Sunday February 18, 2018
Woke up this morning to a bad weather report. It is still sunny in Reno, but the weather forecast for Alturas looks like rain and snow in the area at some point so we had to take a long detour to get there. Normally heading up 395 its about a 3 hour trip to get to Alturas from Reno. Due to the uncertain weather in the mountains between Reno and Alturas and the fact we were in the Prius, we decided to make a 4 hour detour to the central valley of California and then head up via Chico and Redding.
We hit the road and headed up the grade to Truckee. We decided not to stop anywhere in the mountains even though the weather was holding, we didn’t want to delay getting down to the valley and then up to Alturas. We did make a pit stop in Grass Valley before continuing down to Yuba City and then headed up to Paradise. I had been on this route before so it took me back to the days when I commuted between Davis and Chico back in the 90’s. I decided to make a pit stop in Paradise. It had been a few years since the last time I was in the area and wanted to put some flowers out at my grandparent’s gravesite.
The weather was cool, but still holding as we made it up the grade to Paradise. We did a drive-by of my grandparents old house and then stopped at the Safeway to get some flowers. It was then off to the Paradise cemetery to drop the flowers off and chill for a bit before it was time to head down the hill and get back on the road. I wish we had more time to linger, but we needed to get going.
Once we made it to Redding it was time to make the journey to my last county in California. One of the things that surprised me in this area was the large number of windmills on the ridges. I had no idea that this area was harvesting wind. Other than Altamont Pass near San Francisco and the area near Palm Springs, I didn’t know of any other windmill farms. We made a quick stop at a vista point which turned out to be the Fountain Fire Vista point. Apparently there was a big fire here in 1992. In the 26 years the forest has filled in nicely, but you can tell the trees haven’t fully grown in and there are still visible scars.
As the sunset across the Northeastern part of California, we got some good photos of the beautiful landscape and finally rolled into Modoc County around 6:30 – already after sunset with just a bit of dusk left. It was another hour from the county line to downtown Alturas which was basically deserted. We were hungry for dinner and it wasn’t looking good until we found a small Italian restaurant that was still open. Thankfully it was very good and welcome warmness compared to the cold outside. We lucked out since it didn’t rain. I do wish we had left Reno earlier as we missed any scenery of the area around Alturas since it was already dark. I wish we had more time to spend in the area. According to the map there are some great lakes and forests to explore in the area.
After dinner, we headed back to Redding. We made sure to look for and reserve a hotel before we lost cell service when we went over the mountains again. As we drove the 2-3 hours back to Redding, it began to snow as we got into some of the higher elevations. Thankfully, it wasn’t sticking since we did not have chains but did make for some interesting diving through the dark, dark night.
Finally arriving at Redding, we made our way to the Town Place Suites. I don’t really understand why Marriott has all of the different brands. Some of them make sense – a “Marriott” and a “Renaissance” have distinct differences in how the hotels are designed. However, the difference between a “Springhill Suites” and “Town Place Suites” is something that escapes me. I think they are a bit inconsistent in how they are styled because they are very similar. I think Springhill might be the more upscale brand, but who knows. At any rate, I was glad to have a decent place at a reasonable rate to sleep after a long day of driving – over 500 miles.