Leaving our home at 5:05 in the morning for a road trip from Los Angeles to Oregon did not liberate us from LA traffic. Traffic jams at that time seem almost ridiculous but it happens on the interstate when driving north.
I was dodging cars, trucks, RV’s and an occasional motorcyclist. By the time, we got to Sacramento, my butt was sore and I was ready to relinquish the driving to Lex.
After leaving a gas station in Redding, the scenery begins to change. The mountains get closer, the air gets cleaner and the trees become tall and green. I was beginning to get that familiar feeling of Ah! We’re out of the city! Yippeee!
We decided to take a rest stop which has one of the Blue Star Memorial Highway markers. The Blue Star Memorial Highways mark highways that pay tribute to the U.S. armed forces. The blue star was used on service flags to denote a service member fighting in the war. The program was started in 1945 after World War II by The National Council of State Garden Clubs, now known as National Garden Clubs, Inc. The rest stop is really beautiful and you could see a portion of Lake Shasta there.
So, we’re heading back on the highway and we get distracted by all of the scenery around us. We’re determined not to stop anymore (no bathroom breaks either) till we get to Oregon. But then we see it…
Lex pulls over to a parking lot where we get out of the car and follow man made animal footprints on a walkway. There it is – Mount Shasta!
Mount Shasta is potentially an active volcano that last erupted in 1786. It has an elevation of 14,179 feet (4321.8 m) and has the fifth highest peak in California. There are seven recognized glaciers on Mt. Shasta and a number of well-known explorers have climbed to the summit including John Wesley Powell and John Muir.
There are Klamath tribe legends of Mount Shasta being inhabited by a spirit named “Skell” who was called to earth from heaven by a Klamath Chief. Others have believed that people from a lost continent called “Lemuria” live on the mountain. Mount Shasta is also believed to be one of a few global “power centers” with new age significance. Just seeing its majestic beauty, it’s hard not to believe in something spiritual and otherworldly about the mountain.
We finally enter Oregon and get to our hotel in Medford and collapse at the Ramada Inn. We decided to show what our hotel room looks like in the video. We hope that you find it helpful if you ever visit the area.
We rose very early, but we had a long drive ahead of us! My sister was going to get married the next day in Jacksonville, Oregon, so Neek and I, along with Neek’s sister, were determined to do the drive in one day. We got in the car close to 5:30am after having a small breakfast and hit the road.
The road we chose was Interstate 5. It was a Friday morning, so we had to deal with traffic congestion in the Santa Clarita area. Neek drove through that fairly smoothly, then traversed the Grapevine and on into the San Joaquin Valley as the sun rose to warm us up. There was more traffic in Stockton and we stopped in Sacramento to enjoy a delicious lunch Neek prepared of chicken, rice balls and salad.
Then I drove from Sacramento on up. Traffic was pretty easy to maneuver through up through Redding. Once we passed Redding, we stopped to see the beautiful trees and Shasta Lake at a rest stop. Then we stopped again at a scenic stop for Mount Shasta, which had lots of great information just looking at the animated bear footprints on the sidewalk. There was really a spectacular view!
One more pause on the way up to Oregon. There was a curious sign near Yreka, California that read ‘State of Jefferson.’ Interesting piece of history, Jefferson was actually a proposed state in 1941. It was named after Thomas Jefferson, extended from northern California to southern Oregon and Yreka was named the provisional capital. The start of World War II diminished enthusiasm for that movement, but we documented evidence some still want it on the way up! There was a little congestion in Weed, but then we went on past the border into Oregon and didn’t stop until we reached Medford, Oregon.
We checked into the Ramada Inn where we had a nice downstairs room reserved for us. It was good to kick back and relax for a bit. We had a lot more events planned for that weekend to look forward to, but sometimes just the journey there (especially a 12 hour drive) is an adventure in itself!