I covered a lot of ground today, by bike and bus.
Late this morning, I said goodbye to my wonderful Williams host and the cozy comfort of my little “guest outbuilding” I had stayed in. (Yesterday I did nothing but lounge around on the property, and it was glorious!) I loaded up the trailer again, and began pedaling the 23 miles north to Grants Pass. When I arrived in town—my first time there—I found a lush, beautiful park, as well as an old-style natural-foods store (I love those!) where I picked up some deli food to take on the bus with me for our layover in Medford.
Once again, I managed to win over an initially unsmiling bus driver; he used the lift gate to help me load my rig onto the bus, and we started talking about my trip. (One thing I have gained a huge appreciation for on this trip so far is the Americans With Disabilities Act [ADA]. I came to realize early on that my trailer is the width of a standard wheelchair, and so every time I’m able to wheel it into the restroom at a public park or use a lift gate to load it onto a bus, I appreciate that infrastructure. I recently watched a wonderful documentary about the genesis of that law, which I highly recommend: Crip Camp.)
This bus was larger than the one I had taken the other day, and I was the only passenger on the way to Medford, so it felt like a very spacious private taxi, with USB outlets to charge my phone, too.
We arrived in Medford, and it was time for an hour-and-a-half layover. I had prepared for this: I left the trailer on the secured bus, but took the bike to zip around to no fewer than three local parks, to eat my lunch and enjoy some greenspace. Along the way, I encountered two men who marveled at my bike and my tour. One of them was a Greyhound employee at the station, who was amazed to watch me unfold the bike as I disembarked. At my suggestion, he went inside and immediately looked it up online. I love it when people get as excited about the Brompton as I do.
After the layover, we added two more passengers and continued to Ashland. As the driver helped me to unload the trailer, he wished me well on my journey, and said he hoped he’d see me again. (He might well, since I’ll be taking that exact bus back to Klamath Falls two days from now.)
I then bicycled to the hostel, and along the way, right in the middle of town along a busy street, I encountered two deer! Apparently that is not uncommon here. Definitely not something I’ve ever seen in Portland.
When I arrived at the hostel, I initially felt a bit put off and out of sorts by the remote check-in process, and this feeling was exacerbated when the owner (I didn’t realize she was the owner at the time) told me via text that I couldn’t take the bike and trailer into the building, since the property owners didn’t allow such things inside. These are my babies! I like to keep them indoors, and near me.
We said goodnight, and I felt so glad that I had ended up here at this hostel. (Consider staying here if you find yourself in Ashland!) And, not only do I have the private room that I booked, but no one else booked the dorm next door, so for tonight at least (not sure about tomorrow night) I have had the whole kitchen, living room, and bathroom of the suite all to myself It’s like a whole apartment, and feels luxurious!
However, I was surprised when the owner soon pulled up in her car. As we got to talking, we ended up hitting it off. (This is such a theme on this journey! One or both parties start out in a bad mood or somehow out of sorts, and then the magic of the journey kicks in and we both end up feeling energized and inspired by the end of the interaction.) She ended up telling me about her dreams and the challenges and obstacles in the way of them, but she sounded like she was on the right track to move ahead in the way that’s going to be best for her. I loved witnessing that, and I hope that all her dreams come true. Meanwhile, she was inspired by my trip.
Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to revisiting the legendary Ashland co-op and the breathtaking Lithia Park.
I’m so glad I decided to stop in Ashland after all.
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