We are back from Chico. The impending collapse of our faithful Mitsubishi Mirage, which has taken us on many adventures for 17 years has been the issue of the week since we’ve been back. We’re now the proud owners of a Honda Fitt – it seems like it will last for a long time. We hope.
Chico is looking like a strong possibility for our new stomping grounds. It is about 2 hours north of Sacramento, in the foothills of the Cascade Mts., a volcanic range that stretches through Washington, Oregon, and far northern California. We visited Lassen Volcanic National Park, about 100 miles from Chico. It is a surreally beautiful park – volcanic domes and cones, thermal areas with steaming ponds and bubbling mud pots, vast forests and mountain streams, and late season wildflowers. I will include a few photos later.
Chico itself is a very appealing town. There are work possibilities, and a range of activities – writing and reading communities, environmental groups, ways of taking University classes very inexpensively, festivals, and more. Bidwell Park, a urban park that stretches from downtown to the Cascade foothills is amazing. It will be a great spot for all seasons, and there are swimming spots for hot summer days. And yes, the town is very bikable.
It will get hot in the summer, but again, swimming will be a relief.It will also be quite different from Oakland. There are some African Americans, but not many; there is a large Hispanic community. Much of the working class is Caucasian, this will be a switch. The town has problems like meth labs, and some bike thefts and break-ins. This will be different from Oakland, where shootings are fairly common. There is sprawl of course, although much of it seems to be in parts of town we can avoid.
It will not be as different bioregionally as other places we have visited. Some of the plant communities and wildlife will be very similar. There are, again, cultural difference. There is a bit more of the feeling of the lonesome mountainous and desert West among musicians and writers, and less of the Ecotopian West Coast. I know what I mean and will expound more on this if we wind up there, which looks very possible.
We need to look into renting, having some kind of work shortly after we get there, etc. We’ll start making plans soon, and I will report in here.
Here are two photos of Lassen Park: This first one is a thermal pool in the geothermal area called Bumpass Hell. Heat from magma below the surface is making this water boil. Bumpus was an explorer who wanted to start a business based on mineral extraction here, but he managed to wind up in a thermal pool and lost his leg. There are also bubbling mud pots here – like I said, surreally beautiful! The shot below it is Mt. Lassen, the volcano that gives this park its name.