Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trip to Redding Summer 2015

My dad and his wife decided to retire all the way up to the tippy top (okay not the VERY tippy top but damn near) of California for whatever reason (my Nana lives up there too, so I guess that's a good reason). You know, the part of California that is not really California. If you are from California you know what I mean, if you are not, let me try to explain. Anyone keep tabs on politics here and how there was a move to try to get California split into several states?

This may be how Californians kind of divide ourselves, but to make it official is a stupid, terrible idea. It's really just was a way to make the poor sections poorer and the richer, richer. Life as usual. SO. This never actually happened, but up in the "Jefferson" area (notice how it's the only state that doesn't have any California-ness in its name?) people wear t-shirts with the state name Jefferson on it, usually also with the second amendment. No one else made t-shirts. Why would we even do that. So obviously, they were excited at the prospect of being their own state. It's very christian, very white, very gun nuts, very anti-big government up there. So of course my dad loves it ;) 

I know I state that I'm a "NorCal" native, and I realize that when I say that, I really mean "Silicon Valley" native based on the map. I really cannot relate to the Jefferson section at all. But I'm NOT SOCAL. California dynamics. We're just too big to be all lumped together. Maybe I need to update that in my profile to be more accurate.
This was a view from the train to Sacramento. I thought it was funny that the ships looked like they were on land. I needed to amuse myself somehow.
Since my dad moved up there, he was relentless on asking me to come up and visit him. I don't know how he thought I would achieve that; I don't drive and my husband is surely not interested in making the 6.5-7 hour drive, so I ignored his requests. But after awhile, I started thinking, well, maybe I could manage it? So I looked up train/bus info and realized that yes, it would be possible. I dragged my younger sister into going with me, because no way did I want to do this alone. I said I'd pay, and she said okay. Life as usual ;)
The day started at 9 am boarding the train. My sister and I were at a loss as to where to go to wait for the train but a lovely commuting lady saw our puzzled looks and took the time to help us out. You were awesome lady! Thank you so much!
We grab seats that had a table because we wanted to be able to eat our lunch in relative ease. I brought way too many snacks. The sandwiches and capri suns were enough. I seriously had a huge bag of snacks. And she brought tons of candy. We really didn't eat much of it at all so I had to tote it back on Sunday. If I do this again, LESS SNACKS. My coworker asked me what is it with skinny people and bringing snacks. Apparently her super thin sister brought a huge tote of snacks on their road trip too.
Luckily for us, our stop was also the last stop for the train so no need to really pay attention too much. We get to the Sacramento station and I was able to figure out what bus we needed pretty quickly. Another girl asked me if I knew where she needed to go, so I guess I was looking pro at this point. Go me. My sister and I board the bus and the driver had our names on a phone check list which I thought was pretty neat. 
We did have to wait a bit because two people on the list had not showed up yet, so our trip was delayed about 20 minutes.

More time looking at orchards and trying to guess the produce. Riveting stuff. Oh, and shouting "cow" or "horse" every time you see one, because that's always fun.

And once again, Redding was the last stop so that was easy! Getting off the bus we were greeted with NINETY-FIVE DEGREE WEATHER. Ugh. I did not pack correctly even though I knew it was going to be warm. But to fair, I never pack correctly.
My dad had the weekend full of plans, more than we could possibly do, so it was nice to not to have to figure out what we wanted to do. The first thing we did was grab dinner, then head over to his house. His backyard is literally carved out of the mountain. And in true dad form, there was not a rock, pine needle, or leaf out of place. SPOTLESS. I don't know how he controls nature like that, I really don't.
We hang out a bit in the backyard and catch up, and they decide to go to bed early. My dad says we should go for a walk and that he would leave the door unlocked for us. So my sister and I do just that, though a bit leery of exploring too much since he did talk about the large bear that roams around. 
We head back and try to get into the house. It's locked. We look at each other and try the door again, a different way. It has to be UN-LOCKED, we just aren't doing it right. We try another door. Locked. We look at each other and she tells me "Heather don't make me sleep out here with the bear!" so I make her yell up to the second floor window that we are locked out. It takes a bit, but he comes downstairs and unlocks the door. He gives me a key later just in case that happens again, I guess force of habit ;) I didn't use the key but it was nice to know we wouldn't be locked out with the scary bear.
I have a hard time sleeping, its new, it's hot, my sister is talking in her sleep. I manage to get some sleep but wake up by six. Why I don't know. My dad makes us a yummy breakfast of french toast (my favorite! don't think he knew that but still awesome) and we head out for our first adventure: The Caverns! 
Honestly, I didn't even know about the caverns, so that was a nice surprise. This is not a thing for out of shape people. Or really tall people, once you are in the caves. My husband would  have hated every minute of it. I loved it. 

First you have to climb down a bunch of stairs to get to the water, then a boat takes you across the lake. Once to the lake, you climb up the mountain a bit (SO STEEP) and wait for a bus. Then you board the bus and drive up the mountain for about ten minutes. It's way up there! And the road is narrow, with lots of twists and turns, and super steep. One side is a steep cliff side, the other the mountain wall. So I stared at the mountain wall. The photo next to the buses is after we got to the top.
Once in the caverns it is WET. I think they said it's 90% humidity? Everything is slick with water, which is a bit amusing since you have to keep going up and down stairs. Luckily its also very cool temperature wise, so the humidity is not that big of a deal. I sprayed my hair with LOTS of hairspray just to be on the safe side. The cavern is divided up into a bunch of "rooms" and the last room was really awe inspiring. 

