It was supposedly my call, so I chose water (for the kayaks) and beer (for me).
The fam let me decide where to spend Father’s Day weekend, so we loaded the kayaks on the roof racks and headed up to the Sierra’s…the Sierras?…the Sierra?…the Sierra Nevada’s?…whatever.
Our first stop was the Truckee River, west of Reno, where we encountered some strange creek-side critters.
We did not launch the boats on the Truckee, as the primary purpose of this stop was to ditch the dog—I mean, leave the beloved family pooch under the loving care of the kids—as the wife-person and I had a pressing lunch engagement at a brand new brewery, 80 miles to the north in downtown Susanville.
And, by “pressing” I mean that I was getting really thirsty for a nice cold beer.
Susanville is a smallish city where the Great Basin desert runs smack into the visually imposing eastside of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. This Lassen County seat of government reveals too many boarded up businesses, which reflects more optimistic moments in time.
The main drag (other than the wicked winters, with temps well down in the minuses) is appropriately named “Main Street,” and is really the only main street in the entire town.
Back in the day, logging was the industry that provided the livelihood for many hardy souls, whether those willing to risk life and limb out in the woods, or those putting in long shifts working around the massive machines in the lumber mills, which converted huge trees to lumber, all to meet the demand for the once-prosperous housing market.
Nowadays, the primary industry of the county is the incarceration of felony offenders of the law, in not one, not two, but three so-called correctional institutions—two state prisons and one federal penitentiary. Supposedly, one third of the entire 35,000 county residents reside behind bars, who are supposedly not drinking beer.
This is not to be confused with the number of non-incarcerated individuals who might spend significant time in the bars, and can drink all the beer they want. (Well, at least until the wife-persons call and tell them to get their sorry asses home.)
Like many rural towns that had heydays of high employment, especially in those high-risk occupations, Susanville has had more than its share of watering holes offering whiskey, beer, and various other liquid, stress-relieving spirits.
The oldest established business in Susanville is said to be the Pioneer Bar, which was established back in 1862, and as of more recent times, is the location for an expansive brewpub, where the beer is well made, and welcomingly consumed.
The Lassen Ale Works at the Pioneer Saloon (which may be in the running for the longest brewery name anywhere, except maybe Germany, where I have seen words so long they run onto the next page) has at least a half dozen microbrews on tap, plus an imaginative pub menu that includes a few out-of-the-ordinary offerings, such as their lamb dip.
As this blog post has already exceeded the word limit attention span of the majority of my reading audience for this site (which I believe is often attained shortly past the blog post title) you will have to wait for me to get to the kayaking part of this story.
Oh well, I had to decide between physical exertion of paddling in the scorching sun, up in the high desert sky, or drinking beer.
The beer won.
But, I can promise wild life stories next time, which will include actual photographs of strange hairy animals.
No, not these. I’m talking Sasquatchish hairy.