4. Spring road trip….April/May/June.2019 

Day 14 5.5
I’ve been waking up with the light…around 5:30am.  I drove into South Lake Tahoe & bought coffee…it had been pretty chilly around my Camper this morning.  I spent some of the early morning driving up to Emerald Bay to see the lake & where I’d camped last year…wow…not even the scenic viewpoint was open & the gate to the campground had a ton of snow behind it.  

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Last year, I left my visit to Tahoe wanting to hike to Aloha Lake.  Lots of people told me about it, but it was during one of my last days here….too late to hike it.  When I called the VC this year to ask about it, I knew what the dreaded answer would be…under several feet of snow.  But Lake Tahoe remains one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve been to.  And on this way pre-summer morning, no one was out there.  Lovely!

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I left South Lake Tahoe on highway 50…a route west I’d never taken before.  And it was so beautiful!  So much snow though, some of the cabins were almost all buried.  But as the elevation dropped toward Sacramento, the grounds cleared of snow & the temps rose. 

I landed in Folsom & stopped at a REI, not finding what I was looking for.  Then went to Moska brewery, just outside of Sacramento & found exactly what I was looking for…a yummy whisky barrel aged stout and about an hour later….this guy!

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Luke had just gotten back in town & it was sooooo great to see him!  He’s a happy guy & loving life.  He’d gotten us a sweet hotel room…compliments of a casino he plays at all the time & I was glad to take him up on the offer.  I hit the shower first thing…it had been awhile to say the least & it felt great!

We met his friend Matt & his mom, Mary later for dinner.  It was a wonderful evening!  I’d spoken with Mary over the phone before, but she was so delightful to visit with in person.  It was really a super nice evening & I always love seeing Luke in his element.

After saying good bye to Matt & Mary, we both turned in for the night.  What a good day…I’m so happy to be spending time with one of my kids!  Feels like Mother’s Day came early!

Day 15 5.6
Today is my Mom’s birthday…always kind of a downer for me….seems I miss her more than ever.  But, I was super thrilled to be spending the day with Luke!

We met Matt for breakfast at Cafe Bernardosuper yummy food & wonderful outdoor space.  The weather here is perfect for being outside this morning.  Matt had some other stuff to do, so Luke & I drove out to Auburn to see the highest bridge in California at 730’.   It crosses over the American River .  It’s a beautiful recreation area.  Then we went to visit a couple of breweries I’d read about….Moonraker & Knee Deep….practically across the street from each other.

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Yes, that’s a peacock strolling through the outdoor beer garden at Moonraker…no idea why.

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Luke took me to his favorite pizza place…Blaze (one of the investors is Luke’s favorite basketball player LeBron James).  Then we headed back to the casino.  Luke went looking for a card game & I stayed in the room & worked on the website.  Intermittently today, we’ve gotten to FaceTime with Claire & Emma.  Claire really enjoyed talking to Luke on the phone…she’s normally shy around this Uncle she doesn’t get to see very often, but today she wanted to visit with him.  We met in the bar to chat some more…I took a liking to this light up menu, although all I had to drink was a ginger ale.

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Day 16 5.7
I was up super early for one last shower, then we were checked out by 6:15am & headed to drop off Lukes car at the dealership for a recall.  We ended up back at Cafe Bernardo for another good breakfast.  Then we drove to the old historic part of Sacramento to check it out & just walk around & visit.

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We went to check out another brewery I’d read about called Urban Roots.  They also have BBQ, so we sampled some of both!  Luke loved the BBQ…I bet he comes back here before too long.

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This morning while buying my daily ice, I’d seen some It’s It’s ice cream bars in the freezer…I’d been on the lookout for them. So, I went & snagged one before I left town…just as good as I remember them.  Made in San Francisco, I can only find them in California.  Then we went to Starbucks & just visited till his car was done.  We picked up his car & several hugs later said good bye.  No tears from me this time, I’ll be seeing him in June.  We both learned yesterday, that all the kids will be coming in late June.  It’s been a long time since we were all together & I’m super excited.  I’m cutting this trip a little short…or really just interrupting it to run back to Kansas in June (for just a couple of weeks) to welcome them all home!  Stay tuned for all that fun!

My time with Luke had been great.  The places we visited were good, but the conversations we had were priceless!  Love this guy so much & my visits with him are always good.  Grateful…so grateful for getting to spend time with him on this trip.

