- Our Route
- Day 1 - San Francisco to Bothe-Napa Valley State Park
- Day 2 - Bothe-Napa Valley State Park to Williams
- Day 3 - Williams to Woodson Bridge Recreation Area
- Day 4 - Woodson Bridge Recreation Area to Manton
- Day 5 - Manton and Red Bluff
- Day 6 - Manton and Mt. Lassen
- Day 7 - Manton to Black Butte Lake
- Day 8 - Black Butte Lake to Letts Lake
- Day 9 - Letts Lake to Upper Lake
- Day 10 - Upper Lake to Hendy Woods State Park
- Day 11 - Hendy Woods State Park to Point Arena
- Day 12 - Point Arena to Bodega Bay
- Day 13 - Bodega Bay to San Francisco
April 23, 2002 ( ~ 48 miles)
We went to the Mill Creek campground, hoping that there would be water there, because we knew for sure that the forest service info in Stonyford listed it as fully open. We grew to resent the forest service during this portion of our trip, and no, there was no water.
We looked at the maps and Ryan's spirits soared. He claimed it was going to be a short and easy day [I was trying to be positive because Amy was freakin' out that we were never going to get out of the forest]. He was thinking that we had a lot of descending coming to us after all the climbing that we had done the previous day, and also the extremely squiggly line on the map didn't look very long. I was deeply skeptical. [Amy fails to mention that this is not the route I had planned. And that this was her route for getting us out of the forest quickly].
Over the course of the day we decided that the forest service people had different priorities then us when it came to road building in this almost totally deserted forest. They always wanted their roads to climb up and up and up, only to drop all the way down to a river and immediately start climbing to the top of the next mountain. We speculated that they did that for fire fighting reasons. Had we designed the road, we would have followed the river and made the road get the hell out of there as fast and flatly as possible.
Instead we took Bear Creek Road. It started out nicely enough, following the creek the way I like roads to. Then we came to a part where the creek had washed the road out. There was an older couple in a truck that was in the process of turning around. They said they always drive to Stonyford via the Bear Creek Road, but that it was just awful this year and they were going home. They asked Ryan to move a big rock from the creek into their truck. They noted that we were really sunburned.
Finally, at around 4:00pm we made it to some kind of paved road. As a last insult to our bodies, it went up for one last mile. Then it abruptly dropped. If I were a better descender, it would have been a great road. There were no cars at all, and it was just all crazy hairpin turns for several miles. Ryan got way ahead of me and had to wait, that's why there are pictures of me riding down the mountain.
Then we rode through this flat and easy area towards Upper Lake, where we were really hoping to find a motel because we were totally dirty and exhausted. The dogs of Lake County would not just leave us to limp into town though. On two occasions we were forced to sprint for it when dogs launched attacks. They must have been able to sense our weakness.
We were so, so glad that there was a Super 8 Motel in Upper Lake. We didn't care that it was slightly overpriced. It was the only motel there and we didn't have enough energy to get to the next town.
We then had the worst pizza I have ever had at the only open restaurant in town, bought cookies and ice cream, and peacefully watched cable television until we feel asleep.