I woke up early Saturday and did more exploring after moving from the expensive Motel 6 to the cheap Americana Lodge downtown. It’s a nice enough place, even though that the air conditioner smelled funny, the TV was in the closet, and one of my night tables was a dorm-size refrigerator.
My new digs only set me back thirty bucks and provided the twin benefits of being a block from the queer bar and next door to a skateboard shop. This would, I figured, allow me to get sexually frustrated in the afternoon and to pick up a willing outlet for it that night. Redding is full of scruffy, adorable, lost-looking boys. I like that in a town.
I covered a lot of ground Saturday, from Red Bluff to Anderson, from Shasta to Shasta Lake City to Shasta Dam, and from one end of Redding to every other end.
After driving around a lot, I decided to walk some, and I visited the creepy Redding Mall. This was one weird place. Essentially, the city put a roof over about three blocks of Main Street downtown, a misguided act which other small towns (Rock Hill SC) also committed in the 1970s. If “saving” downtown was the goal, it didn’t work. The mall was almost empty save for a half-stocked Rite-Aid (which hadn’t even bothered to take down its old Payless Drugstore signs inside) and a collectibles store.
I had dinner at a place called Buz’s Crab, which might be my favorite restaurant north of Sacramento now. It’s a cheap place specializing in (surprise) seafood. Loved it. Reminded me of Libby Hill in North Carolina, which is a good memory to have.
I tried to take a nap. I didn’t succeed and I watched The Seven-Year Itch instead. Hit the Club 501 on Center Street at about 11:00. There were about 10 people there, which I guessed was about half the queer population of Redding. The bartender, who was nice and bought me beers, told me the sparse turnout stemmed from the fact that every Sodomite in town had been at the pride festival in Chico all day.
It was a nice bar, tiny and (legally) smoke-filled. There was a juke box with the requisite sucky faggot disco which I often forget is so common outside the city. The crowd was friendly and some of it was even attractive. The bartender told me that the building housing the bar had originally been Redding’s first hotel, and later its first brothel.
Getting laid seemed less and less worth the effort by 1:00, so I went home and slept. I stand by my decision.