I drove up to Chico, a town I’ve never been to before, with two goals in mind:  To visit Sierra Nevada brewing & to see their giant Urban Park named Bidwell.  I ate a burger & had a yummy stout at the brewery, but missed hiking in the park.  I did go see it…surprised that it’s not a manicured type park, but pretty wild.

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I drove up about 30 miles into the forest looking for a place to camp, but couldn’t find anything.  I did catch this pretty sunset as I was driving up the highway.  I knew there was a rest stop along Highway 5 & decided to pull of there once it got dark.  I’d much rather sleep in a rest area than a Walmart.

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I’ve still been fighting this nasty cough. My sister in law suggested I take a certain allergy medicine…It’s one I’ve taken before & it gives me super weird dreams.  I’ve always been a dreamer (in more ways than one) & still fight nightmares frequently.  But these meds just give me bizarre dreams…action packed crazy dreams.  So, here’s to another night of ‘take pill-let the adventure begin’ night.  It’s kind of amazing though, I do sleep pretty good through it all.

Day 17 5.8
Hello Oregon!
Another place on my list has been Burney Falls.  This place is close to the PCT &  many thru hikers veer off the path to see these wonderful falls.  It was still early when I arrived & was the only one in the parking lot.  I went to take the loop trail, but of course, most of it was closed.  If I had a dollar for every trail & road Ive tried to take on this trip that was closed, I could pay for all the beer I drink!

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Views along the way.

I decided to go by Crater Lake…with only the south entrance open, the place is still snow packed.  Someday I should come here in August…I think this is my 4th or 5th time here & I’ve never gotten to do much hiking.  A long time ago, Danny & I came in late October & they had their first snow & closed the Rim drive.  Every other time I’ve been here as been in the spring…too early for this snowy park.  But, the lake is always a beautiful blue & I couldn’t be this close & not drive by.  The Visitors Center still buried.

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The path plowed so you can at least tromp up to see the Lake.

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Crater Lake….so peaceful.  No hiking, but no crowds either.

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My pano pic.

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I took the two lane highway through the forest, which was super wonderful, but super slow.  It felt like it took me forever to get to Bend today.  I drove to my fave brewery here called Crux Fermentation Project.  As luck would have it, they also had my fave barrel aged stout on tap…Tough Love.  Yum Yum!  I feel like I’m eating & drinking my way on this adventure, rather than hiking as much as I’d like to.  When the hiking falls through, at least I have a good second choice!

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I found my way back to the forest to camp, which is easy to do in Bend—it’s surrounded by forest.  Such a cool & wonderful town.  Now it’s into LaLa adventure land with my allergy pill…but on the up side, I think this damn cough is getting better!

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Day 18 5.9
It was 38 degrees when I got out of my sleeping bag this morning, so I cheated & drove back into town & went to Starbucks.  I also took advantage of their nice quiet bathroom to clean up a bit.

Then I did my crazy-Vicki thing & drove 90 minutes back east to John Day Fossil Beds to the Painted Hills division.  I’ve seen pics of this place in the past & wanted to see it in person.  The drive was super pretty with rolling green hills in the distance & lots of forest lands.  Then, out of nowhere, you see these wonderful red/orange/yellow ‘painted hills’…a perfect name for them.  It’s not a huge area & there are 5 small hikes you can do.  I did them all.  It was great to have my feet on dirt, even though they were short hikes.


The trail you see along this hill, was the longest & gave you a 360 view from the top.

Then I drove back into Bend & went to Boneyard Brewing which has a new place since I was here last.  I tired a stout & had a few wings, then went to Deschuttes brewery….Danny & I really like some of their barrel aged beer.

I had a sample of beer then decided I really didn’t need to drink a whole one.  So I bought a couple of bottles to take back to share with Danny.

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Then it was time to move on.  I got some coordinates for a campsite in the forests much farther north.  But, as I drove the Mt. Hood Scenic highway, I was noticing that much of the forest is still under snow or if it’s melted, it’s muddy.  When I arrived at a big Sno Park that sits right under Mt. Hood, but at the top of the scenic road & had cell service, I decided to park there for the night.  Yes its a big parking lot, but the view was great & it had a bathroom.

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The temps dropped fast as soon as the sunset & I tucked into Camper & turned on my twinkly lights & read until bedtime.

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