Friday, September 25, 2009

September 19: On the road ... to Portland

Hi there!

So here I am on a Friday night and instead of being out in downtown Portland living it up and partyin', I'm blogging.

Goes to show you that I lead a very exciting life. haha. ;o)
At least I have my priorities and know that I promised to write here during the trip so here I am.

I thought I would give you a synopsis of the road trip and share with you some favorite sites in case you visit California or Oregon in the future. Every moment was precious and we had lots of "little" adventures along the way. I took tons of photos, as usual, to capture our experiences.
So come with me and Nick on our road trip through Northern California as we travel towards Portland.
We left Southern California in the wee hours of the morning on Sat Sept 19th. Sure, we could have had a few extra hours of sleep but we were excited and anticipated the fun of this road trip. We drove pretty much straight through and stopped over for the evening in Redding, CA. After checking into our hotel we had a few extra daylight hours to explore the surrounding area. We had wanted to go to the Shasta caverns but was too late for a tour.
Always the adventurer here and not one to waste time when there are things to do and things to see, I found the intriguing Sundial Bridge nearby on our tourist map. The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay's Exposition Park is the largest operating sundial in the WORLD which is also a bridge. Wow!
We actually had no idea of its existence but was just fortunate to be at the right place at the right time to discover this first adventure.
From their website:
The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding, California. Opened July 4, 2004, the bridge links the north and south campuses of Turtle Bay Exploration Park and serves as a new downtown entrance for Redding’s extensive Sacramento River Trail system.

The bridge celebrates human creativity and ingenuity, important themes of the 300 acre Turtle Bay Exploration Park. The steel, glass, and granite span evokes a sense of weightlessness and the translucent, non-skid decking provides for spectacular viewing at night. The bridge is also environmentally sensitive to its river setting. The tall pylon and cable stays allow the bridge to avoid the nearby salmon-spawning habitat there are no supports in the water while encouraging public appreciation for the river. Plazas are situated at both ends of the bridge for public use; the north-side plaza stretches to the water allowing patrons to sit at the river’s edge.

In addition to being a functional work of art, the Sundial Bridge is a technical marvel as well. The cable-stayed structure has an inclined, 217 foot pylon constructed of 580 tons of steel. The deck is made up of 200 tons of glass and granite and is supported by more than 4,300 feet of cable. The structure is stabilized by a steel truss, and rests on a foundation of more than 115 tons of steel and 1,900 cubic yards of concrete. The McConnell Foundation, a private, independent foundation established in Redding in 1964, funded the majority of the bridge’s $23 million cost.
World renowned Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava conceived the Sundial Bridge’s unusual design, his first free-standing bridge in the United States. Calatrava has built bridges, airports, rail terminals, stadiums, and other structures around the world. His notable designs include the new PATH transportation terminal at the World Trade Center site in New York City and several projects at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, including the main stadium where opening and closing ceremonies were held.
While having fun with my camera, I spotted a lovely grouping of ducks frolicking in the waters underneath the bridge. It seemed like they were waiting and posing for my camera.
We wandered through the botanical gardens nearby and realized we should really go get some dinner after foregoing lunch earlier in the day. I found one of my favorite Northern California restaurants, Cattlemen's, nearby. I highly recommend this restaurant for prime rib and rib eye if you are a "meat and potatoes" kinda person. Simply delicious and just what we needed.

We called it a day and made plans for a great adventure the next day

More later, as the fun continues

Always the traveler, never a tourist

(ala Anthony Bourdain) Lisa

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