Friday, September 21, 2012

Summer Vacation 2012 Part 2

Guest writing for Marin is her husband Kevin.

The second half of our vacation was spent in Ashland, OR.  A few years ago we spent two days in Ashland and loved it. So we decide it was time to go back and spend some more time there.  And we still love it there.

Pulling into Ashland we were met with sunshine and smokey skies.  The smoke was coming from the wildfires down in California.  After checking into our hotel, we went to downtown Ashland for pizza and the Green Show.  Ashland is famous for their Shakespeare Festival, which was in progress.  Before each evening's play they have a 45 minute free show of local entertainment on the "green".   As we waited in line to order the pizza, I made the comment to Marin, it must be family night.  The pizza place was swarming with families with young kids, which made it quite loud.  Of course our two kids were contributing to the noise.   Marin's comment back to me was, "there are a lot of hippies in Ashland". Turning back around, I noticed the woman in front of me was breast feeding her child while she made her food order.  That evening we saw Triaj.  It's a trio composed of a woman vocalist, a cello player and a percussionist who had bells wrapped all around his legs.  It was a perfect evening to see a outdoor show.

The next day we spent the morning roaming around downtown Ashland.  After browsing in the stores, we walked over to the Ashland Food Co-op to get lunch to go.  We got a delicious Rosemary fruit salad and a $12.00 chicken pesto wrap.  It looked good, tasted decent, but not sure it was worth $12.  We then walked up to Lithia Park to have a picnic in the park.


Picnic in the park


Our $12 chicken pesto wrap and rosemary fruit salad

Lithia Park has to be one of the best city parks in all of Oregon, if not the west coast of the US.  It has everything from duck ponds, open grass areas, walking trails, playground, band shell and a great creek running straight down the middle of it.  The creek is very kid friendly.  It has easy access and a lot of rocks to climb around on.  Molly and Keenan rotated between the playground, the creek and the duck pond.  Marin and I just kind of wandered around the three areas, enjoying the sunshine and the beauty of the park while making sure our kids didn't do anything dangerous.


Molly on the rocks in Lithia Park


Keenan wanting to follow the creek all the way to its source in the mountains



Marin looking good at Litiha Park


Later that day we headed over to Ashland's fantastic science museum, ScienceWork Hands-On Museum.  We spent over two hours in the museum, only leaving because they were closing for the day.  This place is designed for both kids and adults.  As the name of the museum says, so many hands on activities.  It has everything from pulley chairs, a bubble room, making music with lasers, testing your strength and endurance and challenging your nerves and coordination.


Molly and Keenan trying to get the white ball through the obstacle course using air pressure


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The pulley chairs.

That night after eating Mexican food, Molly, Keenan and I went down to the hotel pool.  After about 30 minutes of tossing the kids around, Molly swallowed a mouthful of pool water.  She coughed a few times before throwing-up in the pool.  Luckily we were the only ones in the pool at the time.  We exited the pool, I wiped Molly down with a towel and then sent the kids back to the room.  I went to go tell the front desk person about the accident.  He didn't seem too upset when I told him what happened, but he wasn't pleased as he told me he would need to close the pool down for the night.  Needless to say, we didn't do any more swimming in the hotel pool. 

The next morning we decide to rent some bikes and ride along the Bear Creek Greenway, that runs from Ashland, up through Medford and into Central Point.   It was a great morning for a bike ride; sunny skies and perfect temperature.  The man at the bike shop said he didn't have any kids bike to rent, so we put Molly on the smallest adult bike they had. It was a tad big for her, but she did a great job riding it.  Keenan was on a tag-along bike that connected to my bike.  Marin was enjoying riding her comfort bike; sitting upright with a big cushy seat.




We decide to rent the bikes for only an hour since we knew our kids wouldn't last that long.  We got on the trail heading north towards Medford.  Everyone was moving along just beautifully as we rode next to Bear Creek.  We decided to make our turn around point Blue Heron Park, about seven miles from the bike shop.  The kids were able to play on the playground while Marin and I just basked in the glow of providing a fun vacation for our kids.  When Marin looked at her watch, she saw that we were running late and that we had to get back to the bike shop to return the bikes on time.  Instead of following the paved path in the park back to the greenway, we cut over a gravel road, that ran for about 100 yards, to get back to the pathway.  That turned out to be a big mistake.  All of our tires got thorns in them.  These thorns, called goatheads, turns out to be a big nuisance down here.  We stopped to look at our tires and started to pull them out. We knew we made another big mistake after we pulled out a few of them.  We could hear air slowly leaking from Molly's tire.  We jumped on our bikes and made a frantic push back to the bike store.  Molly got about a 1/2 mile before her two tires went flat.  Keenan and I pushed on to the bike store while Marin and Molly waited by a road that intersected the trail.  When Keenan and I got to the bike shop, I dropped off the bikes and then we drove back to Marin and Molly.  I loaded Molly's bike into our car and drove her, Keenan and I back to the shop.  Marin rode her bike back.  We were all hoping and praying that Marin's tires wouldn't go flat.  I was relieved to see her ride into the bike shops parking lot.   For the second time in less then 24 hours, I had to tell someone that we had an accident with some of their equipment.  The guy was pretty nice about it.  He only charged us $50 for the bike rentals, 7 replacement tubes and all of the time it would take him to get the thorns out of the tires.  So if you are ever in Ashland and you need a bike shop, go to Bear Creek Bicycles.  But don't tell them that the Mattias' sent you.

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That afternoon we headed into Medford for the Harry and David's flagship store.  So many delicious gourmet foods to sample and enjoy.  After that we headed for the "best hamburger in southern Oregon", Jaspers Cafe.  

  
They were big burgers with an array of toppings.  I was the only one who could finish their burger.   So I had to finish everyones else's too.  I was quite full, but we still had dinner plans for tonight; a picnic on the grass watching a Green Show. We had picked-up picnic supplies from Harry and David.  Back in Ashland we had about 90 minutes  before the start of the show.  We decide to walk the length of  Lithia Park.  We were in for quite a surprise!

We came across a grazing family of "Ashland" deer.  They are so used to people, that they will pose so you can get a good photo of them.  


We came across another duck pond as we traveled up the wonderful walking trails in the park.   There we found two well behaved kids.  We were so amazed at how well these kids were being nice to each other, that Marin was able to take a very nice photo of them.






After a wonderful walk through the park, we headed back to the Shakespeare Festival to watch our last Green Show.  We saw Phoenix and Four Directions.  They put on another entertaining show as we munched on our picnic dinner.

The next day we slowly packed up and headed on our way home.  We made a stop in Jacksonville for some ice cream and a chance for Marin to do some shopping.  We had another wonderful vacation.  Ashland will always have a warm place in our family heart.  And the redwoods are so wonderful to explore.  Now we have to wait another 12 months to take our next summer vacation. 

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