On the Road to Valley of the Rogue State Park

Friday, August 16, 2019

We had a short drive today, less than 130 miles. Check out time at Oregon State Parks is 1:00pm. If we get to the park before that time we’ll probably have to sit in a parking lot and twiddle our thumbs. After packing up we take the dogs for a nice walk but it’s still pretty early, like 0700 hrs early. Tired of waiting to leave for no good reason we head out.

Jacksonville, OR isn’t far off of our path- let’s go! We pull out of the RV park and head west on CA 89 and go over that steep hill that the lumberman’s oxen had trouble pulling wagons over back in the 1890’s. It’s a grunt but we catch a slow logging truck half way up the grade. It’s having trouble pulling the hill just as the oxen. We transition on to north bound I-5 at the little town of Mount Shasta (2600 souls).

This part of Northern Kali-Fornia is beautiful. The majestic Mt. Shasta looms large on our right, Black Butte, a black volcanic cinder cone is at 12 o’clock and pine trees everywhere. We pass the quaint town of Weed (2900 souls) named for Abner Weed, a Civil War soldier and lumber man who settled in the area (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abner_Weed).

We drive past Yreka (7800 souls), the seat of Siskiyou County. The town gets it’s name from the Shasta language for North Mountain or White Mountain in reference to Mt. Shasta. The infamous Mark Twain had another take on it. His rendition is that a bake shop was opening, had a “BAKERY”sign painted, the sign was hung backwards to dry with all but the “B” showing through. It was read by a miner wrong end first, supposed that it was the name of the camp, the campers were satisfied with it and adopted the name. Ya gotta love Mark Twain’s wit.

The road takes us over hill and dale until it we reach a valley north of Mt. Shasta. We are now in “Jefferson County”, cow country pocked by mini volcanic cinder cones, an area that wants/wanted to secede from the state of California. Now we are in the Siskiyou Mountains, cross the Oregon border, eventually cresting Siskiyou Summit, elevation 4310′, highest elevation on Interstate 5. We take the long downhill grade towards Ashland (21,000 souls), a tourist mega offering the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, art galleries and restaurants. We are now in rolling hill country. Near Phoenix (4100 souls) we turn towards Jacksonville.

Oregon Welcome Sign Located Halfway Up Siskiyou Pass

Jacksonville’s (pop.2800) historic district, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, was founded following the discovery of gold deposits in 1851-52. It was the original seat of Jackson County, now at Medford. It was also home to the first Chinatown in Oregon. The city was the principal financial center of Souther Oregon until the railroad was rerouted to Klamath Falls due to the severity of the grades of Siskiyou Pass.

Downtown Jacksonville Covered Sidewalk

Over 100 buildings are on the National Register. Walking downtown is like walking into the Old West. The experience is diminished by vehicular traffic. I wonder aloud what it would have been like when the horse was the principal mode of transportation. Jacksonville is a popular place to visit. B&B’s, restaurants, breweries and saloons are a daily draw.

The Britt Festival is a popular seasonal music festival and the town has several museums, an arboretum and beautifully landscaped homes adorned with colorful flowers.

After a pleasant visit it’s time to head towards Valley of the Rogue State Park. We are staying in the F loop in Site 14. No sewer hookups in this loop but the site offers water and 50 amp power…….. and a clear view of the southern sky for our satellite dish. We check in and set up for a two night stay. Tomorrow we’ll visit Nearby Gold Hill, Rogue River and Grants Pass where we’ll do a little shopping at Freddie’s, i.e. Fred Meyer big box store.

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