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Sutherlin, OR

We hustled yesterday … from the foothills of Nevada City to the warm sun of the San Joaquin Valley, to the foggy heights north of Mt Shasta and eventually into a twisting valley between the Coast Ranges and the southern Cascades.

We called George Sutton from the road and he said, “You’re in for a beautiful drive!” He was right. I-5 in California has the reputation of being dull, but in the northern part of the state that’s not true. The San Joaquin valley section is straight and flat, but after weeks of mountain passes it was a nice change to drive at sea level past olive and almond trees.


I had to stop at a rest area on I-5 to do a previously scheduled interview with the guys from Airstream Europe at 11 a.m., but that was easy: just pull in, open up the laptop, and take the call from the bedroom (while Eleanor and Emma did some home school work on the dinette).

Mt Shasta was the most stunning thing on the drive. You can see it coming for miles, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger… Lake Shasta is also beautiful to see from I-5.


Just north of Mt Shasta, in the town of Weed, we spotted what looked like a band of smoke from a forest fire. It turned out to be a wisp of fog from a huge fogbank. We were engulfed from there for the next 60 miles, in a deep gloom and temperatures hovering around 33.

It just kept getting deeper and darker, until finally, at 4300 ft pass just over the Oregon line (Siskiyou Summit), it got so dense that we could barely see road signs. Trucks were pulled off to the right lane with their flashers on, waiting it out. Eleanor was gripping the armrest as we crept up the pass, and we were wondering if we would have to pull over, too — when suddenly, the sky broke open and we emerged into brilliant blue sky and a gorgeous sunset down the long long descent into Mt Ashland. A pity for the truck drivers who were parked in the fog, only half a mile behind us, none of which probably had the slightest idea that they were only 2000 feet from perfect weather.

Two misc notes: (1) ain’t no parking at the Wal-Mart in Roseburg. We’re at a truck stop (hidden amongst a row of 18 wheelers) by the “Apple Peddler” restaurant off I-5. (2) After a shower and breakfast, we’ll head up to Sutton RV and join the fun. Apparently they are having a big 3-day event there this weekend. More later on that, and I’ll post pics tonight after my laptop battery re-charges.