Friday, August 6, 2010

Road trip, weekend culture edition!

I lived in Portland, Oregon for ten years, and only made it to Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival a couple of times - at a guess, the first time was probably 1999. I drove from Portland to Oakland to visit a friend, flew to Southern California to meet up with family, and flew back to the SF area with my younger brother along for the ride. I don't know how long we stayed in the Bay Area - I'm guessing overnight at most. I remember we met my friend Carol for dim sum at a highly-regarded restaurant in the Financial District. Reader: I can hold a grudge. I refuse to link to that restaurant because they were outrageously expensive: $75 for dim sum for three, during a workday! In 1999! Hmf.

The Elizabethan Theatre in Ashland

Anyway, my brother and I drove from the Bay Area northward. I don't remember our route, but here's what I recall: we drove on small roads, past a "city" with a population well under 100; we camped overnight somewhere along the way, but we could hear traffic going by so it wasn't that rustic, we wound up in Ashland and met my friend and his wife, mom, and grandmother for a play - I can't remember its name, but it's some comedy of manners where a relative? or theater critic? gets injured and has to stay with a family far longer than he is welcome (it was NOT in the theater pictured above) (ooooh I remembered: The Man Who Came to Dinner! .. go me and my freaky memory); on our way back to the hotel after the play we accidentally got on I-5 south and couldn't turn around for ages; the next night we all stayed in a yurt in the Valley of the Rogue campground, wheelchair-bound granny and all! On the way back to Portland my brother and I did the drive-through Wildlife Safari which was actually super awesome.

I may be conflating trips, but that's how I remember it!

My second time going to Ashland was 2004, I think - it was the layover day for Cycle Oregon. I think it was pretty late in the week; I remember marveling at the technology of running water, after too-many days of porta-potties. I know I saw a play but haven't the foggiest idea what it was.

So, in ten years, I displayed not-much dedication to attending a very cool event. It runs from February to October - so it's not like I couldn't fit it in. But the thing is, you can't do Ashland on a whim - rooms book up and plays sell out, and I never felt motivated to organize something.

But then, I moved away from Portland to the Bay Area - just far enough that it's not an easy drive to go visit. However! Ashland is just about smack in the middle of the two areas (slightly closer to Portland). So, since the summer of 2007 I've been bringing friends from California and meeting friends from Portland. This year we even have a Seattleite joining us!

I picked the weekend in January, we bought tickets in February, and I knew this day would arrive eventually. I have no idea what I'm seeing, but our annual picnic in Lithia Park will definitely occur. And I'll have two days out of the office, four days in some real summer weather, and it's going to be great! Yay, vacation!


  1. I forgot most of the details of that trip, but I do have pictures somewhere. I think it was Douglas City, CA, population 30ish.

  2. What pretty pictures. Someday I hope we can do something similar. I love the West coast.