Day 3 of our journey began with breakfast at the Black Bear Diner across from our hotel in Medord. This is a chain of about 40 places in Oregon,Washington, northern California,Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. The breakfasts are American standards, plentiful and filling. The chain saw wood sculptures of bears are a little much. It's not a place I would go out of my way for but it was a hearty breakfast and a good way to start the day.
Bill was plying his wares at a show at the Medford National Guard Armory where we visited with him briefly and Sam fell in love with some of the Wild West stuff available for sale. We left Bill to his work and drove to the nearby town of Jacksonville for a visit. Jacksonville was where the first gold strikes in southern Oregon occurred and it was the original county seat. Miscalculations by the town elite in their negotiations with the railroad led the rail guys to build the city of Medford and bypass Jacksonville entirely. The town never completely died and the downtown was not redeveloped so most of the old buildings remain They are now antique stores and upscale restaurants instead of general stores and saloons. Sam walked with me while I pontificated on western history and he only made fun of me a little.
We drove to our hotel in Ashland and stopped at a Bill Voss recommended taco truck in South Medford called Tacos de Michel. the tacos were good but the highlight for me was a seafood stew of shrimp, crab and various fish, spiced with green peppers, served with small bits of tortilla and crackers. A hearty flavor and a great experience. Before meeting Bill for dinner, we had a marvelous wildlife experience at our downtown motel. While walking to our car, we watched a herd of deer cross a vacant lot and settle into the front yard and driveway of an adjacent house. They chowed down on grass and shrubs as my family watched in wonder.
Dinner with Bill was at La Tapatia, a Mexican grocery , butcher shop and restaurant in nearby Phoenix.My relleno was battered and fried to perfection, Bill's stew could have fed a family of four for a week. It is a great spot and worth a visit.
The evening was spent at the outdoor theater of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where we saw the season ending production of "The Comedy of Errors" it was unspeakably cold(low 30's) so blanket rental was essential. The play itself is one of Shakespeare's lesser work, featuring a plot of mistaken identities with less sophistication than most "I Love Lucy" episodes. Directors feel free to play with the format and settings and I have seen versions set in New Orleans, Nantucket, and upstate New York. This version was set in the American West and presented with musical numbers written by one of the acting company. Dialogue was also altered. It was fun but not my cup of tea.
At the end of each outdoor season, there is a closing ceremony. The entire company encircles the theater and hold lighted candles. An actor recites the "Our Revels now are ended "speech and the candles are blown out in unison and the outdoor season is over. It is simple and moving and I had always wanted to see it. My thanks to Trudy and Sam for coming with me
<message edited by mr chips on Sat, 03/28/09 7:38 PM>