Mountains and Lakes Part II


Having drunk our fill of Crater Lake we moved on and back into California to our next stop – Lake Tahoe. However before us was a not insubstantial 400 mile drive and with none of that on freeways we would have to take ordinary highways and back roads up and over the mountain passes. So we were up as dawn was breaking, packed and out of the door by 5am, breakfast would just have to be a stop along the way.

Driving at that time was a real treat as the roads were clear and the sun was coming up, illuminating the snow-covered mountains before rising further to fill the valleys with light. We made good progress and after an hour and a half or so having passed the towering slopes of Mount Shasta, a c14,200ft dormant volcano, we arrived in wonderfully named town of Weed.

Having thought ahead, Google found us a well reviewed diner on the main street called The Hi-Lo Café and it was indeed superb – standing-ovation-level Eggs Benedict followed by we-are-not-worthy waffles, syrup and fruit. The experience was further enhanced by being seated behind the local Sherriff who was discussing prospects for the candidates to succeed him in the upcoming election, it couldn’t have been more Dukes of Hazard if we’d been talking to Boss Hogg.

Breakfast done we headed into the Weed tourist shop and bought as much town-branded merchandise as our cards would allow us (well, c’mon, how often could we buy a legit “Weed Rocks” t-shirt…?

We then decided to take the road to Lake Tahoe via Lassen Volcanic National Park, which would have been a peach of a route, winding up and around Lassen Peak which last erupted just over 100 years ago. However once we got there we found that the route through the park was closed due to heavy snow, so instead we satisfied ourselves with climbing over the lava fields left from the previous eruption before hitting the road again.

Anyone need a lava lamp?

10 minutes further down the road and we were glad not to be outside as the sky had gone black, thunder and lightening were going off all around us, the temperature had dropped from 12 Celsius to 5 and we were being battered from above by hailstones the size of marbles. 20 minutes beyond that we were down in the valley, the sky had cleared, the sun was out and the temperature was up at 25 Celsius – weather is kind of changeable here…

And so we headed on, pestered by an occasional monsoon downpour which rudely shoved aside Mr Sun and his Hat before finally arriving in South Lake Tahoe at just after 6pm, 13 hours after we set off and a little frazzled. Some days are just like that I guess…