Pacific Northwest travel log, day 1

We are back! Spent 2 weeks on the road with a toddler in tow and we all lived to tell about it. 3119 total miles, averaging 51.1 MPG. — love the new car.

Day 1: San Jose to Dunsmuir 337 miles.

We got off on a late start; too many last minute things that needed to be done before we left. Worst case scenario, we’d miss out on the Shasta Dam tour. We finally hit the open road about 11:30 AM, which gave us plenty of time to catch “breakfast” before Bette’s Ocean View Diner closed.

Bette’s is in Berzerkeley. As Valerie and I walked from the parking lot with Maia in my arms, a young man holding a clipboard took a step toward us and presumed, “I’ll bet you two would like to see a Democrat in office”. Both of us outwardly laughed and just kept going. It’s beyond me why they spend any energy signing up voters in Berkeley given the super majority they already have there.

Even at 12:30 on a Friday, we still had to wait for a table. But, only long enough to let us pick up some packages of scones and pancake mixes for warm breakfasts later in the trip.

Maia achieved a new first: she ate a short stack of pancakes on her own (minus a taste that I took), plus some of Valerie’s eggs, plus my fruit. Kid’s got two hollow legs! Breakfast turned into brunch as we concluded it with a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie. Had we known that no finer pie would be had during the rest of the trip, we’d have ordered two slices instead.

Rhubarb Pie at Bette\'s

Back on the road we missed not one, but two shortcuts that would have turned us north towards the 5. Ohh well, only 30 miles out of the way, but a solid half-hour spent in stop and go traffic.

It had been about 2 weeks since we’d seen blue sky at home due the majority of CA being on fire. Nearing Redding, it was even worse as we approached some of the largest fires in the state.

Red Sun

We stopped in Red Bluff to eat and stumbled across the Riverside Bar and Grill. The food was quite tasty and the view of the river was very relaxing. But, the odd thing about Red Bluff was the coffee opportunities every other block. I’m hardly exaggerating — the Google search below is clearly missing more than half of them.

More coffee

We arrived at the Railroad Park in Dunsmuir well after dark. We’d called ahead and they left the light on for us in caboose #28.

Caboose Cabin
I wasn’t sure what to expect; could have been over the top cheesy. But, I have to say, it turned out to be a great way to get the trip started. The caboose is actually quite spacious, larger than an average hotel room. They left the large locker in place that had a ladder to the observation deck seating. And, like every caboose would, it was complete with a pressure gauge to monitor the health of the train’s brake system. At $140 it was only marginally on the splurge side of the budget.
Note the pressure gauge.

Incidentally, the locker (closet) pictured above was huge. The pack-n-play Maia sleeps in fit with ease, giving her a private room all to herself.

I wasn’t quite ready for sleep, so, I shot a few photos around the park. The old steam engine was really something you don’t find often. It’s specially built for steep logging roads. Note the three vertical pistons driving a crank shaft. The crank has a few wiggle joints and a right-angle gear drive assembly on every axle, making it “all wheel drive” — even the tender car! The boiler is actually offset to the left side in order to make enough room for the pistons on the right — looks out of balanced when viewed from the front.

Old Logging Engine

There are more photos from around the park in the gallery.

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