We’re back, exhausted, as of 1:30 this morning. Just rolled out of bed and it’s already 10:30, our weekend is full of work here at home. The trip was actually quite nice, although in some of the parts of California we were in it hit temp highs of 116. That is the hottest weather I’ve ever been in, and the air conditioning of the truck couldn’t keep up. That particular part of things was quite miserable.

But, I should start at the beginning. We swapped our Mustang for a friend’s 4×4 diesel truck for the trip, since we were towing back a boat. I drove from here as far as Roseburg, Oregon – which was about the halfway point I think. Stopped at a great little pub for lunch there. Then it was on to Chico, California with Elliott at the wheel. We got into town there at 9 in the evening, a full 14 hours after we started in the morning. We decided to just drive through the main part of town to look for a hotel, and stumbled upon the wonderful Hotel Diamond, a historic building that had just been remodeled practically from the ground up 2 years ago. The hotel was beautiful, with that old feel and character that both Elliott and I love. Oh, and the bed and pillows were worthy of a hotel like the W, which was an added bonus.

I’d never been to Chico, but it definitely had the feel of many a college town I’ve visited. We went up to our room long enough to change clothes, then went walking looking for something to eat – not an easy thing to find at 9:30 at night on a holiday (the 4th), but we found a sort of upscale Mexican restaurant that was a mix of Spanish and Mexican cuisine. Great tequila list. After Patron margaritas, ceviche and paella we were both feeling WAY better. Even at this hour, it was over 100 in Chico.

Up early the next morning, we got back on the road with coffee and it was my turn to drive. We ended up, after miles and miles of fields, winding our way up through the mountains into horse country. 2 hours later, we got to our destination, a 50 acre horse ranch where our boat was currently residing. The previous owners both raced sailboats for decades, but they’re so busy with a million other things (and the one, with other boats) that this one was on the market. Still, it was odd to be getting a sailboat out in the middle of nowhere. They showed us how to rig it, and I do have pictures on the camera of this sailboat, mast up, in the middle of trees and farm equipment on the back of the trailer. Heh.

On the road again by the early afternoon, Elliott was driving this time. I know I’ll have to get used to driving with a boat in tow, but I wasn’t going to start learning on curvy NARROW mountain roads. We stopped back by Chico for lunch, and made it to Ashland, Oregon by 9 at night. I don’t know why we kept choosing that cutoff time, because it’s just late enough that it’s hard to find food and lodging. At any rate, I’ve never been to Ashland either, only read about the Shakespeare festival that they’re known for. I had no idea quite how big the town was, though. It was a beautiful town, everything was absolutely picturesque. Also, though, it was a busy town with narrow streets. Thankfully Elliott drove the whole time, my nerves never would have stood it. After about a half hour of scoping things out, we found a place to park. Then we walked around looking for dinner, ending up at a tapas place that had salsa dancing. The food was great, and watching people salsa re-inspired the both of us to start taking lessons again. We took some salsa lessons a couple of years ago, but haven’t made time for it recently.

College towns like Chico and Ashland are always a little strange to me, in that they are full of upscale boutiques that it seems college students would never be able to afford. Elliott had to remind me that it was probably the parents of said students the shops were meant to appeal to. I guess I could see that. Hrm.

That night we ended up in one of those roadside motel dives, as everything in town was full. Even there, we got the second to last room. The bed was solid as a rock (as were the pillows) but it made for good seedy motel room sex in the morning. :)

We had a couple of minor issues getting back, mostly related to the sweltering heat. You know it’s bad when, finally at 93 degrees, it feels balmy out. It’s nice to be back home where it’s mid-70s to 80 in the summer. Our boat is totally sweet looking, we can’t wait to get it splashed, rigged and take it for a sail. I have to learn to drive a tiller instead of a wheel, which I have very little experience at. But I think I’ll muddle through.

Anyhow, that’s my update. We’re back with a huge box full of California peaches, a case of Oregon microbrew and a boat. As always, I found myself absolutely grateful to have found Elliott – with all the minor glitches and cranky-making heat, we still had a good time on our little adventure. Now it’s off to get a bunch of stuff done around here so we can get back to work on Monday.

Wishing you a relaxing weekend!
~Jane

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