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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Malted Milk Balls, Big Foots, Picnic Tables

Badda bing! We're back! What a trip!


Mark came and picked me up on Friday around 5:00 p.m.  Left all of the dogs at home; geez, traveling was simple!  We headed down to Winnemucca and spent the night there. Gambled a bit, had a drink, and due to the scuziness of this quaint little town, we ultimately decided to make a sandwich back in the hotel room and watch t.v. The bed was very comfortable and we slept like logs. Or at least I know I did. And Colleen, Mark will tell you ... I don't snore. So there. :-P 


Got up early Saturday morning and headed towards Reno. We stopped in Fernley, NV at the Black Bear Diner and had a killer breakfast.  Then off to the National Auto Museum in Reno.  This was awesome!  There were different show rooms sorted by dates ... for instance ... there was one show room that went from 1890 to 1912 or so (my favorite), and it was really interesting to see how the different auto makers would sort of copy what the other was doing.  If one manufacturer went from a tiller to a steering wheel, they all did.  If one went from mounted lights to flush lights, they all did.  Cool to see how Ford started -- especially since that's all I've owned for ... oh, too many years now.  So we spent a few hours here and loved every minute of it.  Then hopped in the car and we were gone again.

Headed for Lassen Volcanic National Park.  On the way, we stopped in a town called Chester, and checked out an "antique" store, and had to check out Lake Almanor.  Here is where my first photos were taken.  Lake Almanor's logo is, "...Where the granite of the Sierra Nevada meets the lava of the Cascades."

Saw a family of ____s (forgot what these were, and can't find my bird book at the moment).

Here was an interesting piece Mark found.  Notice the weird looking bug in the lower right corner.

Hey Colleen, what's this?

One of the really cool things is that for this whole trip, I had a personal tour guide.  He knows everything there is about mountain formations and lava and all kinds of shit.  He answered all of my stupid questions, but let me tell you ... I learned a ton! 

On the road again ... we headed to Lassen.  About 200 yards before the entrance, a bear ran across the road in front of us!  Probably a yearling ... a decent size brown Black Bear.  Bitchin!  I was SO excited!  When we checked in to the park, Mark mentioned it to Ranger Bobbie.  She was also very excited and handed Mark a form to fill out to report the sighting.  We pull into the parking lot of the visitor center and I was starting to realize something very cool -- something I am very much not accustomed to!  We get out of the car, and Mark had already grabbed the pen and started filling out the bear sighting report.  I couldn't help it and had to take a photo.  But ... he caught me.  And when he catches me, this is what happens!

So ... I tried it again.  Look Ma!  This one reads and writes and everything!  I done good, huh, Ma???

And he even speaks ... like normally ... and can handle being in public and ... communicating with other folks ... all on his own! 

And this is where we first saw it ... the snow.  Little did we know what we were about to see.

Mark spotted this Stellar's Jay.  He's gettin' to be one helluva birder. 

Sulpher anyone?

Kind of ironic ... wildflowers in the lower left hand corner of this photo ... and snow 2 feet from them.

Wildflowers ... snow bokeh. 

Had to take a photo of this.  Loved the name.

Some of these were taken while we were driving.

We were climbing higher and higher, and there was more and more snow as we went.

How's this for the end of July?

The reading from the dash ...

We stopped and camped for the night.  I must have been tired, because I didn't really take any good photos of our campsite.  Here's one of the really nice bear box they provide each site. 

It specifically mentions what to put in there ... all food items ... especially those foods that contain SUGAR ... because BEARS love SUGAR!  And we had SUGAR!  Lots of it!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm ... Malted Milk Balls!!!!!!!!!!!!  These were the BEST malted milk balls ... ever!  While we both loved these balls ... it was for entirely different reasons!  They were safely stored in the bear box overnight and would live through most of the trip. 


The following morning, like a little kid, I went in and pounced on Mark to get him out of bed bright and early so we could get going.  And he was very nice about it.  I'd have killed me.  But ... we packed up as fast as we set up, and hit the road.  And had the road basically to ourselves.  Enjoyed views like this!

