Leaving Redwood National Park we had decided that Lassen Volcanic National Park looked about halfway to Lake Tahoe and so would spend the night there. Again we were blessed with glorious weather and this part of California really is beautiful when the sun shines. The wonderful mix of mountains, forests and rivers comes together superbly. The drive to Lassen took a bit longer than expected as the roads were quite twisty and turny (brought back memories of New Zealand) so we had to take it easy and admire the views.
The road to Lassen Volcanic National Park slowly but steadily heads upwards and then finally this big, snow capped volcano rises in view. I am not to sure of the status of the volcano but I don’t think it is extinct and so we were probably in imminent threat of a horrible lava induced end to our trip. As we hadn’t planned on stopping here we hadn’t done too much research about it so were going in blind, not knowing what to expect. The park must be at a reasonably high elevation as it was quite well encased in snow. Fortunately the entrance we were going to was open but
for all other purposes the park could be considered closed. The road leading through the park was only open part of the way so we couldn’t drive through the park, the visitor centre we were near was closed, even the entrance booth we passed through was open, but there was no-one in it. All of this “closedness” gave us the benefit of solitude. It felt like we had the entire park to ourselves. The downside being that the campground was also closed so we wouldn’t be spending the night here. Whilst we pondered this conundrum further it had most definitely turned to lunch time. Fortunately, as we are camping, we are carrying everything we need for any eventuality with us so we broke out the cooker and rustled up some lovely toasted sandwiches. Our lunch spot was on the edge of a partially frozen lake overlooking the volcano, a very picturesque sight.
As lunch drew to a close we turned our thoughts to the more pressing topic of that night’s accommodations. We poured over the map to see where we were and as it turns out we were almost in the middle of nowhere. We could push on another
4hrs or so to Lake Tahoe but that didn’t seem the right thing to do. Then out of the haze of remoteness, like an oasis in the desert, we saw the name of Reno, Nevada. Decision made - to Reno it was. The drive took another 2 and half hours but was pleasant enough and we had plenty to chat about so the time went quickly. Reno, like Las Vegas, is in Nevada and so gambling is not only allowed, it is actively encouraged. Reno is like a smaller, less grand version of Vegas. We checked into a motel and then went looking for some shoes for me as Sandra is insistent that I need a new pair. Unfortunately we couldn’t find any, trust me I lost sleep over it, and then we walked around some of the casinos. The thoughts and setups are the same as Vegas but it lacks the quality or pomp and grandeur of its more famous counterpart and so comes across a bit more desperate and tacky. This could be because the streets were empty and it felt like all the life had been sucked out of it.
In the end though I was
glad we came to Reno. It is somewhere I have always heard of and now I have seen it for myself. I think with more time we could have explored it more fully, perhaps have taken in some shows or something, but as a stopover for the night it served its purpose. From one extreme we travel to the next. We are off to Lake Tahoe where hopefully we will get back to nature a bit.
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