Thursday evening before the long weekend started with a record-setting PAC-12 showdown at Stanford Stadium where the Cardinal had no problem handling the UCLA Bruins. We witnessed a record-setting all-purpose yards game by the Stanford running back as well as the catch of the year by a Stanford receiver. Because we do not follow Pac-12 football, the names of both of those players escapes me. But it was a good game, interrupted by the confusing, not-that-funny half-time antics of the Stanford band. We get irreverent, and are well aware of the Stanford band schtick. But the 2015 version really isn’t clever or humorous.
Friday morning we got a late start out of California, headed to Oregon via the 51st State of Jefferson to grab a cup of Dutch Bros. Coffee. Grants Pass OR is home to Dutch Bros. coffee. California has earned its reputation as a remarkably leftist state, which has driven people north of Sacramento to want form their own state, the 51st state of Jefferson. Redding and points North into Oregon share this desire to break away.
Interstate 5 North of Sacramento to Redding is flat and boring, punctuated by an Olive store in Corning. We stopped to buy pasta, olives, Mrs. Renfro BBQ sauce (from Fort Worth), Black Ink wine (smooth) and pasta sauce.
We passed on the flavored Balsamic:
Around Redding, the annunciator panel on the Conestoga announced our first DEF warning (at about 6,800 miles on the Odometer). Mount Shasta is over 14,000 feet high, but was shrouded in clouds.
We pulled over just north of Mount Shasta City to add the DEF. I remember reading in RV.net that DEF is highly corrosive, so instead of just pouring it in, destroying belts and hoses, I went back into the store to buy a funnel and was very careful about not spilling any DEF.
It took cycling the engine off a couple of times before the DEF message went away.
Notes on the drive North: Lake Shasta is very low. Castella Crags State Park in Northern California (Central Jefferson) is a definite stop in the future. The highest point on all of Interstate 5 is just north of the California border in Oregon at 4,500 feet. The Conestoga with its 188 HP Diesel engine did great at altitude. The gas RVs, not so much. Many gas powered RVs were seen struggling up the climbs at 40 mph. I-5 between Redding and Grants Pass is a highly trafficked RV route, hence all the RV Parks. Oregon cities from S to N: Ashland, Medford, Rogue City and Grants Pass (~45 miles north of the California border).
Medford OR is much smaller than one would expect (2 exits). Arriving in Grants Pass, you soon discover “It’s the Climate”.
We arrived around 6 p.m. on Friday, and headed right into the Center City for dinner at Blondies Bistro (Yelp rated 4).
After dinner, we heard the noise of the local high school football game across town (It’s a small town, population 35,000) and decided to capture some local flavor. As we rolled by the stadium, we noticed a few men wearing cave men outfits. Think Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.
That is where we were introduced to the town meme.
There are some caves southwest of town, and in 1922, the town adopted the name Cavemen for the local High School mascot and civic booster club. So, when you go to Atlanta and cannot escape Peachtree, so it is here with Cavemen. BTW: Grants Pass v. Roseburg, 44-43 final Cavemen.
After the game, we found the RV Park, Riverside RV Park, right next to the Rogue River. We were assigned space L. The hosts were pleasant, the spaces very tight and the bathrooms clean but nothing great. Overall 6/10. We settled in, and then the rain came. Being right next to a river named Rogue, in a canyon that funnels water, and with knowledge of floods in Central Texas, Zion and LA fresh, we did not sleep so great. I stood ready to evacuate to higher ground if need be. But in the morning, all was well, the clouds started to part and we started our day. First stop, Dutch Bros. for Coffee and Powderhorn Café for Breakfast.
Then to the local Growers Market and the Glass Forge:
Time to exercise, we headed over to run 5 K at the Grants Pass All Sports Park. It was a perfect Fall day.
Locals call the All Sports Park, the big park, but it took 2 laps around the park to get 3.1 miles. Our route took us over a Pedestrian bridge over the Rogue River, which inexplicably, was not teeming with Salmon 😦
Conestoga with the Texas plates draws the curious, and at the park it was no different. Had a nice gentlemen come by to talk with us about all things in Grants Pass. He lamented the Californians moving in and telling them to lose the Caveman motif–as it makes them all seem like a bunch of Neanderthals. His message to them: pound sand.
Watched Alabama crush Texas A&M while making pasta in the RV (3 Pick 6s).
After an afternoon in the park, we headed back into town to take in late night college football at the Climate City Brewing company (USC/ND, Oregon/UW)
Sunday morning, we broke camp (being the Jefferson state settlers we are) to head back to California. One more stop at the Dutch Bros for coffee and Chai Tea to have with the Croissants we bought at the Growers’ Market.
On the way back we stopped at the Original Black Bear Diner in Mt. Shasta. Its a regional chain of Diners from Oregon down to California. Caught a glimpse of the snow covered side of Mt. Shasta in the clouds.
Stopped at an Indian Casino to hit the head. So repulsed by the cigarette smoke, we did not even loiter to lose a buck in a slot machine. Hit some rain just north of Sacramento, which had traffic slowing to a crawl. It’s as if they’ve never seen rain. Oh, wait…