(Written by Dave)
Before I forget – HAPPY BIRTHDAY Mom!
The theme for the day was definitely Mt Shasta. We started in the morning barely able to see it in the east due in part to the smoke, but mainly because the sun was so bright from that direction. Until around noon, Shasta was mostly just a dusty grey silhouette. We knew it was Shasta, but it was hard to make out any features, much less capture dramatic photos. By the time we reached our intended stop, Mt Shasta’s summit was covered in clouds – so much for the late afternoon photos being better. Even without great images, we knew it was there all day – you can’t miss it at bike speed.
The day started by us using the camp kitchen to cook our oatmeal and coffee. The Yreka RV park was not stupendous, but it was fully serviceable. Some nights you take what you find and make it work. The folks running the park were very helpful and accommodating – which always scores points in our book.
We started the day riding east, away from downtown Yreka, but also into the more industrial part of town. We often wonder in these smaller towns, “what do people do here?” Well in Yreka, there is a big logging mill which I’m sure employs a lot of people. They had massive piles of raw logs being sprayed with water continuously – and a good number loaded log trucks coming in and big trucks loaded with finished lumber heading out. Once we got east of the mill, it became clear that logs and finished wood were coming from the west and heading back to the west – not in the direction, we were riding, which was great.
We had mostly flat to slight climbing for the first couple hours of the day. We passed through small towns of Grenada and Gazelle – neither had much to offer for a morning tea stop. The country side was farm and ranch land – with plenty of small holdings still hanging on – it’s not an easy life out here for sure. We eventually settled for a group of trees that happen to not only provide shade, but also some ripe black berries to supplement our snacks. It was around here where we finally started to be able to make out the snow on the top of Mt Shasta – rather than just the mountain outline.
From morning tea to lunch in the town of Mt Shasta, we did a good bit of climbing. In fact, we did more climbing in this section than we did after lunch when we thought we had a really big climb between Mt Shasta and McCloud. We were pretty hungry by the time we were getting close to Mt Shasta. Just outside of town, a nice couple in a pickup pulled up to ask about our trip and where we were going. We eventually asked them where to eat in town – in response to which they told us about Burger King and the Black Bear Diner, out by the freeway. In fact, they said that Main Street had nothing to offer.
We rode into town with low expectations but were surprised to find all kinds of cafes on the main drag. We also found lots of crystal shops, massage and yoga shops and alternative living centres. We settled into a nice cafe called Yaks for lunch. The nice couple in the truck either didn’t buy into the “hipster” life style or didn’t think it would excite two bicycle tourists. The truth is more basic than either – bicyclists like good, heathy food. And this is pretty much what you find in “hipsterville”. We had a nice feed and coffees at Yaks.
In spite of Pete (our route planner and current armchair ride leader) telling us that we’d big climb after lunch, we only had to go up about 800 feet. It was now 1PM and pretty hot so this was the hardest sustained climb of the day, but it wasn’t as bad as we feared. The 5 mile ride down the backside of the climb and into McCloud was a nice way to finish the day.
Upon arrival we took a scenic ride around McCloud. There are a lot of nice old buildings and surprising number of hotels in town. We rode past the historic McCloud Inn, just so that I could show Nancy. My mom and I visited it a few years ago. As I was back then, Nancy was surprised today – for such a sleepy little town off the highway, the Inn and McCloud in general has a lot on offer.
We couldn’t ride past Floyd’s Frosty on our way back out to the RV park. We enjoyed cool milkshakes to celebrate finishing another day. From here it was just across the highway to our RV park. We are staying in the McCloud RV Resort. They don’t normally allow tents but make exceptions for PCT hikers and bicyclist. They have more rules than the average RV park, perhaps that’s why they call it an RV resort. The tent area is quite large, covered in shade, with good number of trees. We have been on our best behaviour so that we don’t get thrown out and so that future cyclists can still use the park – it really is the only option in McCloud – rules or not.
Tomorrow we head for Burney Falls – we’ve heard from so many people this is a must stop if you are heading out on Highway 89. It’s only 42 miles from McCloud but that will give us more time to enjoy the afternoon at the falls. So far Highway 89 has had a good shoulder – we’ve been also told that it’s not great from here onward. We’ll be on our toes for the traffic and pull off when we need to.