Wednesday 25th September: Weed to McArthur Burney Falls

Bernie: We did not linger long in Weed, which in the rankings is my second least favorite town (Chemult still bagging first prize). As we were slightly off route we needed to take a small road parallel to I5 for a few miles. Pleasantly quiet for the first mile it became clear why – the pavement deteriorated into massive pot holes and then disappeared altogether into a dirt track. We jiggled along, joined alongside the railway track and then luckily after a couple of miles joined the proper route to Mount Shasta, lovely views of the mountain being revealed, snow capped against a brilliant blue sky. 10 miles got us to the town of Mount Shasta, where we took my bike to a bike shop to have the gears and chain rings adjusted while we went off for coffee. Mount Shasta is a pretty town with lots of ‘alternative’ shops. Perhaps a bit too twee but good coffee.
Bike fixed we pedalled out of town and the last view of the mountain and then along a pleasant climb over to the town of Mcloud. The guide book writer obviously really liked the town as gave it abn amazing write up.  Pleasant enough I would not rave wuite so much about it.  The cafe announcing the ‘best burgers in Northern Califormia’ produced some mediocre burgers and we were able to stock up on food and fuel.
The afternoon run was one of those roads to get from A to B.  A pretty enough road through pine forests, the weather was pleasant but the road was full of massive lorries and logging trucks on a narrow road with no shoulder.  The speed limit in California is 65 (as opposed to 55 in Oregon) and the trucks appeared to view this as a mandatory speed rather than maximum speed. The road was also one of those undulating roads with sharp down hills and up hills which I find very tiring.  Near the end of the afternoon we crossed into Shasta County, which clearly spends more on its roads as we then had the luxury of a wide shoulder, although were then caught in sharp rain showers (not the fault of Shasta County but they could try a little harder on the weather front).
The weather brightened again as we reached our destination -McArthur Burney Falls State Park, described by someone as ‘probably the most beautiful waterfall in California’. Not quite sure what the ‘probably’ meant we did not hold out too much expectation but the falls in fact exceeded the description. The falls are fed by a river that burst out from underground reservoirs in the lava fields (we are still in volcanic country) just a mile up stream and although not the tallest falls we’ve seen they are broad and extremely beautiful.
It made up for the rather dreary afternoon as we soaked up the atmosphere in the fading evening light chatting to a retired couple from New York (and being enertaind by the accent which was SOOO Broolyn). Then back to the campsite and a delicious chicken curry made by David.

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