Sunday, April 08, 2007

Live, from Chico, California!

One thing that I have now confirmed is that I no longer have the stamina of teaching for 8 hours, and then driving to a destination that is six hours away. Yuck. In a decision that must have been influence by a lack of sanity, my wife and I chose to drive to Ashland, Oregon on Friday, right after school was out. Not only that, we chose the pretty way; Ukiah to Willits (pick up wife) to Eureka to Crescent City to Grants Pass to Ashland. Oh yeah, the pretty way is six hours long. Sure, the beauty is undeniable, but after teaching all day, who really gives a shit. So, at 4 p.m., the wife and I left the confines of Willits High School for the trek up Highway 101 north. After a stop in Garberville for Aztec Grill (the most underrated Mexican food anywhere), a stop in McKinleyville for Starbucks, and a stop in Crescent City for a Pepsi, my overly caffeinated body finally made it to the Best Western Windsor in Ashland.

Here's a note to the Best Western chain of motels; your motels are starting to seriously suck. At one time, my wife and I really enjoyed your service and the quality was excellent for the value. However, this is the fourth Best Western in a row that I've stayed at where I would have rather looked elsewhere. For those that I considering going to Ashland, here's a tip on the Best Western Windsor Inn:
-The room was well priced ($71) and huge.
-The carpet was stained all over the place.
-The rooms were worn.
-The people above us were bouncing around well past midnight on both nights. Complaints to the front desk had no effect.
-The showers produced either hot or cold water, never warm.
-The bathtub/shower had ants all over it.

In other words, we are starting to shop elsewhere for lodging. We are in Chico now, where we spent an extra $20 for the Courtyard by Marriott. Much, much nicer.

Not all is lost in on this trip however. I saw my wonderful Grandmother in Ashland, and she is 87, and more busy than I am. It's one of those situations were it was nice to see that I seemed to be interrupting her when I visited. I like that she is totally busy and enjoying life. I also had multiple breakfasts at an outstanding restaurant called Morning Glory. The price is reasonable, the portions are huge, and the omelets are insanely delicious. My favorite was the rock shrimp with bacon, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese. Don't call ahead though. They don't do reservations, but the food is well worth the wait! The second establishment of fine dining was a new wine bar called Liquid Assets, located in downtown Ashland. The bar is a combination mellow jazz setting and upscale artsy setting,with nicely arranged works of art on the walls, but comfy tables, chairs and couches for a person to enjoy a glass of vino while soaking in the atmosphere. I like the their idea of customers opening bottles of wine right off the shelf for only a $5 corkage plus retail. My Grandmother, my wife and I enjoyed a Washington pinot noir in the front of the restaurant while bathing in the afternoon sunlight and listening to the soft music in the background. Too bad they aren't in Ukiah, because that place is right up our ally.

We made our way to Chico today, back to the old stomping grounds that my wife and I both loathe. We are now visiting her father, and then it is back to the homestead.

There truly is no place like home.
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