JOCKETTE ON THE ROAD AGAIN
19 October 2002
Jeri asked me if I call myself "jockette" because I'm female or because I'm a little bit of a jock. I'm not sexist. I'm not quite a jock…or, more appropriately, I'm a jock in training…hence "jockette." .
The jockette and consort hit the trail again today, this time heading for Ashland, Oregon, to meet some of our CompuServe friends and spend the weekend in this town, famous for its yearly Shakespeare festival. (We will be seeing MacBeth tomorrow.)
So the plan was to leave at 10:30. I did get the interview article written, and I got a couple of tapes transcribed, and I managed to get down to the office to take messages off the answering machine, but naturally it took longer than expected. By the time we got the car packed and the bikes loaded and were actually on the road, it was closer to noon.
The ride up here is about 5-1/2 hrs and we stopped once for lunch, but made good time. The ride is pretty barren for a good portion of the trip, until you begin to hit the "Shasta" country. When the Irish cousin was here a few years back, she raved about the "beautiful golden hills" we had. She's from a country that is green…green…green and she had never seen hillsides covered in "gold." Shows the difference in people's perspective. I look at "gold" hills and see dead grass. I long for that brief period of "green" that the Irish so take for granted.
There was a lot of "gold" for the first couple of hours of the trip. But then we started getting into the mountains and, even with no snow on the peaks yet, it was still beautiful.
There is an opening scene in Disney's "Mickey and the Beanstalk," where the "camera" pans out over …is it Happy Valley? Or Peaceful Valley? … anyway, it's this lovely bucolic scene, with birds gliding lazily over a sparkling stream and green hilltops and grassy areas below. That's how it looks driving over the mountain and into the valley where Ashland is located.
This is a town where William Shakespeare is king. All you need to do is look at the lodging houses-All's Well That Ends Well Guest House, Bard's Inn Motel, Stratford Inn-to figure that out. Statues, photos, and other likenesses appear in shop windows, parks, on postcards, and hanging on the walls in hotel lobbies. Bill is Big in Ashland.
We found our hotel, the Plaza Inn without difficulty and noted that the book stand in the lobby of the hotel held a thick volume of Shakespeare's plays, and over the fireplace is a semi-abstract painting with several likenesses of Shakespeare. Even coming into our room was interesting, to find that the bedspreads where covered with Shakespearean quotes.
The room is large enough to hold our stuff and our bikes, so we have parked those here. Then, the first thing I wanted to do-amazingly-was check out the "fitness room." It's a great room with an elliptical trainer, treadmill, exercise bike, and a couple of weight bearing machines. My friend Mary (from Seattle) and I have a date to go work out for an hour or so at 7:30 in the morning.
Walt couldn't believe that my eyes lit up when I saw "fitness room," or that I trotted up the stairs after we checked it out, rather than waiting for the elevator to bring us up the one floor to the lobby.
Since we had some time to kill, I was itching to get out on the bike and find some of those great bike trails I'd heard about. First thing I realized is that it seems everything in Ashland is uphill from where I am. Not big hills, mind you, but enough to let you know you're working. Good. I need this.
We rode over to Lithia Park, in the center of town. We have hit this area as the fall color is coming to peak and it's just breathtakingly gorgeous in spots. This is an arched bridge into Lithia Park (which is off limits for bikes, so we could only look and then go ride elsewhere).
We managed to find a bike trail that runs parallel to the railroad tracks and so we rode for a few miles down this, watching the setting sun create patterns on the golden hills in the distance. But we cut the ride short to get back to the hotel to meet up with the others-Judy and Joe from San Francisco, Pat from Salem, Pat from Burbank, and Bill from Portland. Mary from Seattle arrived later.
We had a lovely dinner (sea bass for me) and, having had some of the hot, freshly baked cookies that the hotel provides at 10 p.m. each night, I'm about to go get into a bathtub (something I haven't done in years for fear I'd get stuck) and then off to sleep.