(Welcome back to Thebeerchaser. If you are seeing this post through an e-mail, please visit the blog by clicking on the title above to see all of the photos and so the narrative is not clipped or shortened.)
I smiled as we rolled south on Interstate-5 through Grants Pass, Oregon, heading for our first night’s stay in Redding, California – only 285 more miles for what would be a total of 472 or about nine hours from our home in a Portland burb. (#1- #2 – external photo attributions at end of the post.)
My heightened spirits harkened back to the great memories from our last road trip – a long one – clear back in in the summer of 2019.
And was that a road trip! Fifteen-Days – a 3,700-mile journey through six western states going as far east as the Dakotas. Those who follow Thebeerchaser blog know that besides touring a number of fantastic National Parks and Monuments as well as the impressive Custer State Park, we visited scads of wonderful bars and breweries.
While on my own – the first six days driving solo – I visited twenty-three bars and seven breweries including my favorite bar since I started Beerchasing – The Dirty Shame Saloon in Yaak, Montana. (Don’t worry, at most of the bars I visited those six days, I had a 7-Up while talking to the owner or bartender).
Janet flew into Billings where I picked her up for the rest of the trip. We subsequently stopped at ten bars and nine breweries for a total of forty-nine memorable establishments where we met wonderful people, had outstanding beer and good food.
It reaffirmed our appreciation for the National Park Service. The scenery was varied and stunning. The complete list can be found at the end of the post below:
Then a Three-year Pause….
We had no idea that a global pandemic would stifle not only road trips for the next few years, but essentially curtail all travel other than occasional trips to the beach and to Seattle.
One doesn’t fully appreciate these journeys until their absence. To use a Beerchasing analogy: Schlitz Beer was always my favorite beer, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until they stopped producing it in 1981 when I learned the meaning of “When you’re out of Schlitz, you’re out of Beer!” (#3)
And while major back surgery this June made us reject extending our trip for several nights in San Francisco, this 2022 journey was still about 1,200 miles. We reveled in the scenery of Northern California and the Oregon Coast and while also visiting and revisiting some excellent watering holes.
I had some trepidation the name of the brewery evoked based on repressed memories of graduate school which bubbled to the surface. Both my sister and her husband were high school English teachers at one point in their careers and were kind enough to edit all of my graduate school papers.
When I often submitted what I thought was my “final draft,” it would be returned with a sea of red ink and no smiley faces drawn at the top. It clearly redefined the meaning of “final.” Dave Booher, seen in the photo below taken recently in Wales, looks like a kind and gentle soul sipping his IPA.
However, the image on the left shows the volume of red pens he used just to “correct” one paper. He was merciless (but I guess, in retrospect, he did teach me how to write and perhaps his actions were based on the quality of my narrative……He is also a quality human being. #4)
Dave is a patriot and served in the US Navy Submarine Service – five deterrent patrols on two Fleet Ballistic Missile nuclear subs and one tour on a diesel boat, USS Dogfish, launched in the late ’40’s and used as test platform for secret sonar experiments.
He also advised me – a guy who served on Destroyers – that:
“There are only two types of naval vessels: submarines and targets.”
He still has a sign in their bedroom he altered from the 1950’s. His version:
“Better Red than Dead!” (#5 – #6)
He’s so into scarlet that even though he’s an ardent U of Oregon Duck fan, he wears a University of Alabama Crimson Tide jersey to the games at Autzen Stadium…….you get the idea! (#5 -#6)
Note: Dave informed me after reading this post that ironically, the photo of him was taken at a pub called “The Scholar’s Bar” in Aberystwyth, Wales. He also added, “Please note that in these perilous times my current favorite colors are sky blue and sunflower yellow.”
Final Draft Brewing was a great choice and even on a Monday night, this establishment, opened in 2017 by owner, Adam Ward, was hopping with 34 rotating taps including hard cider and seltzer and with an expansive food menu. There was also a nice outdoor patio and as accurately portrayed on their website:
“Big Screen Tv’s, Exposed HVAC & An Open Area Brewhouse Located Directly Behind The Bar Are All The Unique Elements That Make Final Draft Brewing The “Go-To” Hangout In Downtown Redding!”
Our server, Isaiah, was a nice and helpful chap who had worked there for three years and explained the beers and gave us some samples before we decided to get (4) four ounce samplers – each for $2. All were the Brewery’s own beers (Passive Aggressive IPA, True Blood Orange Kolsch, Attention Deficit IPA and Miso Blonde – the Kolsch was my favorite although all were good.
