After our wonderful time on the northern California coast seeing the incredible redwoods for the first time, it was time to start heading east.
We had a beautiful drive on twisty mountain roads (no interstates!) enjoying lovely vistas and forests along the way. However, riding on back roads, it can be hard to find a good place to stop for lunch. We'd packed sandwiches so kept our eyes open for a picnic table -- and a rest room!
Finally we came upon this nice picnic area in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, right alongside the Trinity River. It was the perfect place to get out of the car, stretch, walk Paisley, and enjoy our lunch.
After resuming our drive, we pulled off several times to take photos of the river rushing along beside the road. Photos just can't do it justice.
As we got closer to Redding, we got a glimpse of snow-covered peaks in the distance.
Once we arrived in town, we checked into our motel and quickly suited up for a late-afternoon bike ride. One of the main reasons we chose to stay in Redding for two nights was to ride the Sacramento River Trail and Sacramento River Rail Trail, but we didn't expect to be able to ride on our first day in town. As it turned out, we had much prettier (and warmer) weather this afternoon than the entire next day, so it's good that we got to take advantage of it.
Here's one of the ped/bike bridges over the Sacramento River on the river trail. Barry is the tiny yellow dot on the right side of the photo, getting ready to cross.
The rail trail can be accessed at the end of the river trail. There's a 2+ mile connector portion to the actual old railroad right-of-way. The connector involves quite a bit of steep climbing and switchbacks, followed by swoopy ups and downs. Once you get to the actual old railroad right-of-way, the trail is near flat, as you'd expect from a railroad, but getting there is a serious workout -- and one I didn't expect.
In this photo, you can see just the beginning of the climb.
Once we climbed up high, we were rewarded with beautiful river views and views of the mountains beyond. It was a lovely time of day.
We thought this plant was so beautiful, especially as the late-afternoon sun highlighted the silvery green leaves and purplish branches. We had no idea what it was but finally saw a marker the following day (see below) and learned that it is a White-Leaf Manzanita. There are tons of these along the connector portion of the trail.
It's getting late -- time to finish up this ride!
After the unexpectedly hilly ride, we'd burned enough calories for a pizza dinner. An excellent pizza place was right next door to our motel, so we picked up a yummy BBQ Chicken pizza and enjoyed our new favorite brew, Tangerine Wheat by Lost Coast Brewery, with it. Gotta replenish those carbs!
Bringing the pizza back to the hotel, we were delighted by the sight of a beautiful rainbow...
...and, not long after, this amazing sunset -- one of the best we've ever seen. And it was kinda neat to see palm trees again after being up north all summer -- another Redding surprise.
Stay tuned...we have one full day in Redding coming up -- more cycling and some delicious local food!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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