California Cruise 2004 – Day 5: Lassen Volcanic National Park & the Sierra Nevadas

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Wednesday, June 23

  • Castle Crags State Park, CA to South Lake Tahoe, NV
  • 338 miles

After a very hearty breakfast at the Black Bear Cafe in Mt. Shasta City, Scott opts for an an emergency back massage while the crew drinks espresso. Having sprained his back just prior to leaving on this trip, the pain level is getting out of hand. It’s bad enough to consider leaving the group and heading home on I-5. He locates a massage therapist in town, who given only 30 minutes and a challenge to ease his pain, opens a can of whoop ass on him. While it doesn’t solve the problem, it does enable him to opt for continuing on to Yosemite. Ever since Joe gave Scott a Yosemite pin in 2003, Scott has been determined to ride there and “earn” the pin so he can place it on his safety vest. It’s too close now to throw in the towel.

We leave Mt. Shasta on Highway 89, a quiet, two lane road, which will takes us through the Lassen Volcanic National Park. Riding through Lassen on a Wednesday in June spares us the many RVs that are said to clog up this amazing park. The roads are dry while snow is still piled high alongside. Lots of twisties, serious elevation change and superb views all add up to make this a top notch ride. We’re tempted to spend more time here but Lake Tahoe is still way off to the south and we’re off to a late start. Read more about motorcycling through Lassen on the website.

We leave Lassen and continue south on Highway 89 to Lake Tahoe through the High Sierras. Nothing really exciting, just hours of peaceful cruising through the mountain forests. There’s an excellent recap of Highway 89 on the website. Look for “High Sierras via Hwy 89”.

We arrive on the shores of Lake Tahoe at dusk and ride clockwise around the lake to the resort town of South Lake Tahoe. The waterfront homes are very impressive and most of the garages are bigger than our own homes and much fancier.

We check in at a hotel and then walk over to the nearby Cabo Wabo cantina. Unfortunately, it is nothing more than a lame Sammy Hagar shrine for tourists. It is painted red with video monitors every few feet showing Sammy music videos over and over with the sound off. Meanwhile, the sound system is blasting out rock tunes. Every third song or so is a Sammy tune and all are played so loudly that we can barely talk. We limit our stay to one drink and head over to the Broiler Room at Caesar’s across the street for a scrumptious dinner.

Day Six: Yosemite National Park

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