Stranded In The Southland

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Great 2009 Pacific Northwest Volcano Tour

We're off on our 2009 Pacific Northwest Volcano Tour! Well, M. seems to think that we're just making a nice road trip and seeing some friends in Portland and Seattle, but I know better.

Last year, we had a great two-week road trip through the Mountain Time Zone, hitting Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, and a little bit of Idaho. We figured we'd give it another shot with some different states, and see a bit more of the west (we'd both spent plenty of time in Portland and Seattle, but hadn't seem much of the rest of Oregon and Washington).

I was intent on seeing Lassen Volcanic National Park on the way up -- it's officially in Northern California, but it's actually the southernmost active volcano in the Cascades range. M. was clever enough to point out that it was about the same distance (not time!) to drive up the Owens Valley on US 395 as it was to bomb up the Central Valley on I-5. If you've driven past the dusty fields and smelly feedlots along I-5 as many times as we have, this isn't much of a choice.

We dawdled out of Southern California after a bit of a party the night before, cruising up into the Mojave around mid-day for a quick Astro Burger at Kramer Junction (next to a huge solar power plant). We screamed past the Sierras, Owens Lake, Manzinar, and Mono Lake and into new territory.

We stopped at the first overlook past Lee Vining, enthralled with the amazing view of Mono Lake, and delighted with the variety of stickers that folks had affixed to the guard rails. I'm not a huge fan of putting stickers on any available surface, but seeing such a variety of stickers for everything from ski equipment to unions to NetBSD (ummm, that mighta been a new one) just seemed wonderful, rather than horrible graffitti defacing those boring guard rails.

We were blown away by the beauty of the Bridgeport Valley, so green after all those miles of barren high desert. It looked like there were some comfortable hotels there, but we needed to get down the road. Our vacation was supposed to be about seeing Oregon and Washington, not California!

We wound up pushing through to Carson City, gawking briefly at the Walker River on the long drive down into Nevada, downing a few really good beers at Red's Old 395 Grill (which was a surprisingly good meal, check it out!), and crashing at an unremarkable Super 8.


  • I hope you guys are taking great pictures! Can't wait to hear about the rest of the trip.

    By Anonymous Shhh, at 8:04 PM  

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