Crossing California

Smith River, once thriving, now dead.

"You can camp under those trees over there" was the answer we got after knocking on the door of a rancher as the light dipped low to the horizon and mercury dropped suddenly towards freezing. Fall was quickly turning to winter as we climbed steeply out of the Sacramento Valley and up towards the remnant cone of Lasson Volcano, once upon a time an enormous peak that erupted violently in 1920 to be remodelled into its current form.

Somewhat intrigued by our choice of transport, we were kindly invited in to share a beer and a laugh with our new found friends after hearing "I only ride horse and things with a throttle that run on gasoline."

It was an eye-opening evening everyone and an insight into how polarised this country is. You are either one thing or another, not a bit of this or a bit of that. We were in Republican Country and that's that.  

After a delicious cooked breakfast of bacon and eggs and a very kind offer to drive us around the now closed national park—thanks to the government shutdown, we decided to try our luck and go around all the signs indicating that the park was closed. We were fortunate enough to come across a ranger who was sympathetic to our mission and let us continue through the park, just no camping. It was a highlight of the trip to be on the road without any other vehicles for most of the day in the spectacular mountains.