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Posts from the ‘Ashland’ Category

PCT

Kelly and I both took Friday off from work, and amongst other things, our plan was to find a nice morning hike.  Following an unnecessarily lengthy review of potential candidates, we settled on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Sure, the logistics of driving only 15 minutes to the nearest trailhead could not have been easier, but in actuality, its hard to feel that we actually ‘settled’.

The PCT is the most widely used north/south long-distance hiking trail on the western portion of the United States,  and  those who choose to follow its path will view some of the most beautiful scenery there is to be seen.

 

Map of the PCT

Map of the PCT

With Canada and Mexico as bookends, the trail spans 2,663 miles through California, Oregon, and Washington and is closely aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges.  Not in a position to hike the entire trail on Friday, we spent three hours exploring an out and back section.

The trailhead we used for access was just off an old logging road and I’m guessing receives moderate usage.  We saw only one other party (two people total) which made for a very enjoyable morning on the trails.

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Good Times Ending

Yesterday Kelly and I accompanied Brian and Leigh on a bit of reconnaissance as they scouted potential boondocking sites near Ashland.  These guys are pros when it comes to sniffing-out free camp sites, that is those locations offering a blend of beauty, no costs, and quality WiFi.  Kelly and I find ourselves increasingly attracted to these type locations, so we were keen to join them.

Initial site located.

Initial site located.

We visited a few additional locations before moving onto the Grizzly Peak Trail for a nice tree-lined hike and more good conversation.

Baker Mountain

Baker Mountain

Clowning around on the Grizzly Trail

Clowning around on the Grizzly Trail

After the hike we had plans for dinner – sadly the week was ending, but not before one final meal and more swapping of stories.

Enjoying our last supper

Our week with Brian and Leigh has been really great.  Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and earlier today, Kelly and I parted ways with our traveling buddies – we are headed south to Half Moon Bay and they continue onward in their crawl towards Canada.

We cannot wait to meet-up again.

The Famous Aluminariums

After work today, Kelly and I had drinks with Brian and Leigh at their place Airstream, before moseying into town for pizza and salad at the super informal Martolli’s – one of our favorite places to eat in Ashland.

Over the course of the evening many stories were shared … all which are securely situated in the vault.

Brian and Leigh are good people and it was a stevie wonderful evening.

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Cruel Irony

Like most days, Kelly and I worked all day.  Normally, this routine plays itself out as we sit in office buildings miles apart.  Here in the Airstream this week we sit at a table working 42 inches from one another, yet hardly exchange a word.  We are too busy pounding away at our laptops and remotely participating in meetings, all while bouncing in and out of instant message chat sessions with co-workers.

Sadly, I’ve accepted this mundane repetition of ours as the new normal … the quid pro quo of working for the man … we push the corporate rock uphill (a seemingly never-ending hill mind you) in exchange for a regular paycheck every two weeks.

Working remotely this week was supposed to shake things up a bit.  Alas, even here in our beloved Ashland, we cannot escape the whispers of work as it peaks over our shoulders, it’s stale breathe an unwelcome reminder of what awaits us back in California.

It is what it is I suppose.

And, it sucks.

Oh the irony – here we are situated smack in the middle of natural beauty.  Stunning 360 views abound and I hardly looked out the window.

On a more positive note, the day concluded in a lovely manner – Mother Nature gracing us with fabulous dusk lighting as the sun made its way elsewhere for the evening.

Our silver neighbors

Our silver neighbors

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Tomorrow is Friday and once Kelly and I close another work week, our first order of business will be to hit the town with Brian and Leigh; they too will likely be itching to step away from the responsibilities of the real world.

Surely they will be sufficiently bad influences … exactly what Kelly and I need.

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This Feels Right

On Monday Kelly and I drove about three hours, crossing into Oregon before settling-in for the week near the outskirts of Ashland.  The winding roads, luscious green pine trees, and alpine fog made for a beautiful drive.  If you are ever in the area, it is definitely worth diverting from I-5 and exploring the backroads of the national forests surrounding Mount Shasta.

Jackknifed truck outside of Ashland, OR

Passing a jack-knifed truck along I-5 a few miles south of Ashland, OR

We’re at Emigrant Lake currently, a location we’ve been once before.  It’s a fabulous spot, made even better as we’re here with friends Brian and Leigh for the week.  Our jobs require that we all remain busy with work during the day, but the change of scenery is welcome, as is their company.

My office view this week.

My office view this week.

Kelly and I adore Ashland; something about this place seems to fits us well.  It will be nice to share our time here with others who will appreciate all this great little town has to offer.

I wish every week was like this.

First Impressions Confirmed

Yesterday, I offered some preliminary thoughts on our current location – an RV park(ish) just north of Ashland, Oregon.  Base upon some suspicious initial observations, I suspected that our surroundings might be a bit interesting.