We shared the Filet Mignon Steak Salad ($17.99) and three Cod Tacos for only $12.99 and both were excellent as was the service.
Another Great National Park!
Lassen Volcanic National Park was only an hour from Redding, so we were able to spend a full day in this geologically splendid example of the sixty-three areas of discovery and beauty maintained by the National Park Service.
Notwithstanding my consumption of the Attention Deficit IPA the night before, I learned from a film in the Visitor Center that Lassen Peak is the largest plug dome volcano in the world. Lassen Volcanic National Park is also one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found – plug dome, shield, cinder cone, and stratovolcano.
Another striking feature of the Lassen National Park and on our subsequent trip from I-5 to Highway 101 on the Coast through the beautiful Trinity Alps Wilderness (the second largest in California) was the devastation caused by wildfires.
Much of the Park was closed last year because of fire and the lodge where we stayed was evacuated although fortunately not destroyed.
At times, one could drive down the main road through the Park and on Highway 299 to Eureka on the Coast and on one side would be lush green forests while the view on the other side was blackened stumps, spindly remains of once lofty firs and no undergrowth.
Fortunately, the beauty of Lassen Peak itself and the marvelous story of the modern-day eruption in 1915 and the movement of massive rocks to end points miles away transcended what one hopes is the temporary devastation by the fires. (The Hot Rock in the picture below weighs 30 tons!)
“At rest for over 100 years in this location, the larger boulder here was once in the vent of Lassen Peak. A violent lahar, or mudflow, carried this 30-ton rock speeding down the slopes of Lassen Peak in a slurry of mud, earth, and rock.
Visitors to the altered landscape reported that Hot Rock was hot to the touch even months after the eruption. The rock’s internal temperature is estimated to have been 1000°F when it came tumbling down Lassen Peak.” (National Park Service)
And lest one become too complacent about the past and present volcanic history of the Cascade Range, take a look at these photos in what is appropriately called the “Sulphur Works.” These can be viewed (and smelled……) right by the highway. Others require some walking.
“The remarkable hydrothermal features in Lassen Volcanic National Park include roaring fumaroles (steam and volcanic-gas vents), thumping mud pots, boiling pools, and steaming ground.
Water from rain and snow that falls on the highlands of the park feed the hydrothermal system. Once deep underground, the water is heated by a body of hot or molten rock beneath Lassen Peak. Rising hot water boils to form boiling pools and mud pots.” (National Park Service)
Highlands Ranch Resort
We had reservations that were canceled last year when the Lodge had to be evacuated because of the destructive Dixie Fire, and on this trip couldn’t get into one of the seven multi-room cabins of this magnificent lodging option on 175 acres only fifteen minutes from the Park.
Fortunately, a nineteen unit motel (The Village at Highlands Ranch) – right across the highway – also operated by the Lodge owners, proved to be very comfortable.
All the amenities of the Lodge were available including the expansive patio with unforgettable views of the meadow and mountain forest, a rustic dining room and spectacular walnut bar and fire pits to enjoy our after-dinner drinks.
It was one of the most relaxing and pleasant afternoon and evenings we spent since 2019. The staff for the Lodge and the dining room and bar were outstanding and friendly.
Onward to Additional “Hot” Spots….
So ended our first two days on the road trip and we then headed west to Red Bluff through the Trinity Alps to our next nightly destination – the Historic Arcata Hotel in Arcata, CA on 101 – a nice jaunt of 190 miles. We left volcanic and geothermal country, but now searched for Beerchasing Hot Spots!
External Photo Attribution
#1. Wikimedia Commons: By Chad K – Sundial Bridge, from the south, CC BY 2.0, (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=108094668) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
#2. Wikimedia Commons: File:Flag of Redding, California (pre-2018).png – Wikimedia Commons).
#3. Wikimedia Commons: (File:Old Schlitz Beer advertisement in Milwaukee Wisconsin.JPG – Wikimedia Commons) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Author: Victorgrigas 4 January 2014.
#4. Wikimedia Commons: (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Several_empty_red_pens.jpg) Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Author: DigitDiva 16 May 2014.
#6. Public Domain – Wikimedia Commons (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alabama_Crimson_Tide_logo.svg) This logo image consists only of simple geometric shapes or text. It does not meet the threshold of originality needed for copyright protection, and is therefore in the public domain. Source: University of Alabama – (https://rolltide.com/documents/2018/6/28//Alabama201819LogosCopy.pdf?id=12116)