June 19, 2016 – State of Jefferson

Route for Lassen Volcanic National Park to Sarah Totten Campground.
Route for Lassen Volcanic National Park to Sarah Totten Campground.

Route: CA-44W, I-5N, CA-96W

We got off to a late start. Our route decision was strategic because it would take us through Redding around lunch time and we had a brewery recommendation. Alas, the recommended brewery did not have food, so we stopped at Woody’s Brewing Company. We posted about our experience here, but the quick summary is good food and good beer. Worth a visit. Stomachs filled, we continued our journey.

History: We have been commenting that the farther we drive north, the less the California feels like, well, California. The area’s residents agree based on the number of ‘State of Jefferson‘ flags we observed. The proposed state spans contiguous, primarily rural, counties of southern Oregon and Northern California. There is a separate independence movement called Cascadia.

In the early 20th century the State of Jefferson felt that it was being left behind as the rest of California thrived. In 1941 local leaders worked to establish the State of Jefferson. However, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the secession plans were abandoned. The movement still continues today as a criticism to the growing role the federal and state government and how decisions made by these governing bodies negatively impact the region. Check out the segment on the State of Jefferson on the show How the States Got Their Shapes.

We also saw numerous ‘No Monument‘ signs. Curious, we Googled the issue. The Siskiyou Crest runs east-west and links the Siskiyou Mountains to the Cascades. The area has high biological diversity, believed to have resulted from the fact it was unglaciated during the last Ice Age and served as a refuge for plants and animals. The creation of the monument, out of land already managed by the U.S. Forest Service, aims to protect and revive the land. The classification as a monument would restrict grazing, logging, and mining inside the boundaries. Those in opposition fear worsening economic stagnation and that private property would be taken away from citizens. Supporters believe that the new designation would bring tourism and outdoor recreation dollars.  The monument is supported by the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and opposed by the American Land Rights Association.

Abby in site 8 at the Sarah Totten Campground.
Abby in site 8 at the Sarah Totten Campground.

Campground: The Sarah Totten Campground in the Klamath National Forest is a small campground along the Klamath River and has two group sites and nine individual sites. The campground has an upstream and downstream loop, with river access at the upstream loop. We camped in site 8 in the upstream loop which is next to the river access. No one was using the river access, but this campsite would be less than ideal if there was a high demand to access the river.

Alex looking for rocks to toss into the river.
Alex looking for rocks to toss into the river.

Activities: If we had a tow vehicle and kayaks, this campground is ideal. Drive the tow vehicle to the put out point, bring the RV and kayaks back to the campground. A recipe for an enjoyable time on the river. There were also multiple trail heads accessible from CA-96W, but we did not go hiking. There is a nice selection of rocks for throwing in the river.

Overall: A very isolated campground. Use does not seem to be heavy. A gorgeous area to camp. Site signage could be improved.

Brewery Tour – June 2016

The Brewing Lair

Located in Blairsden, CA, the The Brewing Lair has a superior setting (What? We should have taken pictures? We didn’t, check out the website). Tucked away in the Sierra’s along the Pacific Crest Trail, the brewery has a 9 hole disc golf course (15 acres), a slack line, and 3 BBQ grills for cooking (first come, first serve). They have several levels of outdoor seating with Adirondack chairs and picnic tables. They even have a nice selection of toys for kids (Blaze, hula hoops, Lightning McQueen, dinosaurs). The brewery is approximately a 10 minute drive from Plumas-Eureka State Park.

The Brewing Lair Sampler.

BrewingLair_02We tried the sampler that consisted of the Blair Belgian Blonde Ale, Ambush IPA, Take a Hike India Red Ale, Black IPA, and Solo Session with Mosaic hops. These, with the exception of the Blair, were hop forward. All the beers were well done and we enjoyed them, despite them being outside of what we usually order. We went back for pints of the Blair and the Black IPA. This is brewery is well worth the trip.


Woody’s Brewing Company

Fully pour of the Apricot Wheat at Woody’s and their beer selection.

Located in Redding, CA, Woody’s Brewing Company was a great spot for lunch and beer. We again opened with the sampler and there wasn’t a beer we didn’t like. Full pours were ordered of the Apricot Wheat (hint of apricot, not overly sweet) and the Pray for Powder Porter (just very nicely done). The food was also top notch – the jalapeno burger has flattened, deep-fried jalapenos on it. Very tasty. If you are in the area, it is worth the stop.

Lost Coast Brewery

Located in Eureka, CA, we first stopped at the Lost Coast Brewery in 2010 and again in 2012. Since our last visit, Eureka seems to be a bit more down on its luck. The brewery remains rather unchanged from our memory. We settled in and grabbed a sampler. We really do like the sampler as an easy way to taste all the beers. We found the 8 Ball Stout to be one of the better beers, but, were underwhelmed in general. The Famous Hot Brown was meh, and fell short regarding the description. The 8 Ball Stout Beef stew was delicious, although light on the meat. We might stop here again, but it won’t go out of our way to do so.

Six Rivers Brewery

The sampler at Six Rivers.
The sampler at Six Rivers.

Located in Mckinleyville, Six Rivers Brewery was the highlight to our day. Forced into a commercial campground for the night due to the need for cell reception for Jess’ phone interview the next day, we needed some good beer to off set the less than picturesque accommodations. Six Rivers came highly recommended by a friend and former classmate of Jess’. The sampler was ordered again, and much drinking ensued. The Chili Pepper Spicy Ale was overwhelming, the tip to mix it 50/50 with Strawberry Wheat came too late to help us. The summer sour was well done, with a hint of acid, but not excessive. The IPAs were all nicely done.

The Buffalo Chicken sandwich had nice heat to it and the burger wasn’t one to drive for, but was edible. Had a really nice Kid’s Platter with a wide selection for those little grazers.

North Coast Brewing Company

The sampler at North Coast Brewing Company.
The sampler at North Coast Brewing Company.

North Coast Brewing Company, in Fort Bragg was the last stop of our trip. Our final sampler of delicious beers. No truly bad beer in the bunch. The Red Seal beer engine sampler had the aroma of diacetyl (buttery), but the non-beer engine Red Seal was as expected. Possible the beer engine needed new lines or the beer was not moving quickly. Old 38 Stout, Brother Thelonius, Old Stock Ale, Pranqster, and Blue Star were some of our favorites.

The food was also very good. The Carolina BBQ kurubota pork was juicy, tender, and had that expected vinegar tang. The rosemary chicken was nicely cooked and was served with a delicious sauce. We sat at the bar a number of years ago, and to the best of our recollection, the tap room has changed since then (time does march on!). The tap room seemed to have a more upscale feel to it, but 6 or so years will cloud the memory.

It is a good thing we don’t live near Fort Bragg – our wallets would be quite thin from all our North Coast visits.


We enjoyed revisiting breweries and trying out new places. It is definitely a different experience with Alex in tow, but with a little help from the electronic baby sitter (DVD player), we were able to enjoy some beer.

Hands down, the Brewing Lair had the best setting. A must visit if you are in the area; also great for Alex (an other kids) because he got to play outside and there were toys.

For beer, North Coast did not disappoint. Woody’s was a nice surprise, we stopped because we needed lunch and they served food. We are very glad we did, it was quite enjoyable. The Brewing Lair beer styles were outside of what we normally seek out, but well done.