Catching Up

Hello Friends! With the COVID-19 lurking around and people being asked to self isolate I thought this would be a good time to get  caught up on 2DogsTravel.
Since finding this bugger Snake in my little home this past fall and having it removed by a couple of our wonderful fire department personnel (THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!) things pretty much went down hill.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were uneventfull except for the morning lows in the mid-20s for a week between Christmas and New Years. Another reason to be thankful that I have a warm(er) place to hunker down in the Arizona Winter.
Welcoming in 2020 we were delighted with this fabulous sunset

                                                       Gotta love Arizona sunsets.
Late January brought news that my SIL, Karen, had been hospitalized diagnosed with myeloma. That on top of diabetes and Parkinson’s. To her credit she had agreed to the bone marrow testing; she is not one who can handle much pain so this really surprised me. She had lived with her sister in Oregon for the past two years since my brother passed, and Sharon was her primary care giver. I  will be eternally grateful for this.

To make a long agonizing story shorter, she was finally sent home. Weak, discouraged, and with the knowledge that she would be taking chemo for the rest of whatever her life span would be, Karen decided that the treatments, constant doctor’s appointments, and continual tests were too much. She decided to let nature take its course and requested that all her meds to be withheld including her diabetes medications.  That, of course, put her into a diabetic coma and in less than two days she was released from her torment and went home to be with her Lord.
Ten days later I got a call from my niece that it was time to come say goodbye to my sister. Edie had been in rehab, again, to try and get her up and walking after yet another hospitalization in December. She came down with pneumonia on top of her CHF, years with COPD, and several bouts with sepsis. She continued to decline in hospital and come to the point of not being able to swallow amongst other various ailments. The doctors said she would never make it out of hospital and she didn’t.
I made the fastest trip ever to California (Hey, I could still be a truck driver if I wanted to . . . at least for a couple of days!).

One of us was with her 24/7 until she took her last breath at 9:30 a.m. February 27th. I stayed for a couple more days to help as I could and to visit with my sons before making a mad dash for Arizona before an incoming storm arrived.

The Chiweenie Brothers and I didn’t quite make it ahead of the storm and it was a snowy drive higher up on Hwy 44 near Lassen Park, but we came out the other side just fine and didn’t hit snow again until near Mammoth Lakes on Hwy 395 where the worst of this section of the highway was starting, but it wasn’t too bad.

Some shots taken with my phone on the trip back.
Mono Lake March 2020     MONO LAKE
The halfway point in our trip is right about Lone Pine, CA Where we spent a very brutal, cold night in the Alabama Hills. The wind coming off Mt. Whitney and surrounding Sierra Nevada made it feel like my hands were going to fall off and permanent grimace left on my face when we got parked for the night and The Boys needed their evening potty walk. I was so glad to have dug through a couple of my storage bins while in Redding and had brought my sleeping bag back with me.

A cold-but-windless morning presented a beautiful dawn creeping over the horizon.

Alabama Hills March 2020 Dawn is Breaking

Sunrise Alabama Hills March 2020
And this interesting little dinosaur, eh?
Alabama Hills Dinosaur Graffiti
A stop at McD’s for coffee and The Chiweenie Brothers and I head for the barn. I was  feeling a bit off, but was determined to get back to our little desert hideaway.

Back in Arizona The Boys relax after racing around their tiny back yard trying to get some of that pent up energy burned off. DSC_0024

I am totally exhausted and don’t even bother with unpacking the car.

Thank you for stopping by 2DogsTravel. Hugs, Shawna

Finding a Camp

And the adventure continues…..     After leaving Lassen Park we end up coming to the town of Chester on Lake Almanor before we find the Hole in the Ground.  WHAT?  How did I miss it?  We pull over and I grab the Benchmark.  Yes, we definitely missed it and the only thing I can figure out is that it isn’t marked by the name, rather just the road number.  Dang.  Note to self:  Don’t just look for the name, also look for a highway number.  Can this be the only campground in the area not marked with a sign?  Probably not, but it sure seems like it. Onward.

We find nothing but huge, overpriced by-the-lake camps and we aren’t biting.  Just out of the small town of Chester, we stop at the Lake Almanor Rest Area that allows 8 hour parking.  It will be a bit longer than 8 hours, kids, but we are tired and here we shall stay unless we get run off.

Just after dark a forest service truck makes a loop through the rest area, but he doesn’t even stop.  We are parked right next to the pet area and not even near any of the picnic tables overlooking the lake so he doesn’t bother us.  🙂 It definitely pays to use some common decency and to abide by the rules.  Or, he could have been anxious to get home.  We will never know, but we didn’t get run off so we’ll be content.

The boys get their walkabout and we enjoy the waning daylight fading into dusk over the lake.  I set up their stakes in the pet area and get them fed. Earlier I threw a burrito I put together before we left home into the jar I spray painted black. I am testing it as a ‘solar cooker’ but it should have been put out earlier.  The burrito ends up being just lukewarm, but that’s ok.  It fills the empty tummy.  Note to self:  if using this solar cooker, start earlier in the day.  Would it work in the windshield?

