688 Miles: Redmond to Willows

We awoke bright and early at 4:30AM, eager to get our journey started.  After showering and stuffing our car to the rafters, we fueled our blurry morning with coffee and gasoline before hitting the freeway at 6:30.  Fortunately we were earlier than the bulk of commuter traffic, and the day’s weather was beautiful despite a smattering of rain.
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We traversed two state borders today: Oregon & California!  The grassy hills of Southern Oregon provided beautiful backdrop as we listened to the latest “Real Time with Bill Maher” podcast and part of John Grisham’s “Ford County” short-stories on tape (thanks for the recommendation, Shannon!)
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In California, we admired Mt. Shasta, which although partially obscured by clouds, was still magnificent!  Having made good time and wanting to shorten tomorrow’s drive, we pushed past our intended half-way-point destination of Redding to the small town of Willows, about 60 miles further down I-5.  The desk clerk at our chosen motel initially refused to recommend a restaurant for dinner since prior guests threatened to sue her (?!), but Lisa employed her superior logic and wit to gain mention of charming Nancy’s Airport Cafe, where we scored a splendid meal consisting of pork chops, potatoes, green beans, salad bar, and choice of bread for just $10.99 each!  What a bargain!  The waitress was even very pleasant.  This is California?  I guess the recession is hitting people harder down here.
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Off to a very good start, all told we covered 688 miles in ~11 hours, with a few stops along the way.  Fortunately, we also managed to avoid any traffic citations, despite thick State Patrol forces in both WA and CA.  (Oregon was largely un-patrolled with only 2 troopers spotted through the entire state!)

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