June 24th, 2016
TeamHovis set out to have the slowest day on record. Mission accomplished. The kiddos slept in and we started the day off with breakfast at the hotel. Great accommodations at the Best Western Plus TreeHouse. Great little road side family hotel with wonderful views of Mt Shasta. Through some fortuitous timing, we booked our room at the right time to enjoy a gigantic breakfast included with the stay. When we reserved the room it came with free continental breakfast, which they have since done away with, so we each got to choose one breakfast menu item. COFFEE! TEA! PANCAKES! BISCUITS & GRAVY! EGGS! of all kinds. The slowest day was off to a strong start. We took our time eating breakfast and were out of the hotel right before 11am.
We drove to both city parks in Mt Shasta City looking for the perfect place to kill some time before a 12:40 pm. We stumbled upon the Headwaters of the Sacramento River adjacent to one of the city parks with a fun playground. The kiddos loved the park. The headwaters was pretty cool as well. A spring bubbles out of the ground an immediately forms a downhill rapid. The water coming our of the spring is snow melt from 50 years ago. The story that we’ll remember from the playground is Lady Coach trying to shake Coach off of the purple dinosaur only to swing the dinosaur directly into Gman’s head. Tears. The Coaching Staff also forced E to take pictures of Coaching Staff kissing. E made grose noises.
At a little after 12 we rounded everybody up and headed to a tiny movie theater for the 12:40 showing of Finding Dorie. It was a big hit with everybody. After the movie we headed to our nights accommodations at Mineral Lodge just outside of Lassen Volcanic National Park. This place holds a special place for Coach as he stayed here with Beardy McAfrica on their North Cal roadtrip several years back. Beardy and I didn’t arrive until well after 11pm but the hotel staff stayed up and made us dinner and drinks – its that kind of place. The rooms are nothing spectacular but the location, food, and service are great. They have a cool old bar that stays open late on Saturday nights as well.
One of the perks of the hotel is its elevation of about 5,000 feet above sea level. This makes the temperatures about 20 degrees cooler than the California central valley below. Also, the rooms have checker boards. E and Gman loved it.
For dinner we ordered to go from the Mineral Lodge restaurant as the kiddos were way tired too tired to be taken in public. As evidenced by their screaming and this photo.While Coach ordered food Lady Coach took the kiddos on a walk to the Mineral School House and played on the playground. The little school house hosts grades K-12 whenever there are enough students – seems quite different from the huge suburban school districts where we call home.
After dinner, Coach tucked the kiddos and Lady Coach into bed. Coach spent the early evening reading and then about 10 pm he drove into Lassen Volcanic National Park. The scenery, thermal features, and wildlife make Lassen an excellent place to visit. However, what sets it apart is it is one of the last truly dark sky places left in the lower 48. So Coach spent a rather cold night in the Lassen Peak Trailhead parking lot gazing at the Milky Way. It was stunning to see all those stars. Coach had never really scene the Milky Way with his own eyes. Fantastic! Well worth the windy drive up the mountain in the pitch dark. We wish we had the camera equipment, shutters, and exposure controls to take the pictures to do it justice.