Mt. Shasta dominates inland northern California

Mt. Shasta puffs steam slowly into the northern California air.

Where the cascades from the northwest end and where the Sierra have not really yet taken form, lies a region in northern california which is a joy to behold. I remember day after day of hot, dry riding with Mts. Lassen and Shasta as escorts working my way north. Lassen has its own National Park replete with belching sulfurous fumaroles and squirming mud pits; Shasta is more modest, merely puffing steam from its summit into the air with quiet dignity. There is a road up to a campground below the summit which i took with much trepidation and yet scepticism, for i was informed by folks below that the road had a 25% grade for its entire length of almost 8 miles. This was plainly ridiculous, for it would place the camp site two miles above sea level, which it most definitely was not. It turned out the grade was brilliantly engineered at 250 feet per mile and, no doubt a dumbed down ying yang courtesy of America's award winning public school system had divided by 1000 instead of 5,280. In any case the ride was worth it, and the mountain is a nice sight as well. Sitting largely by itself, the town of Weed at its feet, and a feast for the eyes of traffic on I-5, the interstate lifeline of the west coast. A cyclist could easily spend weeks here on all the back roads and national forested regions.

There once was a proposal to merge this region of Northern California, fed up with its heavyhanded politicos in the Los Angeles/San Francisco/San Diego kiss-my-axis, with part of southern Oregon to form a new state called Jefferson. The idea got lost in the World War two era, but you will still hear stories about it from true locals, fed up with city slickers who want its water for their swimming pools, gambling casinos, and agribusiness. If the wests' rural prairie rebellion ever gets a real leader instead of biscuitheads like the unabomber or libertarian wannabees like Utah senator ....... , we just might see some real justice come to this region and this country. Till then, enjoy the cycling