On Monday July 12 I woke up in San Francisco with my destination that day to be the Valley of the Rogue State Park near Medford, Oregon. I lingered over coffee, wrote out post cards, dropped them in the mail, and picked up my films from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Oh, yes, I also tried to call a writer in Salem who wanted to interview me. That was about my Bad Bugs Bunny screening on July 15. It would have been an easy thing to do if I had a cell phone. Since I don’t, I made the attempt from a pay phone, which the finding of was harder than you’d think. I was then stymied when it would accept coins for local calls but only calling cards for long distance. I gave up and got back in the truck. I was on I-80 heading East by noon.
I had a couple of stops planned. Driving into SF I had spotted a sign advertising a $9.95 lube and oil change in Vacaville. That is insane. I can’t change my oil myself that cheap. The truck was due some kindness. Also driving in, I had spotted a Trader Joes at the Travis exit, and I needed groceries and ice. I found the Trader Joes easily and stocked up. They don’t sell ice. I figured I’d get that somewhere else. Vacaville was another ten miles.
Unfortunately the exit for the Chrysler Dealership was past the turn off to Winters, and I-5 North, via route 505. I decided to skip the truck’s needs and keep chugging north. I hoped I’d find ice somewhere along the way before the hamburger and such in the warming cooler turned lethal. On 505 I spotted an exit for Vaca Valley Parkway. Alors! That was where the oil change was to be. I took the exit and landed in outlet mall Hell. I did find the dealership without much trouble. I decided getting ice was now more important. I also added finding an auto parts store for an air filter to my to do list. In the land of Home Depot, Target, Ross For Less, and their ilk, a grocery store with an ice locker is a rara avis. I did spot a place called Auto Action. At least I’d get the air filter and maybe ice information. I parked in front. Oops, it was Auto Auction, a store front with an office, and no auto parts. The guy inside directed me to a Safeway three miles away.
I got the ice and headed for the oil change. I did consider that drop-in service was not available. The service man said it would be an hour to an hour and a half for the lube and oil. I said fine. I am optimistic. I took that as an hour. He tried to sell me a $39.95 flush. I was able to deflect that attempt. I went to the customer lounge. I found wifi in there. There was a message from the writer in Salem, still wanting me to call. In the dealer show room I got a number the writer could be given to call me there. I sent the writer that number. I got an email reply that I was too late. No problem, the writer said that an article had been written with info about me found on line. I like it when things work out as easily as that. A couple of hours later my truck was ready.
It was now almost five in the afternoon and my chances of making my destination were dwindling. I pushed on. I was fueled by peanuts from Trader Joes. At the 724 milepost I came around a corner and there was Mt. Shasta! It was aglow in the light from the setting sun. It was an awe inspiring and beautiful sight! Joaquin Miller had nothing on me.
At 8:30 I reached Weed. That seemed like as good a place as any to stop. For camping purposes I have a canopy on the truck with a bed, bbq, and etc. in the back. I cruised down main street looking for a park. I found the Abner Weed Centennial Plaza. It wasn’t large, but it did have a picnic table. There were also no signs restricting any activities in the plaza. I took that as getting out the bbq and cooking dinner would be fine. Having a beer with dinner also appeared legal. In the middle of the plaza was a statue of Mr. Weed himself. He was life size and made of hollow metal. Mr. Weed looked very dapper with a hat, cane, neatly trimmed beard, and a jaunty attitude. He seemed the perfect person to share a meal with.
I made a Greek salad and grilled some hamburger. It was very tasty. During my meal a tall man walked by and said hello. He had something big and yellow across his shoulders, and hanging down on each side, like a shawl. I asked what it was. He said it was an albino Burmese python. Interesting place Weed is! When it was time to turn in I was faced with a quandary. The bbq was still hot. I decided to leave it in the plaza overnight. I pulled the truck around the corner tight up against a white clapboard building. I slept very well. In the morning I drove around the corner and found the building was the police department. No wonder I felt safe. Nice they never bothered me. Such an accommodating place is Weed! I found the bbq right where I’d left it. On the way out of town I passed a Napa Auto Parts store. Drat! It was only six in the morning. They wouldn’t be open for hours.