On Thursday I left the California coast and drove Rt. 299 from Eureka to Redding. In the small town of Big Bar there were dozens of PCT backpackers lining the streets all looking for a ride north. The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has been ravaged by fire causing officials to close the trail and reroute hikers around the burned out area. I’m not sure where they had to detour to but it probably involved a lot of road walking. It seemed odd to me that the hikers are still this far south. They still have to finish California and go through Oregon and Washington before winter sets in.
I remembered a boondocking spot near the ghost town of Helena and pulled in to stay the weekend. While I was there I did a little gold panning and rode some of the back roads on Honda. All the streams in the area have claim notices but it looked like no one had been there in the last three years to even tack back up the tattered paper. I guess you could call me a claim jumper.
Rt 299 from Weaverville east is under major construction. The road down from the pass is the kind of road you love to ride on a motorcycle. It snakes down the mountain in hairpin turns and curves that make you lean out to see around the corner. But now they are spending millions of dollars to straighten it out. For several miles they are cutting deep into the mountain and filling huge ravines with dirt to widen and straighten the road. All this means that I had to wait 45 minutes before they let our line of cars through. I even struck up a conversation with a lady walking along the road of cars to see around the bend. She told me she lives in Weaverville and when she has to go to Redding she allows two extra hours drive time.
From Redding I took Interstate 5 south until I got tired of driving and stopped at a Walmart for the night. I thought once of making a detour to Lassen Volcanic National Park but remembered being evicted by the government shutdown last time I was there and stuck my nose up at the thought of going back.
I’m getting far enough south that the shorts and t-shirts are being pulled out of the drawer. It is almost time to return to the southwest for the winter and see the family.