Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Roaming Near Redding - 1

Friday, July 3rd
It's a little over 200 miles from Oakland north to Redding, California, and the small rental car zooms comfortably along at 70 on the east side of San Francisco Bay. We cross the Carquinez Bridge at the north end of the bay, top the ridge, and leave the cool air behind. The Central Valley is always hot and dry in July, and the rolling hills have taken on their tawny golden summer hue. Dark green California live oak trees are scattered randomly across the slopes, and parallel paths along the hillsides worn by wandering cattle look like contour lines on a map.

Skirting east of Sacramento on the Winters Cutoff, we have all the car windows open, and the blast-furnace roar of hot air around and into the car recalls to my mind all the trips across the valley to Lake Tahoe in the old family 1941 Pontiac, back when there was no such thing as car air conditioning. As we get closer to Redding, far off in the distance we can see the outline of the dormant volcano Mount Lassen.

After some lunch with Bruce we headed north again for about an hour and a half. Bruce and I worked until near sunset, excavating and laying the forms for pouring a concrete pad on the property near the town of Dana. By the time we finished and drove the few miles to Fall River Mills, it was close to 9:00 p.m. The stores were all closed, but the old Fall River Hotel dining room was still open, and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner.

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