Redding California Motorcycle Trip

Redding California Motorcycle Trip

Sundial Bridge at Discovery Park

“Why are you going to Redding?”

Weekends are to most everyone a valuable and too rare commodity. That makes a common question, “what are you doing this weekend?” Even though no one really cares what you’re doing, it’s the polite thing to say on Friday. But when you’re taking Friday and Monday off to make a long weekend, people expect that you must have plans…..good ones.

So recently when I responded with, “going to Redding” the universal gut reaction was, “why?” Along with that look of, “are you insane?” OK, so Redding CA isn’t on the top of most people’s bucket list vacation spots, I get it. Unless of course you’re really headed to Lake Shasta, which this year actually has water in it and is an oasis in Northern California. Well, we are traveling as usual by motorcycle and not by boat.

The winters in Central Oregon are long, really long and spring can last as long as a week in an unusual year, generally it goes from winter to summer and back again way too quickly. Southern Oregon warms up much earlier than us; and sometimes it’s enough just to head down there to warm up, but on this particular weekend, not so.

We just wanted to go find some soul warming sunshine and hang out, no great expectations beyond, sun, heat and an outdoor pool. Now I’m going to tell you what we discovered and that there are things to see and do in Redding.

Motorcycle we ride — Direct route we must not take

Between Bend (home) and Redding the most direct route would take us down Hwy 97 to its terminus with I-5 at Weed CA. Just because of the name, Weed has always gotten more attention than it might have otherwise; but now since, “weed” is legal in Oregon, less folks stop here to buy a T Shirt.

Interesting route always wins over direct, always. At Klamath Falls, we take the old Hwy 66 for a mountainous, twisty road to Ashland and then I-5.  Hwy 66 aka, “The Green Springs” is worth riding whenever you have the opportunity, not when you’re in a hurry.  Now, if you’re in a hurry….STOP IT…..remember, “Life is Short.”  You, we, I….none of us bought a motorcycle to be in a hurry, take the long way, slow down, stop and smell the forest or flowers (take a hike if you happen to be traveling with Karla).

Mt. McLoughlin

Mt. McLoughlin 25 miles north as viewed from Hwy 66.

Tub Springs

Tub Springs Wayside

GPS Works — Most of the time

First we were hungry, and knowing there would be no vegan offerings in KFalls we headed to Safeway.   GPS is great, although not always up to date with the latest changes. For the most part it gets us where we need to go. Safeway had obviously been popular, so much so that they needed to build a new store but no one told GPS. Finding an abandoned building, we consulted Google (she is never wrong) and went to the new location. Wow, another abandoned building, so much for their popularity! Safeway deli is our most reliable, fallback lunch across the west. No worries, Ashland is only an hour or so away and they have a Safeway.

Even though I know where the store is, we plug it into GPS just in case they too have moved. We’re guided right to the familiar spot with a large parking lot…….and an abandoned store. Really? It’s now way beyond time to eat and the humor is escaping me. We find a New Seasons market and they make a great sandwich, so after wasting over an hour…..we are fed.

The ride down I-5 is pretty standard freeway, although you do get to pass along a good amount of forest and then cross Lake Shasta, an impressive sight when it’s full.

We choose Holiday Inn over our usual HI express simply because of the outdoor pool, which will be enjoyed in the 95 degree heat…perfect! And we actually did a lot of nothing, as the sun got high in the sky and temperatures held beyond sundown.   But is there really anything to do around here?

Turtle Bay Exploration Park

What about the second largest sundial in the world? That sounds interesting at the least. Turtle Bay Exploration Park is definitely worth a visit, not just for the sundial but the 200-acre flower gardens were beautiful. Art works placed along the pathways offered more photo opportunities and fit into the garden theme perfectly. The glass deck bridge leading to and supporting the sundial was an engineering marvel. We passed on the museum, but it looked (from the outside) to be worth a visit next time.

Not exactly art, but who could pass this up?

Karla is a connoisseur of anything purple

Not everyone can match their shoes to the fire hydrant!

In search of lunch

We use Happy Cow, Trip Advisor and Yelp, pretty much in that order. Happy Cow being vegan oriented is not nearly as widely used, so not as many reviews, but we’ve found it fairly reliable…….with any of them, there can be errors. It seems while folks are good about adding new eateries, they can be lacking in updates, like restaurants that have closed.  Restaurants come and go, it’s a tough business.   Apparently, being a vegan kind of place in Redding CA, is especially difficult.

 

First we followed the GPS to Grilla Bites, in what looks to be a fairly new redevelopment section of town.  Gorilla Bites had a cute sign, but nothing else, oh well.  There’s always “Wrapped” and it looks to be in the same area. The similarities continued as this place was also out of business.  When I find these closed places I can’t help but feel for the person (probably a couple) who had their dream (and bank account) squashed. What started as a passion for food and the desire to bring it to everyone; turned into hard work, long hours and ultimately despair.  Sad.

Stepping back to take in a wider perspective, we noted that a several block area of redevelopment was barren.  Many shops looked as though they had been occupied but were now nothing but signs on empty storefronts.  Interesting, and there was no traffic on the streets of this otherwise busy Saturday.  Sometimes I over-analyze things, maybe I’m just too (once again) hungry?

We did find, “The Habit” A California burger chain, that turned out to have an excellent veggie burger.   It was near our hotel in the Hilltop District, in which everything seemed to be thriving.  Location, location, location as they say.

On second thought, maybe I just want a cuppa coffee!

Once again searching for a place to eat

Punked

I can’t pass up a little practical joke, and this one’s on Karla’s kids.  It’s been months and we have never told them it was a photoshop prank.  So, unless they read this blog, the fun continues.  They got this as a, “text from mom” and the 3 reactions were pretty funny….Do your kids know where you are tonight?   🙂

Shasta the Ghost Town

Northern California was the epicenter of the gold rush in the lower 48,and most of what were boom towns either burnt or simply fell down.   Shasta is one of those that some people decided was worthy of preservation.  Thank goodness for those special folks who spend years saving places that the rest of us weren’t thinking about, but reap the benefits.  I’ve been to some of the most notable museums in the states, but I think the best are found in small towns scattered across rural America.

Once the largest city in Shasta County with a population of 3500…..banks, general stores, saloons & brothels (the good old days) served everything a miner would need.  The town seems to have burned down a time or two, before these brick buildings began their stand over 150 years past.  Located six miles west of Redding on Highway 299, Shasta is a State Park with large grassy areas and big shade trees, picnic tables and restored mining equipment.

Horse Thieves received a sentence from the judge here

Large collection of guns

The actual gallows where the horse thieves were, “Hung by the neck until you shall be dead.”

Look there is Mt. Shasta…………The ride home.

Final Thoughts

Looking for someplace warm early in the spring or late in the fall?  So many restaurants, everything for the Standard American Diet (SAD) eaters, not much, but doable for vegetarians/vegans.  Lots of choices in lodging.  At least a couple of days worth of pretty good sightseeing, probably more.

Surprisingly. we really liked Redding and the area.  We’ll go back.  When the weather is better in the upper elevations you can ride up to Lassen National Park.  We’ve been there a couple of times, so it may not be on our list, but if you haven’t seen it….GO.

Life is Short  —  Start Living Now !