This was our second visit to this RV park, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last. The campground has sites with full hookups, views of the lake, and is only about a ten minute drive to downtown Ashland. We had tickets lined up for every night and there was enough cell service that Richard could put in solid days of work right from Dory. And, when weather permitted, there was biking and kayaking for additional entertainment.
When I scoped out sites previously, I noted RV 21 as seeming nice, with direct access to the lake. What I did not quite realize was how huge the site is. It is clearly designed to accommodate the biggest of rigs, which is fine, but we quickly discovered that the electric and sewer hookups were waaaaaay back at one end, while the picnic table and area where you kind of want to hang out are waaaaaay at the other side. You guys, this seriously freaked me out. If I had been able to park Dory in the middle of the driveway, closer to the ‘hang out’ area, I don’t think I would have felt so weird. But to do that would have required having extensions for the sewer hose and power cable of around fifty feet. Alternatively, we could have gone out and bought another portable grey tank (because we hate the hugeness of the portable grey tank we left at home, thinking we wouldn’t need it). That way, we could dump into the tank, roll it to the sewer outlet, and re-dump every couple of days. Ok, fine. I admit, that is insane. I stood in the site for the longest time in a state of semi non-verbal, cognitive overload, before being willing to park her at the end with the hookups. It just looked so ridiculous to me. In a feeble effort to make our tiny trailer look better suited to the enormity of the space, I just started putting out all the outside camping gear I had. I even put out a little row of solar lights from Dory to the picnic table, like some kind of runway. If I’d had another thirty outdoor mats, you can bet they would have been carefully laid out and nailed to the ground. How much did we actually use any of that? Not much. It was cold and we mostly just wanted to stay inside our tiny trailer. Honestly, it took a while before I could shake the feeling of somehow being judged by the big rig people who seemed comparatively crammed into their normal sized sites. It wasn’t until I finally tried to verbalize my discomfort to Richard that it became funny. At that point, we decided we really needed to go buy the longest dining room table imaginable and just set it up as though that’s a totally normal way to camp.
Tuesday, the weather was clear, though chilly, and our pals came out to visit us for lunch. I was excited for them to be able to use the ample parking we had at our disposal. Except, where did they decide to put the car? You’ve got to be kidding me.
That night, we saw “Othello” with Caz and Steve. Great production, though I found this Iago to be a bit too likable for my tastes. Emilia, however, knocked it out of the park.
Wednesday I saw a matinee of “Sense and Sensibility” with Caz & Steve, while Richard worked. Again, the production value was high, but this time, the subject matter didn’t really grab me. Right after the show, I drove back to pick up Richard, and then it was off to an outstanding dinner at New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro, where we met up with everyone. This place is one of a kind and not to be missed. I swear, I have never eaten better than at Sammy’s. The chef always comes up with new, seasonal menus, infused with her own unique flair. Every course was exquisite. One diner is vegan and all he had to say was for the chef to prepare whatever she thought would be good. It was all a hit. Just wow. That evening, we saw “Manahatta” with Rita & Mo. This one was great. It is a world premiere, personal story, about how new and old worlds collide with native american culture. It was fascinating, and moving, and depressing, all at once. That’s the kind of theatre I love.
Thursday I jumped in the lake for a nice paddle and Richard went for a ride in the afternoon. We knew the weather was going to turn to rain by that night, so this was our chance to get in some outdoorsy activities. Thursday evening, we met up with Caz & Steve for dinner at the Cabaret, my old home turf, followed by an energetic and seriously impressive performance of “Million Dollar Quartet.” Don’t bother trying to get tickets because the run is sold out. And deservedly so. All of the performances, including: Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash, were outstanding.
Friday it rained off and on all day. I mostly cocooned inside, but did venture out for lunch and a stroll around historic Jacksonville. There, we met up with Caz & Steve, and we did some nice window shopping. That night we had the pleasure of seeing “Henry V.” Last season, we got to see both Henry IVs, parts 1 & 2, back to back, as matinee and evening performances by the same cast, and in the same intimate space in the Thomas Theatre. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to see these plays again. This was the epitome of the Ashland Shakespeare experience. I can’t say enough about Daniel José Molina’s Henry. He is simply outstanding and I put his performance (extended across all three plays) alongside some of the all time OSF highlights. And if you know the place, you know that is saying quite a lot.
Coming off the high of seeing such exhilarating theatre, we returned to Dory around 11pm to find the weather had turned quite nasty. The rain was now coming down sideways as the wind whipped off the lake and right into Dory’s starboard side. Because of the way I had positioned her (“you and your damn views”), she was getting buffeted severely by the wind. We scurried from the car, holding doors firmly, lest they get blown out of our grasp. Once inside, I kind of panicked because of how much she was rocking. There was a pause as Richard and I wrestled with whether to try to do something about this, or hope for the best and try to go to sleep. Knowing there was no way I was going to be able to sleep, team Do Something won. We went full pirate mode at this point as we headed out into the blasting rain. We had to yell to each other and hold onto things like stabilizer blocks, so they wouldn’t blow away. First, we engaged the Caravan Mover rollers before taking up all stabilizers. Then we had to get her off the Anderson Leveler before we could spin her so that her nose was pointed into the wind. Then we re-leveled and re-stabilized everything before letting the rollers back out. This whole time, we were conscious of the fact that if we screwed up any one of these steps, there was at least a small chance that she could end up in the lake. Once we were very, very sure we had done everything right, we clambered back inside, quite wet and wind blown. But guess what. The maneuver totally worked. The same brilliantly engineered aerodynamics that make towing Dory such a breeze, also serve to minimize the impact of serious weather. As long as she’s facing the right way. We slept well that night and woke to find a rainbow and a forgotten light left on. All things considered, that was the best thing we could have forgotten.
Thank you again, Ashland, for such a wonderful vacation! We’ll be back I’m sure, and next time we’ll bring a fifty foot dining room table.
Total miles (from Colusa): 253.6, 14.5 mpg, 4 hours 57 min. Site: RV 21. So awesome it made me feel awkward. There are no bad sites at this place, though the ones on the lower level offer an unobstructed view of the lake. Full hookups, including sewer, plus solar. Nice bathrooms, strong cell service for both ATT & Verizon.