California Part II

June 23, 2022

Yesterday was a cycling day and I found a mostly flat route across the plateau. I caught a bit of metal in my tire and got a flat at 41kms that didn’t seem to get worse but I turned around anyway. I learned a lot about my fancy new bike in the process. I have tubeless tires and I have never had those before.

The tire didn’t go flat all the way back despite a slow leak (and me pumping it up a few times). Pretty cool, but I still wasn’t sure how to fix it

As well, I now have disc brakes and I haven’t had a need to deal with those before. They are still rubbing like crazy (that may have affected my climb on Tuesday 😬)

About 2 minutes from our hotel I found a bike shop (The Dropout Bike Shop) and Owen explained the ins and outs of adjusting the brakes and how to repair my tubeless tire. I am a much, much smarter cyclist for all of that. I also have a working bike again; getting ready for California.

The scenery on the ride was nice and the roads were flatter than I expected but still quite pretty. It Was a nice 84 km ride in the end, although i was targeting a longer ride.

Riding east out of Reno

I was lucky to get invited to dinner with Jinhee’s colleagues and got to talk about the wonders of lithium for a few hours along with insights on travelling South America’s shoreline by boat.

This morning we packed up to head back to California. One of my objectives on this trip is to see the giant redwoods so we drove through the mountains to Scotia, California, the head of the Giant Redwood forest (I think it’s the top?!)

Honey Lake in Northern California has gone dry!
Starting a descent from the plains
Signs of a recent forest fire

The drive to Scotia, California was about seven hours. The first two hours were pretty flat, across the plateau. The most notable features were the slight rolling hills and the farm fields. The scariest part was the obvious lake bed of Honey Lake which is dry. Although it does lose most of its water annually, it shouldn’t be dry already! The farms there are likely to have a difficult summer.

Next we dropped down from the plateau and snaked through the mountain roads. Lassen is the first forest we entered and it was remarkable for the scenery, but also because of the sheer volume of volcanic rock visible on the surface. That volcanic explosion must have been outstanding (the last significant eruption is thought to have been in 1666).

The winding roads lasted for almost the rest of the trip until we reached our hotel in Scotia, California which is a tiny lumber town with a ‘charming’ hotel. We are staying there. It’s old but they are clearly trying hard to keep it unique.

Then the magic happened. We went for a walk in the forest amongst the giant redwoods , and wow. I saw them as a boy but I forgot just how big they are. I compare the experience to visiting the Grand Canyon, you can talk about the grandeur, you can look at photos, but until you see it, you really can’t get a sense for the immensity.

These trees are BIG.

The roots of a tree vs. me
Jinhee is clearly a tree hugger!
Big, tall and straight

There will be more tomorrow as we head back toward the airport but wow!

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