Less can really be more

Every vacation should have a purpose. It is even better is when that purpose is realized and fulfilled. We vacation to take time off to rest, for new experiences, to connect with others, etc. The past few years on my “trip into the woods” I’ve set out to experience: to ride, take pics, and ride.

GPS is a really great thing. It tells you where you are, how to get where your going, and in most cases when you’ll get there. There are times though when even the best of intentions can be a not so good thing. With 300-350 mile days I was finding I didn’t have enough time to just be. I’d see that arrival time on the GPS get later and later and realize I’d have to keep going. I felt like I was pushing against the clock. An old pastor of mine used to always say: “We’re human beings, not human doings.” I needed the time to just be. Last night I just cut my saddle time in half. I was only going to ride 175 miles that day.

I picked up highway 299 west out of Weaverville and had a great ride. Traffic was light and and the turns were nice and fun! The highway runs by Whiskeytown Lake just outside of Redding.
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I remember my last ride through here thinking the same… that it’s a really cool lake. The odd thing was is that the lake was still rather full. Just to the north, Trinity lake looked just about empty, almost depressingly slow.

Going through town I crossed over Interstate 5, signaling that my trip was half over. It’s a mini milestone with some 700 miles under my belt thus far.
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The road then rode me up to Lassen Park. It was my first destination of any appreciable high elevation (greater than 6,000 feet). I was starting to see a healthy amount of snow…. and I still had another 3000 feet to climb!  🙂
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Arriving into the park, the staff informed me that the road was clear and open, yet the gas station looked like a mid April ski resort.. melting snow all around.
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I decided to head through, just taking it slow and avoiding the wet patches. The back side of the park gets less sun than the front so the views were spectacular. The mountains had a good chunk of snow on them them.
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Lake Helen was stunningly pretty:
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The front side of the park has most of the volcanic activity so as you ride by the sulfur smell was over powering! Boiling mud bath anyone?
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I have to admit, being alone for two days was getting to be a bit isolating, so I remembered a Bed and Breakfast that came recommended from Clement Savadori’s Book: Motorcycle Journeys through California: The Bidwell House in Chester.
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The book is an excellent starting point for traveling the state. The bed and breakfast was a nice change. It was a first time for me staying in one (other than my aunt’s). This one was a bit on the quiet side as the owners were not super involved other than to check you in. They treated you well though, good breakfast, stuff around the house to do, and the room rate was more than reasonable!

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