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Casa Grande AZ to Weed, CA
mini location map2014-10-12
14 by photographer avatarmdfabbrini
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Casa Grande AZ to Weed, CA 
Casa Grande AZ to Weed, CA
Scenic Drive avatar Oct 12 2014
Scenic Drive1,168.00 Miles
Scenic Drive1,168.00 Miles
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1st trip
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Days 2 through 6 of our road trip to Northern California and back to Tucson.

Day 1 is covered in photoset & triplog

Day 2, October 12 (303.5 miles): After overnighting in Casa Grande and spending most of Sunday at a church event there, we headed out about 4:30 pm for Palm Desert. This evening was just about getting to our next hotel room. My wife's medication regimen has her on a sleep cycle that has her getting up around noon or 1 pm each day; she had made the effort to get up early to attend the church function, so by the time it ended and we headed out she was pretty wiped. We stopped at In-N-Out in Chandler for a quick bite, gas at QuikTrip in Goodyear, and then flew across the desert for the next 5 hours, stopping for coffee and a bathroom break at Starbuck's in Blythe. We pulled into the Holiday Inn Express in Palm Desert 9:30 pm.

Today's observation: the agriculture inspection station in Blythe was open and fully staffed, but they seemed to waving every car through. How does that work? How do they know that I'm not smuggling crates of forbidden fruit?

Day 3, October 13 (404.8 miles): A pleasant morning in Palm Desert greeted us. While my wife slept, I had breakfast and headed out to explore a bit, heading out to the BNSF mainline to see if I could catch a couple of trains to photograph. I sat there for about an hour and a half, but nada. I got back to the hotel to get a quick run in while my wife showered and packed. We left the hotel about noon, and took us about an hour to get to I10, as traffic was impeded in several spots along State Route 111 through the Rancho Mirage and Palm Springs by road construction, and I stopped to take a few photos. I also had to stop to take a couple of phone calls, as I could not get my Bluetooth headset to connect with my phone.

Even though it was a long drive, it seemed to go by rather quickly and pleasantly. The weather was good and the traffic reasonable (except up I215/I15 to the I15/SR138 junction). Fall colors were apparent in the high valley that SR138 passes through, and it was great to catch whiffs of the agricultural smells as we entered the lower San Joaquin Valley, smells that one rarely experiences in the Southern Arizona area. Because of the long drive, culinary experiences were limited to Subway for lunch and Panda Express for Dinner. We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in Merced at about 10 pm.

Day 4, October 14 (350.4 miles): A little easier day. I took pictures of trains while my wife slept the rest of the morning. It's amazing how most the Valley towns have grown over the past decade. Merced now has a University of California campus. But the core of the town is still quaint, laid out in the classic ag/railroad town grid fashion, with generally small, well kept homes. Only the downtown areas for the most part still have not recovered from being bypassed by the freeways and the migration of retail to outlying supercenters. I retrieved my wife, checked out of the hotel, and stopped by Starbuck's before jumping onto I5 north for Weed and Mount Shasta.

Driving further north, the weather turned a bit cooler and windy. A front is pushing through, hopefully bringing some much needed rain to at least the northern part of the state tonight. But driving through the Valley, it's easy to forget that California is in the middle of a prolonged drought (and from the lush landscaping that has been recently planted in the southern desert cities, it's evident that some people don't care). Fields and orchards are full of crops, with almonds, rice, and corn being harvested. As the day wears on, and the daylight fades, fleets of tractors turn on their lights, pushing on through the night to bring in the crops.

Arriving in Weed about 6:30 pm, Mom had dinner ready. Earlier in the day, my wife said "you know your mother probably cooked ham for tonight" knowing it's not my favorite, and sure enough, that's what we had. I will admit that I had two helpings, along with mashed potatoes, salad, and French bread. Good conversation ensued around the table while we caught up on the life with the parents and my younger brother and sister-in-law.

Day 5, October 15 (64.1 miles): We spent most of the morning hanging around the my parents house. Early in the afternoon we headed out to inspect what we could of the fire damage that destroyed much of Weed a few weeks ago - we really couldn't see much, as most of the burn was closed off to everyone but the residents affected, contractors and those with official business. We stopped here and there to take a few photos, ending up in Mount Shasta. There we browsed in the Berrryvale Market, had some coffee, and walked a bit more along the main street, killing time, until meeting my brother and his wife for dinner at the Best Western Tree House Inn. Dinner was outstanding! I had grilled salmon filet, while my wife ordered the duck breast and sweet potato fries. The rest of the party had equally good entrees as well. We highly recommend the restaurant if you find yourself in Mount Shasta.

Day 6, October 16 (44.2 miles): I awoke at 5:30 am headed out to climb Black Butte, a dacite dome volcano that sits next to I5 just north of the city of Mount Shasta. The trip report and photoset is at A storm front had pushed through two nights ago, so it was cool, about 44 degrees, and cloudy, making for a great morning to climb this prominent landmark.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing with the family and eating some homemade minestrone soup for dinner. We eventually ended up at the Black Bear Café in Mount Shasta after evening church, where my wife and I split 2 eggs, linguica sausage, and home fries. Still hungry after that, I ordered a hot fudge sundae. Hey, I logged over 20,000 steps today, so I deserved it!
Dacite Volcano
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Named place
Black Butte Mount Shasta
et deinceps per nebula
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