Crisscross CA

After Sea ranch we split up. Sita and her family went up north to admire the redwoods and stay in Crescent City. Axel and I meandered over several mountain ranges towards Mount Shasta. Along the road we experienced many more of the diverse facets of the state of California, not all as pleasing as what we had experienced so far.

We did stop at a vineyard – how could we leave Sonoma County and not do so, and purchased the best of the wines we had tasted – made from grapes that thrived on the rich lava soil. We were to see much more of these lava soils for the next two days.

From there it was straight north along the Anderson valley through some cowboy and honky-tonk towns. We made a brief pit stop at a dusty café where we found, to our great surprise, the stuffed front part of a large giraffe. The giraffe could not have imagined in its wildest dreams where it would spent its afterlife. It was kind of sad to see it reduced to decorate such a depressing place, in between old farm equipment and white animal skulls. The donors were locals, a hunting family according to the framed newspaper article, who had taken their kids on a hunting trip to South Africa a few years ago where the doomed giraffe found itself in their visor. They gave the meat to the locals and had the skin shipped home and stuffed someplace.

We got some strudel and the worst coffee of our entire trip, and made it to our next AirBnB, having covered more than 350 miles. We checked into our AirBNB in Weed, had a superb Indian meal in Mount Shasta and then tumbled into bed, too tired to drink the welcome bottle of wine offered by our host.

The next morning we entered Southern Oregon and drove along Klamath Lake towards Crater Lake where we stopped for a picnic overlooking the deep blue waters that had filled the caldera, eons ago.

Our destination that day was Bend, where an old-time friend of Axel awaited us for a 24 hour visit. I am still digesting the experience of Bend which reminded me of Utopia and the Stepford Wives all at once, with mostly beautiful lily white people, in excellent shape because of all their outdoor activities. I asked our friend who couldn’t stop singing the praise of Bend if there was anything wrong with the place but he couldn’t think of anything – and so there it was again, a Stepfordian Utopia. After lunch we set out straight West through endless pine forests, some blackened from fires, towards Eugene.

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