Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Views from Northern California

Our rig, all nestled in the trees and ready for a week of rest from the weary travel.

Gorgeous. And the scenery behind my darling, awesome, as well. Oh, and matchey-matchey. Happy Mother's Day!

The city of Redding, CA., needing a town "centerpiece" to attract visitors, hired famed (so they tell me) Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava to come up with the design. In typical CA. fashion, the City had originally estimated an outlay of $3 million--the tab for the Sundial Bridge came in at $24 million. So goes the state of California.

No doubt, quite intriguing and glorious with the blue glass walkway which is translucent and spans about 3/4 mile across the Sacramento River. 

How it works-- take the 217 foot tall mast, mix in a sunny day, cast a shadow........

...then walk over to the dial on the north side of the bridge where circular, metal time-stamps are affixed in 30 minute increments, and, wolah, where the shadow lands, you have the tiempo. The time stamp in the photo is for "1:00" and the current time by watch was 12:45 pm, pretty accurate, all be it is only 100% spot on once a year, on Summer solstice. Now, the dial is a bit cumbersome to fit around your wrist and is real pain when the TSA wants to scan it through X-ray, so stick with your Timex.

The view at night with with its aquamarine glow created by the lights which rest below the bridge. Now, one issue that has been noted with the design (again, taking you above and beyond Wikipedia) are ladies adorned in dresses crossing the bridge with the light projecting from below are creating a different kind of show. Ahh yes, Senor Calatrava, quite the womanizer. And men, leave the commando and Spandex idea at home.

I am proud of my wife who has joined her cycling enthusiast husband. A mile after this photo on the Sacramento River Trail------psssss----- flat tire on her bike, about 2 miles from my truck, which really psssss-ed me off. I wanted her to suck it up and ride back with the flat, but Mother's Day and all that, I put on my shining armor and went back for the rescue vehicle.

Postcards-R-Us. I was awestruck at the Grand Canyon, but Lake Shasta Dam, a mighty close second. Phenomenal, free one hour tour. Some of the info shared by the guide:
  • Started in 1938, took 3,500 men working 24x7 days 6 years to complete.
  • The materials for the cement dam were not trucked, trained or barged in--the City of Redding provided a 9.5 mile conveyor belt, the world's longest!
  • It is the 2nd largest cement dam in the USA---#1 is?? Wrong, not Hoover. Time to Gurgle-it.
  • Most think majority of water comes from Mount Shasta snow melt--woops, only 10%. The other 90% from rainfall where NoCal averages 62" a year.
  • Purpose in orders of priority: 1) Flood control 2) Farmers' water 3) Hyrdo-electric
  • CA. provides 60% of this nation's food, so keeping the farmers happy is paramount
  • Brilliant--those 5 "chutes" off to the left in the photo (penstocks--new word alert) collect the water FIRST, before sending it downstream to the farmers. The water is then sent thru a turbine/generator system (see next photo)where enough electricity is produced to help supply 17 different states.
See, I can pay attention--no A-D-D here.

Five honking-sized GE turbines that start the electric-making cycle. The force of the water being delivered by the penstocks rotate the turbines and convert it to electricity. If the only job of the dam was to provide power (and not flood control and farming water), these 5 turbines and the lake water could power the entire City of San Francisco.

The original Super Slide---- 600 ft drop at a 39 degree angle.

The tour group now on the river side of the dam. Someone commented about some of the weed clusters actually growing out of the cement and inquired how those were addressed. The guide indicated Search & Rescue groups practice their repelling by coming down from the top and actually will remove the weeds during training. Landscapers by day, S&R by night.

Next up, a boat ride across the splendor of Lake Shasta to tour the caverns.Fortunately, it was a perfectly calm day as Teri, boats and motion do not mix well, hence zero cruises in 25 years of matrimony. Once the boat arrives on the other side, a tour bus scoops you up a 17% grade, 1.5 mile ride to the cave entrance.

Teri entering darkness. Well, she probably did that on our wedding day. Interesting enough, this was her first cavern tour. I am guessing Casa Bonita in Lakewood,CO.doesn't count.

You've seen one stalagmite, you have seen them all. The thing I found most interesting was drips of something hitting my head. The guide claimed it was moisture seeping through the rocks. But, there are bats flying above you, if you know what I mean.

What a way to end 19 days in California, 800 feet above emerald green Lake Shasta in the Cascade Mountains! If you are one short when you create your Bucket List, this is a MUST SEE as a camera does not do it justice.

Off toward Portland tomorrow to see what Oregon has to offer these vagabonds. And even more exciting, our oldest son flies out from Denver next Friday to join us for 4 days in the City of Roses to share 300 square feet of wheel estate. Oh, and he is bigger than me. Perhaps a sleeping bag and a sturdy picnic table will suffice as a bedroom. Coin flip?

Day 39, the journey continues.


  1. Damn, who would have thought a dam could be so interesting? Added to the bucket list!

  2. I have been laughing out loud for the past 45 minutes! I am enjoying your blog and learning about the RV fulltime lifestyle. I look forward to your future adventures and posts. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks R/C..."Home is Where You Park It" lifestyle has fitted us well, so far.

  3. Lake Shasta has been on my just confirmed worth seeing. Our son flew in from Phoenix for Mother's Day weekend up at Horsetooth Res. Ft. Collins. RV got smaller with each day, but loved having him ;-) Enjoy ur son's visit.