Feel-good Friday: Road Trip

Have Van, Will

This had to be one of the more pleasurable road trips I can remember ever having taken from Palm Springs to Vancouver.   

Normally once the decision is made to drive back, we’re anxious to get going and get home as quickly as possible.  Even though you can make the trip in two days we never have.  The norm is a three night hotel stay.  But this time we took a few extra days to take it easy (vacation from vacation?) and explore uncharted territory (read wineries & hotels).

The Dancing Fox in Lodi
Delicato Winery in Lodi with Cher & Jack.  He didn’t like the wine.  And here we look like lumberjacks.

After the first night in Fresno we drove to the cute little town of Lodi for wine tasting and lunch with friends who were also making the trek back to Vancouver in their own truck with their own dog. We stayed close and on their excellent recommendation we stayed at the Gaia Hotel & Spa just outside Redding Ca. by the Sacramento River.  It was very relaxing with great service, a good restaurant and waterfalls. 

The next day we went to the picture perfect artistic little city of Ashland, Oregon for lunch.

Lunch at Louie’s sitting outside by the Ashland Creek.

After spending the evening at a hotel in Salem, Oregon we decided to part ways with our friends because we wanted to check out a rescue dog in the area – a 7 yr. old female sheltie.  Though we never ended up meeting the dog as the lady who had her decided to keep her. I thought it would be a nice idea to get a female to mix with the males but since it never happened – maybe it’s better for both parties.  In the end I only want what’s best for the dog.

So we ended up having lunch at the Willamette Valley Vineyard instead which was amazing. Our charming server Robert looked after us very well.

Willamette Valley  on an overcast day
I had a few good flights to make the road trip easier (happier?)

Lastly, when we were only a few hours away from our destination we decided to spend two nights in a downtown hotel in Seattle and visit with old friends who used to live next door to us in Toronto.  There we used to have dinner parties, always kept in touch and luckily they moved closer to us, to Seattle, Wa. Yay! We have stayed in a guest bedroom before but they have two cats and we have two dogs.

With Miranda who cooked us a delicious dinner while her husband Dave went to get a 2003 Tuscan red from his wine cellar
King Arthur or Merlyn (I can never tell which is which)

They love their hotel sleeps
Why even bother making the bed??

You know the road trip back will ultimately lead you home, but you never know where the road in between will take you.  Writer Henry Miller once said “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”



Somewhere under the Rainbow, way below…there are cows.

And it’s always an adventure to see new things as well as check in with old friends and find out that everything and nothing has changed since you last saw them.

Le Panier at Pike Place Market is a must for pastries, or bread, or sandwiches, or…pretty much anything


Photos: d. king

Travel/ART scene – Ashland, Oregon 


the town
my kind of town

Of all the times I’ve driven through Oregon, not once until now did I stop to discover the vibrant little town of Ashland. Especially since it happens to be my kind of town with shades of Niagara-on-the-Lake.  But that may be because normally we drive to the coast and Ashland is located off I-5 at the south end of the Rogue Valley and about 20 miles from the California border – our main destination.

Rogue Valley vinyards near Ashland in the fall.
Rogue Valley vineyards near Ashland in the fall

Surrounded by breathtaking scenery, majestic mountains, rushing rivers, rolling foothills and dramatic landscapes, Ashland is a gorgeous little city with an arts scene as appealing as its setting.

Shakespeare Festival
Shakespeare Festival

Ashland hosts Christmas celebrations and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (one of the largest and oldest regional theatres in the country) in winter, a film festival in the spring, classical music festival in summer and wine tasting celebrations in the autumn.

Not to be outdone by the festivals, is the food which seems to be right up there along with the quality of the art and wine scene.  A local gave my travelling companions and I some recommendations of places to eat.  They did not disappoint.

We had dinner here
We had a very nice dinner at Larks
We had brunch here
We had brunch at Morning Glory

We had dinner and cocktails at Larks (located in the historic Ashland Springs hotel) and for breakfast we went to Morning Glory (located in a heritage house) – photo below.
We were met there by the woman who made the recommendations – an interesting person who is the godmother of a mutual friend.  Her father and grandmother are subjects of an oil on canvas painting by none other than Renoir which hangs at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.  *Her story is worthy of a blog post of its own.

Ashland is worth the visit and I will plan to spend a bit more time there on my next trip.

Have  you been?