There are very scary things in Lassen, like the Pine Tree People.  You have to make sure to avoid them at all costs.

Found this really gorgeous spot, and the photo was very tricky to take because of the snow at the top and the dark water at the bottom.  My camera wasn't sure what to do with it, so I had to get creative with the settings to make it happen.  Here's about the best I could do, and I think this one might get framed or something.


May 19, 1915 ... a fateful day for Mt. Lassen.

Read about it HERE and HERE and HERE.

Amazing that this occurred less than 100 years ago.

While we were reading about it, we had a visitor.

Also ran into this weird little wild "flower" ... it was almost wax-like ... perhaps even succulent.

Anyone have any idea what it is?

Here's one of the giant rocks that got spewed from the volcano and sent a couple of miles down the mountain.

Hey SB (yes, you!) ... ummm ... please esplain ... I just noticed.  LOL

This is Manzanita Lake.  The Manzanita around the lake, if it exists, was pretty weak.  There was much prettier manzanita at the bottom of the hill.  Beautiful lake, though.

This, I believe, is Whiskeytown Lake.

One of the rivers going into or out of the lake...

We stopped along the south shore and hopped in the water for a while. This lake had some of the clearest water I have seen in a long time. It was a bit cool, but the weather was quite hot and it felt so good to float for a bit.

We continued along the weat shore of the lake ... and for anyone who goes there in a nice new car, you don't want to go along the south side of the lake. It's a dirt road, washed out in parts, very narrow, there are very few turnouts, and most of the drive is pretty blind. There was a gorgeous overlook at the top, but no place to pull out and stop for a photo.

We hit the road again. Made it out to the beach. Gorgeous drive from Lassen to the beach. We went from sunny and gorgeous and 95+ degrees to overcast, wet, nasty and about 60 degrees on the beach. Still, we went for a nice relaxing walk in the sand.

Bad news, though.

Mark has crabs.

This guy did his best to escape the lens, but considering he was the only thing around to take a photo of, I persisted.

Then this turkey vulture appeared.

I really need a long lens.  Some day.

We got to an area along the beach where there was signs telling us you can see elk.  So we turn in and see these info boards.

And sure enough ... out in the distance ... were elk.  I took photos of them, but again, I need a long lens.  There was nothing worth posting.

Up the road a bit, though, there was another herd of wild elk hanging around one of the ranger stations or whatever.

Malted milk balls, anyone?

Got into the redwoods. 

Like most of my photos this trip, there is no way for me to capture the magnitude of what it is I'm photographing.  These photos are lame in comparison to what was actually there.

Caught a bigfoot.  Oh nevermind.  That's just Mark.

This area was amazing.  Not just the sheer size of the trees ... but the growth everywhere. 

We decided this looks like a muskrat.  You?

An attempt at perspective...

And from about Central California over to the coast and up through the little towns leading up to and through the redwoods, a weird thing happens.  There are Bigfoot statues all over the damn place!  I loved seeing SB get all excited everytime he saw one. 

We stopped for the night in Crescent City.  Mark got us a really nice place just inland called the Bay View Inn, and the woman behind the desk made a recommendation for dinner (we were starving).  She sent us to the Chart Room Restaurant on the pier.  We showered and got dressed and headed out.  Awesome!  Scallops!  Yumola! 

On the pier outside the restaurant, there were a lot of people net fishing.  The seagulls were hanging out, and we saw a "different" looking seagull type bird.  I was fascinated, so I started pouring through my bird book ... only to find out it was called a ... wait for it ... "California seagull."  Geesh.  Whodathunkit?

Anyone need a malted milk ball?

Maybe a picnic table?

Went back to the hotel room and crashed.  Nice comfy room.  Nice comfy everything.  Slept like a log.  And Colleen, I don't snore.  Ask Mark.  Right, SB?  ;-)


Was not in any particular hurry Monday morning because this was the day we would have to head home.  But there was lots to do first.  Long day.

