02-14-2018 Last Leg Home

Our main purpose for traveling Highway 395 toward home was an attempt to avoid traveling north through California on Interstate 5.  We have traveled both 395 and 99 entirely too many times, and when compared to the magnificence of 395, it is simply a no-brainer.  Unless, of course, it is winter.  Highway 44 west from Susanville is a decent road

We made it as far as Minden without mishap, but the weather forecast for the next day made us a bit nervous.  Should we scrap our plans for continuing north all the way to Susanville and then over the mountains to Mt Shasta?  Or should we just give up and travel west from Reno on I-80 over Donner Pass and then home, again, on I-5?

If we had traveled the 5, we may have been able to get up the hill to visit Jimmy and Nicky, but we also had the “horse to the barn” thing going after being away 3 weeks.  We were ready to be home, and the visiting desires were waning.  I decided instead to make a special trip next month for visiting, and will include my friend Maryruth on that visit.  I seem to enjoy it much better when the visit is dedicated to actual visiting instead of traveling.

We looked at the weather, I checked all the road cams, watched the radar.  Everything looks almost OK until Susanville, when the blue streak over the mountains to the west indicated snow.  Still, that blue streak was moving east, and maybe it would pass us by as we headed north and west.

We decided to take our chances, and figured that even if we couldn’t get across 89 up to Mt Shasta, we could no doubt manage 44 across to Redding.  Highway 44 meanders along the north side of Mt Lassen, and except for a very few twisty places, is a fairly good road.  It had been a few years since we traveled that route, when we hiked some fabulous trails in Mt Lassen and returned to Klamath Falls via Susanville.

More choices for getting over the Southern Cascades in California

We were right about the snow, and encountered a few flurries along Highway 395 before we arrived in Susanville, but by the time we continued west on 44, the snow was gone.  The highway was clear and we were even treated to some great views of Mt Lassen.

Even though we were fairly close to home, when we arrived in Redding we decided to slow it down a bit, get a place to park for another cold night, and travel the last 4 hours to home in the morning when we were fresh.  In addition, that would put us at home mid day, much nicer than crawling into our driveway in the dark.

Another happy little reason for taking our time in Redding had to do with Valentine’s Day.  We have a tradition to buy some happy See’s Candy to share as a Valentine’s Day treat.  Such decadence, but at least it is only once a year, or maybe twice if I get some at Christmas.  I haven’t had chocolate as creamy perfect as See’s anywhere in the country, even at some of those fabulous artisan chocolatiers in trendy little tourist towns.

Redding RV Park isn’t fancy, but it is right next to the freeway, and if you get a nice long site on the rows farthest from the freeway it is quiet enough for a good sleep, with space to pull through.  What the very nice looking website doesn’t show is that much of the park is on a fairly steep hill overlooking the freeway.  In all fairness, the actual sites are decently level, at least most of them are. We called ahead for a reservation as soon as we were sure of our route, and it was again a good thing that we did.  The park filled up after dark.

The next morning dawned clear and gorgeous, with Mt Shasta looming in the north to mark our route home.  We again took our time, filled up with gas at the station around the corner from the park, (also the cheapest gas in Redding),and got on the freeway.  Yes, it was I-5, but between this part of California and Oregon there are no other real options.

For the first time in a long time, we stopped at the rest area north of Yreka that is down in a canyon along the Klamath River.  It is also a California Welcome Center with a docent offering information about both California and Oregon, some lovely art, maps and tons of brochures for things to do in both Oregon and California.  We enjoyed the sunshine and the river and Mattie loved the spacious unfenced pet area. 

When we pulled into the driveway at home in the early afternoon, the sun was shining, and we were both still fresh and energetic enough to empty the MoHo and start the laundry. A perfect travel day at the end of a rather amazingly perfect trip.  Love to travel and love to be home.  I am so glad that we can do both.

Art from the Palm Springs Street Fair on the wall at home

Our timing was perfect, because in just a few days winter decided to come to Grants Pass after all, and we had real snow right here at home.  That doesn’t happen often in Grants Pass, and this time as well the snow melted with the afternoon sunshine.

Author: kyotesue

Soil scientist/mapper working for 35 years in the wild lands of the West. I am now retired, enjoying my freedom to travel, to hike without a shovel and a pack, to knit and quilt and play, to play with photography and write stories about all of it.

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