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Published: August 11th 2011
On the Road with Ivy and Grace
It's August and my RV's thermostat says to head north.
Grace and I took three truckloads of gear back to the RV and headed north from Morgan Hill. This time, we’re not alone. We’re taking Grace’s niece Ivy with us. Ivy just graduated college in Taiwan and wants to practice her English before getting a job. In her first 7 weeks here, she’s learned a few choice words like nasty, VD and wussy. She’s reluctant to say worse words, but we’ll have here cussing like a plumber before she heads back in September.
On Saturday, we spent $150 on diesel before the truck overheated above Redding, CA. With the temperature at 96 degrees in the shade, it wasn’t hard to overheat our Allison transmission over 200F. We stopped at Antler’s RV site to let the tranny cool off and see if we could check in for the night. Antlers only had one site that was made for a much smaller RV, so we decided to sit around the RV camp for a while and let the temperature drop from the heat of the day.
While we waited
for the truck to cool off, I decided it was a good idea for me to cool off in the camp pool. There’s nothing like taking a cool dip on a hot day to take me back to my youth. The swimming pool was about the same size as the swimming pool in my backyard growing up. Grace and Ivy didn’t have the good luck I did of growing up with a pool, so they were content in watching me make a chump of myself.
I started with a classic Nestea plunge. Then I made up the Wile E. Coyote walk where I fall into the water like Wile falls off a cliff. I made up a new pool jump known as the Surfing Monkey -named after Grace’s favorite pair of my underwear. Grace bought me some underwear in Taiwan that has a Surfing Monkey on it - see pic. The monkey is sucking his thumb and has the other thumb stuck in his ear. I did my best to imitate him as I jumped into the pool. Send me some of your own dives or jumps before summer ends...
Ashland is Awesome
On Sunday morning, we
woke up in the O’Reilly Auto Part's parking lot in Yreka, CA. We were the last ones into Walmart parking lot because we waited for the cool evening to drive over some mountains. By the time we rolled into Walmart, the parking lot was full of RVs and the adjacent O’Reilly lot was flat and empty, so we took it. When we rolled out of bed around 8:30, all the other RVers were gone and we were sitting alone in O’Reilly which had opened up at 8. I thought for sure an O’Reilly employee or an officer of the law would come knocking on the door asking for our camping permit - We didn't have one.
I pulled my pants on quick and went to put in the slides so we could get on the road. The slides started to pull in, but the 12V Marine battery ran out of juice because we had used lights and the radio into the night. I couldn't move the RV with the living room slide sticking out a few feet. The dead battery required me to unhitch the truck and jump start it so that the slides would close. By about 9am,
I pulled the RV into the vacant Walmart parking lot while Grace was shopping in Raley’s grocery store with Ivy. Life in the strip mall isn’t what it used to be when you can pull your mobile home in and make camp in a few minutes.
With the weather still relatively cool at 9am, we made it over a 4,300’ pass and into Oregon without incident. The gas light came on though and we dropped another $90 in diesel into the tank. We checked into Valley of the Rogue State Park by 11am – about 5 hours early before standard checkin. Most RVers are retired and tend to get on the road early to avoid the heat of the day – maybe I should learn from that. The site was open and we moved in.
On Sunday afternoon, we backtracked to Ashland to see what this Shakespeare Festival was all about. Ashland is a touristy town founded around its hot springs. Now, it’s famous for hosting a wide variety of plays well beyond the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. On the way to the festival, we parked at Lithia Park and were overwhelmed by the number of people enjoying the
park on a warm, sunny Sunday. The same guy that designed Golden Gate Park in San Francisco designed this park that is full of redwoods and a nice stream. It was hard to leave this park, so we didn't.
One of the first people Ivy stopped to talk to was Steve the Upside Down Stick Guy. One-eyed Steve made balanced sculptures out of pieces of wood that he trimmed to stand upside down. He was a rather intelligent man and told me a lot about philosophy and how branches are light finding mechanisms that grow into the light. Check out some pictures of his work. I took a liking to a piece of Manzanita that he had carved up. We had to leave the park to discuss business because he wasn’t allowed to sell anything within the park boundaries. He said he had spent 11 hours on the piece and that he couldn’t part it for less than $100. We soon parted ways amiably. He kept his stick.
I caught up to Grace and Ivy who were waiting at the Lower Duck Pond where red and blue dragonflies darted in the sun. A couple of blue dragonflies were
very photogenic and patient with us as we took lots of great pictures. The red dragonflies were stunning in the sunlight, but none came within 10 yards of us while we got within a foot of our friendly blue ones.
After the pond was a little field that had a load of hula hoops and energy healers. Soon we were hula hooping and Grace showed us how she could run and hula hoop at the same time. I challenged her to a hula hoop race and won. Even though it wasn’t a great victory, I held my hoop up in celebration!
I remembered another trick to do with hula hoops that I saw on my favorite TV show - Tosh.0. In one of the videos Tosh reviewed, four long hairs jumped through a rolling hula hoop. Tosh upped the ante and lit an 8’ hoop on fire and rolled it down a hill. Tosh and 5 of his friends ran down the hill and weaved in and out of the flaming hoop - impressive.
The lady who supplies the hula hoops (and sells them at the Ashland craft market) said we couldn’t light them on fire, so
we resolved to just roll them on the ground and run through them. I was pretty pleased with the excellent photos that Ivy took of my hula hoop looping. Look at the intensity at which I focused on the hula hoops and the agility that I showed popping through them.
After some more butterflies in the park, we finally made it into downtown Ashland and saw some fun shops and listened to an old ragtime jazz pianist in a bar. We watched a bit of the free Green show but refrained from dropping $40 on a cheap ticket to see a play. For dinner, we ate Thai food in a shaded patio by the creek. Ashland is a town that reminded me of Asheville, NC and is a place we might stop by on the way back to California in a few more weeks.
I hope you enjoyed the blog that I’ve missed writing. I want to give Ivy credit for taking many of the photos in the second half of the photo section. She snaps over 100 photos on a bad day and has a good eye for photography. She keeps her own blog in Chinese here:
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