingly amusing series of "Nearest Exit" advisories:

(Click for Larger) "So Goat" "Government" "Military"
As California 89 approached Interstate 5 we got stick in a backup caused by road construction just outside of McCloud, and we also got our first sights of Mount Shasta and it's sister -- who I still remember an airline pilot referring to years ago as "Diet Shasta", but more properly known as Shastalina

Leaving back-road highways and joining Interstate 5 for the trek North into Oregon, the final bit of amusement in California came when we exited at Weed for gas. The last time I was in Weed was Christmas day, 2004, when I was on my way back home to Southern California from a road trip that took me to the Canadian border, and the name of the city (combined with a "<--- College | Weed --->" sign brought about the by the good fortune of having the College of the Siskiyous located nearby) has always amused me.

With a full tank of gas, and full cups of caffeine, we continued the trek north Interstate 5, both figuratively and literally -- gaining several thousand feet of elevation along the way, before crossing the Oregon border. Which is where I think we'll leave this installment.

Despite California's reputation for traffic, roads were pretty empty up here.
And just across the Oregon boarder.

Until the next installment where we visit Crater Lake and perhaps encounter some redwoods.


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