-It’s hot, really hot. Most of my drives through Redding happen during the summer and I am not a lover of hot weather.
-Redding was the site of our “Worst Pizza Ever” dining experience.
-It’s confusing. The lovely (okay, mostly boring), straight, easy to follow I5 crosses another highway in Redding, making it difficult to get back to I5 if you get off at the wrong place.
-Then there’s this Redding story: 7 years ago Mike and I moved from California to Washington. Mike and his brother, Mark, (and a cat) drove the moving van and I followed in our car (also with a cat- the one who never shut up.) This was before everyone had a cell phone and I didn’t have one. What we did have were cb radios so we could talk to each other. When they worked. Now, you never really notice how many U-Haul trucks are on the road until you are trying to follow one. The one we rented had Arizona plates and a particular scene painted in the side so it was fairly easy to keep track of. Then came Redding. Mike exited I5 onto the other highway, which I thought was strange. Maybe they were looking for a bathroom break? But we had recently stopped at a rest area. Hmmm. I tried to use the CB radio to ask them what they were doing but they didn’t answer. I pulled in to the other lane and sped up to get along side of them so I could wave and give them the “where are we going?” shrug. That’s when I saw that the driver of the U-Haul wasn’t Mike. I had been following the WRONG U-Haul on the WRONG highway! I was totally lost and had to stop and call Mike from a pay phone, which, come to think of it, may have been the last time I used one of those relics. I eventually met up with them at a rest stop 30 miles or so north and I kept a closer watch for the rest of the trip.
After so many years, I have finally found something good in Redding! The Turtle Bay Exploration Park (sweetened by the fact that we got in free thanks to our OMSI membership) made an awesome rest stop on our road trip with the toddler! It’s close to the highway and there was no getting lost. We saw lots of cool animals and walked across the gorgeous Sundial Bridge. On the other side of the bridge is a large botanical garden but we didn’t venture that far due to the chilly wind.
My favorite part? The gecko exhibit and this cool one with the equally cool name. I must admit that were I on the naming committee (if such a thing existed) for this guy and I heard the suggestion of Satanic Leaf-Tailed gecko, I probably would have argued against putting such an evil-sounding name on a cool little creature. What’s done is done so I may as well enjoy it now. I don’t know about the satanic part, but his tail sure does look like a leaf!