Monday, September 08, 2008

The unexpected benefits of Shakespeare

We take a road trip just about every year to explore this big ol' country at a slower pace than whizzing from place to place by air. This year the catalyst was returning to Ashland, Oregon to see us some Shakespeare. We had gone maybe 15 years ago with young daughters in tow, but with just the two of us, we were in search of a deeper, more leisurely focus. It was hard for a 12 and 8 year old who wanted to be entertained to stop and see the interesting details in an old Victorian house, notice how the streets meander through neighborhoods and to people watch, noting the overall difference in dress and styles from lovely San Diego. BTW, what is it with all these non-ethnic people with dreds and otherwhise bushy and unkempt hair?

So the trip's plan began with Ashland, a 2 day drive from home. That's a long way for a short stay, so Bob (who plans our explorations) added in the Redwoods, then four nights in Portland.

The excitement level is always high before a trip, but this time Bob outdid himself. Something woke him up at 3 AM, so he woke me up too by announcing he was ready to hit the road. Meanwhile, when I'm keyed up, I find it hard to get to sleep, so having crawled into bed at 1 AM, I was bleary-eyed and sluggish. A bit of coffee and we were headed north by 3:30 AM. We absolutely hate driving through Los Angeles, but we were on the Grapevine before 6 AM and to our overnight rest stop, Redding, by 2:30 PM. Bob prefers to drive and I normally knit, but this 1st day, I crawled into the back seat and tried to nap. On the very long days of driving, I take a turn at the wheel, usually for a 100 miles or so, then he declares he's refreshed and drives the rest of the shift. Bless him.

Not really being an outdoorsy type, Redding doesn't appeal to me much EXCEPT it has the best steaks I have ever put in my mouth. I remembered this from past trips and was not disappointed. The Cattleman's Restaurant is not to be missed. If you get there, order the baked sweet potato as a side because it comes with the best pecan butter. Yum. It was so good, we decided to eat there again on the way back. I even had the same menu item, the rib eye. Although one of our daughters is a vegan, we are meatatarians all the way.

From Redding, we detoured off the 5 to meander through the Redwood National Forest, pausing here and there. We stopped at the Lady Bird Johnson clearing and did the short 1 1/2 mile walk among the trees.

Ashland seemed much more picturesque than I remembered. On the first night, we wandered around in search of a micro brew and right on the main square I found a yarn store, The Web-sters. It was closed, but we had time before our plays the next day, so I planned to return. It was an unassuming store front, but I was absolutely amazed upon entering it. You see, I honestly had not planned on checking out any yarn stores while on the road. Geez, I work in one, taking full advantage of my employee discount resulting in my having a room full of yarn at home. I did get an Elsebeth Lavold book, #9 More Viking Knits, some Manos Silk, Jitterbug and Baby Ull in the pearl gray Heather wanted for the cabled legwarmers from Knit So Fine. Did you know Oregon has no sales tax?

OMG, 10 of my beloved LYS would fit into this place. I did not know what to look at first. They even had this huge back room where I noted an aisle numbered 22!