Thursday, June 28, 2012

Redding, California

We left Moab and started driving toward Redding, CA, our next big stop.  Along the way, still in Utah, we started to see some greenery.

Mountain streams were a blessed relief after all the heat of the desert.

Made it to Salt Lake City and got these pictures of the Great Salt Lake.

Notice all the salt deposits along the edges.
Saw this strange artwork along the way. It's a sculpture called "The Tree of Life", by a European artist. 

I was driving on I-80 when a dust storm came up and really killed visibility.  It took awhile but we finally realized it wasn't dust or sand, but actually salt.

We were just outside the Bonneville Salt Flats and they aren't kidding when they call it salt flats.

Got to Nevada and stayed at a park right across the state line.  We were glad to stop but noticed it was still extremely windy in this area.  There was also a lot of traffic because at mile marker 1 in Nevada there is a huge casino.  What a surprise!

This is it for Nevada......the only picture we took.  At least we could see some snow in the mountains.

We entered California and got busted at the state line by the agri-cops.  They had to come in and inspect our refrigerator and they confiscated all of our fruit expect for one lemon.  Also missed Brett's apple he had in a lunch cooler but they didn't take any of our vegetables.  Go figure........

Northern California's countryside is beautiful.  It's also big cattle country.

The mountain in the background is Lassen Peak, not too far from where we stayed.

We reached Redding and stayed at an RV park called Green Acres.  It was a little hard to find because you had to drive through a used car lot to get to the place.  The neighborhood around the area was the older part of Redding and it was a little dated but you got to see many different local characters.  I especially liked the jeep parked on the frontage road that sold medical marajuana!  Nice to know you can get medical attention when you need it.

The RV park was beautifully maintained with lush grass, flowers, a koi pond with fish, swimming pool, etc.  Everytime you drove in or out of the park (through the used car lot) you were surprised.

Redding is an amazing city.  It is surrounded by mountain ranges and forests.  The city has a population of 90k and the amenities that come with a city but it also has a small town feel.  Many people are moving to this area and I can see has so much to offer.  Redding is near the Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area offering lakes, hiking/biking trails and many other forms of recreation.  Our first stop was 4 miles north of Redding at Whiskeytown Lake Recreation Park.

Whiskeytown Lake was created when an embankment dam was created in the 1960's to provide flood control, irrigation, and electricity generation.  The area was a valley with approximately 200 residents who were relocated to create the lake. Most of the water flows into the lake from the Trinity River and the Brandy Creek.  It flows out into the Sacramento River.

What is interesting is the buoys you see in the front of the lake.  The buoys are attached to a rubber curtain that drops 100 feet below the water surface.  There is another smaller curtain anchored at the upper end of the lake which forces the cold incoming water toward the lake bottom.  Working together, they trap the lake's sun-warmed surface water, preventing it from mixing with the colder, deeper water.  The cold water flows below the curtain as it exits into the Sacramento River.

The whole intent of the curtain is to save the Chinook salmon that swim from the Pacific Ocean to the upper reaches of the Sacramento River to spawn.  Chinook eggs and fry (baby salmon) require temperatures below 56 degrees to survive.  The cool water discharged from Whiskeytown Lake  makes the difference, by a matter of degrees.  Notice how crystal clear and blue-green the water is.

This is a shrub called Manzanita.  It is only found in the western states and is very common here.  The leaves look like a eucalyptus tree.

The tree bark is reddish colored and sheds its outer layer as it grows.

This is the bark sloughing off.  Strange, hey!  It is considered an evergreen.  The word manzanita is Spanish for little apple.
Another different plant was the California Buckeye.  It is a small tree with spikes of white flowers.

The large, round, shiny brown seeds on the Buckeye are highly poisonous.  Native Americans dropped the seeds into pools of water to stun fish, which then rose to the surface and were easily caught.

We hiked along a trail on Brandy Creek. You can see how large the trees were with Brett on the left. 

Many of the trees had moss draping from them.......

........and so did the rocks.
One of the days we were there we hiked up to Brandy Creek waterfall.

It was so cool and beautiful.

The higher we climbed the more of the falls we saw.

The pups loveds the water but it was nippy.

Geese nestled on branches to get the sun vibes.

Another trip was along Clear Creek which lived up to its name.

While in Redding we walked across the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay which was built in 2004 and spans the Sacramento River.  It is a cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge for bicycles and pedestrians that forms a large sundial.  Turtle Bay is a complex containing environmental, art, and history museums and an arboretum and gardens.  It is also the gateway to the Sacramento River Trail, a 35 mile long trail that extends along both sides of the river.   

This is the end with the sundial. 

The Sacramento River where Chinook Salmon swim up to spawn.

This area of the river has a dam with locks for the salmon to swim up.  The other side is gentle water where the fish can safely spawn.  There is even a fish viewing center built alongside and below the river level where you can watch the salmon swim through the locks.  How cool is that.

Another area of the park where two types of turtles habitate.  They climb on logs in the water when the sun is out. 
While we were in Redding we were lucky enough to catch up with some fellow RVers, Peg and Denny Freeman.  We met Peg in Salmon, ID, last year while Denny was on a fishing trip on the Salmon River.  We had a blast and they were gracious enough to invite us over to dinner at there lovely home in the Shasta Mountains.  Wow!  What a place!  We had a great time and lots of wine and enjoyed seeing their pup, Bruin (a big black Lab) again.    

And then, alas, the week was over and we had to move on to Oregon.  There is so much to see and do in Redding, and we barely touched the surface, so we are planning on coming back again and spending a month to six weeks just in Northern California. 

As we left this beautiful state we had the opportunity to take some great shots of Shasta Lake and Mount Shasta.  You think you've seen magnificient landscape until this comes into view.  Feast your eyes......

Shasta is huge.

Mount Shasta.

Next stop is Bullards Beach State Park right outside of Bandon, Oregon.  My first chance to see the Pacific Ocean.  Peace to all!

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