It’s about an hour after sunset, the boys have had their last walk of the evening and I am ready for bed and settled in to finish the ebook I am ready, Breaking TWIG by Deborah Epperson .  There has been spotty traffic in and out of the rest area, but something is different with the vehicle that pulls in now and loops the rest area.  A noisy, dilapidated ‘muscle car’ stops just past Miss Freedom. They rev the engine and I sense they are wanting everyone to notice they are here. I don’t have a good feeling about this.  They leave the vehicle running and I hear the car doors slam.  I hear bumping and thumping.  The van’s windows are covered with the black fabric side of my Reflectix window covers so I can’t see what’s going on (and no one can see in).  I frantically try to find the can of wasp spray I bought yesterday before leaving town —- just in case.  The dogs make a lot of noise. I try not to let them do that, but in this case I let them be as vocal as they want. Not a drug deal, no nefarious shenanigans that I can detect.  I finally realize “They” are going through the garbage cans.  At first it’s a huge relief, but on pondering this event, I am glad I had three dogs with me.  Not to borrow trouble, but someone driving that type of car, going through the garbage cans are probably searching for cans and bottles with a redemption value for,well, activities that aren’t legal. “They” either found what they were looking for or gave up.  I noticed they didn’t go through each can in the rest area. I felt a lot better when they finally leave and it is once again quiet, but it might have been different.  Did the dogs make them decide not to pursue the rest of the cans, or did they find what they thought was sufficient to get them through? I’ll never know, I don’t want to know, and I am glad I had the dogs with me.

I didn’t have a very restful night and the boys wake me up around 5:30 Saturday morning wanting a walk and their breakfast.  Dang.  Well, the day is dawning bright and beautiful if a bit on the chilly side, so let’s get moving.  We head toward Susanville and the boys, of course, sleep the entire way.

We arrive just after 8:30 and find the location of the Biz Johnson Trail.  It’s a hiking/biking/horse riding trail that is part of the Rails to Trails program.  Find more about it HERE.  My intentions are to speak with someone about a workamping position here for next year.  No one is available who can educate me, but all is not lost because now I know where to go and who to talk to later.

I need coffee. I know there is a McDonalds in Susanville, and say what you will, they make very good coffee.  The place is packed and orders are delayed because someone forgot to put the biscuits in to bake.  We aren’t in a hurry , and even though I decided at the last minute to buy one of those sausage biscuits to go with my coffee, it was worth the wait— but not the weight, if you know what I mean.   😉 ha!  I’m a happy girl right about now.

Biscuit eaten and still plenty of coffee left to sip on, we head toward home.  As I point Miss Freedom’s nose west toward Highway 89 via Highway 36— roads traveled many times when I drove truck for a living— I reflect on a few things:

*Traveling with three dogs can be a major PIB
*Traveling alone with three dogs is very comforting.
*A roof vent is definitely needed in Miss Freedom before any major time is spent on the road.  It was
  pretty dang warm inside her even into late evening.
*I need to make sure I have summer clothes in the van before the next adventure. *GRIN*.  What can
  I say?

Just before we hit the Highway 44/Highway 89 Junction and while still up above the valley floor we stop at the Hat Creek Rim Overlook.  It allows for a panoramic view that is hard beat.  Mt. Shasta is in the very background, you can see the burned area from last year’s devastating fires, and the tiny highway far below.

We are only 20 miles from home and much to their dismay, the boys don’t get a walkabout .

When we do finally pull into the driveway and get settled back into the house, they are out for the count.  No doubt dreaming of our next adventure.

Thank you for traveling with us.  We so appreciate your interest in our blog.  Hugs, Shawna

We Left at Noon…..

for a little adventure not far from home but far enough to give us a good idea of what we may be lacking or what we might be needing to eliminate.  And the boys are really excited.  They know when we are going somewhere, and the biggest challenge in getting prepared is making sure they don’t get stepped on while running back and forth from house to Miss Freedom. Finally we are ready to roll.

LASSEN NATIONAL PARK
This gorgeous park is only 40 miles from home, and it is such a treasure.  One of the sleeping volcanoes in the Cascade Range, Lassen Peak rises to a height of  10,457 feet.  She last erupted in 1915 and became a national park in 1916.  You can read more HERE.                  CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

  No snow remains on Lassen.  In years past sometimes the road into Lassen Park is covered with 14 feet of snow and isn’t cleared until around July 4th.  The record late opening was sometime in August, but I can’t remember what year that was. 
We spend our day meandering through the 35 miles of road feasting our eyes on the meadows, crags, gorgeous lakes, blooming wildflowers, and rocky devastated areas, with frequent photo stops and doggy sniff fests.  We don’t hike into Bumpass Hell (no dogs allowed on the trails, dang it) but you can check out the sulfur fumaroles HERE.  I have made this hike before and it’s not far and well worth it.  
Lake Helen

Emerald Lake

Diamond Peak

One of several meadows in the park    

Our ride through the park completed, The Chiweenie Brothers, Burger, and I exit Lassen National Park and search for a place to camp.  The target is Hole in the Ground Campground.  We turn left and head east on Highway 36.  According to the Benchmark Atlas of California which I discovered via a fellow adventurer—thanks RVSue!—this campground is not too far off the highway and the boys and I look forward to setting up camp and enjoying our evening.  To be continued….