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Posts tagged ‘Ashland’

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.

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.

Wandering Ashland

It’s been really hot here during the day.  Tonight, as the sun was clearing the surrounding mountains to the west, the high temperatures began to fade which made for another beautiful evening here in Ashland.  Kelly and I  went walking and I captured a few pictures while we were wandering about.

Southern Oregon University

Abandoned train tracks near the edge of Ashland

Shakespeare Festival Plaza

Juggling in Lithia Park

Steps to the fountain in Lithia Park

Let’s Go To Ashland

Today we took our time getting ready to depart. Per usual, Lilly got a nice walk before much else was completed. We strolled down to and through the marina – a great location really. Every once and a while I wish we lived on a houseboat – today was one of those occasions. Something about living on the water appeals to me. Maybe some day.

After returning from our walk, I began getting things ready for the road while Kelly made breakfast – eggs, sausage, and toast. It doesn’t get more staple than this. Sometimes less is more and in this case, a simple breakfast really hit the spot.

Breakfast sandwiches in the making

The drive today was relatively straightforward, only about seventy miles but I was curious to see how our truck would handle the numerous high passes between where we were and where we were headed. There is one particularly big mountain pass on the way towards Oregon. At 4300 feet (ish) it is the highest point anywhere along interstate 5, and certainly the makings for a good “umph” test.

When we bought our Airstream the most stressful decision in that process was deciding what type of tow vehicle to get. After making about a dozen “final” decisions, we landed on a 2012 Ford F-150. Brand spankin’ new.

I specifically wanted a half-ton, not a three-quarter ton truck as this is also my daily driver. There are many who evangelize the need for a massive truck, but there are also many touting the F-150 as equally fit for purpose when spec’d correctly.

Upgraded towing features were a must in my mind as was the optional and relatively new ‘Ecoboost’ engine. A six cylinder engine designed to be a brute, the Ecoboost engine pounds out a whopping amount of torque and horsepower. The truck did fabulously over the passes.

At one point We decided to stop in the town of Mt. Shast. I was craving and espresso and since Northbond Roasters – one of my favorite coffee roasters is located there, we pulled into town. I assumed there would be a hip little coffee shop I could drop into and grab my pull. I was wrong. Apparently these folks roast beans only, no hipster point of sale to be found. Total bummer.

All wasn’t a total loss, the views of Mt. Shasta mountain were great today.

After a bit of research, we decided to book two nights at the Glenyan RV park, located about five miles outside Ashland. The park is pretty nice – a mix of what appear to be full-time RV residents and travelers like Kelly and me. Full hook-ups will run you $34 per night and the place has a quasi state park vibe. Not too bad really.

Like so many RV campgrounds, claims of available wi-fi are just shy of a boldface lie. Our Verizon broadband seems to be doing ok; a bit slow for streaming, but probably should fine for work purposes. If connectivity speed proves to be problematic, I’ll simply head into town and squat at a coffee shop as needed.

We’ve been to Ashland many times – we quite like it actually. Often on our short list of Oregon towns to make residence someday (Portland and Bend being the other top vote getters), we almost always stop here whenever passing through. I’m looking forward to spending a few days in the area in order to more thoroughly test drive this place.

I also cannot wait to visit Noble coffee shop. I so hope they are open tomorrow even though it is a holiday. Fingers crossed.