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Sunday, November 18, 2001

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Up I-5

I actually slept pretty good last night except for a slightly stiff neck I'm feeling good. There were only a couple short stops, which helps. I had hoped to see the meteor shower but we drove through thick fog all night so I'm glad I could sleep and not worry about the fog. When we got into Sacramento about six in the morning there was still fog but an hour later as we left town it lifted and we had beautiful sunshine. This is pretty country.

This driver is cool and said he could get killed just as fast by someone in back as in the front seat but we still better not come forward of the yellow line. He said he was in an incident a year ago with a guy on amphetamines that grabbed the wheel and hurt thirty five people including another driver who was riding and she is still in a wheelchair a year later.

Weíre still on I-5 through flat green farmland. Thereís a vineyard on one side and an orchard on the other and the land is so flat till it runs into the mountains in the distance. Weíre on the second section which emptied off at Sacramento giving anyone who wants it a seat by themselves and everyone is in a cheerful mood. Iím seeing some fall color but most vegetation is still green though how much of that is because of irrigation I donít know.

At Corning we get off on historic 99. Not long afterwards weíre up in oak trees and the green changes to pale brown grass as we leave the flat land behind. The exit into Redding was closed and both bus drivers got lost. They spent fifteen minutes giving us a tour of Redding. A nice town. Lotís of fall color. Finally the bus drivcr asked directions from a guy raking his lawn. Iíll bet that guy'll have a story to tell for a while. Itís bad when they take the wrong exit as itís hard to turn a bus around.

We got a new driver at Redding and he gave us a running diaglogue about the area. He didn't make much of a deal about no one sitting in the front seat but just said it was company policy whether he likes it or not. The driver said I-5 in the northwest, formerly 99, was originally built during WWII as part of the Alaskan Highway to move troops if it became necessary. We hit the mountains as we drove into the Shasta Trinity National Forest and then the Klamath National Forest. The map shows this section as scenic and it truly is. It's just beautiful. Much of the way there I saw Applegate Trail signs and a sign for the Applegate Wagon Trail museum.

It started to get dark past Grants Pass and by the time we reached Roseburg it was very dark. Between Roseburg and Eugene we saw hardly any lights except those of other cars. There was just a black curtain on both sides of the road. Spooky! Even in Arizona where people can be few and far between, you are rarely out of sight of a light but we don't have the trees blocking everything.

When we entered Oregon the driver starting saying that you could not smoke near the bus, but only out on the sidewalk or in the alley. Several of the bus stations look like they were built out of the same pattern with a covered area that the buses pull into. Evidently this is 'indoors' so you can't smoke there. He said the fine was $500. Wow! One of the small depots was closed and people were waiting outside to board. When we took off the driver announced that people really needed to get a real ID, not just a college ID since the larger stations wouldn't accept that in order to get a ticket anymore.

Finally we reached Salem and I caught a taxi to the motel. I had called earlier in the afternoon since I've been surprised before by something going on that I hadn't known about that filled up the lodging. The lady all but laughed when I asked if there was room and said there were more than enough rooms available. I guess it's hard on the travel industry right now. It was good to put up my feet and stretch out.

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© Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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