Halloween weekend in Ashland = my own personal nirvana. It was also the longest drive I’ve done since the maiden voyage. This was planned because a friend of mine was going to be a in a show at the Cabaret, my former home, and I really didn’t want to miss it. So I took Friday off and we headed up with Samantha for a fun weekend away. She got to stay in a hotel room in town and we got to camp and see shows. Meanwhile Darren got the house to himself on Halloween weekend. Win-win-win-win.
We got out around 10ish on Friday and didn’t hit any traffic at all. Really, it was a nice pleasant drive, even if on the long side. We took lots of pictures of Mt. Shasta because it was all beautifully dusted with snow, a nice departure from the glacier-less-ness that can’t help but remind one of climate change. We stopped at an In N Out in Redding on the way up and Bruce had no trouble getting Dory over the pass. We went straight to the Glenyan RV park first to unhook before bringing Samantha into town. As for the campground, there are a few pretty sites next to a perfect, constantly gurgling stream. Our site…. well…. let’s just say: you win some and you lose some. I think I said something out loud along the lines of, “Seriously?” (and perhaps worse) when we located our spot. We’d just come from a “10” in the redwoods, so I guess this reminds us that all sites are not created equal and we should expect to get some lemons. Site 7 is located right next to a big blue propane tank and a chain link fence, sandwiched between two big rigs. Oh well.
Richard finished setting up and I dropped Sam in her hotel room. Then we headed right to the Cabaret for dinner and a show. I was busy shaking off the dissonance of expectations (the RV park had really lovely pictures posted on their website) vs reality while parking the car. When I met Richard at the table, he was having a lively conversation with the table group next to us. By the time I’d taken my seat, they knew all about how I used to work at the Cabaret and were asking who my friend in the cast was. They were really friendly people and, it turns out, also teardrop trailer owners. Now the conversation was really taking off. I pulled out pictures of Dory and they shared stories of bumpy off roading adventures ending with a trailer wheel rolling off in one direction as a fender flew off in the other. I laughed a lot at hearing they had T-shirts made saying: “I lost my nuts on Hornbook Road”. It’s funny, that may have been the first time I’ve been to the Cabaret feeling like just another audience member. It’s only been, what, twenty or so years? Up until now, I’ve experienced at least a few pangs, or bittersweet moments of one kind or another. I’m not sure if it’s the magic of Dory, or the loss of Jim Giancarlo, the late Artistic Director of the Cabaret, but it felt different. Not bad, not sad, not better or worse, just different.
The show was fantastic and my friend was spectacular. Also, very impressively spry! I was sort of glad I didn’t have to watch him jump off catwalks and slide down lampposts night after night because one night made me nervous enough. We went out for drinks after and caught up. And that was absolutely the best. Except we stayed out way past my bedtime now that I’m old and not working in theatre anymore. The excellent thing about Dory is that she looks the same when her curtains are closed, whether you’re surrounded by redwoods, or huge dilapidated RVs.
Saturday morning we took a leisurely ride down the road a half mile to check out the Emigrant Lake RV campground. Why? Oh, no reason, you know, just doing some reconnaissance. I think unless we could ensure a pretty site by the river at Glenyan, I would opt for Emigrant in the future. Plus, there are full hookups so we could stay for several days and binge on theatre without any trouble. While scouting, we chatted with a nice couple with a T@B. I guess the sites fill up in the summer months, but are readily available at other times. Good to know.
Our plan then was to ride into town, about 6 miles each way, get some lunch and come back in the afternoon. On the way, we got to witness some excitement because a brush fire had started on the hillside right by where we were. We’ve been lucky enough in life that we’d never really seen flames up close, so we gawked for a while at the fast moving fire. It seemed like it was moving nicely away from the campground and was pretty well being handled, so we continued into town.
I don’t actually recall Halloween being such a big deal in Ashland when I lived there. I’m not sure whether I forgot it, missed it, or whether it’s grown over the years. But boy, it was a spectacle we weren’t expecting. All of Main street, from the place where it splits at the south, all the way to the Plaza, was absolutely packed with people. We saw the tail end of what was a “parade”, where anyone wearing a costume just walked down the street, and kids trick-or-treated at the businesses along the way. That part was super cute. We were lucky to find front row seats inside the place that used to be Geppetto’s and was once our favorite hang out. Not sure what it’s called anymore, but they’ve kept the recipe for their famous cheese won tons, so we got an order and just watched the costumed crowd walk by. Later we strolled down to the Plaza, got a triple chocolate smothered caramel apple, and spectated some more.
Eventually, we’d seen enough, and we headed back on our bikes to the campground. Ok, 12 miles is a workout for me these days, I’ll be honest here. Tiny inclines do me in. I need to kick it up a notch if I’m going to keep this up. Richard was very patient with me though and we rolled back to Dory around 5. At that point, I really couldn’t have cared less what we were parked next to, I was just happy to grab an icy lemon water and lie down for a while inside. We had tickets that night for “A Long Day’s Journey into Night”, so the chill time and quasi nap was a good call.
We drove back to town and got ready to go into the Thomas Theatre. This theatre is the new-ish version of their very small performing space, seating around a hundred and usually staged in full or three quarters round. Waiting in the lobby, I got to have a full fan girl moment. One of my all time acting idols was quietly sitting next to Richard on a lobby bench and I couldn’t resist asking him if he was really Dennis Arndt. He was, and he graciously accepted my fawning praise. I will never forget his Claudius, or Iago, or Hickey. His performances deeply captivated me way back in high school and swept me off my feet into a lifelong love of theatre. Following that thrill, I got to watch one of my favorite actresses knock the role of Mary out of the park. So yeah, it was a damn good weekend for this girl.
Sunday we pulled out kinda late. Plus, it was daylight savings time, so the drive back was long and ended with about an hour of towing in the dark. For the record: I do not like towing in the dark. We’re doing a bit of rethinking on our winter outing plans. I may get used to it I suppose, but there was also an enormous amount of creaking and knocking coming from the back that had me extra specially nervous the whole time. We’re thinking it may have been the rain – Oh yeah, it actually rained! Like real rain. No really, this is a big deal. We hardly know what the stuff is anymore. But Saturday night we got the pleasure of drifting off to sleep under the pitter patter of water hitting our non-permeable, not-a-tent, solid aluminum roof. It was heaven. But it also may have made everything super squeaky.
So to sum up: Weekend, 10. Site, 1. Don’t like towing in the dark.
Total miles: 336.0, Engine time: 6 hours, 30 min, 16.2 mpg (15.8 on the way up)
Glenyan RV Park, site 7. Sucks. Also 8 sucks. Nice sites: 28-38, 37 the best. 17, 18 ok
Emigrant Lake campground: All pretty good. 2, 4, 5, 8, 9-14. Book 7-8 months in advance for summer months.