July 6 - July 8, 2008
California Road Trip and Family GTG
My niece organized a family camping get together at Twin Lakes outside of Bridgeport. We decided to drive down and spend a couple of days relaxing at Mammoth Lakes before joining the family. It would give us a chance to take our hybrid on a road trip and visit one of our favorite areas in California.
We drove to Ashland Oregon the first day. For a distraction, we took the Silver Falls Scenic Drive Loop through the small Oregon communities of Woodburn, Mt Angel, and Silverton. Lovely vistas of the rich agricultural area of Willamette Valley. We stopped at Silver Falls State Park for a picnic lunch. It is a great state park with lodge built in 1940. We didn't get to do any of the hikes to the falls but would love to come back when we have more time.
A quick stop at the Costco in Eugene for gas (4.12/gal), we made it to Ashland around 4pm. We stayed at The Palm Cottages in Ashland. It is a great funky mid-century motel. We loved the gardens and the funky decor. We had a good dinner at Standing Stone Brewery in downtown Ashland.
We hit the road early the next day since we planned on driving all the way to Mammoth. We turned off at Mt. Shasta and drove through Lassen National Park. The flowers were in their prime and it was a gorgeous clear day. But we could see the smoke billowing to the south from the fires around Paradise. We passed several roads closed between Quincy and Chico and there was a lot of activity from helicopters carrying water and road crews.
Around 5pm we made Reno. Another stop at the Costco for gas (4.09). The haze from the smoke was pretty bad. You couldn't see any of the mountains towards Tahoe it was so hazy. The drive down 395 was lovely as it winded along Walker River. Unfortunately, there had been a bad fire a couple of years ago and the craggy Jeffrey pines were reduced to black sticks. Just before we reached Mono Lake, a bobcat scrambled down the rocks along the highway and dashed in front of our car. It was so cool to see the wild cat. We pulled into Mammoth shortly before 8pm. It is at 8,000ft so we had a little difficulty sleeping the first night.
Kings Creek Meadow - Lassen National Park