From Oakhurst, our road leads us back down the mountains, the foothills, the flat valley, and finally the farming district. Row upon row of trees stretch to the far horizons, where mountains are still visible, standing guard over the valley from far away.
We have been offered free use of a cabin in Incline Village, which is located near Lake Tahoe, NV. The drive is a bit long for one day though, so we decide to stop over in Sacramento for a night before pushing on. Our hotel is right on the Sacramento River and a few steps away from the Riverwalk Park. After a half day in a car, it is a pleasure to get out and stretch our legs with a walk along the river and into the Old Sacramento area. And after a long walk, what better place to wet our whistles than the Ruhstaller Brewery, a few blocks away?
Upon returning to our hotel room though, we get some bad news. According to the ski reports, the Lake Tahoe area just got between 14 and 20 inches of snow. I watch the local weather and do some online double checks and find that the new snow layer goes from 8” near the lake, to up to 24” on the mountain tops. Tough choice, but I am not going to risk life and limb to drive mountain roads buried in fresh snow. (thanks for photo to momgrind.com)
One thing all this travel has done for us is to make us adaptable. We get on the internet and check all the usual home rental sites but nobody has anything we would want to stay in for any length of time. Plan B is hotels. Our next stop is a hotel in Redding. Redding is a nice valley town. (population 90,998) The people here love it in their scenic city. It is big enough to have most everything but not so big as to be jammed up with lots of commuters. The downtown is clean and walkable. From our hotel we can easily walk to restaurants and a brewery.
Highway 5 continues Northward through some very scenic country. We pass over Lake Shasta, catching a glimpse from the tall bridge. We pass under majestic Mount Shasta. We climb up mountains and coast down the other side, admiring the tall, tall pines scraping the sky. Our next stop is Medford, OR. (population 71.303) It seems larger than Redding but that is because it is more sprawled. Many of it’s workers live in the little towns nearby and drive in, so it does have rush hours. Downtown Medford is fairly compact but it has grown in all directions. Some of it is still quaint, some is ordinary, some is just shabby.
Our favorite day trip was to Jacksonville, where we found a sweet little village with quaint shops, a beautiful park, and a great German restaurant and brewery. Prost!
Medford was one of our cities that looked promising on paper. The climate is mild, winter and summer. It is not too isolated. It is about the right size. It has everything that the average American needs to live a good life. But somehow, it seemed a bit off. To me, it felt like a city on the downslide. Too many rudderless 20-somethings and not enough good jobs. I don’t want to disparage the good people of Medford, but I did not feel the welcome there.
Next up: Eugene OR