These posts are my daily reports of our trip: the things we saw, the places we went, and the people we met as we drove approximately 1,500 miles in the course of six days, and had an adventure. I tried to write down my impressions each night before bed, or over my first cup of coffee in the morning. I wanted the memories to be fresh, undiluted by another day or days of travel and experiences. I can only hope you enjoy reading them a fraction as much as I enjoyed living them. (If you haven't read the first part of this series, the posts are here: Day One, Day Two: Part One, Day Two: Part Two, Day Three, Day Four, and Day Five.)
This morning we had to say goodbye to Featherbed Railroad. It was HARD!
We dragged out of bed, procrastinating for a last few minutes, then finished packing and loading the van before we pulled around to the lobby building to top the cooler with ice, pick up our receipt, and have breakfast. Tony outdid himself for our last day: chicken/fontina sausage, spinach and ricotta crepes, coffee and juice, finished with whipped cream-topped Nutella crepes for dessert. I had to make them take my plate before I started scraping up the crumbs because I was already stuffed! Tony and Peggy have been wonderful hosts, and we lingered over coffee, talking and laughing, far longer than we planned.
|Saying good-bye. Never an easy thing!|
|Sunny and beautiful made it VERY hard to leave!|
|A beautiful building with a checkered past.|
|Hard to get a picture that gives you a good|
idea of the size. This place is massive!
For a different view of the hotel, take a look at this video, shot by a couple local teens while the hotel was closed. I am guessing they were trespassing (not a great move to film that, guys), which contributes to the "Blair Witch" feel of the video. And for a peek inside, this video from the Lake County Model A Ford club has some cool footage (Another thing for the "to do" list when we come back) And this one from the Marymount College lease signing ceremony is mostly speeches, but you do get the view of one room at the end.
(I got sucked into many videos of Lake County on YouTube. You Have Been Warned!)
From there we headed back to the highway and east for I-5 and home. We hit the freeway at Williams, an easy 40 miles east of Clear Lake. No route 175-like surprises on this leg of the trip!
Turning north on 5, we had several hundred miles ahead of us. We spent the day trading off driving, the passenger sometimes reading aloud from a book we'd found at a shop in Petaluma. America Eats, on the Road With the WPA is a collection of works created by the Federal Writers Project in the early- to mid-1930s, compiled, annotated and expanded upon a few years ago by Pat Willard. It's an interesting read, and just the kind of thing Steve and I often share on road trips. A few years back we read a book about a miniature spy sub program, finishing the last few chapters by the light from a hand-held flashlight.
Somewhere along the road I realized I was relaxed and happy, grinning like a fool without a care in the world. By some strange magic, our trip has worked exactly the way we wanted. We unwound from the stress and intensity of the last 22 months, pushed aside all the care and worry and demands of our daily life. I felt good, for the first time in a long, long time. It was a nice feeling.
|Temptation by the|
side of the road.
|The original In-n-Out Burger. Yes,|
I have been there. Many times!
I was born the same year as In-n-Out, grew up only a few miles from original location, and lived within walking distance of that same store for several years after I got married. The burger chain and their excellent food were a big part of my childhood, my teen years, and my early adulthood.
Once, many years after I left Southern California - and long before they had expanded outside the LA basin - my son asked if there was anything he could bring when he came to visit. I jokingly said, "A double-double." It arrived in his carry-on luggage, wrapped in protective layers of foil and insulating newspapers, a little worse for the wear. Tasted heavenly!
|Like this -|
only more crowded!
And just like in Southern California, where everybody goes to In-n-Out, we spotted a celebrity: Amy Roloff from Little People Big World fame. A woman at the table next to us saw her and said something to her companions; when they didn't immediately understand she turned to me and asked "That is her, isn't it?" I nodded and she turned back to her friends, satisfied that she had, indeed, had a celebrity sighting.
We stopped for gas in Medford at about 5; finally someone else pumped our gas! Oregon is unusual in that by law you cannot pump your own gas. It's a great deal for us, but it does make for some awkward moments on road trips when we forget that we have to do-it-yourself in other parts of the country.
The entire trip had gone smoothly up to this point, and although we did run into a little rush-hour traffic in Medford, we never really encountered any awful traffic. Occasionally there was someone in too much of a hurry, and there was one guy with a bicycle tied to the top of the pile of luggage that was strapped atop his car - the bike didn't look any too stable, and we were nervous the whole time he was in front of us. Wish we had a picture of that - you'd understand instantly! Steve just didn't like the idea of a bicycle coming through the windshield. Or the radiator. Frankly, neither did I.
|Close to home!|
About 60 miles up I-5, we took the turnoff in Salem, and were finally on the last stretch to home. The 50+-mile drive over the coastal mountains is very, very familiar; we have made it every few weeks (at least) for nearly 15 years - and last year, while my mother was ill, I was making the round-trip every weekend.
|Kinda like this.|
We petted the kitties, and listened to their complaints about our absence, made a quick check of email for any immediate crisis (none), and tumbled into bed. Sleeping late was on the agenda, since there wouldn't be one of those amazing breakfasts to make it worth getting up!
This has been one of the greatest vacations I have ever had, thanks in large part to Tony and Peggy at Featherbed Railroad, and especially thanks to my companion of 30 years, my husband Steve. It was a great trip, a wonderful birthday present, and I made memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
My thanks also to each of you who has taken the time to read my reports, look at our pictures, and enjoy our vacation along with us. And if you stop at Featherbed Railroad, be sure and tell Tony we sent you.
Now go out there and make some memories of your own!!