For us, the visit to Lassen took on a life of its own. First off, after spending a few days at Yosemite, my husband needed to fly home to work. So we dropped him off at the Sacramento airport, and a rather brave me started the long drive home that was to include more stops.
We stayed in Redding, California, that night, where we had made sure that we had reserved a hotel that had laundry facilities, because we were a bit desperate for clean clothes at this point. (I had packed lightly for everybody with the calculation that we would do laundry twice during our trip and we had already missed our first chance to do laundry before heading in to Yosemite.)
So fairly late at night, looking like a bunch of, well, of campers, we pulled up to the Red Lion. You should have seen the face of the nicely dressed gentleman at the front desk when I went to check in. He politely (and a bit stiffly) asked me how I was, and I said “I’m just looking forward to a shower. I just came from Yosemite.” I knew exactly what he was thinking.
Then we pulled around, and the older kids and I drug all of our stuff into the room, showered, discovered that they had herb tea packets in the room that we found to be quite tasty and relaxing and then turned out the lights and fell asleep.
Early the next morning, I got up and pulled together all the dirty laundry and then headed out of the room to find the laundry facility. After walking up and down every hall of a hotel that was quite a maze, I returned to the room and phoned the front desk to ask where the laundry facility was. I got the pleasant reply, “I’m sorry we don’t have laundry facilities.” What? We double checked before we reserved the room.
Immediately, I woke the kids up and said, we’ve got to go find a laundromat. Now mind you, you can’t get four kids out of a hotel with a moment’s notice—well, if you can, please send me the directions. Eventually, we had everything together and we were buckled into the car, and I had the address of the nearest laundromat and we were off for the next adventure. But horror of horrors, the laundromat’s wash machines were all broken So we all plugged our noses and grinned at each other and headed out to Lassen.
Okay, none of that had to do with Lassen, but it’s the part that I remember about it. It was going to be nearly four more days before we got home, because we were going to a little camp meeting for the weekend, and I didn’t know when we were going to find laundry facilities. And just so you know, we didn’t. Fortunately, my husband drove down and met us at the camp meeting, so he brought some clean clothes for us.
Lassen National Park was quite pretty. I wished we could have camped there, as all the campgrounds were close to very picturesque little lakes. (And we hadn’t got to do laundry anyway. We did however find a Trader Joes in Redding, so we had restocked our food supplies and we were all happy about that.)
However, as you can see Lassen Peak (the peak in the background) is rather lunar looking. We had to do a hike for the kids to get their Junior Ranger Badges, so we chose to hike out to the sulfur pots. I’m just going to say that by the time we were done with that hike, none of us wanted to hear about Junior Ranger Badge requirements. It was only about a two hour hike, but part of it was steep, and Baby decided that she was too tired to walk. Remember, my husband wasn’t with us, so Zippy and I took turns carrying her. Then the camera broke for some reason, so we lugged that heavy ole thing for no reason. Needless to say, Zippy and I were exhausted by what was supposed to be short hike, and just so you know, the sulfur pots stunk. But eventually, much later than we had planned, the kids were awarded their Junior Ranger Badges and we were on our way to our next destination.