Friday, October 6, 2017

Sep 2017: a week Ashland Ore & Tacoma, WA

When Shawn's Ride Share, the shuttle between the Bay area and Southern Oregon, shut down several years ago, I skipped the Shakespeare Festival.  I was so spoiled.  The  programs  didn't interest me enough to deal with  Greyhound, Amtrak or United.  Actually, Greyhound no longer stopped at Ashland so they ruled themselves out of contention.

Then I got the bright idea to combine Ashland with a trip to Washington to see a niece in Tacoma and a nephew in Sequim.  So would take Amtrak to Ashland - via Klamath Falls, Alaska Air to SeaTac, returning same to San Francisco.  Found a week that worked for me, the plays and the relatives.  Only the nephew became flu ridden and I had to skip that part of the plan.  But used that time to visit another nephew in the area so all worked out. 

Amtrak coach was almost full up and quite comfortable, certainly more roomy than any airplane.  The seat next to mine was unoccupied so I was able to spread out, excepting when the Amtrak representative  woke me up to sit up properly..  I talked with a woman, who because of problems with enclosed spaces plus staff rudeness, refuses to  fly:  she was going to Portland to catch a Columbia  River cruise.  Somehow, she survives  enclosed space on Amtrak.

Train stopped at Klamath Falls.  Then, a two hour wait for the shuttle which took us over the hill to  White City, then a stop at the airport and then the  bus depot at Medford before Ashland.  When I did this before, it was a minimum wait, straight shot to Ashland, stopping several blocks from my hotel.  Very convenient.  This time I was let off at the University, a recent change and  a goodly distance down the main street from the hotel.  Not convenient!

I signed on for four plays and a backstage theatre tour:  two Henrys, parts 1 and 2; Julius Caesar and Shakespeare in Love.  All well done though some of the casting of women in male roles was interesting - some worked but others were a bit off.  Good free evening  entertainment..  And the smoke from the forest fires was no longer a problem.  Ashland is still my dream town - if I could transfer my medical plan 
there;, I'd move up in a hot minute. 

A young couple, some what tatted, were asking for funds while seated in front of the City Hall - with cats!  All black.  Mother on a lease with young'uns crawling all about.  Post hippies.  A mix with the tourists and the locals.  Lots of greenery and a mix of architectural styles.

I've stayed at The Columbia Hotel for some years now.  Reasonable. upstairs over business establishments on the main street.  Victorian decor with facilities in and out suite.  I usually end up in the back with a walk down the aisle to the loo and shower.  Tea and the NY Times in the morning. 

I did a bit of walking around, found some shops gone and others moved.  I didn't  have time to do my Lithia Park walk, but another time.  Ashland has one of the best parks around.  I am amazed at the theatres' development - when I first came in the 50s, there was just the outdoor theatre, uncovered with seating on planks.  Now three theatres  with part  of the original Elizabethan theatre covered.  Awesome!

Caught the local shuttle to the Medford Airport and a short flight to SeaTac where my niece and husband met me.  Initial impression:  mucho traffic!  Other than a light rail from Burien into Seattle, little public transit.  If you live there, gotta have a car.  They - niece and spouse - live on the outskirts of Tacoma.  Great country living but really out and about. 

One day we drove to the Naval Undersea Museum.  All sorts of stuff on ocean environment, submarine technology, weapons and salvage.  The contrast with the  air museum I looked into earlier at Honolulu.  The second day I spent at a nephew's glorious home in Burien, overlooking the water, and later, listening to him preform at a local restaurant - among other things, he is a guitarist.  The drives, hither and yon, were   enjoyable with nice scenery  and free of really bad traffic - but then they had apps which alerted them to the bad traffic jams.

Back for SeaTc and the flight home.  Interestingly, my shoe trees and a  Clif Bar got me pulled out of line for special attention.  Never been a problem before.  Ended up on the flight next to a companion dog, very peaceful and friendly.  I tried to make as much room for him as possible as he squatted on the floor at his person's feet. 

Super Shuttle was prompt and full up.  I was glad for Uber and Lyft  have cut  into the local shuttles' business.  According to the Airport guy,  several firms have gone out of business.  Sadness,

We'll see what happens next year - doubt that I'll do Amtrak again.  Too inconvenient. 

Cost:  Amtrak: $90.  Alaska Air:  $240.  Shuttles: $60.   Hotel: $250.  Theatre: $250.


Jo Rawlins Gilbert
Palo Alto CA  94303

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