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.

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!)

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.

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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