Wednesday, May 20, 2009


When I woke up this morning, it was still dark. I was excited, ready to get up and go.

Last night, we had done everything that could possibly be done the night before departure: tires checked and aired up; vacuuming completed; outdoor rugs and chairs stowed away. Odel had removed the big snap-on sun screens, and I had stowed and secured the dishes, books, etc.

I peeked at the clock: 12:30 am! Sheesh. I thought it was around 5:00. I reluctantly put my head back on the pillow and slept until 5:30.

It was forecast to be another hot day in Sacramento, and even hotter in Redding, 150 miles north, our destination. We planned to leave around 9 am, to complete the 3-hour drive before it got too hot - and we were on the road way early, 8:20. By 9 am, Sacramento wasn't even a speck in the rearview mirrors.

The drive up I-5 through the Central Valley of California is flat and boring, a drive we have made too many times. I am still surprised, though, by the vast agricultural spaces in California. We passed cornfields and rice paddies close to Sacramento, hayfields farther north, then the olive groves around Corning.

Just before Corning, we glimpsed a welcome hint of the beauty to come: the faint, faint mirage of huge Mt. Shasta looming to the north, and the much closer, less impressive Mt. Lassen to the east. Both are still covered in snow. Mt. Shasta is totally spectacular, seemingly standing alone, overwhelming. We'll get beautiful views tomorrow.

We were in our site at the Redding Elks Lodge
(read our review here) by noon. We make this Elks lodge our planned stop when traveling I-5 for two reasons: its beautiful setting, and the wonderful walking opportunity.

The lodge is on the banks of the Sacramento River, running high, fast, and cold today. A paved walking/biking trail runs for miles in both directions, through lovely green parks, under huge riverside trees (photo above - the span is a railroad trestle).

As soon as we deployed, got the A/C going, and finished lunch, we took off down the trail, heading east to the Sundial Bridge, about a mile and a half distant. What a unique and beautiful bridge this is, with its opaque, green glass surface and unusual style. The large "fin" at the end is actually a sundial arm, marking the passage of time on tiles set in a garden to the north. A few steps away is a strikingly colorful arboretum of plants suited for northern California's climate. What an asset Redding has made of its river frontage!

Tomorrow's drive is spectacular, up past Mt. Shasta into Oregon and Grant's Pass, our stop for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. We have a climb of around 4,000 feet to the top of Siskiyou Summit so, once again, the hot temperatures dictate an early departure (yes, I know that many of you are laughing when we call anything prior to 9 am "early"). We're looking forward to Oregon's cooler sunshine.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you made it to Redding ok. I've found that getting in and out of Sacramento hasn't been too bad lately, but you never know. It's always a relief to be away from that traffic.

    Safe travels -