8-11-04  Fall River Mills, California to Reno,  Nevada

            I left Fall River Mills at 9:30 AM with no liner for warmth.  The day was cool; comfortable.  It seemed to warm as I climbed during the short run to the Lassen Volcanic National Park north entrance.  As I entered the park, a cluster of 6 Harleys passed me going in the opposite direction.  Behind them was another group of 4, then 2, then 8, etc.  It was my introduction to the 600 touring members of the Posse Riders.  The Riders were visiting the 22 states west of the Mississippi, from the south to the north.  The leg that day was from Reno to Klamath Falls, through Lassen.  I warned a couple of the riders about the construction through the 299, right on their route.  There were no front to back communications between the ranks of the Posse, so I don't know if the warning was received in time.

            I talked to riders from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and from Virginia,  George and his wife.  George had gone 30 years without riding before buying the Harley 2003 Centennial collector bike.  They had no map, where I had two (one from an earlier visit to the park), so I gave them mine.  George gave me a Posse token in return.  I really appreciated the token as a gesture of friendship, as I was a Kawi in a Harley world that day.

          The Lassen road was made up of curves and twisties, with great scenery and pleasant weather at altitude.

Lassen peak

              I stopped at the "Devastated Area" for pictures of Lassen, then rode to the Lassen trailhead to hike to Bumpass Hell.  Bumpass Hell was discovered by Mr. Bumpass, who had the misfortune to fall through the thin crust and into boiling water.  He gave a leg to his discovery, but ended up with his name prepended to "Hell", and as a place name for one of Lassen's most unique features.

Bumpass Hell

           The "Hell" part of the name comes from the numerous thermal features:  the boiling springs, fumaroles, and steam vents that cover the area.  The water and steam coming out of the ground is some of the hottest in the world, and in recent times has been growing hotter.  Lassen was last active in the early 20th century.  It will no doubt be active again.

Bumpass Hell

          At Bumpass Hell, I filled up the remainder of my last digital storage media.  I was out of "digital film".

Bumpass Hell

         My final stop in Lassen was at the Lassen Chalet just before the south entrance, for a good lunch, rehydration, and souvenirs.  At the edge of the national park, the 89 became the 39, which begat the 395, 120 miles from Reno.  The terrain the 395 passed through turned into desert and heat.  About  40 miles into the heat, I leaned down to check something, straightened up, and almost fell off the bike from dizziness.  As soon as I could, I stopped for 24 oz of H20 and chugged it down.  The heat and the wind through my mesh jacket had wicked away moisture until, without me noticing, dehydration had set in.  After sitting in the shade for 10 minutes and letting the water soak in, I rolled back onto the road.  My speed increased to 65 mph and the traffic started picking up around me.  Outside of Reno, the 395 turned into a limited access highway.  I saw a sign for the Atlantis, the hotel where I was supposed to meet my wife in a few days.  The hotel was fully booked.  I called my wife on my cell phone to try to backdoor into the Atlantis or into a nearby hotel.  My bike was parked in a cobbled area near the Atlantis front door.  As I was talking, Steve from Portland rolled in on a Honda Goldwing and parked next to me.  He had been in Reno for a week.  His wife had been riding with him, but she had flown back home.  He was lingering around Reno for a few extra days.

            There was no luck to be had at the Atlantis.  Kate booked me into a room at the nearby Peppermill Motor Lodge, adjacent to the Peppermill Casino/Hotel.  Meanwhile, Dominic showed up on his Harley Davidson/Volkswagen Beetle trike mash-up, a Model 1600 purchased in Fullerton, California.  He parked in front of doors; the valet told him to move.  I was leaving anyway, so I told Dominic to hold for a few.  Steve had gone into casino and returned with a beer in hand.  We all traded stories for about 15 minutes.  Another biker rolled up.  I was taking needed space, so I said good by and motored off.  I did not fall over on my way out, once again avoiding my nightmare scenario of blowing it in front of the crowd.  I checked into the Peppermill.  It was a good room and adequate for my needs.  That done, I called home to remind my family of Perseid meteor shower maximum occurring that night.  Our house has the black skies needed to appreciate a good stellar show.

            Jeanette spent a few minutes on the telephone to tell me how she hooked up a computer and loaded software for her teacher, Mrs. Gunnett.  She said it was only a matter of matching holes.  Right.  Everything is simple for a 9-year old.