Big rain, high mountain pass…

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.

Could he look any more comfortable?

We left Ashland under a cloud, and drove for many miles on very wet pavement, amidst occasional downpours…

Just another Oregon morning… Tumbleweed, in the parking lot outside our hotel window in Ashland.

Which way are we heading today?? I’m ready for it…

Partially clear skies greeted us on the other side of the pass from Ashland heading south on I-5.

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!

Somewhere along the way, we left Oregon and entered California. I snapped photos of the sign that said goodbye from Oregon, and welcome to California, but they were too dark… I think we were in California when we got to the valley floor here.

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:

In contrast, when we got to Shasta Lake… it was a gorgeous turquoise, rimmed with red sandstone. I couldn’t get a photo due to the fact that we were “careening” around bends with semis, and other vehicles on all sides! You’ll have to imagine it’s just another picture from the heart.

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!

The surface of the bridge, which spans the Sacramento River, is some sort of thick Lexan plastic, with a couple of solid strips (notice one at right), suspended by cables to the support tower at the far end.

Note that Max is sniffing and walking on the solid part – he didn’t like the Lexan parts at all!

If I have to pose in front of one more landmark…

The view from the tower side of the Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA. I never found out why it’s called that, but assumed that there’s a way for the tower to be part of a huge sundial…

Walking on the Sundial Bridge. Note who is walking on the Lexan, and who is walking on the solid part!

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:

This massive dark cloud, as seen from the Sundial Bridge, should have been a harbinger of things to come…

Looking back after passing through the rain storm that fell from that massive cumulus…

Driving through California’s Central Valley was another beautiful experience. The entire valley was ringed by these beautiful clouds, with mostly blue sky above us as we drove.

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…

Remember this little shrine to Frieda Kahlo? She’s been our patron saint, presiding from the dashboard just below the pesky GPS guy.

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.


About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in California, Eating out on a road trip, On the Road, Oregon, Puppy antics, Random thoughts, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Big rain, high mountain pass…

  1. hank says:

    guess i’d probably stay away from the coast till after the tsunami…

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