Geoff and Jenn's 1998 California Trip
Day 5-6: San Francisco, Lassen

Thursday, October 1st, 1998

Well, travelling with the little one has begun to take its toll on Jenn and I. I skipped the journal entry from yesterday after an exhausting day; I will try to catch you up as to where we have been.

From Point Arena, we continued southward on our trek down highway 1. I began to realize just why Bryn jokingly asked "you really think you are going to drive 1 all the way down?" The constant turning and constant lookout to make sure you were not going over the lookout from the lack of guardrails began wear down on us. We did stick to it, though -- and by the time we made it to San Francisco at last, we had a permanent sway back and forth to our sitting stance. The coast continued to be beautiful -- looking back over Highway 1, my favorite spot was near a town named WoodXXX (can't remember the second part). It was not even listed in Rand McNally -- but the view at that point was spectacular. Unfortunately we did not take any pictures at that point...

We just got to have a picture of the Golden Gate!
We crossed into San Francisco on the historic Golden Gate bridge, and took the customary shot or two as we approached and crossed the technological marvel. I was quite anxious to see the casting of Rodin's The Thinker statue in the Palace of the Leg[s]ion of Honors -- a spot that overlooks the bridge and downtown. Time was running a bit late and we elected to drive through straight to Palo Alto to avoid rush hour.


We made it to Bryn and Susan's at 3:00 where we finally introduced Emerson to a Purdue-ite. We then headed out with Bryn and Susan to a fancy steak place down the road (don't even think about the price of dinner in Palo Alto ;-). Emerson distracted all of the restaurants upper crust clientel by opening and shutting the blinds with his head. We talked late into the night on everything from the Sillicon Valley culture to what, if anything, is worth dying for.

Susan escaped to her 90 mile commute early the next day, and thus we did not get a chance to get a picture with her and Bryn and Emerson. The two guys got this shot instead.

Proof to all those Purdue folks: Bryn has seen Emerson!

We then drove back through San Francisco (again, we did not go to Legion of Honors, this time due to an intense fog bank and anxiousness to make some northward travel). You could tell we were getting pretty tired and our nerves frayed by Emerson's increasing crankiness by how many times on our way north we missed our turn off or exit. One time, I just ended up driving through a 30 miles of farm roads just so that I did not have to reverse direction.

The Lassen campsite
We debated as to how to fit all the remaining big ticket items into the remaining days. In the end we decided to head out to Lassen Volcanic National Park to camp for the night. We knew nothing about Lassen and were surprised to hear its story. It is the last peak of the Cascade volcanos; it is the largest plug volcano known and stands at 10,500 feet. It is the only volcano other than Mt. St. Helens that has erupted in the contiguous 48 this century (It erupted for 7 years in the late 1910's). The park is complete with geysers, mud pots, and boiling / steaming hot spots. When we arrived, we weren't instantly reminded of our old Yellowstone stomping grounds in Wyoming -- the smell of rotten eggs from the steam vents really sparks the memory. And the great thing was, no one is here! The park has been just about to ourselves -- granted it is October now, and the weather is just a wee bit chilly.

After taking a very short walk around some steam vents, we braced ourselves for a cold night at the campground (it is at 7,000 feet). We considered the deer and her fawn wandering our campsite a good sign, although the fox that got into Emerson's graham crackers and the pika that quickly found our beef jerky made us remark on the "wild" nature around us. Unfortunately, our Coleman stove ran out of fuel just as we were about to boil our noodles for a gourmet dinner of camp spaghetti -- we had to settle for the even greater delicacy of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on sour dough bread.

I now write this summary in a pretty nippy tent with a sleeping mom and son beside me. Let's hope Emerson makes it through the night.



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