On Saturday, Grants Pass Oregon was clear and sunny and warm. Even though we had only been away for a week, the oaks were all leafed out, and the dogwoods were in their full rosy glory. Lilacs are blooming everywhere and even the iris are starting to bud. We arrived in early afternoon, in time to bring the MoHo out and pack up, and then do a few minor easy chores around the cottage property. I carefully watered the fruit trees and the long line of shrubs, and with 2.5 gallons per minute, I had to be especially careful. Testing a hose and a five gallon bucket showed that at full blast I could run 10 GPM and with no reservoir cistern, could run the well dry in no time.
It was a very warm evening, and we opened up all the windows to the cottage. I sat in the twilight reading and catching up on computer stuff while Mo patiently mudded all the tape she put up on the kitchen drywall. She was shocked when she finally sat down in the living room to relax with a glass of wine to discover that it was 9pm. We were even more shocked when we both discovered we were wide awake at 4am. With an expected leaving hour of 8, we didn’t know quite what to do. What the heck, let’s just leave. Can you tell we were ready to be on the road?!
Thinking breakfast might be a nice way to kill some time, we decided to try Elmers’ but they didn’t open until 6 so we ended up at Shari’s while waiting for Freddy’s to open the gas islands. Breakfast was OK, but not as great as our favorite Elmer’s place, and we had food in our tummy’s and gas in the rigs by 7am and were heading south on the 5 by ten after.
Somehow the road seemed new today, and as many times as both of us have driven the five, together and apart, it was as fresh and interesting as if we had never done it. Most anyone who has traveled out west has been on this road, it is the easiest and fastest way to get from anywhere north to anywhere south in Washington, Oregon, and California. Everyone complains about how boring it can be, but the stretch between Grants Pass and Redding is as gorgeous as any interstate in the country. Especially when the sun shines over Mt Shasta.
There as a bit of smoke and haze in the spring air near the mountain today, but it only served to make it even more mystical. “The Mountain” dominates the skyline for a hundred miles in almost all directions, but the view comes and goes between the volcanic landscape surrounding Medford and Yreka. Rounding a curve you get a glimpse here and there before she explodes in her full glory as the road passes through the Scott Valley. Well, explodes maybe isn’t a good word, although she has been quiet for a few centuries now.
We took our time, stopping at the vista points, then again at a beautiful rest area near Red Bluff that neither of us remembered seeing before. I think it was there, but has been reworked significantly. The roses were in full bloom and the area was lovely and green with beautiful shade trees and a nice pet area. By mid day the temperatures were in the mid 80’s and I felt myself open up and expand with the warmth just like those roses.
We drove as far as Costco in Woodland before stopping for fuel and then Mo drove through downtown Sacramento and around the complex ramps to get on the 50 going east to South Lake Tahoe. I lived in Sacramento back in the 70’s, visited Maryruth there many times since when she lived there, and still that turn onto 50 east is disquieting. Today it was a piece of cake, though, a great reason to travel on a Sunday through the cities.
Our destination this afternoon was Shingle Springs and the Elks Campground just about 5 miles away from where Laurie and Odel have settled in to homestead. They met us at the campground with some instructions about where to dump if we needed (we did!) and maps of how to get to their house. Mo keeps asking if Laurie was a teacher. She gave me three maps, a distance google map, a close-up google map with bulleted pop-outs, and a page of written instructions. It was all detailed, specific, and perfect. We still managed to turn the wrong way for a moment before correcting. This part of the California foothills is lovely, and full of narrow, winding roads that just wander off willy-nilly in almost any direction. Beautiful.
We found their home, marveled at their incredibly good luck in finding such a perfect place to live, and then went for a walk around the pretty little lake that is the focal point of their extended home park. As Laurie has said, it is a bit like living in a really nice RV Resort, only with more room in the kitchen. The lake was charming, and filled with adorable goose families and one half of a pair of beautiful black swans. The walk felt good after a day in the rig and by 6 we were all ready for dinner.
A short drive to a Taqueria nearby led us to a nice cool patio and some good Mexican food. Laurie’s ceviche was fresh and delightful, Mo had a chimichanga that was spicy and flavorful, and my flautas were like cardboard filled with chicken leather. ah well, most of it was really good!
It is so great to have some time with friends we enjoy so much. Laurie and Odel are both fun to be around, easy to talk with, and always entertaining. One of the lucky finds of the RV life for us. Tomorrow there is more socializing on the agenda with a great drive north on the famous Highway 49 to Nevada City.
Right now the night is dark and quiet and the air is still warm and soft. For a few minutes this afternoon things were less than lovely, with a bit of black tank dumping fiascos, but now it is all good. Isn’t it amazing how that can happen? While walking around with L and O we found ourselves talking about dog poop, cat boxes, black water tanks, and being sick on a ship. Geez….Maybe we can find something better to talk about tomorrow!