Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shasta Cascade Road Trip with the Family

From the North Coast, our family took the curvy Highway 299, the Trinity Scenic Byway, to Redding. Due to road construction, the route took considerably longer than we had anticipated, but the route was breath-taking and there are pull off options periodically for breaks or photo ops.

We stayed in a Red Bluff Hampton Inn, which was a little cheaper than Redding, but not too far out since Lassen Volcanic National Park was on the agenda for the next day.

Although mid-May is not the ideal time to visit Lassen since the road through the park is often still closed due to snow, we still headed out early the next morning and were able to drive into the park as far as Devastated Area which awarded us with gorgeous views of Mt. Lassen. As we arrived, some daring skiers were packing up their gear with plans to ski down the mountain! Wow!

After Devastated Area, we walked the lava tube in Lassen National Forest known as Subway Cave. Thankfully, we brought a flashlight because it was pitch black and the footing was uneven. It was a unique thing to see, however, and was a quick walk. Last stop in Lassen was Butte Lake. The site is about 6 miles down a gravel road, and although we saw mule deer and curious chipmunks, the views of the lake weren't spectacular. Perhaps we could have hiked to a better viewing area, but our group (ages 6 to 69) were tired from the day and not feeling too adventurous by that point.

On the way down the mountain, we stopped at Pioneer Hillside Pizza, a local eatery that had good pizza in an environment that would bring out the germ-a-phobe in most anyone. After lunch, we stopped by the Mt. Shasta Mall to get some See's Candy since it's not readily available where we're from. We passed on a visit to the Sundial Bridge and of the other attractions in Redding (like this or this) and just returned to the hotel.

Leaving town the next morning, we got educated on olive oils by the helpful staff at Lucero Olive Oil in Corning, the olive oil capital of the world. The mill wasn't processing olives (that happens October through January), but there were many varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars available to taste (yum!) and purchase ($100 or more gets free shipping!). A local told us to visit the Olive Pit as well, but we decided to save that for another visit.

Our Northern California road trip was almost over. The Napa Valley area was next! If you missed part one (San Francisco), see here, and for part two (North Coast), see here.

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