Oregon must be the rainiest state in the country. When we went to bed Wednesday night, I was hopeful that we’d wake to sunshine – or the promise of it if we woke before sunrise. But, no. It rained in the night, and it was ready to rain this morning. And it DID rain this morning! Max went back to bed after breakfast until I was organized and ready to go.
We left Ashland under a cloud, and drove for many miles on very wet pavement, amidst occasional downpours…
The mountain pass from Ashland was a beautiful drive. A little scary at times when the spray from semi trucks was intense and it was also raining, but beautiful nonetheless. When we entered California, the sun was mostly out, and I felt elated. We were on the road, the route was through some of the most beautiful mountain passes I can imagine, and finally, after almost two weeks of overcast, the sun was shining. AND, we were in California!
I snapped a lot of photos of the road, the scenery beside and in front of us, and will include many in this post. The peak of Mount Shasta was lost in clouds:
Approaching Redding, CA, I saw signs for “The World Famous Sundial Bridge” in Redding, so when the exit came whizzing up on us, I took it. We ignored Jack the GPS guy’s frantic attempts to get me to “turn right,” “turn right, then turn left,” and kept following signs to the bridge. It was well worth the side trip!
On the other side of the bridge, there’s a beautiful botanical garden. We walked it for a bit before crossing back over the bridge, where I had a delicious turkey, provolone, and red pepper Panini at the café.
Today, I felt truly blessed that I have been able to take this amazing road trip. We traveled some gorgeous country, through rain, sun, and one of the biggest, most ominous clouds I have ever seen. As we left Redding, CA, there was an immense, towering cumulus formation, deep charcoal colored, rising probably 20-25,000 feet, with virga off to our left. (According to the dictionary: In meteorology, virga is an observable streak or shaft of precipitation that falls from a cloud but evaporates before reaching the ground.) As we drove, the cloud let loose some of its moisture – huge raindrops that hit the windshield in 1-3 inch splats. Serious rain like I never see in Maine. We all slowed down until it eased up, since it was hard to see where we were going…
I didn’t photograph it until AFTER we were through the storm:
California’s Central Valley – at least the portion north of Sacramento – is filled with miles and miles of almond trees, and they are flowering right now. Talk about a gorgeous sight! They stretch as far as the eye can see in all directions, and range in size from newly planted ones to mature, spreading trees about 25 feet high. My only regret about driving through today is that a lot of honey bees splatted on our windshield…
We arrived at La Quinta in Sacramento about 5:45, checked in, and went out to the back parking lot for a game of ball. Max had a blast, as did I. High bounces, long throws, low bounces, and every maneuver in between, including bouncing off the wall – a whole new way to play for Max. When he was sufficiently “unwound,” we got our things into our room and had dinner.
Max is sleeping… I may join him soon… Tomorrow is another day.