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We needed a place to stay on the way to Portland, after the final day of hiking the Redwood National and State Park. We had to be in Portland on Friday afternoon and didn’t want to spend a whole day driving up from California. Grants Pass, Oregon, just across the California border made a logical stop for us. We ultimately selected the Weasku Inn and Resort after researching on TripAdvisor and Booking.com.
This independent property was located right on the Rogue River, just a couple miles from the center of town. The Weasku Inn and Resort resort consists of many cabins clustered around the grounds. Parking is located on the upper edge of the property near the main road and lodge.
Our cabin was located just a couple dozen meters from the parking lot, but far enough away not to hear the traffic. We were pleasantly surprised by the sheer size of our cabin. It was a large studio apartment with a combined living/dining area, with the sleeping area towards the back. The bathroom was located opposite of the bedroom wall.
The ample seating area flanked a gas burning fire place. We lounged on the couch, sans fire as it was a hot summer Oregon night. The room had a TV, but we didn’t even turn it on.
The bed was large and very comfortable, but there weren’t any power outlets nearby. One of my biggest hotel pet peeves is the lack of outlets. We live in a connected connected world and you’ve got to put at least a single outlet on each side of the bed. Many people use their phones as an alarm clock now, c’mon!
The bathroom was also surprisingly large, with a separate tub and shower area plus a double vanity. The bathroom was like a galley kitchen – it had everything you needed, but the layout wasn’t stellar. Most importantly the water pressure was great and we never ran out of hot water. The whole property was very clean, despite the rustic vibe.
After dinner at the River’s Edge Restaurant we returned to the hotel and decided to sit on the back deck and enjoy the beautiful property and a few glasses of wine. Our cabin had a private balcony, but we wanted to be closer to the main lodge, so we sat on the common deck for a few hours. We read, snacked and finished our Oregon wine. We only left because the mosquitoes started ravaging my legs. Mosquitoes usually aren’t interested in me, but there is something about Tim that the Southern Oregon bastards just love. I was their summer feast.
There were a few families enjoying the property as well – some of whom were staying for a few days. I was envious of them – stopping the commotion, dropping anchor in this quiet, picturesque locale sounded perfect. A gas fire pit was available too and if you were into it, you could grab some complimentary s’mores kits and make yourself a little treat. The young families were having a blast making this campfire tradition.
We headed over to breakfast the next morning and you all know I’m not a breakfast guy, but even I was disappointed. Breads and cereals were available or you could order an egg dish if you wanted, but no one was around to take that order. I had a conference call for work (yes, while on my vacation), so I scurried back to the room, where the dining table and the desk made for the perfect place to camp out and finish stuff from the real world.
I was really surprised and pleased with this hotel. With a less than $200USD price point, you got an amazing value. The staff at the Weasku was welcoming (except for the breakfast crew who were hard to find), the rooms were large yet cozy and the locale was bucolic. I’d return in a minute.
When you are looking for a quick place to stay, en route somewhere, do you look for quaint little places like the Weasku Inn and Resort, which may be a bit more expensive than others? Or do you realize you’ll only be spending a couple hours in the room, so you save some money and grab a more utilitarian place?
We left Hendy Woods State Park and after spending the afternoon in Mendocino and grabbing an early dinner in Fort Bragg, we decided to head back to our base camp. Taking the same road back as we did out wasn’t very exciting, so we decided to take a more scenic route. This road was interesting and brought us much farther inland than our morning journey did.
We approach the town of Willits where we would rejoin Highway 101, for the quick 20 minutes back home. The traffic wasn’t bad, but it was noticeable. We approach the on-ramp and a man from CalTrans was redirecting us, saying the road was closed for an unspecified period of time and to come back later.
That didn’t sound good. We checked the local news outlets (online) and found that a man, described as a “Grizzly Adams look-a-like” had shot people on the highway, causing a bad accident and he was still on the loose. We debated our options: 1) Wait it out – the highway has to open SOMETIME 2) Throw in the towel, grab a room and try again in the morning or 3) Find an alternate route home. The local member of our team that day called a friend very familiar with the area, and he suggested we take old State Route 306 – it’ll take longer than 101, it’s not paved the full way through and there may be water on the road.
Somehow it was decided that Option 3 was the right one for us. I’m not to keen on staying in a sleazy motel, but I’m less of a fan of wandering aimlessly down unpaved roads we are unfamiliar with – with a 76 year old driver who doesn’t like driving after dark…in a Prius.
