It was a Wednesday night when we finally did it. After months of research, sketching, sawing, sewing, our little white truck was finally ready to be slept in. We dubbed the truck Baby Beluga because Raffi’s children tunes filtered into the garage as we built the platform, including “Baby Beluga in the deep blue sea/ swims so wild and he swims so free/ heaven above and the sea below/ he’s a little white whale on the go!”
We drove Baby Beluga north of Sacramento and pulled over on an empty road a couple miles outside of Lassen Volcanic National Park. We designed the truck’s platform to store most of the gear, clothes, and miscellaneous items, so that we only have to move a couple large Tupperwares and a cooler to roll out the memory foam bed topper and comforter to sleep. And sleep we did, until the sun peeked out from under the homemade semi-blackout curtains Velcro’d to the camper shell’s walls.
Lassen’s visitor center ranger recommended the 11-mile Summit Loop as a good day hike. “But be careful – there are supposed to be thunderstorms after 11am.” Of course, breakfast burritos took precedence over an early and prudent start. The clouds thickened as did the eggs and by the time they were wrapped in a tortilla we were in the car with rain blurring the view out the window.
We drove to the Summit Trail head and loaded rain gear into the backpack, which we would put on and remove throughout the hike like a weather-driven Simon Says game. We were rewarded with another gorgeous lake at every mile, and only saw four people and a couple trail crews the entire day. Typical Lassen Volcanic National Park – gorgeous, empty, and easy to see why it was designated a National Park.
It felt so good to move after five weeks of sitting on buses in Central America. We were happy to be back in the U.S. where we could brush our teeth with tap water and feel cold enough to wear a jacket. And Baby Beluga was starting her migration north to Washington. We had begun the post-modern American dream!