The descent from Crater Lake was a process. Like a day and a half process through forest land, grazing land, back into the mountains, uphill and downhill. We were expecting just a straight down descent since we had been riding our bikes uphill for a week, but that wasn't the case.
Finally we reached the sign that we always look forward to: the runaway truck sign. This one showed a truck on a decline that said "9 Miles". Hell. Yes. The descent was wild. Ashland is in a desert valley, so we blew past sagebrush, scrubby oaks, and most of all withered grass as far as the eye could see. Hot desert wind whooshed past us in a tangible force. The landscape had the coloration of a Cezanne painting, with dark green conifers still dotting the hills, orange soil showing through the patchy vegetation, and bright blue sky. These are the times I wish I had a GoPro, because the valley stretched out for miles in the blue hazy distance, and the dry golden hills seemed to swallow us as we descended lower and lower. Of course I would have loved to video what I saw, but we were rolling at 42.5 mph. We didn't touch our pedals until we reached Ashland.
You know what happens after you ride your bike uphill for a week? You get to take a rest day. A REAL rest day where you don't have to ride your bike unless you want to. I got everything I wanted. We got a room in a motel. It had a bed. I hadn't slept in a bed since July. I ate great hippie food. The next day I ate a burger. I drank a margarita. I took two showers. I browsed a bookstore. I saw the sights of downtown Ashland.
There are also classic Oregon caricatures, like the woman in the Hawaiian wrap dress wearing fishnets out with her friend, the pregnant lady with dreadlocks wearing a long skirt with a lacy vest thingy; the girl in the Tevas with the paperboy cap and a coyote tail hanging on her keychain; the young hobo revivalists who have chosen to be homeless and beg for money all day on the sidewalks with their dogs. We happened upon the local cable access channel in the motel and watched an interview with a woman who claimed that when she had a miscarriage, she was visited by the spirit being of her child in a vision, who spoke to her and helped her find her path toward her divine feminine essence.
I told this to my friend Lexi, who is an artist and general groundbreaker back home, and she replied that people in the Pacific Northwest don't need us like they do in Florida. I TOTALLY agree.
In any case. Ashland was great. So was our motel. And then (sigh) we ventured back into the realm of two wheels and tents.