Duration of trip: 4 days, as follows:
Day 1: Drive 360 miles from Turlock to Ashland, through the Central Valley and the Mt. Shasta region.
Day 2: Morning in Blue Moon Bed and Breakfast; wandering cute-cum-touristy downtown Ashland; A Midsummer Night's Dream at 1:30; move to Super 8 near freeway; return to downtown Ashland; Othello at 8; return to Super 8 for much needed cooling-off period.
Day 3: Drive 180 miles to Bullard Beach State Park, near Bandon, Oregon; meet up with Nancy; walk on beach; lunch in Bandon; wander cute-cum-fishy downtown Bandon; drive 130 miles down Oregon coast, with stops for gawking and road construction, to Crescent City, CA Travelodge.
Day 4: Drive 460 miles, down US 101 through Redwoods, dodging road construction until reaching Calpella, then on CA 20 past Clear Lake and over the pass into the Central Valley at Williams (pausing for road construction), then on I 5, suddenly realizing that Sacramento traffic would be in high dudgeon upon arrival and choosing a side-trip to Sacramento's Ikea store (stopping, then crawling, then stopping, then crawling, from 4:49 until 5:45, over a distance of 6 miles, due to an accident that occurred shortly after 4 pm, before reaching the appropriate exit), then on down I 5 to Stockton, then CA 99 (the Crankster Freeway), pausing for road construction, to Turlock, arriving home at 9 pm.
Assessment and evaluation:
(1) Drive to Ashland.
Pretty. Cute. Food. Blue Moon B&B was pin-neat, which worked. We suffered the Great August Kitten Access Scare. The next morning, after breakfast, the Great August Kitten Access Scare was resolved, just before we entered a cd shop.
(2b) A Midsummer Night's Dream. Pretty. Hilarious. They did the faeries as 80s "club kids," you know, fairies - which was completely goofy but somehow managed to be sexy. Actually, the entire production was archly ridiculous but also tremendously oversexed, which some of us like, a lot. They had musical numbers, there was a guitar solo by Bottom in the closing, just nutsy stuff left and right - the players were done as hippies, and they came out in a VW microbus.
(2c) Moving, dinner. Eh. We went to a pub that looked like just the thing (Guinness on tap, pub fare), but the food was unimpressive or odd. After running back and forth to the parked car twice in mishaps, Othello. It wasn't pretty. They played in totally straight, with costumes that could have been 19th century or 16th, weirdly. Iago was sometimes hard to hear, in the very back row of the bottom bowl of the theater. They played Iago as driven by irrational but uncontrollable envy and pride - a real seven-deadlies approach, which was good. I don't like the idea of a psychotic Iago or a jealous Iago very much, and although there is plenty of racism in the play, I don't like the idea of racist Iago either. We left at 11:15, got back to the fabulous Super 8 by 11:30, and by then, what with the Great August Kitten Access Scare, all that Shakespeare, and having finished our day with Othello, coming home with few wits intact, we needed serious downtime.
(3a) Driving to Bullard. Pretty. Oregon road signs are sometimes hard to read, very small, or misdirecting. Plus the directions I'd obtained from Google didn't direct us to the right place. But we managed. I was tired and a bit snippy.
(3b) Meeting Nancy, walking on the beach, eating lunch in Bandon. Nancy is the kind of person that is immediately comfortable to be around. She'd had a lot of trouble getting out of Charlotte for her vacation, but made it at last. It was wonderful to see her again. The beach was nice too. We probably walked a couple miles, and Lauren got to dip her toes in the ocean, which is vital to her well-being. We had lunch at a bait-and-tackle shop that sold fresh fried fish in various formats, and the ubiquitous clam chowder.
(3c) Oregon coast.
Pretty. Rocks, water, fantastic views. We hit Crescent City by 6, got into the motel room, walked to the Safeway to buy non-fried, non-meat, non-restaurant, non-pub foodstuffs, which was perfect for dinner. Long period of decompression.
Pretty. I made the mistake of not taking an immediate side-trip to get into the woods, but as it turned out, that's for the best, since unbeknownst to us at 9 am when we left, we'd be in for a 12-hour day of driving. So instead of pretty hiking, we had pretty driving. And it was, very very. By the time we got to Laytonville (a tiny rural burg we suspect of being owned by Willie Nelson, since we saw half a dozen guys there who looked like Willie Nelson, and they had a biodiesel fueling station and what was probably a head shop), it was 98 degrees. The rest of the drive was very hot, over 100 all the way around Clear Lake
and down into the Central Valley.
(1) We're going to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival again.
(2) We're going to tour the Redwoods in more depth some time.
(3) We need to get to the coast oftener.