Monday, May 30, 2011

More Friends and Fun at Mountain Gate

This is our third weekend here at Mountain Gate RV Park near Shasta Lake, Dam and Mountain. While the weather has been awful, the people we've met have more than made up for it.  It's Memorial Day Weekend and Saturday was a day of welcome sunshine!

Wayne and I haven't done anything particularly spectacular lately, but have enjoyed doing NOTHING. That's the thing we've found about full-time RVing; sometimes we just want to relax.  In doing so, we have opportunities to meet new people. 
This is Mike with Wayne.
Mike is the real live Redding Chamber of Commerce

We had another ladderball tournament with DJ and Tom early in the day. As usual, I had the absolute lowest score and this isn't golf, so that means I lost -- badly.  I am a good sport about it though.
Wayne is quite good at ladderball.

DJ stood in the flower bed to get a real good shot.

Tom was the champ today, I think

Yours truly.
There was a little excitement a few days ago when the colorful "Jelly Belly" coach stopped in at the campground for the night.  It seems the folks who travel in it do special events promoting the fun little jelly beans advertised all over the coach and car.  They were giving out jelly beans and I think the kids in the park had a blast. 
I didn't take the picture of the Jelly Belly coach as it pulled out early the next morning, to my surprise.  A nice couple we met shared their Jelly Belly photo with me.   He is Gary and she is Janis.  We visited with them and once again are reminded how much fun it is to travel full time and meet terrific people. 

Gary.  I didn't get a better photo and I'm sorry. 

Gary and Janis will be pulling out this morning. DJ and Tom will stay on here for at three more days. Waynd and I are unable to make a decision about what to do next.  We just want more sunshine.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Snow remains on most of the high mountain peaks in Northern California even though it's nearly June. Yesterday, DJ, Tom, Wayne, Lexie and I took the 55 mile ride east on California Highway 44 from Redding into Lassen Volcanic National Park. This area is where the granites of the Sierra Nevada, the volcanoes of the Cascade Range and the lava flows from the Great Basin meet to form a magnificent and scenic terrain.

Some history of Lassen Volcano:  This is the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range. On May 22, 1915, an explosive eruption at Lassen Peak devastated nearby areas and rained volcanic ash as far away as 200 miles to the east. This explosion was the most powerful in a 1914-17 series of eruptions that were the last to occur in the Cascades before the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Lassen Peak is the largest of a group of more than 30 volcanic domes erupted over the past 300,000 years in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
This is a National Park Service Photo
While the weather was lousy down in Redding, the temperatures were mild (68 degrees); on the flip side, the relatively high 5000 ft altitude on the mountain held fresh snow and 38-44 degree temperatures.
Approaching Lassen

The roadways inside Lassen Volcanic National Park were closed due to the snow so we were able to travel into the park just about a mile -- far enough to see beautiful Manzanita Lake and enjoy seeing the fresh, white snow.
DJ's snowman... complete with eyes and evergreen.  We were finishing a sandwich lunch.
I was freezing.

We keep a "picture taking" joke going all the time. DJ is a devoted photographer.
Tom is a crazy man -- he always wears shorts.

A really cold stream made a beautiful snow scene.

No daytrip is complete without a few pictures of Lexie.  We stopped at one of the vista points and I caught this shot of Lexie sniffing around wearing her hoodie.
World's sweetest dog.

Redding: Second Sunniest City in America

That's a true statement according to the Redding Chamber of Commerce brochure.  I so needed to be in some sunshine. There've been so many rainy, damp cool days in California. Incidentally, the sunniest city is Yuma and I certainly can believe that.  However, while in Redding, we've had at least 6 days of rain, mist and cool weather in the two and a half weeks we've been here.  During Monday's full day of rain, I even washed the car.
DJ took this picture. She thinks I'm nuts. I was going stir crazy.
One of the rare sunny days. Us on the left. Tom and DJ on the right.
That's Tom with a cup of coffee. Thanks for the picture, DJ.
One of our many daily walks. Notice the "poop" bag I'm carrying. 
Lexie was not housebroken when we got her, but it's amazing how quickly she caught on.
All we had to do was take a walk every two hours for the first two months. 
I almost lost weight from all the walking -- but a few dozen cookies every week helped me stay plump.

Pop has to have some snuggling too.
Yep, he's crazy over her too.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Afternoon Ladderball and Fajita Supper

A great ladderball tournament took place at our campsite this afternoon.  None of us had ever played the game but we all had seen it played. Mountain Gate RV Park offered several games for use to guests so I borrowed the set and proceeded to assemble it and read the rules.  The first few throws were at much closer distances than the rules allow, but hey! we're old and just learning after all. 
Perfect form!
Tom watches as DJ tosses

Unmatched skill by Tom. DJ has "jinxed" him.

