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April 21 to May 4

Medford - Ashland, Oregon (4/21 - 4/26)

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland is arguably the largest repertory theater company in the United States, producing about 11 different plays (not all Shakespeare, of course) on three stages during a 10-month season. We've been coming twice a year for many years, but this year it looks like we'll only get here this one time. Unfortunately, many of the plays we'd like to see this year won't be performed until later in the year. So it's just two OSF plays for us - one Shakespeare, and one not.

We saw As You Like It and enjoyed it much. The OSF has been restaging Shakespeare plays of late, so it wasn't much of a surprise that this production was set in the 1930s depression. Sometimes these restagings are kind of jarring (Much Ado About Nothing set in 1970's Las Vegas comes to mind). This one wasn't especially distracting, as it's mostly set in the woods anyway, and the woods haven't changed all that much in the last 500 years.

Our non-Shakespeare play was On The Razzle, written by Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love), a well done farce using the general story line of Hello Dolly or The Matchmaker. A bunch of fun.

And, as a bonus, we were able to squeeze in a performance of The Complete History of Western Civilization (Abridged) - The Musical at the Oregon Cabaret Theater. The script is by the folks who brought us The Complete Works of Wm Shakespeare (Abridged). Envision 1,000 years of western civilization compressed into 2 hours (including dessert). Little that was politically correct (a sentimental duet between Ghengis Kahn and Adolph Hitler, for example), very little that was historically accurate, and much that was highly irreverent. Gee, that was fun.

We caught up with Spring while we were here - it was cold and raining and windy when we arrived on Saturday, but by Monday the sun was out, the skies were blue, and the temps were in the upper 60's. Looks like it'll stay that way as we head south ovet the next couple of weeks, getting warmer as we get further south.

 

Redding, CA (4/26-4/27)

We overnighted at Redding and wish we'd planned better. Looks like a great town to explore for a few days. Before we left on our 2006 RV trip, Anna & Ira gave us a book named Road Food - all the best places to eat while on the road. We finally got to eat at one in Redding - Buz's Crab Stand. Nothing fancy, just lots of really good seafood (including stuff for those of us allergic to shellfish). Worth a visit anytime you're near. And then we spotted the "Sundial Bridge". Didn't have time to actually go there, so we settled for a virtual tour on the internet. The bridge and the park which hosts it looks to be worth at least a day. We stayed at the Redding RV Park, a place with impressive views of snow-capped mountains - from Mt. Shasta in the north most of the way down the Sierra Nevada range. Nice place to stop. Temps in the 80s. The air conditioning, which hasn't been fired up since August, WORKS!  We are now wearing shorts - first time since we returned from our trip last summer.

Manteca, CA (4/27-5/1)

Our primary reason for stopping here was to connect with Bill & Janet Adams of Internet Anywhere, to have a satellite internet dish installed. Object - to get internet access almost anywhere we can see the southern sky. At 9AM Saturday 4/28 they arrived at our RV park, and by noon we were operational. The Motosat Datastorm internet dish is pretty much automatic - you push the proper button, and it elevates and rotates and does some magic, and in a few minutes we're on line. It's not blazingly fast internet, but it is lots better than no internet at all or even the usually slow free wireless you find most places.

 

Manteca is an interesting city in the midst of a building boom. Brand new housing developments are everywhere - some featuring "affordable" homes in the $400-500 thousand range. We skipped the big Asparagus Festival in neighboring Stockton - the temps are in the 90s and we are still adapting our pre-chilled Oregon blood, and it is one of those vile vegetables, after all. "Asparagus is NOT a vile veggie - it is my FAVORITE veggie!" - Judy.  But we did drive around downtown Manteca - which bills itself as "Mural City" - to look at the several murals that have been painted on various buildings. They are aiming for 40 murals total, and they have about 30 to go. Some of Judy's pictures of the murals are included in the slide show for this segment of our adventures.

 

We took a day and drove to San Jose to tour the much-hyped Winchester Mystery House. It's a largely unfinished 160 room Victorian mansion built by Sarah Winchester, the wealthy and (at best) eccentric heir to the Winchester firearms fortune. She apparently believed that she could live forever as long as she kept building the house. Something about appeasing the spirits of all the people killed by "The Gun That Won The West". It's a fascinating place, largely because of all the bizarre features built into the place - doors that open to a blank wall or even into mid-air, windows in the floor, stairways that stop at the ceiling. Only a few of the rooms are furnished, and none of them with things original to the house. The outside is spectacular, well painted and elaborately landscaped. Inside it's at best curious and pretty dingy, truth be known. Doesn't take much to realize that "windows in the floor" are skylights that can open to become ventilation shafts and that doors that open to blank walls are the result of building a new room or whole new wing in front of an older exterior wall that just happened to have a door that wasn't needed anymore. Of course, that doesn't explain second floor doors that open into space, or full-length windows in the doors to all the toilets. Anyhow, there are a bunch of pictures in the slide show.

 

Yosemite National Park (5/1-5/4)

We had a few days before we were supposed to be in Southern California, and we elected to make our first (and certainly not our last) visit to Yosemite. We stayed at the Yosemite Lakes Thousand Trails RV Park, just outside the park. No cell phone service, but our satellite internet worked fabulously. (big grin) Our first half-day was blessed by wonderful weather, and we got some good pictures. Next day, rain, even snow at the higher elevations - goodby to the shorts. We managed to spend several hours in the park before getting wet and cold enough to come back home. Third day was the charm - cool, but no rain. Yosemite is a spectacular place, and it's easy to see how folks can get addicted to it. Waterfalls over a half-mile high, immense granite columns and huge Sequoia trees. We'll need to come back here. Plenty of pictures in the slide show. We had a spectacular lunch at Evergreen Lodge, a private, rustic resort just outside the park.  Al had a humongous bacon cheese burger, and Judy had a huge, very messy, very delicious chicken panini sandwich. Our timing was perfect - just after we got our food a crowd of 15 arrived, much to the dismay of the single waitress! Definitely a place to remember.

 
On Friday, May 4 we headed downhill again on route to Soledad Canyon, CA. Our scheduled RV maintainence on May 7 has been bumped a week or so, so we'll have time to play some.

Oh - the slide show is here, in case you missed the links earlier.