First, we went to the Apple Peddler restaurant right next door to the hotel.  Nothing to write home about, but it served its purpose.

Next, we went to Ocean World right next door to the restaurant.  Ocean World was a kick in the pants!  Once the tour got started ... it was pretty cool for what it was.  You start out at this one pond like thing.  Inside were two kinds of starfish (one was the normal kind and the other was kind of leather-like) and anemones that you could touch and hold.  And a few crabs.  I opted not to touch the crabs, although the tour guide picked up a pregnant one and showed us the eggs.

Then downstairs were large tanks full of tiger sharks and a couple of eels and rock fish and sturgeon, etc.  Pretty neat.  Then back upstairs, there is another tank where you can pet the tiger sharks.  That was cool.  They swim right along the edge and you can pet them as they go by.  Then into the other room ... we saw a show with a California Sea Lion -- who would remind you a lot of Reese.  On the deck, off the deck, on the deck, off the deck.  She had a few tricks up her sleeve though.  She worked very well with her trainer and was very adorable.

And we hit the road again.

Malted milk balls, anyone?

Through Grants Pass, Gold Hill, along the Rogue River, up through Shady Cove, past Lost Creek Lake and then into Crater Lake National Park.  First off, a little history.

Crater Lake has long attracted the wonder and admiration of people all over the world. Its depth of 1,943 feet (592 meters) makes it the deepest lake in the United States, and the seventh deepest in the world. Its fresh water is some of the clearest found anywhere in the world. The interaction of people with this place is traceable at least as far back as the eruption of Mount Mazama. Founded May 22, 1902, Crater Lake National Park seeks to preserve these natural and cultural resources.
I almost feel stupid posting photos of Crater Lake because there is no way to capture the enormity and the awe that you feel standing there.

Looks fake, doesn't it?

That is really the color of the lake. 

Here was an interesting place.

You knew going in there was going to be a certain amount of hoity toitiness.  After being at the visitor's center, and having there be a gazillion and a gob of people in there, bathroom lines a mile long and food lines just as bad, we thought we'd try the restaurant at the lodge.  Ha!  We get in there about 4:00 or so (?) and they are no longer serving lunch.  They aren't serving dinner yet, either.  So standing at the entrance to the dining room, a gal meets us there and tells us they are only serving soup, salad and cocktails.  That was fine with us and all we needed.  She directs us to have a seat outside the dining room.  There are couches and chairs and nice coffee table things, set up much like a waiting room.  The waitress comes out and it becomes evident that, despite the people in the dining room, we were not being offered a seat in the dining room seeings how we're not eating a real meal.  This went over with me like a lead brick.  I would rather eat at Taco Bell than be treated like a second class citizen.  And, oddly enough, that's exactly what we did!  Ridiculous.

Got some nice photos on the way back to the car.

I see an old bearded man.  Do you?

Found a new (to me) bird. 


Are these not adorable?

Another attempt at perspective:

Another cute visitor:

Hey Colleen, any idea what this is?

Back to the Nutcrackers...

And the visitor...

A dash screen capture:

One of the peaks outside of Crater Lake.

Tiny timbers ... after seeing what we saw!

The thing I wish I could put in this blog post is the smell of pine ... the smell of fresh air ... the ocean ... everything.  If I could have given up all of my photos to be able to take that home with me, I'd have done it in a heartbeat.

Mark, I can't thank you enough for a wonderful weekend.  You rock!

Heading to the store for some malted milk balls and an adequate picnic table,


  1. Awesome pictures!!! Glad you had a great time!!


  2. What a fabulous trip! The Jay is a Stellar's Jay, they are the provincial bird of B.C. The photos of Crater Lake are so beautiful, what an incredible lake. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks Doniene! And Shirley! Yes, a Stellar's Jay! I couldn't remember.

  4. Well! What can I say?........That was truly fantastic! Great trip, shame I couldnt taste the food. Still those Malted Milk balls???? Yummmee!

  5. Wow, what a fun trip! Great pictures. I'm going to Lake Almanor this weekend and now I can't wait!