California. Wow! California! Here I was crossing into Northern California. What could be wrong with that? Oh, only one thing… I was freezing!  I had been wet and cold for days now. I couldn’t take much more. My sole purpose for dipping into this particular part of the country was to continue my quest to boldly go where this treker has not gone before. Route 96, a wonderfully windy, tantalizingly twisted mountain road was an unexplored yearning.


I was bitterly cold. Then, after passing a sign for a tour-thru tree and getting stuck in a line for one lane construction, I turned around and waited once again in the opposite direction for this opportunity to embark the space between the bark.Cali02

I needed warmth, bringing me to Arcata, CA for a room. In the morning I saw this flash (or should I say flashback) from the past.


I haven’t mentioned it yet, but when I went out to dinner the night before at the local all you can eat Chinese buffet, an old feller told me Route 96 was closed due to forest fires.  C’mon! Now where to? I checked the weather to the south toward Frisco. It wasn’t great either.  At this point I decided go west across Route 299. I rode across 299 once before in 2009 but it was raining hard and cold. Plus, I was going in the opposite direction. I may have lost my Route 96 adventure, but I could look at 299 in a new perspective and direction. Besides this was Bigfoot country.


Route 299 rolls along the Trinity River, east to west.




Shasta is an old ming town directly along Route 299.


How I love a ghost town. Oh surprise, surprise! Here we are at another prison in the basement of the courthouse turned museum.


The old courthouse is one of the oldest preserved buildings in the town of Shasta. It is now a museum with part of it recreated to the look as it did in the 1800’s.


Shawhank or the Ohio State Reformatory was the only prison I planned to visit. All the subsequent journeys to locations of incarcerations have been happenstance.



Welcome to the gallows.


Also in the museum is this little bit of east coast history. It’s a Browning revolver (below) that John Brown used during the raid at Harper’s Ferry. His wife then moved to these parts bringing this weapon with her and here it lies.


Along the road in Shasta this was all that was left from a building’s cold cellar.


I talked for a bit with three young transient dudes looking for what I left on the coast. They were hot and wanted to cool off  and they wanted some spare change. I see a lot of transient folks out this way in Northern California and Southern Oregon. Folks floating perhaps fleeing, who knows? Anyway, we talked about our respective journeys. The guy with the tattoos of horns on his forehead wasn’t so chatty but the other two were. One dude told me that he was from Florida and if you ride down dirt roads deep inland you can find stuff. Native American stuff. He said that people used to bury their valuables and then put large boulders over them to mark it for their return seasonally. You can move these boulders and find old stashes.

I stopped at the Stardust, not for the night, but for a moment to obstruct traffic and take this photo.


I switched from 299 to 44. When I visited this area around Lassen Volcano in 2009 this road was closed off. Here you can see the results of that inferno. Far in the background you can see Mt. Shasta.



I was riding along toward the Nevada border when I saw storms ahead. This was unexpected! I thought it was clear sailing. Turns out it was more forest fires. Here you can see the Cali fires as I escape for a night in Carson City.



This would be my shortest visit to Cali in all my crossings. See ya next time Cali!

3 Responses to “California”

  1. Glad to see the tire we mounted is still rolling! Great pictures in California. I forgot to mention that if you ride near Weed/Mt. Shasta to check out the Living Memorial Sculpture Garden If you do, say hi to my Uncle Dennis, the sculpture and grounds keeper. Great views of Mt Shasta. – Jared

  2. gary streeter Says:

    The only way I toured prisons was as an inmate.What fun in my checkered past

  3. Awesome stuff Pat, I really enjoy your travels and wish that I could do it too. Maybe one day.

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