2001: Oregon

Ashland & Crater Lake

July

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Finally Oregon! Our first stop is Ashland, where we enjoy some theater at the world-famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We spentour first three nights in an RV park right beside I-5, near an on-ramp leading directly to a 24-hour truck stop. ROOOOOOAAAAAAR! On Thursday wemoved on to a nicer, more remote park about 8 miles outside Medford. It's a 25-mile drive to Ashland but at least we can hear each other talk inside the trailer. While here we found an aluminum-fabrication shop which repairs a leak in our auxiliary diesel-fuel tank.

We had no theater tickets when we arrived, but were able to pick up seats here and there. We saw "Troilus and Cressida", a well-mounted production but a bit murky in the story -- basically a three-hour iambic-pentameterlament over the Trojan War. The next night we walked out of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at intermission, after a 1-hour-45-minute first act! It was just dreadful, not at all funny, poorly cast, full of shtick and mugging -- the Three Stooges and Jerry Lewis do Shakespeare.The tepid laughter from the rest of the audience indicated they agreed with us. The next night treated us to a clever and witty backstage musical, "Enter the Guardsman". It would be fun to do this one locally! On our last night in town, we wrapped with the excellent "Merchant of Venice", well-acted and creatively modernized.

Other nearby attractions include the Klamath and Rogue rivers. We visited a fish hatchery and watched hugesalmon struggle up a "fish ladder" to reach their spawning grounds -- inside the hatchery! While lunching beside the Rogue, watching rafters and kayakers drift by, we saw an angler pull out a 32-inch Chinook.

We took a short side trip to renew acquaintances with Crater Lake, a place of almost unimaginable beauty. Estimated to be the seventh-deepest lake in the world at 2000 feet, it rests in a huge steep-sided caldera formed by a mammoth volcano eruption. Fed only by rainwater and snow melt, the lake's water is uncontaminated and as blue and clear as the Caribbean. A secondary volcano arose inside the caldera to form Wizard Island, which lends Crater Lake part of its unique appearance.



Do you believe in bad karma? Do you believe in bad drivers? Do you believe we've been HIT -- AGAIN? For the second time in three months? For those who didn't hear the first story, we were five days into our maiden RV voyage in April, sound asleep in a park, when a car rolled into the side of our trailer. It took us six weeks or so to get back on the road.

On Monday the 23rd of July, as we were traveling west on two-lane Oregon highway 199 toward the coast, an oncoming car suddenly braked, swerved, and veered sideways into our lane, right in front of our truck. There was nowhere to go and no time to get there -- our left-front fender smashed into her right-front fender (she was perpendicular to the road), and as her car spun around it hit the side of the trailer as we thundered by. That's right, folks, she took out BOTH the truck AND the trailer.

I've been in fender-benders before, but never anything like this, and I was stunned at how much could happen in the space of five seconds. Fortunately, no one was hurt, although the other driver's car was totaled. Our front fender, headlight, tire, and bumper were smashed. Also smashed were both our bicycles, riding on the front of the truck. Including my brand-new bicycle bought in Chester four weeks ago. Sigh. Notice the red thing sticking out from under our tire. That's the front-end of the other car, our truck ripped it right off. On the up side, at least we know we're pretty safe in this truck; we didn't even get seat belt bruises from a nearly head-on impact.

We managed to limp back into Grant's Pass, where we spent several days in a pleasant but boring RV park, waiting for the insurance adjuster. While we waited, Mike the undaunted handyman duct-taped and baling-wired the truck into traveling shape, and as soon as possible we headed once again for the coast, looking a bit like the Clampitts movin' to Bever-lee. My one pleasant memory from this RV park is the five pounds of wild blackberries we picked just before leaving -- we ate them for days!