Serious competitor - Wayne

We played a few games, one-on-one, honed our skill and built our confidence. Later we teamed up, ladies against gents.  In the end, the gentlemen won the best two of three games. Their heads swelled. We took short rest, played with Lexie, and devoured DJ's scrumptious fajitas! 
DJ and Lexie taking a breather

Dinner time for Lexie

Dinner time for people.
Yes, a shower curtain makes a great tablecloth!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sundial Bridge At Turtle Bay In Redding

World famous, Redding, California's Sundial pedestrian bridge spans the Sacramento River and acts as a huge sundial.  Completed in 2004, this bridge cost $23,500,000 and is an iconic landmark.  Designed by Santiago Calatrava, it's a cantilever spar cable-stayed bridge and was built completely on the riverbank, then pivoted across the river. No part of it touches the water. 

DJ, Wayne and I decided to see the Sundial Bridge last night. Traffic from Redding's big rodeo and an auto accident on the approaching highway congesting traffic, but parking was easy once we got to Turtle Bay.

Budweiser's famous Clydesdale horses were appearing at the rodeo (on the adjoining property) so we got to see a few of them (from a distance) in their portable stables. Even the horse transportation is impressive. There were at least four of these big rigs that we could see.

This was not the biggest horse in the stalls, but this is the one I could easily photograph.
From the Budweiser area we walked on over to see the Sundial Bridge.  We scheduled our visit at a time that would allow us to see the structure in the setting sun and remain there until after dark so we could see the lighting.

The entire weight of the sundial bridge's pylon is on a 12 inch diameter disk at the foundation.
To protect the salmon spawning beds, no part of the bridge structure touches the water in the Sacramento River below.
The State of California required this and also mandated that sunlight be unobstructed onto the salmon below.

DJ, Lexie and yours truly
Before sunset
Lexie sometimes likes to be held this way. We're snuggling.

Looking straight up from the base of the pylon.
My best attempt at modern contemporary photography.
ho hum.
DJ took this picture of us on the bridge.

The sundial shaped bridge is accompanied by markers set for the Summer Solstice ( June 21st) when the shadow moves one foot per minute between the hours of 11 and 3. The pylon is at a perfect 42 degree angle and is precisely pointed due north. 
The dial extends upward 20 stories; a height that requires the mounting of a red aircraft warning light at the top. 

DJ "getting into" her photography.

Just after sunset. The glass panels along the walkway have lights under them.
During October each year, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness, the bridges lights are changed to Pink.
Lexie seems unimpressed but enjoyed the outing.

Because we were there for quite some time, and because we had Lexie with us, we naturally visited with some other dog owners.  Some of these dogs were just plain ole' photo-worthy so, with permission of course, I took these pictures.
This Pekingese is wearing "doggles" -- dog sunglasses.
This is the biggest dog I've ever seen.  Maybe Lexie on steroids! She looks horrified. 
The smiling fellow on my left owns this Great Pyrenees. Bicycle inner tubes are used for a leash.

Our Time In Redding -- Time With Friends

Before arriving in Redding, we found several campgrounds with very nice reviews and settled on  Mountain Gate RV Park which was offering a discount on back-in sites. The sites here are scattered over a hillside and there are plenty of shade trees. Our site happens to be on top of a rise with a lovely snow-capped mountain range view. We signed on for a week and then added somemore days to that. 
The view from our front door and living room window.
Shasta Lake and Dam are closeby and we took a ride over to see them. Today's weather is overcast and breezy -- probably in the 60's without the wind.  Downright cold in the shade or along the water.
A view of Shasta dam from the lake.

Shasta Lake

Shasta is the fourth largest dam in California.

Downstream from the Shasta Lake and Dam.
The Sacremento River

We tried to walk across the dam but only went a short distance before turning around.
Maltese dogs are sensitive to cold weather and I didn't bring Lexie's sweater.
I shared my hoodie with her.

The breeze in the lake and dam area were really fragrant and I can only guess it's all these yellow blooms seen in the pictures.  Leaving the area, I tried to get a close shot of one of the many bushes growing along the roadside. 

Rain started that evening and lasted for two days straight.  We watched movies, worked on the computer, took naps, ate everything we could find.  That's some stretch of boredom.
Even Lexie was bored with all this rain.
Six daily walks in pouring rain were no fun but Lexie has a bright orange raincoat with a hood.
She doesn't love wearing it.

On our 9th day we were joined by friends Tom and DJ who we met in Maine last summer. Tom and DJ are enjoying their new motorhome for some extended RVing.
Clean that windshield, DJ! 

Our electrical-minded DJ.

Tom is a "sit down" cook.  Wayne supervises.

Fish salad, pan-fried fish, fish chowder, green salad, garlic bread and pecan pie! Yum.
Yup. Rednecks bring the toaster oven outside to bake.
Tom, DJ, Wayne and I want to see Crater Lake but learned it snowing this week with nightly temperatures in the 20's.  Gee, I just take any more cold weather so we'll stay on here in Redding for a few more days where the sun is warm and the smiles are friendly.  Besides, I'm trying to convince DJ to get a dog.  Tom is uncooperative.