In an effort to validate my thinking, first thing this morning I conducted a bit of reconnaissance within the immediate area.  So with camera in hand, I ventured into the unknown, determined to learn more about my surroundings.  Fairly quickly, my hunch was confirmed … this place is hippie-central.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I’m not entirely sure how to best articulate things around here, so I’ll instead provide some imagery.  As the cliché says – a picture is worth a thousand words.  And with that, allow me to offer you a few thousand words.

Let’s begin with the neighbors…

View from our front window

Custom painted, classic and understated.

5th Wheel bandsaw – really?

Too much crap

Vintage Airstream

Can this pass for a yurt?  Love the sign.

Having sufficiently examined the neighborhood, I then proceeded to other areas of the property.

Starting with the sacred grounds beyond this sign below, I respectfully and responsibly proceeded forward.  Finding only a teepee, the community vegetable garden, and (wait for it …) a spiral rock garden, I was pretty disappointed.

On the positive, I did make friends with a cat.

Signage greeting guests

I prefer the comforts of my Airstream over this teepee

The trail leading to the rock garden

Spiral rock garden

One curious cat

My surveying efforts nearly complete, I began making my way back to the Airstream.  Along the way, I stumbled into this gem below:

Rules maintain order here at the park

While comfortably eating breakfast, I found myself reflecting upon my observations.  Is this place really full of cuckoos I wondered?  Having been able to wander the grounds with the aid of daylight, I confirmed my previous thinking … yes, definitely yes..

Generally, I’m not one to say “I told you so”, but … I told you so.

Reserving Judgement (for now)

Kelly and I hitched-up Mabel early this morning and set course due north.  On this eleven-day trip our destination is Washington – Bainbridge Island to be specific.  We plan to spend the Thanksgiving holiday in our former community, visiting and relaxing with friends.  We have not been back since relocating to California last October, and suffice it to say, we are both very excited to soon be back in our former stomping grounds.

The journey is not a short one, and at just over 900 miles each way, we will be spending lots of time in transit.  To ease the pain, we will be breaking this drive into chunks – our attempt to make those 900 miles a bit more tolerable.  We have an appointment on Monday in Eugene, so we’ve decided to take a few days in arriving.  Today we drove to one of our favorite Oregon communities – Ashland.  Roughly 430 miles from our base in Half Moon Bay, Ashland is a welcome oasis after an honest day of driving.  I’ve mentioned my love of this southern Oregon town before, so I have no problem “justifying” some rest time in this wonderful environment.

We’re here two nights (Fri & Sat) and wanted full hook-ups.  Per usual, Kelly managed the process of finding a suitable place to stay.  Our preferred State and County park campgrounds are closed for the season, something we had not anticipated, which left us scrambling a bit to find an alternate location.  The lone RV park we’ve stayed at before was not available, but we did secure accommodation at Jackson Wellsprings Campground.

Photo courtesy of Zork Magazine

Turns out that Jackson Wellsprings is a bit of an interesting find … more than a measly RV park.  Kelly and I have, according to the property website, stumbled upon a “30 acre natural hot springs spa and events center” with resources such as “the WellSprings spa, event facilities and gardens which offer a healing environment to relax, enjoy and gather.”

Not content being just another RV park, the website continues, adding “WellSprings is transforming into an education and healing center and eco-resort, replete with daily classes and weekend workshops that encourage optimum human health and cultivate one’s interconnectedness with self and Nature”.

So basically, this place is for cuckoos.

Exhibit-A … not two minutes upon pulling into our spot, a guy wandered over to introduce himself.  His name was Green Light (yes, Green Light) and mentioned that he was making wild mushrooms for dinner.

Completely looking the part of a homeless person, had Green Light not walked out of the fairly nice RV next to ours, I would have assumed he wandered over from beneath a bridge.  Our total conversation was less than a minute in duration and to be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure if he was offering to sell me drugs or simply wanted to make pleasant conversation.

It was dark when we arrived so I’ve not yet gotten what I consider to be a “good look” around the place.  There is a mix of newer and dumpy RVs all around.  Most have enough new-age clutter accumulated, they could pass as the modern-day Zen film set of Sanford and Son.  All of which leads me to believe most of my current neighbors are long-term residents and probably smoke a lot of cannabis – medicinal or otherwise.

Overall, my initial (albeit brief) impressions are this:  we just might be parked at the intersection of Burning Man and the land of Aquarius.  If you seek such a place, this park is right up your alley.  Further, based upon this set of photos I found on Flickr, I’m expecting the park to be full of really nice people who just might be (half) bat-shit crazy.

By the way, there is an Olympic swim pool available for guests.  Clothing is optional after 6pm.