Stealthsite(1710.8) to Interstate 5(1715.2) 4.4 Miles
I was ridiculously excited when I woke up this morning. It was town day, but not just any old town day. I have earned myself a nero and a zero day. I haven't taken a day off in 623 miles. I've had town days, but they have all been just in and out. I was looking forward to a little rest and relaxation. I quickly packed up and was on the trail within thirty minutes of waking up. The hike into town was pretty easy. The uphills and downhills were very gentle.
I had to hike a side trail to get to the interstate. It was only about one mile long. I came out to a highway that turned into I-5. I wasn't sure where the best place to hitch from would be so I walked farther down the road to a restaurant. I was hoping to get a hitch from someone leaving the parking lot. There weren't very many cars in the parking lot, so I decided to walk back up towards the on
ramp. I heard a car behind me and I immediately stuck out my thumb. A very nice older woman stopped right next to me and rolled down her window. She shouted, "I'm late for work. Hop in!". I didn't even hesitate. I put my pack in the back seat and jumped in. She explained that she didn't have time to take me anywhere specific. I would have to go to where she worked. I was just happy to get a ride into Ashland, that I didn't care where in Ashland. It couldn't have worked out any better. She worked in the same area that I wanted to check out first, the area with the hotels. Once she dropped me off I walked to the Holiday Inn Express to see about getting a room. It is prime season for tourism in Ashland and they were all booked up. I tried a few more hotels, but I didn't have any luck. I decided to check out another area of town, but I wasn't sure how to get over there. I couldn't find a safe place to hitch from so I decided to take the bus. When I got to the bus stop I discovered that I didn't have exact change so I went into the grocery store and bought a chocolate milk. I asked the cashier the best way to get to Morning Glory Cafe(I heard they have an amazing breakfast menu). A guy in line said that he would give me a ride. I wasn't even trying to yogi a ride I promise. Within minutes he dropped me off at the cafe. The place was packed. It was a forty-five minute wait, but I managed to get a seat at the counter after only a few minutes. The menu was small, but it all sounded delicious. I ordered a chipotle Bloody Mary and a seared tri tip steak omelet, with onions, spinach, and a gorgonzola cream sauce. It was serverd with a blueberry muffin and pancakes. Oh, man was it good. I surprised myself by finishing it all.
After breakfast I was stuffed. I spent some time looking up hotels online. I decided on one right down the street. When I got there they were also completely booked up, but they called their sister hotel for me and I was able to secure lodging there. The reviews on Trip Advisor were mixed. It is a good thing that I don't have high expectations. All I really care about is a bathroom and a decent bed. For $100/ night I got a huge room with two queen beds, flat screen tv, big bathroom, full kitchen and a walkin closet. The property had two pools and a sauna. I was very impressed. I only wish it had been a little more centrally located. Thanks to my Aunt Liz and Uncle Tom for helping me out. You are always there for me!
I wanted to get my town chores done as quickly as possible so I could spend the night lounging around. I made a grocery list, showered, and went in search of the laundromat. I was very lucky that it was only half a mile from the motel. While I was waiting for the washer to finish I went across the street to the Dollar Tree to begin my grocery shopping. I was able to get most of my list from there. I love dollar stores. They are a cheap way to resupply. Once my laundry was done I went to a proper grocery store and finished up my resupply. Carnation Essentials are wicked expensive.
The next part of the day didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped. The outfitter was located on the far side of town. I waited almost an hour for the bus to arrive. It was a hot and sweaty hour. Ashland is in the middle of a heat wave. I bet it was close to 100 degrees.
I desperately need new shoes. I kind of messed up and didn't plan ahead for this. The Altra Loan Peak 2.5's that I have been wearing were holding up great. I only had one small hole in the mesh uppers and the soles still looked fantastic. I decided not to have my parents send me my brand new pair that is sitting at their house right now. Yesterday the insoles on both of my shoes cracked. The crack is causing severe rubbing on the ball of my feet. That just won't work. The first outfitter I went to had a crappy selection of shoes. I was really starting to panic about my options, when I heard that a second outfitter had just opened up in town. I hustled to make it there before closing time. Mountain Provisions was an awesome store. The staff and owners are extremely hiker friendly and they had a great shoe selection. I upgraded my Lone Peak 2.5's to the new 3.0 version. I can't wait to try them out. Bryant, Jack, and Pinball were very interested in getting feedback on their store from thru-hikers. I stayed way past closing time chatting with them. Pinball thruhiked the pct a few years ago. They even offer a 10% discount for pct hikers. If you are ever close to Ashland, OR please check them out.
I thought about going out for dinner, but what I really wanted was a quiet night to myself. I took the bus back to the motel and ordered dinner in. I had a calzone and garlic knots from a locals favorite called, Great American Pizza Company. I turned on the tv, watched the Olympics, ate my calzone, and enjoyed a local beer from Caldera brewing company. It was a perfect evening. The beer was cold, the calzone was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Olympics. So far I am really loving Ashland.
"How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment. We can start now, start slowly, changing the world. How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make a contribution toward introducing justice straightaway. And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!"
- Anne Frank