We venture out. It was great for the first 10 minutes, then the road turned to gravel. Rocks and dust flying as we drove down this road. We weren’t the only ones who had decided to use old State Route 306. As we continue on, we come across the water in the road that the local friend told us about. I wasn’t expecting the entire road to be covered in about 4-6 inches of water, but there we were, staring fate in the eyes. Do we continue on or turn back. You know my vote. I lost. We continued on. Off-roading in a Prius wasn’t on the books for today.
I got out of the car, grabbed the biggest stick I could find and charted our car’s journey through the blockade, that I affectionately called the puddle. The water wasn’t moving, per se, but it wasn’t static either. Under surface in the murky water were rocks – lots of rocks, little rocks and very big rocks. I plotted the path and allowed the driver (it was his car) to execute the plan.
He put his car into warp speed and flew through the puddle, spraying muddy water all around – I was smart enough to stay out of the splash zone. I see the Prius pass the puddle, turn the corner and disappear out of sight. Were they going to leave me here? I take off running after them. About 250 meters away they stop. There was no need to continue on that far, but they did.
We weren’t the only small cars out there trying to ford this obstacle, hell, we weren’t even the only Prius.
These watery obstructions continued every 3-5 minutes or so. Traffic was getting worse and worse. The local folks with the big trucks passed us by and blew through the water. Their grins were big as they passed the three of us in our Prius. They smiled so big you could see the missing teeth or the hunk of chewing tobacco in their mouths.
After successfully navigating three of these puddles, we encounter the forth. Big Bertha. She was the largest puddle we had seen. Not only was she huge, but once you cleared the water, you encountered a long, straight, steep stretch of road. This road was getting muddy – all the trucks were splashing water and kicking up the rocks. This channel was also the deepest to date. It was at least 8-10 inches deep and the underwater rocks were the biggest. One wrong turn and we’d blow a tire or rip out the undercarriage.
The Decision to Return
I was not keen on the idea of us getting stuck in the puddle too – at this point there were at least a dozen vehicles behind us. We weren’t worried about the Subarus that could likely make the trip. I was more concerned about the pick-up truck driving locals and how pissed they’d be if we blocked their only way home. Not worth it.
We decided to turn around and cross those three original puddles again. The other Priuses (Priii?) followed our lead and we raced back to civilization.
As we approached the puddles, I planned on hopping out and replotting an appropriate return path, but the driver had other ideas. He said since we’ve already been through this area, we know we can make it…so let’s just drive. My stomach knotted as he laid his foot on the accelerator. We sped through each of these three remaining obstacles each time smacking into rocks – the sound of them scraping under the car caused me to gnash my teeth. The final puddle had us on a surprising trajectory – one that caused the water to flow over the top of the hood and onto the windshield. I’m pretty sure that’s not ideal for a hybrid vehicle, right?
Returning to Town
The last of the puddles were in our rear view mirror. We snaked our way through the gravel road, then back on to pavement. We hurried back into Willits to snag some motel rooms – I wasn’t going to sleep in the Prius, that’s for sure.
As we drive through town, the car was making an interesting sound – a muffled scraping sound. It didn’t sound like a flat tire, but it didn’t sound right either. When we’d pass someone on the street, they would turn and stare at us. The sound we heard inside the car was also audible outsidr. We are still causing a scene.
We pull into a local Grocery Outlet – needing toothbrush, tooth paste and phone chargers – as we had no intention of staying out all night when we left 13 hours prior. I decided to take a look at the front of the car and I found a large rubber piece hanging from just under the headlights. This part runs the entire front width of the car and it is broken. It is dragging against the pavement. It is pushing rocks, sticks, trash and other debris with us. I managed to reattach this piece, but after a few minutes of driving it would fall again. Of the four to six rivets, only two were still working properly and they wouldn’t hold the piece up.
I was terrified this would either catapult us to our death somehow, or severely injure someone behind us. We couldn’t find a way to remove this damaged piece. I made my recommendation and went along with the majority vote.
The car was in rough shape as we left Willits the next morning. The tires hadn’t deflated during the night.What a lovely surprise.
Well, Little Prius, we took you on an adventure and you returned us home. You were a little banged up, but those battle scars show what you’ve done, what you can do. This is the most excitement you’ve had and will likely never have anything this wild run under your tires again.