Living in Redding, California: 2 Week Update and Update on RV/Smog Repairs

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Has it really only been 2 weeks? I guess so, because it’s only the middle of June!

I have to say, Redding is a pretty nice place. When we were exploring along the Sacramento River Trail on Saturday, we saw lots of parks. What’s great about the trail is it has both bathrooms and water fountains all along the path. We were out there for over 4 hours, so it was great to have access to water along the way instead of schlepping it along with us and letting it get hot from the sun or our body heat.

There are some other trails that we plan on exploring. There are also bike lanes or a shoulder along many of the streets, and the roads are mostly well-maintained.

What’s nice about the weather here during the summer is being able to ride around both morning and evening. It may be too hot for a lot of people in the middle of the day, but it is definitely cool enough for a good portion of the day. Plus, when you get on your bike, you have air moving around you and it doesn’t feel that warm at all (but still comfortable). While there are some gentle inclines, you can get to most places in town on fairly flat surfaces.

There are a few main streets in town that hold most of the businesses: grocery stores, shops, restaurants, services…they are SR 273 (the highway right by us), Market Street, Bechelli Lane, and Churn Creek Road. Redding is fairly isolated, but they’ve managed to put all the major big box stores in town. There is also just about every grocery chain store known to man here: Raley’s, Winco, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, SavMor…I can’t remember them all. We’re trying to check them all out but I don’t know if we’ll have enough time unless we go to a different one every day!

We’ve mostly been doing low-key things. We went to the “Market Street Faire” on Thursday night, which was both sad and disappointing. It seemed like it was going to be a farmer’s market with live music and food trucks, which we went to often in Marin and enjoyed. But we saw a single produce stand, accompanied by an Avon booth, jewelry stands, places to buy liquor…that was about it. The music wasn’t bad, but not enough to keep us there. What was really depressing was that the setting was cute–in the center of the Market Street Square shopping center. The buildings looked nice and fairly new. But they were mostly empty!! The ones that weren’t empty were closed before 5:00, and didn’t look that exciting anyway. That could have been something we did every week until we left. Oh, well.

We do have some good news about the RV situation.

I got a call back this morning from the referee who manages the parts locator department. He explained that while an after-market catalytic converter for our engine is not specifically approved by them, there are after-market products that are compatible that they allow, because there are so many of these engines out there. He gave me the part number and explained he would also send a denial letter. This means that we are denied exemption from smog because a part is available. The part will be listed in the letter. He said that we then need to go to a shop and get the part installed. The shop might require the letter as proof that it is acceptable to use the part.

After installation, we take the vehicle to get smogged with a referee. The referee will also need the letter. They will run emissions testing with the allowances for our modified catalytic converter, and once we pass we will get a special sticker on our engine. From then on, we will not have to visit a referee for smog, because the sticker will tell the technician that we have a modification.

This afternoon, after doing some research for emissions repair shops, I decided to call back the shop I’d spoken to last week. It’s a small business (NOT affiliated with Napa Auto Parts!!) and they have very good reviews.

I spoke to the owner again. He remembered me, and I told him what the referee said and asked him for a quote. The total was $338, including labor and tax!!! So, that’s one-tenth of what the other shop wanted to charge, just for the part. What a relief!!! He explained that he would want a copy of the denial letter for his records. I told him it was on its way and he said he should be able to get us in quickly once we’re ready.

What this means for our travel plans

Luckily, we haven’t committed to our next stop just yet. I was going to start mulling that over, probably this weekend, because with the July 4th holiday coming up we wanted to make sure we had enough advance notice to get a spot somewhere.

But now we have to see how quickly this letter gets to us, and how quickly we get into the shop. We’ll have to figure out a place to keep the pets, too (at least the dogs) depending on how long it might take. I don’t think this place has a ratty motel next door, but I’ll have to look into it.

We may have to stay here a little longer, just depending. But then there’s the referee appointment, and I’m not sure how long it will take to get in there. There is a referee at the college in town, but there are referees all over the state, so we can go to any of them.

That’s the nice thing about not having any commitments. We can come and go as necessary.

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