Pussyfooting Around

Sunday, December 09, 2012 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Arcata, CA to Redding, CA
After spending the past couple of days hobnobbing with ancient giants on the left coast, it was time for us to start heading toward Georgia.  The Trinity River Scenic Byway, better known as California Highway 299 (pictured above), offered just the route we needed.  Meandering alongside the Trinity River, the 299 crosses over the coastal mountain range and winds its way through two national forests as it moves from the Pacific coast to the state's central valley.
Going through the mountains, we were often driving in the floor of a valley, making for an intermittent satellite signal.  Ordinarily this wouldn't have been an issue, but today was Sunday, and the Atlanta Falcons were in Charlotte to play the Carolina Panthers.  By the time the Panthers finished giving our Atlanta team a 30-20 thrashing, we were enjoying the 'no signal' parts of the game more than the broadcast.
Blue Lake Cemetery
As the first half of the game dragged on with no sign of life from the Falcons, we were glad to stop for an occasional letterbox.  When we tracked down a couple of boxes in a cemetery in the little town of Blue Lake, we stumbled across a very interesting grave marker.  A Google search for this unfortunate young man brought to light a very sad story.
Recreational opportunities from fly fishing to white water rafting abound along the Trinity River, but on this cool day with highs in the mid-40s, there were few takers.  Thus when we arrived at the Big Flat river access point, where we had a picnic lunch, we had the place to ourselves.  This tranquility provided an ideal opportunity to leave behind the letterbox we brought to plant in California.
Quite a departure from granite and Douglas firs
The terrain underwent numerous changes as we continued east, making for an interesting journey.  We arrived in Redding around 3 p.m. and checked into our hotel.  When we approached the door, we were relieved to see that the hotel had a security guard posted in the entrance.
Asleep on the job
As we were to learn, Jack, the security cat, had moved into the hotel a couple of years ago with his owners, who were extended stay guests searching for a home to purchase.  After they ended up living at the hotel for more than a year before they found the right house at the right price, Jack had become accustomed to hotel life and wanted to stay when his people moved into their new house.  They allowed him to stay on and visit him regularly.  The following morning we found Jack sleeping under guarding the gifts under the lobby Christmas tree.
Often leading the rest of the country in trends of one kind or another, California enacted a menu labeling law several years ago, requiring chain restaurants to detail the nutritional information, including calorie counts, of items offered on their menus.  A federal law passed in the meantime has affected enforcement of the California legislation, but some chains continue to abide by the requirements.  And, as we learned when we went to dinner this evening at Olive Garden, those counts can come as quite a surprise.  Their eggplant parm has 850 calories?!

Considering that 1,600 to 2,000 calories per day is considered a healthy diet for a woman, some of these numbers were shocking.  In fact, we struggled to find any entree on the menu below 500 calories.  What an eye-opener!  Thanks, California.

Tomorrow we'll return to I-5 and a trip to Sacramento to visit the California Capitol.  We probably will not be having lunch at an Olive Garden after our tour of the statehouse.
California Route 299

Highway 299 through Weaverville