Road Trippin: Mt. Shasta, Portland and Ashland

I like to choose a soundtrack to each blog to accompany the writing. I try to choose music that I feel captures the essence of or is linked to the theme I am writing about. If like me are moved to tears by music and would like to listen as you read please scroll to the end and press play. Enjoy 🙂

A wide-eyed stare and an expletive is the usual, quite reasonable response I get when I tell someone about the time I drove from San Francisco to Portland one day and back the next.

I say “I” but that’s a little unfair. The Mr did all the driving.

Google says the trip will take just under 11 hours one-way in a car but we weren’t counting. It wasn’t as if we had planned the almost 1300 mile round trip; as these things tend to go when your road tripping – it just kind of happened.

The plan was to drive to Mt. Shasta where we would spend the weekend searching for energy vortexes, the Lemuria and see if we could spot some UFO’s while we were at it.


Like numerous places that capture my attention, I had heard many a mysterious story about Mt. Shasta. People spoke highly of the place and I knew it was a thriving scene for yoga and healing retreats not to mention the ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors skiing and hiking. But it was the paranormal stuff that rocked my internal Richter scale: energy vortexes, reiki healers, crystal stores, aliens and UFO portals, it sounded like just the kind of eccentric place that could provide more than enough stimulation for a weekend and all within a 5 hour drive of San Francisco.

Just the weekend before I had been told curious tales of Lemurian folklore. The Lemurian people are an alleged ancient civilization that are said to have taken up residence beneath the mighty Mt. Shasta in the city of Telos when their continent (Lemuria) was submerged by water centuries ago. A quick google search on the subject of the Lemuria brings up this website which shows a picture of a doorway into the mountain – the accompanying caption tells us that this is the gateway to the city of Telos Footnote 1.

As a reasoned and rationale human being my BS meter is ringing high but my curiosity, imagination and desire for this to be real overrides the associated skepticism that ensues. Of course this simply can’t be true but I’m captivated by these stories and this picture. I have to go check it out for myself.

Four hours up the Interstate 5 and glimpses of the white snow-capped peak start to appear. I begin tingling with excitement. “Is this it?” I wonder, almost expecting some kind of cataclysmic burst of energy to overcome me as we edge closer to the ostensible land of vortexes and mythical beings.


Arriving at the highest point a car can take us in March, Mt. Shasta was certainly impressive but I would be lying if I said I felt much of anything in an energetic sense. What was I meant to feel exactly? I like to think of myself as spiritually minded but maybe my overactive, sublunary mind is impenetrable to this energy. It seeks explanations; perhaps my vortex sensor isn’t quite attuned enough, perhaps I didn’t wander across the right vortex or perhaps, maybe just possibly they don’t actually exist……

Vortexes aside I was keen to see if I could stumble upon any mysterious creatures or spot any strange lights or swiftly changing cloud patterns that are also rumored to be sighted frequently.

A short drive back to town and a quick stop at the Mt. Shasta tourist office to see what information we can find. I was handed a pamphlet on the local folklore but no one seemed that eager to talk with me about the Lemurians, but perhaps it was because it was nearing closing time. As I later discovered, not even the crystal stores stayed open much past 5 pm. The town itself in March is nondescript, like a ghost town; quite simply there is no one here. It is far from the quaint-bohemian-crystal-energy vortex-hippy dippy town I had envisioned.

A Motel 6 room in Weed, California, one town past Mt. Shasta is our digs for the night. Someone (ahem) had gotten confused between the Best Western and Motel 6 which is why we are here Footnote 2. It’s early and we feel somewhat trapped by this second lackluster town. Reality and disappointment start to set in as I realize we are trapped in our boxed motel room for the night and UFO and Lemuria sightings seem unlikely.

“Let’s drive to Portland!” The Mr excitedly suggests. These types of outlandish ideas are usually greeted with a healthy dose of incredulity on my part but the energy here feels flat, quite the opposite of the uplifting experience I was expecting.

I’m game.

On the road again, it’s 8pm and the sun has long since set. Just 5 hours on the clock to Portland we calculate, that should get us there for 1am to catch last drinks, be in bed by 2am and up by 7am. DONE.

Only that it’s 9pm and we’ve only just driven over the Oregon border and have already been pulled over by the local police officer for driving 5 miles p/hour over the speed limit. My British accent avoids us a speeding ticket but Officer Joe sternly reminds us that the speed limit in Oregon is only 65 mph. “Ok officer” we obediently nod while quivering in our seats. Adrenaline from our encounter with the authorities soon gives way to tiredness as the car is swathed in darkness, lost to the murkiness of the surrounding countryside, unable to tell where road ends and landscape begins.

Leaving Portland less than 12 hours after we arrived and I’m reflecting on the whirlwind of the last hours. Portland’s subdued welcome in a time somewhere between night and day, a desperate search for a hotel room at 3 am, a mere 5 hours of sleep, a Champagne brunch, a quick jaunt around the rose gardens and cherry blossoms of Washington Park, a few snaps and we’re already gone.

Portland 3 Washington park A8

The journey back and we see the splendor of what we missed during the night. Not even a full 24 hours and we’ve watched afternoon give way to twilight, leading to nightfall, replaced by witching hour, drawn through dawn, to give rise to morning and back to where we are now. The gentle hum drum of the engine now feeling so familiar it becomes the soundtrack to our journey.

Arriving in Ashland, Oregon and time begins to slow. It appears to be afternoon, the exact time we don’t know. Clocks appear to be lacking here and no one seems to wear a watch or care about things like the time. Everyone looks happy. Everyone is white. It is worlds away from the melting pot that is the Bay Area, yet despite the homogeneity its warmth and charm enchants. An amble through Lithia Park leads us to students sprawled across the grass, lounging, reading, debating, prosecco-drinking, cheese and cracker eating, lightly chatting, philosophizing. A lady plays the cello, an audience surrounding her, sitting silently, bewitched by the sounds of the strings and her swift yet delicate movements.

The path leads to a whimsical scene; a pond encircled with trees, an empty wooden bench and solitude. I feel like I am transported directly into Frances Hodgson Burnett’s Secret Garden. The trees are still recouping from their winter retreat but the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom. The sky is a dusty blue and the water reflects back its hues. The air is still and the musical notes of Bach’s cello suite No.1 in G major follows us through the clearing, bouncing over the trees, wavering through the branches and circling back round to prance lightly on the water’s surface.

We may not have experienced vortexes, seen any UFO’s or met any Lemuria on our trip so far but I know this is where the fairies live.


Footnote 1: Incidentally I do find it interesting that the name of the site is ‘wunderground’ where mine is ‘wunderingfeet’……

Footnote 2: For those not familiar with American motel chains, there is a really big difference between a Best Western and  Motel 6. If you have the choice between the two shoot for the Best Western unless it out of your budget in which case Motel 6 will suffice 😉


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