Friday, June 19, 2009

The June Journey: 2009

The yearly Oregon-Washington Trip

It’s been a lazy spring-summer so far, with my only traveling occurring earlier this month: the yearly trip to the Ashland, Oregon, Shakespeare Festival - done that since the mid-l950s - and then, onto Washington where I visited my husband’s family - done that since he died five years ago.

Should start with Ashland, a pretty town with well kept old time frame homes built during the 1800s and a park, Lithia Park, that is one of the most superb patches of greenery I’ve seen wherever. I stay downtown at the Columbia Hotel, upstairs above the various retail shops, a place with a Victorian motif throughout. Some rooms have facilities but I stay in the back with toilet and shower down the hall. You just try to avoid the sunny side for one will sizzle and fry on a hot day, despite window and ceiling fans. Even in the high season, it’s reasonablly priced.

I fly in to Medford and take the shuttle into Ashland. In past years, I have driven up but it is a long, tiring journey. I did take the bus one year when the bus still stopped on the outskirts of Ashland and I may try the train next year: Bay area to Sacramento or Grants Pass with a shuttle from there. Anyway, Ashland and the plays were fine; the only problem was finding a workable computer. The library PCs didn’t like AOL (or vice versa) and the coffee shop’s IMac also was a bit taken back by AOL. So the cell phone got some use.

There was an ongoing crisis - isn’t there always with families? My sister-in-law’s oldest daughter was seriously ill, in and out of the hospital, so there was some question whether I should go on to Washington. Turned out I did and it worked out, particularly as I left a day early (which cost but was worth it!). Concurrently, my nephew, who I had hoped to see, was down in Southern California, cleaning out his recently deceased mother’s place. So what had seemed like a good plan in April was a bit of a disaster, come June.

The plays were good: Henry VIII and All's Well were in the outdoor theatre where, even with three layers, I had a hard time staying toasty. It always is warm during the day and cold at night. Both plays were well performed. Music Man was the musical and I had a hard time erasing Robert Preston from my mind as I saw this very professional production. Nice choreography! Dead Man’s Cell Phone was sold out when I ordered tickets in “April and was still sold out when I went to the Box office on arrival. So I sat out front until someone came up with a spare to sell - and at face price. The play was a commentary on cell phones and relationships: a bit crazy but enjoyable.

The two I liked best were Equivocation, woven around Shakespeare and the Gunpowder Plot, and Servant of Two Masters, an outrageous Italian commedia dell’arte piece. Both were well directed and very sharply performed. If I hadn’t gotten into the Cell Phone, I was going to try for River Rafting - ah, next year!

I enjoyed the Washington visit with my sister-in-law and her family but three days was enough for all of us, especially since I wasn’t going to have a day with my nephew. Got to Pike’s Market in Seattle which I always enjoy. My sister-in-law’s youngest daughter, with whom I am very close, is a professional editor. I had a screen script with me I had been asked to critique so we spent sometime with that.

I stay at a Days Inn in Kent, walking distance to family, which gives them and me some independence. It was a day with each of various family members, all enjoyable. And the Days Inn has a shuttle to the airport so there is no inconvenience to anyone. Just hope all our various crises are down to a dull roar next year.

Since my return, I was googling to get information regarding the author of the screen play (he’s on Facebook) and ended up googling my name: I found that a gracious writer, Julia Ross, named me as one of Twelve Inspirational Women Travelers on I’m keeping company with Martha Gellhorn, Julia Childs and Gertrude Bell among others. And I was really impressed that she liked my writing! Thank you Julia! (And thank you, Warren Price, my old J School Prof, wherever you are!)


Anonymous said...

I've never been to the Shakespeare Festival, despite growing up in Oregon but it sounds like the perfect start to a lovely summer.

Anonymous said...

I have the Shakespeare Festival on my list, I live here in Northern California and still have never gone. Waiting for my son to be a bit older so I can go.
I found your blog through the World Hum piece and I'm also loving it. Going to sit and read for a while now.