Tonight we are in Rosberg, Oregon. We left Medford this morning when it was cloudy and about 7C but by the afternoon the day had become a sunny warm day at 18C. We drove up to Grants Pass which was written up as being a city full of adventure – white water rafting, kayaking, hiking etc. We didn’t see much of this happening and not being greatly interested in any of these activities, we turned back onto the highway and headed north.
We were on Interstate Highway 5 which travels all the way from the Mexican border in California to the Canadian border, south of Vancouver. This section of this highway has some lovely scenery with rolling hills and lots of small farms interspersed with little towns.
One of these towns was called Sunny Valley and it has two points of interest – a Museum that shows the history of the pioneers on the Oregon Trail and a covered bridge. Therein nothing else much in this community other than a few houses. The museum was closed, so we looked at the covered bridge and moved on. I had never understood why bridges would have a roof over them. The answer is relatively simple – because they are made of timber, the roof protects them from the weather and helps them to last longer. It’s obvious – whenever a house, building or a castle loses its roof, it begins to decay very rapidly.
The bridge here at Grave Creek was built in the 1920’s and is still used today.
We continued on to Roseburg where we stopped for lunch and saw the most elaborately decorated house for Halloween that we have come across so far. It’s quite amazing to see the lengths that people go to to celebrate this event.
In the afternoon. continued onwards up Highway 5 to a tittle town called Cottage Grove (cute names are the order of the day for locations around here). This is the covered bridge capital of the world. In the area surrounding the town, there are seven historic bridges. We stopped at the visitor information centre and picked up a map that was easy to follow. It took us around a circuit to see all of them. I understand that the little town has more of these bridges than anywhere else in the USA. Many have been recently renovated and they are in very good condition for structures that were originally built as far back as the 1880’s.
Tonight, we are staying in the city of Roseburg. This is the same city that suffered a dreadful shooting at a college just 4 weeks ago. Nine people died and, I think another seven were injured.
I know that I am an outside observer and that we have a very different attitude to guns in Australia. I just cannot understand how some people in America see guns as having such an important role in their lives. There is, of course, a legitimate place for guns in some parts of the community but, personally, I fail to see why it needs to be so prevalent as it seems to be here. I much prefer our system at home in Australia where it is illegal to carry a gun and you have to have a specific purpose to be able to own one. Of course, assault weapons and automatic weapons are completely banned. I’m sure that’s a larger part of the reason why, by comparison, we have so few gun related deaths and, I think, why American police officers shoot something like 70 times more people than the police in any other developed country.
One of my Facebook friends put up this photo a few weeks ago and it seems to me to sum up one of the incongruities in American society that I just don’t understand.
(Kinder surprise eggs cannot legally be imported into America because of the choking hazard they present to young children, yet assault weapons can be bought over the counter!)
There are two things that make travel wonderful – the special places that you come across and the people that you meet. Tonight, we met a wonderful lady in Dino’s Restaurant, here in Roseburg. Her name was Jo and she works in the restaurant as a server (Waiter). Jo had moved here from Southern California after her husband died and she is a remarkable woman. She has a lovely forthright personality and she looked after us especially well – even attempting to make me a ‘long-black coffee from her espresso machine. We had the nicest meal so far on our travels and we left the restaurant with a very warm feeling towards her and Dino’s. After we had finished our meal and all the other customers had left, Jo sat way us at our table and we had a long conversation about her work and her life. It turns out that she had hand picked the mushrooms on her property that were used in our dish. She had travelled a lot around California and passed on a some very helpful travel trips too us. Jo, if ever you read this, we would like to thank you for your hospitality and company. You helped us have a wonderful night that we will remember for a long time.