First day north

Medford Travel Blog

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Our first day was basically car travel.  Visalia is pretty near the center of the state here in California, near the same distance from Los Angeles and San Francisco.  And only five miles away is old standby Highway 99 which is the old north-south highway through the San Joaquin valley.  Interstate 5 is about an hour west at this point so it’s much easier and a shorter router for us to just take 99 north through this portion of the valley.  We’ll pick up Interstate 5 up about two hundred miles in Sacramento. 


We aren’t out of the house quite as early at we expected to be but still figure that with an eight hour drive we’ll pull into Medford around 5 p.m..  We made pretty good time for a little while, but both my wife and I notice that our van is warmer than we’d like it to be. 


I turned on the air conditioner to cool us down but somehow I feel something just isn’t right.  The weather is nice outside, maybe 70 or 75 degrees F.  But inside even with the air on the temperature continues to get warmer.  Finally, I am noticing that the back of the center divider in the Plymouth Voyager van we own is extremely warm.  Something for sure is wrong.  I’m thinking that the something in the engine or transmission is way too hot. Are we in for a really bad trip or maybe no trip at all?  I decide to get off the freeway and find a mechanic or dealership to check out the problem.  I pulled into a quick stop to find a phone book and directions and while I am looking up somewhere to take the van, my wife got into the back seat of the van to see if she could see anything.


Sure enough, she found the problem!  What was it, you ask?  We’ll it seems we have a high end van.  And this beauty has a split comfort system.  The front seat area is separate from the back seat section.  That way you can have it nice and cool in the front and toasty in the rear, or visa versa.  Our grandkids had been in the van last week and apparently turned the system to the highest heater setting and then turned the fan on high so that it would blow as much of the hottest air possible.  We hadn’t noticed on the short trip we had that day, but today it was cooking us!  A quick change from heater to cool and turning off the fan and the problem was solved.  I felt like my wife had saved us a $500 mechanics bill.  I may have found it too, but in this case I hadn’t even considered something like that.  My wife is a real keeper! J


So on north we head, in a much cooler and more comfortable car.  Yes, it’s June and we know it may be warm but being poached or baked by our car was not pleasant.


We stopped again near Sacramento for lunch and then continued north.  Now we were making better time.  But that stopped up near Red Bluff.  The two northbound lanes came to a screeching halt for what reason we couldn’t see.  After a couple of minutes an ambulance came up along the right shoulder and continued past where we could see. Not a good omen. But after crawling for another 45 minutes to an hour we saw the reason.  The freeway was clear, except for the fire trucks, ambulance and Highway Patrol cars parked on the edge.  But there was a vehicle lodged into the bushes and shrubs on the side of the road that apparently lost control, headed for the center divider and after bouncing off of it came back across the freeway and into the bushes all the while rolling over several times.  Not a pretty sight to see.  We exited the freeway as soon after that as possible to make a necessity stop and all of the people who had also been held up on the freeway were there talking about the accident.  A couple of people had actually witnessed it and were amazed that it only involved the one car.


So this was ending up as a very adventuresome day.  And the farther north we went, the worse the weather got. What had been a warm sunny day in central California was turning to a very cloudy and cooler afternoon in northern California.  And sure enough it began to rain, harder and harder.  And it was happening at a point where I would have loved to take some pictures.  We had climbed out of the valley and now were into the mountains and the rock outcroppings looked like castles on the left side of the road.  But alas, it was too dark and much to wet to get a picture or two.   


The rain didn’t last for very long and by the time we got into Oregon it had stopped.  We didn’t get into Medford until nearly 7 p.m. which made it a pretty long day of travel.


Our stay tonight is at the Comfort Inn – North in Medford.  More of a Hotel than a motel.  Three story with inside corridors a nice lobby and breakfast area for morning and elevators.

The staff at the hotel was quite helpful and pointed out several nice places for us to eat within a fairly short distance, which we like to hear, even if we have looked up things on the net.  Good word is better than just a name. 


Dinner was at Outback Steakhouse, 3613 Crater Lake Highway Medford, OR  (541) 732-0997.  You just can’t go wrong with dinner there.


Note: In Oregon state law says you may not pump your own gas!  Oh they still have what is the same type of gas stations as California that look like self-serve, with only a single attendant, but he has to get the nozzle into your car and start it going and then when it is finished remove it. But he or she does nothing else.

WaltJake says:
I wonder how much the mechanic would have charged, to tell you what your wife figured out! New Jersey is also like Oregon, it's not legal to pump your own gas.
Posted on: May 22, 2007
sunsetrosebud says:
Very interesting about the heater control. Glad you didn't lose any time taking it for repairs.
Posted on: May 21, 2007
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