There’s nothing like a little beautiful scenery to take the edge off one’s post-DNF despair.
After Newport, we skipped down the coast to Coos Bay, where we spent a night in the horrible Red Lion Inn and had a surprisingly good meal at the Blue Heron Bistro. The Blue Heron is the most schizoid place I’ve ever eaten in. While the name evokes, well, a bistro, it is in fact a German restaurant with pizza and seafood thrown in. It also featured what was probably the most valuable collection of WW1 memorabilia I’ve seen assembled in one place outside of a museum. I hope that stuff is insured! I went for the beef stroganoff and Jonathan had der weiner schnitzel. Washed down with an Abbey Brown Ale from Belgium, both were excellent.
That’s about the only good thing I have to say about Coos Bay. The place is a total tip and we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Sorry, no pictures of Coos Bay. But here are some of the sights along the way.
Then is was on to Cape Perpetua and the Sea Lion Caves. Lordy, what a ripoff that was. Eleven bucks each to take an elevator down a few hundred feet into a dank cave to gawk at a bunch of stroppy sea lions. At least the views of Heceta Head were good.
The highlight of the day was Florence, which features sand dunes. Not just any sand dune. Huge fucking sand dunes that are 300 ft. high and go on for miles. It was like something out of … “Dune.”
But first: Here are two of Florence’s fine retail establishments.
Okay, here are the dunes.
After our Germanic night in Coos Bay, followed by a fry up at the Pancake Mill, it was on to Ashland. (On the way, I got hollered at by a gas station attendant for attempting to pump my own gas. Just checking!) But not before taking a six hour detour north and east to sample the Umpqua-Rogue scenic byway. And scenic it was. Look!
Finally, after nine solid hours of driving and oohing and aahing, we arrived in Ashland. This was one of our self-catering rentals, a lovely little 1BR/1BA craftsman high on a hill and just minutes from a trail leading down to Lithia Park. I did two runs here, both around 5.5 miles, and both very pretty (although hilly and with the added challenge of 1900′ altitude, which my sea level lungs didn’t like).
We spent a few hours with Annie McIntyre, a friend from childhood whom I haven’t seen since high school, which means roughly 25 years. We didn’t know each other that well growing up (although we did play together as very young children, then drifted into different circles after about third grade). But it felt, as Annie put it, very natural to see each other again. Annie and her husband, Jeff, gave us the insider’s view of life in Ashland, both good and bad, as well as an extensive tour of the place. They also turned us on to Chozu, a bath and tea garden where we wiled away the evening in various saunas and pools, under a beautiful sky and completely mosquito free.
We were too busy to take many photos of Ashland. Here’s the only one.
Having properly recovered from our scenic drive opus, is was time for the next leg: Crater Lake. That drive took us through Klamath Falls, which I also took no pictures of. But let me say this: If you ever want to disappear from the face of the earth, go to Klamath Falls. There is nothing there, and the streets are teeming with what we’ve come to call “Oregon guys.” These are men who have cultivated the Unabomber look: scraggly beard, emaciated figure, rags and bad limp. We saw loads of them in Springfield as well, darting across traffic (which might explain the limps). From a distance they look like extras from a zombie film.
I had a great espresso in Klamath Falls. That’s about all I can find to say about the place.
Next post: Crater Lake.
Filed under: drinking, eating, everyday life, humor, travel | Tagged: ashland, blue heron bistro, cape perpectua, chozu, coos bay, dunes, espresso, florence, heceta head, klamath falls, lithia park, oregon, pancake mill, red lion inn, sand, sea lion caves, seal rock, unabomber, zombie | 11 Comments »