Rolling Hills and Wine

The other day I alerted my Facebook friends to the fact that there is no need to ever fear that we'll ever run out of land in this country. My drive from Ashland, Oregon to Bakersfield, California, as well as from Bakersfield to Peoria, Arizona proved my statement true. A myriad of rolling blond hills and flat, wide open spaces are what tend to greet me the most on my journey so far.

Coming from a land of amazing vineyards just outside of Portland, I found it funny, then, to spot random fields of vineyards along the way.
I was warned and most were right; the roads are flat and long, but I'm also joined by an enormous sense of freedom. I love freedom and it doesn't get more free than an open highway. 

But I definitely admit, big, familiar signs like TARGET, HOME DEPOT and even Starbucks are welcome sites for my tired eyes, and it's funny that those names translate into civilization for me. My road-trip buddy, Bart Roadie, and I try to limit stops, but from Bakersfield to Peoria, a stop at the Desert Palm Outlets was a must, and a pick-me-up was most definitely on the menu. 
Bart as we guessed he cold be a Bartlett pear. If I remember correctly, he was a gift from the Pear Bureau NW. He makes a fabulous travel companion. 

Thanks to Shelley and Tom at Hotel Hobbs for the most amazing homemade fish tacos at Hotel Hobbs last night. No, I didn't get any shots of them, my iPhone battery was dead upon arrival to my luxurious stay. 

More eastbound today as I head out of Arizona and deep into the heart of....



Adventures in Exploring...on the Road

Yesterday kicked off an entirely new adventure for me. After 30 years of calling myself and Oregonian, I've decided to take a huge leap and head east to Florida. I need more sun in my life, and maybe a little more Grouper too.

My first stop was in the quaint little town of Ashland, Ore. My only regret is that I arrived a bit later than I have planned. I descended upon the southern-Oregon town slightly after 6: 00 p.m. and was greeted by a bit of chaos; an enormous brush fire that consumed nearly both sides of the freeway and took with it 11 homes. What's more, it was happening right down the road from my hotel.

Quite the arrival, and it made the news this morning on the TODAY show. A dash of excitement as I head off on my journey, but I can't help but feel terrible for those who lost their homes. As of the time of this post, I hadn't heard of any lives lost. 

My day was broken up nicely. I was able to stop and have a great lunch with my dear friend, Kelli Matthews
We dined outside in the Eugene heat at Marché Restaurant at the 5th Street Market. One who adores a good burger, but who usually refrains, I decided to dive into the burger named after the venue. Served on a brioche bun with aïoli and awesome fries, I was set for my journey to continue on south.

Though so exhausted upon my arrival into Ashland, I couldn't miss out on exploring the sweet town so I headed away from the fire, across the freeway and back in time to the adorable spot that's home to the famed Shakespeare Festival. I didn't have much time, but quickly found a modern Thai joint that was situated directly across the street from Lithia Park. How perfect? The name was Sesame Asian Kitchen, and from the menu selection I read on the door plus a recent article they had hanging up written in the New York Times just in July, I decided this was a good bet. My choice? The Korean Ssäm. Quite a presentation -- the noodles were a bit much to eat around but I managed -- and quite delicious. 


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