Eager readers head outdoors for CN&R’s summer challenge

The submissions are in. Here are some highlights.

3. A tiny frog gets a kiss in public, courtesy of Mary Kidder.

3. A tiny frog gets a kiss in public, courtesy of Mary Kidder.

For the months of June and July, CN&R readers had a challenge to complete, with chances to win a brand-new bike from Campus Bicycles. The best part? People actually took us up on our offer of a fun-filled summer in Chico (and beyond). And they had a great time!

We had a chance to live vicariously through some of our readers, and it was so much fun we decided to share excerpts with everyone else. Here goes.

1. Learn a water sport. Nearly everyone headed straight for the Forebay Aquatic Center in Oroville for a water adventure, from paddle boating to kayaking.

2. Try two new tacos a week. This one, by far, got the most enthusiastic responses. People tried tacos at everywhere from Tres Hombres and Sierra Nevada to taco trucks and even Jack in the Box. Some faves: Puerto Vallarta, Tacos Cortez.

3. Smooch in public. Mary Kidder had two notable public kisses—the first, “my first kiss as a wife!” and the second with a cute frog she and her hubby found while trying to find Chlotilde and Charlotte in Stirling City’s Chlotilde Merlo Park (two birds, one stone).

4. Hone your artistic eye. Funny story: Tara Ames, who created a blog to chronicle her progress, writes this about her visit to Art Etc.: “It’s funny how small of a world Chico can be; two of the people I met were in my human web (you know, six degrees of separation?) … Darice Machel will be giving away one of her paintings … at the next Art 1st Saturday.” Just to prove to you, Tara, how small a world Chico is, another contestant, Meaghann Bolin, writes in her scrapbook-style journal the following month: “I won an original oil painting at Art Etc. Way cool!”

5. Lassen and Gage Johnson at Jon & Bon’s.

5. Become a ’cream connoisseur. The kids loved this one especially, but the most interesting response came from vegan Kidder, who had to get a little creative with this challenge but found yummy sorbet at Rite Aid.

6. Take a day trip into history (Centerville). Nearly everyone took us up on this offer as well, taking in the sights of the old schoolhouse and cemetery.

7. Head up the hill (Paradise). Fun was had by all, even if it only meant a trip to the local Canteena because the museums and businesses close early during the week.

8. Get to know Chlotilde and Charlotte. A surprising number of contestants actually took the trip up to Stirling City.

9. Get on the bus. This did turn out to be a challenge for people, who for the most part were not regular B-Line riders. Biggest complaint: Waiting too long in the heat for the next bus. Biggest praise: The air-conditioned interior.

10. Meaghann Bolin writes, “I was a little disappointed that I could not get closer to the falls.”

10. Witness the beauty of Feather Falls. Bolin was our only contestant who made it to Feather Falls. “I recommend bringing plenty of H2O and good, sturdy hiking boots. I wore tennis shoes, which was my mistake because I ended up with two blisters.”

11. Visit three remote swimming holes. Alligator and Bear holes were most popular. We liked the response from the Lane family: “We visited three remote swimming holes, but we’re not telling you where!”

12. Sing in public. Some hit the karaoke scene, others the City Plaza. Here’s a note from Ames: “I took my guitar and sat by the fountain and sang ‘Radio’ by Alkaline Trio. Turns out that I suck. Ha.” Kudos for doing it anyway!

13. Listen to a full album uninterrupted. “In honor of Michael Jackson on the day of his memorial service, we curled up on the couch and listened to Thriller, an album I practically wore out as a teenager,” writes Sharon Karch, who took the challenge a step further and wrote each entry in exactly 59 words (she’s a “Fiction 59” regular).

14. Appreciate the Sacramento River. Surprisingly, nobody hopped into a tube at Scotty’s, but other activities were found. “There were these fabulous cement benches where I could sit and enjoy the Sacramento River flow by,” Bolin writes of her visit to William B. Ide Adobe State Park in Red Bluff (also knocking off part of No. 15).

15. Visit three parks in Tehama County. Woodson Bridge won as the most visited.

16. Dunk a basketball. Done—in a pool, at a school and drunk (not at the same time).

17. Camp out. What’s better than heading up to Lake Almanor?

18. Refresh your romance in Ashland. Bolin wasn’t the only one to make it to Ashland, Ore., but while Kidder could enjoy only a short evening there before heading back to Chico for work, Bolin and her beau took in the Shakespearean theater. She writes: “I can sum this trip up in three words … SEXY FANTASTIC FUN!”

19. Pet some lonely pets. The Butte Humane Society is a great place for this; just take it from Molly Lane (age 8): “I just want to cry, those pets are so lonely.” Kidder didn’t make it to BHS, but did adopt a 2-day-old, abandoned kitten. Nice job.

20. “Where the Bidwells meet.”

20. Find the Bidwells. Most everyone was able to find the gravestone for John and Annie Bidwell, and some even included a list of all the places in town with the name Bidwell in them. Here’s the most unique, submitted by Karch, who did the challenge with her family: “In my Google search to find all the places in Chico with the name Bidwell, I found over 50, but one that was missing was the intersection of Bidwell Avenue and Bidwell Drive, what I like to call ‘where the Bidwells meet.’ ”

All in all, people had an amazing time—some of them even discovering new things in their own back yards that they’d never explored before. Some parting words:

“We did it,” writes Karch. “The CN&R Summer Challenge is over and we had so much fun participating. Sampling new foods, trying new activities, discovering new places, and re-visiting some old favorites, but most important doing it all together as a family.”

“We had a fun-filled and PACKED summer this year, all thanks to CN&R,” writes Tara Johnson, who participated with her husband and two boys.

Check next week’s CN&R to find out who the winner is!