Friday, November 02, 2007

Sharing the Gleam

We left the Ashland area (reluctantly) to head to Valley of the Rogue State Park a bit west on I-5. We want to camp alongside Rich and Eleanor and firm up our plans to visit Yosemite together. The drive over was gorgeous passing through valleys full of orchards tucked between rolling foothills. I kept thinking about how migrating pioneers must have shouted "Hallelujah" at the sight of such beauty. It must have seemed like a fitting reward for such a miserable journey west.

We made a quick stop in Jacksonville primarily to visit the museum. I couldn't pry Allison out of the Children's Museum. It was stuffed with artifacts of days past when kids went to one-room schoolhouses and moms churned butter and laundered clothes with a washboard. There were stations set up that featured different activities common to pioneer life. Everything was touchable, hands-on, which is rare for history museums. She absolutely loved it. We may try to sneak back for another run-through.

We only had a few moments to walk the main street in Jacksonville. I'm told there are 60 historical buildings standing in the town. It seems things are well-preserved. Once, long ago, Jacksonville hoped to see the railroad come through, but Medford got it instead and the course of Jacksonville was altered forever. Good thing. Medford is a little metropolis while Jacksonville is a quaint, pastoral hamlet overflowing with charm. I feel a tinge of worry for the place as I stroll downtown under the frontier-style architecture of the shops. I also feel greed. How can I get a piece of this before everyone else grabs it all? Is that not human nature? I'm as bad as the next guy, or the next home-equity rich Californian. We passed a few trophy houses on the hills and I'm muttering, "Damn Californians. They're going to ruin everything."

Robert went to look for a hardware store to get a wrench for Rich while Allison and I ducked into a couple of shops. I tried on a long skirt in one that I liked immediately. Allison, my fashionista, brought a knitted scarf to the dressing room, saying, "Mom, you must try this."
"No, it looks itchy," I replied, but wrapped it around my neck anyway to please her. Surprisingly, it was soft and happened to match the skirt so well I decided to buy both. Now I'm one step closer to being a gentle Oregonian now that I own a hemp skirt!

Tonight we are set up in the park next to Rich and Eleanor. I must say our rigs look mighty handsome in the backdrop of this lush green setting. There is something so elegant about the smooth curves of the Airstream and the reflective gleam of the aluminum at dusk. That we are the only two beauties here--well, don't we feel special? I feel like I have a Thoroughbred in a pasture full of cart horses. Emma and Allie scrambled off to play in our Airstream while we adults gathered in the other. I tried to restrain myself from grilling Rich with too many questions. He and Eleanor are a living data source for all things Airstream. They are pioneers we've caught up with on the trail. They have insight and knowledge of the conditions ahead. So, naturally we want to know everything.

Eleanor prepared a nice dinner for us all before we separated to turn in. I found that there was wi-fi access for a small fee here so of course I got online to write. Meanwhile, I'm sure Rich is doing the same. Besides publishing the Airstream magazine, he keeps a blog too. Since we are spending time together we'll naturally be writing about one another which adds an unusual dimension to a new friendship. So, when I finish writing this you know I'll be heading to his website to see what he writes about us, those damn Airstream newbies!

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