Yesterday I began my drive from Creswell, Oregon to Newport Beach, CA. I have traversed Freeway 5 to and from these cities many times. As I was preparing to leave, it was suggested I take a route different than the “5”. I pondered that suggestion. “Oh, the drive might be lengthened by traveling an alternative to the freeway”! “I should go directly since I have so many catch up things to do at home”. “Hmmm, taking a different route along a rural highway which follows a river and passes many lakes would certainly be beautiful!” I decided that it would be a fine adventure and truly, I had nothing so pressing that I couldn’t stop and communicate at rest stops.
The 8 hour drive I took yesterday was fabulous for several reasons. I will mention two. The two lane highway I drove included huge bodies of water where it felt like the sky was enveloped within the lakes. So vividly blue, just like my grandaughter’s eyes. Then there were the rivers with there gushing rapids that were so very swift due to the day being warm, thus causing melting snow to drip profusely into the river beds. Oh, and then the beautifully colorful pines and sycamores on this still Springtime Day. Also my stop in tiny coffee shop in Oakridge (population 3,000) where the locals were gray bearded and each having their dogs on leashes. I also must share my happiness at seeing Shasta Lake full to the brim! 6 months ago, I saw it almost totally empty. How wonderful and so vital!
Longer drive? Yes. Beautiful views? Actually not just beautiful, but incredibly beautiful!
The second adventure I want to share is what happened relative to my decision of lodging for the night. My choice for lodging was standard hotel along the road or something different. How about a hotel at a Casino? I don’t go to Casino’s normally, but decided “let’s do it for adventure sake!”
There are too many aspects of the casino hotel stay to share but I don’t have the time. Will just share one. As I was having a light dinner and glass of wine in one of the casino restaurants, I observed 3 elderly men being seated near me. Each had baseball cap over their gray hair. Also, each had gray beard and were fairly healthy looking 70 plus year olds. Their orders included fish tacos for one, salad for another and steak for the remaining man.
As I finished my dinner, I decided to walk over to their table and just see what kind of buddy trip they were having. To my surprise and sadness, I learned they were brothers. A week earlier a memorial service had been held for one of brother’s wife who had recently passed away. Two brothers were staying with the third be with him as he grieved. We chatted for a good while. As I bid them adieu, we hugged.
As I look back on yesterday, I am so thankful that I was brave enough to explore!!
By Evalyn Baron
On June 1, 2023
This is such an engaging piece….I enjoyed reading it!