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Ashland - Chico 8 October 2016

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Ashland Pride

I awoke as the sun hit the tops of the trees. There was a crew of guys good-humoredly yarding sawhorses out in the middle of Ashland Avenue out our window. Wha? 

We finished our Breadboard Cinnamon wheel while we packed up, then away to Noble Coffee for due cappuccini. Then Ashland Coop for our dinner on the fly ...then sought the perfect shady strategic parking place close to the Bowmer theater headed south; Witherspoon provided.

We walked toward the center of the Festival district, where the Saturday growers market and artisans market were ... paralleling and then on the sidelines of Ashland's Gay Pride parade.

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<p>The vendor of herb-infused honeys...

The vendor of herb-infused honeys explained to a visitor that Ashland's Gay Pride parade is in October because on the usual date, there are no students in town. "Go, Ashland," she concludes.

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We were walking through the Artisan's Market, and auditioning for lunch when a kindly woman asked, "Are you thinking about lunch?" and then without hesitating, continued, "This is Louie's, and I'm Louie. We have nice tables." So I retrieved Rochelle and we sat down with the sun above the umbrella, and Ashland Creek chortling beside us with four of the most interesting menus I've since in a while. (That's Louie moving purposefully at right.)

The Pride Parade had just headed up the road beside Lithia Park and dissipated. Brightly costumed marchers then filtered through the Market along Guanajuato Lane: moving theater while we ordered. Clearly, judging by the lovely opposite-sex-partners-publically-in-love, this march is for tolerance, one of the remarkable traits of this town. 

Despite this ad hoc parade, Louie's kitchen was quick and her servers adroit, and pretty quickly we had our daily big repast of the day in front of us. 

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Romaine leaves with a salad of goat cheese, bacon, olives. A Club Wrap -- I have a problem with all the bread in a club sandwich, and so this, a sort of de/re-constructed club in a wrapper was sweet. (It would work as an aram, too.) The signature chips provide a welcome crunch. And a sparklingly fresh spring greens salad with the house's balsamic vinaigrette. Team-served, I want to say again, by a quartet of bright-eyed pleasers who managed to engage graciously and disengage gracefully with parties at all the tables that had filled within twenty minutes of our sit-down. 

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We finished the market, where Rochelle found a gift hotpad for Lindsey, and I a leather over-the-shoulder bag for my new camera, and then wandered past the duck pond and up behind the Elizabethan to the Green, where Supaman , full-(not-to-say-over)-feathered splendor was holding a special Show in celebration of CultureFest. 

Supaman did a bit with a loop/beat machine and six volunteers that had the audience shrieking in laughter and appreciation.


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After that bit, he closed "as we native Americans always do" with a ceremonial prayer for tolerance, peace, and equity. And then Timon.

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I am happy to report that the voices we heard were so wrong about Timon. Another Wow!

I can see how it would ruffle the feathers of anyone with pretensions of wealth or class. This, reputedly Marx's favorite Shakespeare, is inexorably anti-greed and the not-quite-full house was a receptive choir. I can also imagine that some of the big sponsors might also take exception to the choice, but ... if you're gonna "produce the whole canon in ten years" there are some plays that are going to be tough sledding for segments of the base. 

I loved it. Rochelle found it harsh and depressing. For me, the fact that you can get 500 people on a Saturday afternoon to hoot and holler when the greedy guys get screwed, I think there's hope!


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<p>And then the wild ride from Ashland...

And then the wild ride from Ashland over Siskiyou Summit (4,311) on the shoulder of Mount Ashland, down the deep canyon carved by mighty Klamath...

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...Scramble back up toward Mother Shasta’s snowy head, around her volcanic skirts, and then down finally along the headwaters of the Sacramento: Dunsmuir, Lake Shasta and Shasta Dam, Redding, Anderson, Red Bluff with Lassen snowless on the eastern sunset skylight, Los Molinos ... and finally Chico, granchirrun' ...and at last a few moments to let my head stop roaring from the surfeit of delight. 

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