Posted by: bkivey | 29 September 2014

2014 Vacation Pt. 1

22 September

In which I blog on my annual vacation; a tradition for the past three years. I was hoping to make this a semi-annual post, but no such luck this year.

(NOTE: There is almost no visual record of the first part of my vacation, because I AM AN IDIOT. And it’s not a good idea to play around with camera settings when you’re tired. ‘OKAY’ doesn’t mean ‘Okay I like the settings’ when the menu is set to ‘Format card’.)

Regular readers know that I vacation during the week of my birthday; the third week in September. This year I decided to combine work and play and take my vacation in southern Oregon and northern California.

Overall, an A. I got to see and do a lot of interesting things; and I didn’t have to work too much.

The first good thing was that I made my flight, which was an improvement on last year. The aircraft was a Bombardier Q-400; a twin turboprop transporting 78 people. This aircraft boards from the ground; something I haven’t had to do in a really long time. I asked the baggage guys if they rigged covers when it rained, or was it a mad dash to the aircraft; and was informed it was a mad dash. This rang true with my previous experiences boarding from the ground. (Boarded once in Columbus, GA, in a downpour. The aircraft was actually pulling away with me and my brother running after it. Attendants pulling up the stairs saw us, and let us on. We were soaked.)

I’d booked POSH (Port Out, Starboard Home) because I wanted to see the mountains on the trip down. No such luck; clouds all the way. Still a fair amount of logging around Medford, though.

Logging near Medford

And Table Rock, a local landmark:

Table Rock near Medford

Solar panels outside Rogue Valley International:

Outside Medford airport

I picked up my chariot (MUCH more on this later) and headed for lunch.

After lunch I had in mind to photograph some covered bridges (this was the business part) and queried the GPS. Keep in mind that cellphone GPS isn’t true GPS; it goes off cell phone towers rather than satellite. I got directions, and headed off.

Only, where I wanted to go and where GPS took me were not the same. I headed up the Rogue River Gorge. This included the Hellsgate area, site of several movies, and generally spectacular scenery, but not where I was looking to go. Of course, I didn’t know this until GPS informed that ‘I’d arrived’, and I clearly hadn’t. It was OK. I got to see some great scenery, and I was on vacation.

I finally did find the bridge I was looking for, as well as other items of interest.

Grave Creek bridge

Grave Creek bridge

Wimer covered bridge

Wimer bridge

The city hall for unincorporated Wimer. I don’t know if this is a joke, but it’s their story, and they’re sticking to it.

Wimer city hall

The oldest institution in America, located not far from Wimer. Who knew?

Church of Christ

I decided to spend the night in Grants Pass, as that would put me 30 miles closer to the next day’s destination. I booked into a place called ‘Knights Inn’; mostly because the sign was easy to see (landmark), and it was next to a grocery store. They charged $68. The $50 I’d seen in Medford at the Hotel 6 was starting to look pretty good. What I didn’t notice until I’d paid for the room was that the property was directly next to a railroad track. On further review, I thought the track might be heavily used, as the warning bridge had no less than five signal lights and four crossbucks. A quick search of the internet revealed that the company owning the track wasn’t likely to be using it frequently; and in fact there was only one train.

I’d looked for a hotel downtown because I wanted to grab a bite at a bar. Bars tend to have TV’s, and on Monday during the season, they usually have Monday Night Football. There must be an ordinance in Grants Pass prohibiting the exhibition of football games on TV. Of the three bars within walking distance of the hotel, only one had a TV, and it wasn’t tuned to football. What the hell? I sucked it up and had dinner at one of the bars.



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