Friday, April 20, 2007

A Tour of Northern California

April, 2007:

California/Oregon border. It had just rained, so the road is all steamy.

The rest area at the border has this marker showing you are at the 42nd line of latitude. If you are dorks like us, you stop and get out to read the historical signs and take pictures of them. I took pictures of them so I could read them later. (If you want to pretend like you don't know me, I understand why.)

Our first overnight was in Redding, Ca. We went to the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, which features, among other things, the Sundial Bridge:

It is environmentally sensitive because it doesn't have any bridge structural elements in the water, it is architecturally gorgeous because of its clean lines...

...and startlingly simple design...

I highly recommend Redding and Turtle Bay Park. I had no idea how nice it was in that area, and would go back again. There's Shasta, Trinity, and Whiskeytown lakes for camping, boating, swimming, and hiking. Not to mention all kinds of sites to see, like waterfalls and mountains and old west towns.

If you ever find yourself in the area driving south from Redding, I highly recommend stopping in Chico and go to the Sierra Nevada brewpub for lunch. Or dinner.

What I don't recommend is stopping for gas at a station in Gridley and, after getting gas, listen while your spouse complains about how irresponsible you've been to let the gas tank get so low and wonder at your audacity to not know the precise mileage from where you are to the next town with a gas station when asked by same spouse who was, up to then, napping, and who won't hear of it when you complain that his mapreading duties have been reluctant and only performed when asked which has been irritating.

No, don't do this while your car sits there with a full tank of gas and your daughter watches while snacking on popcorn, because that would be not only pointless, but go a long way toward ruining your day. Moving on.

The state capital of California is Sacramento. They have a lovely capitol building...

...the inside is pretty, too... can take a tour of the building and photograph the inside of the dome, like I did:

The seal of the state, in stained glass:

The Governor's Office. The word "Governor" is embossed into the marble, while the words "Arnold Schwarzeneggar" are done in relief (sticks out from the background), painted gold, in case you might forget the Governor's name.

This is purported to be the oldest cathedral west of the Mississippi. I would have to argue with anyone who says it isn't the prettiest. It's absolutely gorgeous! We went inside, where we saw a marble baptismal font, gorgeous wooden pews, amazing stained glass, ceilings that went high into the sky, and tile floors. It's amazing. I can't offer enough exclamatory words to appropriately describe it. I'm not Catholic, so I don't have a lot of cathedral time under my belt, but I'd say this one is amazing, amazing, amazing...

We also visited Old Sacramento, which is just a quick walk under Interstate 5 through a lighted, mural-painted pedestrian underpass away from downtown and the capitol area.

I call this one Gorgeous Child, With Carriage:

Old Sac, as it is referred to, contains many gift shops where we resisted the urge to by "The Governator" t-shirts. It was very, very tempting. Also, I enjoyed the contrast between old and new:

More old and new:

On our way east toward Nevada, we stopped at Folsom. The place with the prison:

After that, I couldn't get Johnny Cash songs out of my head, which was not a bad thing at all, and nothing like the time I got "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain" stuck in my head. I don't know how that happened, except for listening to the All American Folk Song radio station, which doesn't exist, so I still have no explanation.

Nevada pictures will be in another post. Hopefully it will happen tomorrow, or at least on Monday, but with my track record I would advise you not hold your breath.

1 comment:

Lady M said...

Fun trip!

I love the idea of photographing the plaques to read later.