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Full Day in Ashland, Oregon

7 Jul

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Yesterday I drove three hours to Ashland, Oregon, located in Southern Oregon. It somehow didn’t occur to me that the temperature would change drastically, so during the hours that I explored downtown (and shopped) before checking into the hotel, I thought I was sweating profusely simply because I’m middle-aged and the sun was burning hot. However, although it was eighty-four degrees when I left Eugene, in downtown Ashland it was about a hundred degrees.

Ashland has a lovely downtown, with Victorian houses behind the parking garage, a downtown park—Lithia Park, specifically—that proved considerably larger than at first it appeared, and with a lovely pond and creek.

Across the street from the park entrance is a visitor’s center and a fountain from the 1920s where you can drink spring water…and it tastes disgusting, like a mixture of salt and liquid metal. Yuck.

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Main Street seems to have a bookstore on every block, or pretty close to every block. I made a point of not setting foot in a bookstore that I think specialized in children’s books. However, an hour or so later I couldn’t resist stepping into a spirituality bookstore. After all, I was sweating and figured it would be air-conditioned, which it was. I left with a bag of books and statues. I also wandered into a fabric store and got myself an owl pincushion and a set of iron-on embroidery designs.

I saw the intense tragedy Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles; it shook me up, and it was a relief to walk around downtown after the sun had set. Window shopping, I realized that this is a progressive and hippie-friendly town; I also noticed that restaurants are more likely to be open late than they are in Portland. Main Street is still lively and hopping with pedestrians, whether they just saw a play or are smoking pot and playing music. The antique store’s window display featured vintage Asian clothing, including a sparkly Indian tunic and a cotton Afghani nomad dress. There was also Japanese and Chinese cloisonné to ogle. A Tibetan-owned shop sold new items, such as figurines of fierce deities and Tibetan thangkas. These shops were so colorful and sparkly, I suspected I might visit them the next day, while they were open.