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An Unplanned Stop

Every cloud has a silver lining

John Milton

Our world is full of so many great places that it’s impossible to experience them all in a lifetime. On Friday, we would have driven by one such great place—except that our Subaru broke down in Yreka, California, just over the border from Oregon. 

We had it towed to the closest dealer in Redding, whose service department was closed for the weekend. Our hopes were that the overheating problem was limited to the radiator and they could have us back on our journey Monday morning. 

Fortunately for us, Redding is a great little town, populated by nice people. Hundreds of miles of bike and walking paths connect the town and local sites. Saturday, we set out on a bike ride along the Sacramento River path with the goal of reaching the Shasta Dam but were thwarted only a few miles along our route because the path was closed. Horrendous fires last year—caused by a flat tire on a travel trailer–had destroyed homes, forests, and several bridges along the path. 

While we were at the barrier considering our next move, a local came by on his bike, sporting an Italia bike jersey. Ted explained that there was a back route to the dam, and then offered to guide us. 

We spent the miles with Ted having discussions about the fire, local life, politics, religion, and biking through Italy. At the top of the dam he had to leave us to attend a birthday party (his own) but gave us directions for a faster route home.

We also visited the Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay, a work of art and engineering in the heart of town. By day this pedestrian-bike bridge is a sundial. By night, the glass panels of its surface are lit. But beware if you visit it in the summer—the temperature of the panes on the surface can exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Laurie and I also experienced something unusual for us Seattle area natives—swimming laps outdoors in January. The friendly people at the Shasta Family YMCA gave us guest privileges even though our YMCA doesn’t belong to the nationwide guest network. (BTW, what’s up with that Pierce-Kitsap YMCA?). If you live in the south swimming outdoors during the winter might not be unique to you, but to us…

Our stay was extended four days because our problem turned out to be more than a radiator. (Read head gasket=$$$) Fortunately we found a nice Airbnb studio and have taken the opportunity to explore this nice little town with helpful residents in the backyard of Mount Shasta. I can imagine spending more time here. But maybe not when the Sundial Bridge is suitable for frying eggs.

Question: What adventure have you had–caused by what you thought was a disaster at the time?

6 thoughts on “An Unplanned Stop”

  1. …don’t have to travel to have car troubles! I had a transmission seal go out last week and that took care of my planned trip to Santa Barbara! Good travels to you the rest of the way..xoxo, LAF

  2. The only adventure that could have been disastrous was when my sister and I were driving through New Mexico or Texas, can’t remember which. Drove along side a cattle hauler and……SPLAT ( #2) on the windshield. Luckily we were able to get off the road safely, but the experience, odor and mess are unforgettable. To this day if I see a cattle hauler, if I must pass it it at least two lanes over. Hilarious now but then…….

  3. Sorry to hear about the head gasket. I hope it’s still under warranty. The Sundial Bridge is really cool. It reminds me of a similar bridge in Buenos Aires, right near the Hilton Hotel over the ship channel.

    Not a disaster, but the first trip to Berlin after the Wall came down we became lost driving from the BOQ at Templehff to the BX at Truman Caserne. My landmark was gone so I missed that right turn where you would follow the path of the Wall. It wasn’t until I was in the shadow of the massive communications tower in East Berlin that i realized we were in the wrong place. It took me about 45 minutes to ‘find’ the BX, although over the years Kim stretched that time span into two or more hours.

    1. No warranty on the car–it’s too old. But we’re blessed that the car has been so reliable up to now.
      We were in Berlin in October of 2016. Key landmarks still there but it’s very different–and better!

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