Old Station - St. Bernard Lodge, CA: Lassen Park is the crown jewel of the trip. - The Granny Panties Tour - CycleBlaze

July 6, 2015

Old Station - St. Bernard Lodge, CA: Lassen Park is the crown jewel of the trip.

St Bernard Lodge 44801 Highway 36E 530-258-3352 $106.92 Two shared baths in the hall. Oren and I both had cold showers. The proprietor, Sharon, does it all and seems very frazzled. We will see how dinner goes. They do offer dinner, which is very nice out in the middle of nowhere. So far we are the only people here, although she says she has other guests. Bicycles are outside for the moment, but we can bring them in after dinner is served.

I think we were all happy to be out of Old Station. The location was perfect, but the lodging was some of the lesser of the trip. In the bottom three, easily. I don't know if the cabins would have been more acceptable. The rooms we had were very dated, the bathroom was so small even Oren commented he could barely sit on the commode, the walls were that close. But we were happy it was there.

Oren and I met outside at 5:30 - he told me to stay on 89. Other highways join and depart 89, but stay on 89 and take all the left hand turns. Off he went. Never to be seen again, or so I thought.

It was quite brisk this morning. I had on my warm shirt for the first time in weeks. I even put on the ear warmers. That lasted about a half hour, since we were climbing from the get go, I warmed up right away. I didn't bother to hide to change my shirt. Who was I hiding from? All of the tourists were still asleep. We had the road delightfully to ourselves.

I now know what time the loggers start work 6 AM - I saw my first loaded logging truck at 6:13 AM. We didn't see that many. Maybe one every 15 minutes. After 44 split from 89, we didn't see trucks or semis. What we were worried about was RV's traveling through Lassen Park. Wrong on that one. The park was SO delightfully empty. All of the Fourth of July crowd was gone. There was the occasional car. Maybe one or two RV's the whole day.

This has been my favorite day, scenery wise, of the entire trip. Lassen park is very beautiful - the vistas are more open, with mountains and lakes in the distance. The climbing was good - 5,700 feet for the day to the trip high point of 8,511 feet. It was never steep, but just a steady climb.

What a great day!

Jacinto caught up to me at the 8,000 foot elevation sign. He asked where Oren was. I replied, long gone - probably already there. No, Jacinto says. He's behind. Yea, right I answer. Jacinto doesn't say anything else about Oren, just that he'll wait for me at the top.

I was a little worried about the road being steep at the top and Jacinto waiting too long, but it was nice and gradual the entire way. Nothing at the top besides the sign and wind and Jacinto. We stood there and finished off a bag of BBQ potato chips. We almost never eat chips at home, but the salt is yummy on tour. Pretty quick who should ride up but Oren! How in the world did he get behind me? Taking photos?

Turns out Oren forgot to follow his own advice of taking all the left hand turns. He saw the turn for Manzanita Lake/Lassen Park, but thought that was only the campground that Jim and Genny stayed at. He made the unfortunate error of heading toward Viola - a 6 mile, 6% grade downhill. I mapped it on ridewithgps. Oren estimates he went five miles before he found a man in a truck to ask directions. Five miles on that particular downhill was 1,181 feet. Oren really paid with his legs for those extra miles. Good thing his legs are road toughened!

I mentioned stopping at the cafe Jim and Genny stopped at, near the park entrance. Jacinto didn't sound interested at all. Oren didn't say anything. He said he was still in a bad mood from all the unnecessary climbing.

It was a good downhill, lots of switchbacks, but they were clean of gravel in the corners and the pavement itself was in good condition. This side of the park had far more people, the parking lots were full of cars. The views were also more stark - the mountains were jagged, making it interesting.

Oren and I got down to the cafe. Eat or not eat? Imagine us debating that question! We decided that the downhill should continue to be swift, we'd get on to St. Bernard. Oh, wait. One more pass photo we had to apply the brakes to get a photo of. I love free passes! There aren't too many around.

Where was Jacinto? I hope he didn't have a problem, because I'm quite sure neither of us was going back to check on him. Finally finally he passed me, he said he was taking photos. Now Oren and Jacinto were both in front of me. We had descended enough the temperatures were getting warm. Almost there. I stopped at a big lodge looking place that had the entire, large, porch filled with firewood. It had very dilapidated cabins behind it. Surely that wasn't our place? I called Jacinto. No, that's not it. Keep riding. I could see a yellow sign in the distance. That must be it! Nope - a closed lodge. Keep riding. Geez, maybe we should have stayed back a Child's Meadow where Alison stayed. That was ten miles ago (adding ten miles to the next day) - no it's better to get it over with now. Finally, I saw the bikes outside. Yes!

I went inside. Oren and Jacinto were sitting at a fancy, old style bar with tall glasses in front of them. Hmmm, I'd have an alcoholic drink. What to order? I asked the lady what could I get that had booze, but didn't taste like booze. She had no idea. Me either, I don't drink much. Jacinto said how about ice water. I settled for root beer. I haven't had a root beer in years and years. The last time it had ice cream in it.

We got the tour of the place. My legs felt fine until I got here. Then they weren't so happy about the stairs. Two shared baths. Jacinto was already in one, I took a shower in the other. The hot water disappeared half way through my shower. My clothes only got medium washed. Let's see how they smell tomorrow. Oren said his shower was completely cold. Apparently the hot water on demand system is not working properly, according to Sharon, the owner.

Dinner was at 5:30 - order in advance. We were starved and went right down on time. I had pork chops. They were delicious, with homemade applesauce on the the side. The guys agreed their food was also very, very good. The best meal we have had in quite a while. JJ's cafe served our needs, but burgers and sandwiches only go so far.

Breakfast sounded very good, but it was only served from 8-10 AM and we are concerned about a storm moving in. First it was the heat, now it is rain. The forecast is good until noon, then things get iffy. To make our day tomorrow even more exciting, Jim says the ride into Quincy is very scary with fast moving traffic way too close. ACA officially suggests riding the bus from Greenville. So. I will have my Dinotte on high blink and hope everyone is paying attention.

For breakfast Oren is having day old banana bread and a couple of hard boiled eggs. I get hard boiled eggs and milk. Sharon is leaving all of that in a cooler with some ice. Jacinto is taking his chance with the rain and staying for the 8 AM breakfast.

It was a very good, satisfying day. I'm sure you are getting tired of my saying what a pretty route this is, but darn - this is a beautiful country!

Oren is checking his map and waiting to escort me to the first left hand turn. He told me - all turns today are to the left. Remember that.
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I'm glad to get the climbing underway. Today is our last big climbing day. I'm glad we had a rest day so we could start on fresh legs.
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This fallen tree covered with moss caught my fancy. We don't have moss all over the trees in Colorado.
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This stick is doing a good job holding up the big boulder.
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Mt Lassen in the background.
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We all took many scenery photos today. It was nice that the view was open enough to see something.
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There are still lots of trees also, don't worry.
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Jacinto caught up with me at the 8,000 foot elevation sign. He didn't seem near sweaty enough.
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Will this be the last winter before it completely collapses?
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Neat old cash register in the bar at the St. Bernard.
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Today's ride: 62 miles (100 km)
Total: 1,249 miles (2,010 km)

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