I have too many pictures as usual, so I figured I would break the CA trip up into 3 posts since we made so many cool stops both on the way to and from my dad's house.
I only had one stop planned the first day since - the Winchester Fish Ladder - and it worked out perfectly since the baby slept until literally the minute before the offramp!
This is the view from the parking lot.
There were several stairs and some catwalks to get to the bottom, and Orion was afraid going over them, which was a totally new thing for him. Will be curious to see how that develops. I talked to him about the people that go to school to learn to build things and make them safe, and he said he wanted to do that when he gets older. :)
Fish ladder from the outside:
Then it was all worth it when Orion saw that there was an underwater viewing area!
He was so excited every time he spotted a fish! They were really big and alot of them going by.
Then came the most stressful part of the trip. We had checked the weather before I left, and it didn't look like there was any snow possible, but I ended up going through the Mt. Ashland area in the dark, and there was quite a bit of snow coming down. It was really scary in the pitch black. Thank goodness for being on the 5, which is usually full of big trucks. I just got behind one of them and went really slowly in its tracks. I was so totally not mentally prepared for snow, but I just kept taking deep breaths and telling myself I was on a very populated highway even if I did get stuck.
We made it to Yreka after what seemed like hours, then I got online and started worrying about the Mt Shasta area the next day. It looked like they were expecting overnight snow, then clear throughout the morning, so I trusted the trucks would take care of it. :)
And they pretty much did!
Snow is so beautiful when it is next to the road and not on it!
I originally wanted to stop at Shasta Caverns the second day, but I woke up with my back really hurting, and when I called, they said there was around 700 stairs throughout the tour! I remembered another place, Turtle Bay, I had read about in Redding, and called Ron for the directions. It turned out to be the perfect stop! Kindof a cross between a science museum and an upscale nature center/mini zoo. Exhibits on Legos and poop! What more could a 5 year old boy ask for?
Orion out front with an odd expression.
Pretty little water feature with turtle sculptures near the entrance.
Supercool Sundial bridge, by Santiago Calatrava, considered by some to be the world's premier bridge designer.
Orion would not step one foot on it. Not sure what is up with him and bridges all of a sudden.
The Art of Legos! Orion was thrilled!
I think this one was my favorite:
I bet you always wanted to know how long it takes an elephant to poop your weight.
Giant dung beetle picture! Just what I want for my living room.
Orion LOVED this thing and wanted to do it several times. Basically there were pictures of poop on the left and animals to match it to on the right. It picked which one to quiz you on and had a narrative to explain more about the poop.
And then there was the Lego room.
Which even had a Duplo area for youngers!
Pretty little walkway over the wetlands, between the museum and the zoo. Orion was fine with this one.
And even wanted to take a picture of me.
They had lots of local animals on display, including a fox, porcupine, birds of prey and snakes. Orion particularly liked this friendly seeming fellow.
Orion took this picture, saying the root looked like a rainbow.
Our tired troop drove on to just inland from the Bay Area, where an old friend brought us Indian food for dinner - yay!
The next day I planned to go just a little of course to see a place I have always wanted to visit - the Forestiere Underground Gardens. Considering you can only take a guided tour, it wasn't really the best choice for a high energy 5 year old who had been sitting in the car for hours, but we made it through.
When we met our tour guide out front, I knew it was going to be OK. She just had great energy. I wish I could remember her name. It was something funky. If you look closely, you can see her fingernails sticking through the tips of her gloves LOL. They were super long and bright pink! This is during the initial presentation when she was telling us a bit about the life of Forestiere and the history of the grounds.
A window from one of the underground rooms to a view of a sunken courtyard:
Fireplace in the main living quarters with a picture of the man himself:
A road on the premises and Orion hunkering down just shy of the Do Not Enter sign.
He also had a little chapel area.
One of the sleeping cubbies. They were like little caves!
Outdoor bathtub! You couldn't see it from here, but there was also a diagram explaining how he had a big tank up top that he used solar power to heat, and pipes to bring the water down to the tub!
From here we blasted on to Simi, except for a brief stop in Bakersfield to go to a McDonalds with a play area. I felt like the kids needed to run off some steam. Phew, to be honest, it went pretty well. Better than I expected. I think having some fun things to do each day helped!
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