Civic Auditorium in Redding, 1996

In early November 1996 I traveled from Sacramento to Redding via Amtrak bus to meet up with the Big Guy and see him compete in a pro-am fishing tournament put on by West Coast Bass. I took a few pictures while there — but sadly, none of my journey or the actual tournament (yeah, I’m not sure why, either). It’s too bad because I had a pretty interesting trip. The bus left Sacramento nearly an hour behind schedule; we were meant to arrive in Redding by 1:25, but the bus driver later informed me that the bus always ran late.

As I recorded in my journal, “We made four stops to let off one passenger at each place (Marysville, Oroville, Chico, and Red Bluff),” and then it was just me and the bus driver. By this time it was 1:30, and I was absolutely famished, “so I was amazed and relieved when, after dropping off the only other passenger, the driver pulled into a Burger King!”

A view of Highway 44 from our balcony at the River Inn Motor Hotel, Redding

We finally arrived at the bus stop in Redding shortly after 2 p.m. — but only after another short detour. The bus driver missed our turn-off from Interstate 5 and had to continue to the next exit and turn the bus around. When I finally met up with the Big Guy, I was surprised to find him completely relaxed despite my tardy arrival; he told me he had looked at the bus schedule and realized it was unrealistic.

The early days of the Sundial Bridge
Picnic area behind our hotel

An intriguing double exposure from the days of using film

I spent the next three days relaxing and wandering around the area (I wrote in my journal, “I haven’t written anything because I’ve been too busy being bored.”) while the Big Guy was out competing on Lake Shasta. I was burning with curiousity about a couple of nearby structures but was too shy to ask anyone about them. Both were circular and multistoried, one on the shore and the other sitting in the middle of a Sacramento River inlet. I wondered if both buildings were part of the hotel and finally decided that the land-based structure must contain “bigger, fancier, more expensive rooms.”

It wasn’t until much later that I learned that “round structure up on stilts” in the water was the iconic Round House, a private home erected in 1971 as a prototype for other such houses that were never built. It has its own fascinating back story (including connections to the construction of Shasta Dam), and Bob Spaid, who designed and occupied the Round House, had plenty of other creative ideas for this corner of Redding, known as Park Marina. The area could be seeing some major renovation in years to come; hopefully the Round House will survive. And having learned all this and more about Redding and its environs, I’d love to go back for another visit (but not by bus, I think) and spend a lot more time exploring.

P.S., the Big Guy finished the tournament in 8th place!

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