As soon as I entered it I uttered an audible "whoa" as did everyone else. There were also a bunch of cute bats flying around in there.

We decide to get lunch after at a diner type thing at one of the campgrounds. It was really not very obvious, I don't know how my dad found out about it. There were some locals hanging out outside at the tables overlooking the lake. My sister and I get one hamburger to share and some fries. We ate outside on the patio which was really nice. I love being in wooded areas! No photos of lunch...
It's pretty warm so we change into our suits and go into the lake. Oy, its not as cold as the ocean but it took awhile to get use to it. We "swam" (I use that term loosely, I was trying to just kick my way forward with the floating board and kept going BACKWARDS. Whut). We stayed in the water until my lips turned blue then decided I should probably get out. You know. Before I die. The lake is man made, and I just learned on this trip, is OVER SEVERAL LITTLE TOWNS. They just flooded the valley!
We head back home and chill a bit and our Nana comes over. We talk a bit then it's dinner time so we walk over to a pizza place. It's... very rustic. I took a photo of the outside seating and sent it to my husband and he asked if I was in someones backyard. The pizza was delicious, but I did sweat through my dress because it was so hot outside. I hoped it didn't look like I peed myself. I get very sweaty.
On Sunday morning we go back to the campsite diner and have a fantastic pancake breakfast outside. The weather was perfect and the bacon was thick and crispy. They had an outside grill that they cooked the food on. It was just so lovely to eat outside with the woodsy smell and the lake view. Well, a little lake view. With the drought, the water levels are a bit low.
We then head back over to Redding to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park. There is a bridge going over the Sacramento river that is also a sundial. Super cool! The day was a bit muggy so we didn't get to see it in action but I love the concept. Apparently the floor of the bridge lights up at night, too. There are a ton of trails and a garden, and there were a lot of people out enjoying the day. The butterfly garden was in full bloom and full of butterflies and bumblebees. I should have took more photos of the plants to get ideas for my yard, a lot of them were drought resistant California native plants. Mostly I just took photos of the WTF Camel bug statue thing. I don't even know. The turtle one was pretty cool looking. Keep in mind, this was in the playground, children area.

After moseying around the garden we head to the coffee shop they have there. My dad and his wife like to come here and people watch sometimes. It was very relaxing and I was glad he shared it with us. We drank coffee and watched people ride their bikes, and float down down the river in various boats and such.
I had an awesome trip, much to my surprise. I really did not know what to expect! Of course he wants us to come visit again soon, but I will have to see how "soon". I loved the trip... just it's such a long distance. And I would probably do the trip with my sister again and as much as I love her, that is a lot of time spent with her. She likes to react to things in a very dramatic way which can be exhausting to put up with. Not can be, is. My introverted self needed some much needed alone time! Three days in constant companionship is very trying.


  1. I have never been to California but this post totally makes me want to go to (very!) northern California now! I love rustic weird places like the restaurant that looks like someone's backyard! The caverns sound amazing, I went to the Shenandoah ones in Virginia a million years ago and some in Vermont too I think (or was it N.H.) but the California ones sounds way cooler! Is that a giant tub of circus peanut candy in front of your sister on the train or something else?! And I'm weirdly obsessed with black bears so I would have been a crazy person trying to see it! Public transportation can be fun, it's less stressful than driving in some ways I think - glad you guys had fun!

    1. California is so different depending on where you go, it's like a never ending list of stuff I want to see/ never even knew it was there to see. If you ever head to up to NorCal, definitely make Mt. Shasta and the lakes and caverns part of your trip! I had a really good time (we didn't go to Mt. Shasta, that is usually something do in the winter to play in the snow).

      My sister is eating sliced up jicama with mexican fruit seasoning and lemon juice. It's one of her favorite snacks ;) There is a place at my mall that does sliced up fruit/veggies with the seasoning and lemon: so delicious! I think they have jicama, cucumber, mango, watermelon... forget what else.

      My dad said the bear can jump from the patio up the little hill thing, which is like a 6 ft vertical jump. It attacked the bbq one night and made a lot of noise to let my dad know it was now his. For like two hours.

      I love taking public transportation for two reasons: i don't drive and its stress free (relatively). I will for sure be making the trip again, just not sure when.

    2. Wow, I have never tried jicama, don't think we get it in Scotland! We're lucky to get mangoes!

    3. Jicama is kind of like a crunchy apple potato starchy type thing? I don't know how to describe it :) It's a root vegetable, crunchy and starchy like a potato, but sweet like an apple or pear.

  2. First off: I am glad you sweat a lot, too. Okay, wait. That's a weird first thing to note. It's just I get hot and sweaty really easily myself, because of my depression/anxiety meds.
    Also: even though I am wicked out of shape, the caverns exploration sounded really fun! I'm sure I would have been exhausted and drenched in sweat, but - wow!
    So cool that you got to do this with your sister. Being locked out was a bit funny. (Sorry, I laughed.)
    Okay, and final note: they just flooded a whole bunch of little towns? I'd like to learn more about the history of how that whole thing happened. :)

    1. I call myself a sweaty monkey ;) I have to use the prescription strength antiperspirant otherwise i will sweat through my shirts. I use to just wear cardigans all the time to cover up my pit stains.

      Not everyone on the tour was in shape! They give you lots of time to catch your breath. There were some kids with their grandma and after the tour they were thanking her so much for the experience.

      I was going to put a bunch of guesses about the lake, but decided to look it up :)