Day 11 - Arcata to Medford

The Plan (the whole Plan)

Day #11 : Mon 19 May : To Portland, via Crater Lake. 250-300 miles, depending on where we are the night before.

Observant readers will notice that we have started to wander away from the original plan somewhat.  Consultation of maps, calculations of mileage and estimates of speed given our habit of continually criss-crossing mountain ranges, all proved that attempts to get to Portland today were looking hopelessly overambitious. Moreover, it emerged that most of the roads around Crater Lake don't open until June, so that was looking like a non-starter.  So some re-planning was done.

Right, what do we tell the car hire company if we cock this manoeuvre up?First, we headed off south (i.e. even further away from Portland, and back towards San Francisco, again) in order to find some genuinely giant redwoods, following the previous day's bonsai specimens. Sure enough, the Avenue of the Giants provided the appropriate spectacle. We did all the normal things, including finding that tree you can drive through. Hey, we never claimed to be original....

Mark's newly-beautified prehensile toes cling to the rocks
And then up north. We had a picnic lunch at Patrick's Point, a picturesque state park on the northern coast. Mark, for reasons best known to himself, decided that the middle of lunch would be a good time to give himself a pedicure, but otherwise normal service continued to apply: rock-hopping was done, photos were taken from precipitous places, and Rupert attempted to dam the Pacific, to no great effect (other than him getting slightly wet, and the eviction of a bemused-looking crab).

And so we continued north, across the state line and into Oregon. The first thing we noticed about crossing the border is that the state's attitude to alerting its citizens of threats to their well-being changes somewhat. In California, any establishment using lead crystal, or permitting smoking (even if only outdoors) or tolerating any perceived threat to health, is required to display a large notice describing in blood-curdling terms the horrors that the State of California associates with such liberality. In Oregon, these signs dried up, but they made up for it by erecting huge signs explaining the traffic laws about every five yards, combined with posting warnings that citizens should not play the lottery for investment purposes.  (Is there anyone who really...? - oh, never mind.) It would be a cheap shot to point out that we saw no such sanctimonious signage alerting citizens to the dangers of the rampant gun culture, but then we've never been above cheap shots, have we?

Anyway, we found our way, by something of a devious route, to Medford, a town in southern Oregon.  The management of the motel we stopped at decided to put us in rooms so far apart they were barely both in the same county, in spite of the fact that the place was nearly empty.  And so, duly installed, we set out to explore what delights are offered by Medford.

Mount McLaughlin.  And a freeway.  Guess which one is visible from Medford.The answer is, not many.  Medford is an unprepossessing one-horse town dominated by a visually-intrusive freeway, whose main retail outlets appear to be pawnbrokers and pornographers, and all of whose restaurants seem to close on Mondays.  We did, however, eventually find an oasis in the form of the Osprey, a brewpub which was doing an all-you-can-eat Mexican at a pleasantly low price, and whose beers were delivered to us by a friendly and efficient waitress whom David clearly rather fancied.  Medford also, weirdly, possessed an late-night outlet of the Bad Ass Coffee Company, a small and idiosyncratic supplier much beloved of Rupert.  So not so bad after all...