May 19th, Monday we hit the road again in R SHRPA, and headed to Redding, CA. We stayed at a beautiful, well-maintained park, Premier RV Resorts, where they delivered the morning paper to your doorstep. On May 20th we rode our bikes on the Sacramento River National Recreation Trail, ranked the 7th best trail in CA by the Rails to Trails. This trail is the crown jewel of Redding’s trail system, spanning 17.4 miles from Shasta Dam to the world famous Turtle Bay Sundial Bridge in Redding. We started our ride at the Sundial Bridge, an architectural wonder, opened July 4th, 2004, and crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding. The world renowned Spanish architect and engineer, Santiago Calatrava, conceived the Sundial Bridge’s unusual design. The steel, glass and granite span evokes a sense of weightlessness, at 700 ft long, 23 ft wide and 217 feet high pylons. The Sacramento River trail winds it’s way through central Redding, 8.2 miles to the Keswick Dam. We crossed over the Diestlehorst Bridge, a pedestrian footbridge below the Keswick Dam, a 13ft wide, 420 ft long concrete stress-ribbon bridge and is unique to this continent. From here we rode along the Sacramento River-Rail Trail for 10.7 miles to Shasta Dam. Much of this trail is atop the bed of the former Central Pacific Railroad and parallels the course of the Sacramento River. However, some of the railroad bed was swallowed by the Keswick Reservoir so we had some hills and dips and curves, dubbed ” The Roller Coaster”. The scenery of the water and dams was enjoyable, but the yellow wild flowers all along the trail smelled like perfume.
The Trail is paved the entire way to Shasta Dam, once we arrived we enjoyed a break at the beautiful visitors center, and watched a film on the building of the dam. Shasta Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam across the Sacramento River. At 602 ft high it is the ninth tallest dam in the US and forms the largest reservoir in CA, Shasta Lake. The construction of the dam began in 1937 after the Great Depression and provided thousands of jobs for the unemployed, it was completed in 1945. Now with the drought that California is experiencing Shasta Lake is 90 ft below its full capacity. We headed back down and finally arrived at the car tired and happy having completed the 36 mile round trip paved trail of the famous Sacramento River National Recreation Trail.