Then and Now

June 15, 2008, in Redding, California: We were on our way back to the Bay Area from Eugene, and between filling up the minivan and the U-Haul truck that Thom was driving, I probably spent about $200 at this station. This may have not been the highest price I saw in California in June and July, but it was probably the highest I paid.


December 6, 2008, Berkeley:


Today’s price is down 3 cents from yesterday at the same station (at Hopkins and The Alameda). Everyone around the country is seeing this happen. Still, the fall in prices has been more dizzying than the rise. In fact, since the price decline is connected to the problems in the rest of the economy, yes, it’s positively unsettling. The unease aside, it’s sure a lot cheaper to fill up.

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Stardust Revisited


A regular stop on our trips up and down I-5 between Berkeley and Eugene: Redding. Get off on Highway 44 east, and you’re headed for the In-n-Out Burger. Take 44 west and you go into downtown Redding — a collection of motels, gas stations, car lots and bars (and a Starbuck’s, which is our motivation for side-tripping). Right across from the world’s favorite coffee store is the Stardust Motel (noted after a trip in March). The Stardust building is out of the frame to the left; you’ll have to take my word that the sign is the establishment’s most appealing visible feature (you have to make allowances for the possibility that management hides gold bars under the mattresses). What you see of The Shack restaurant and the Americana Lodge are similarly appealing, Get into town at sunset on a warm evening, though, with a waxing moon overhead and the signs lighting up, and you’ve got a street scene.

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Stardust Memories


Above, the fabulous Stardust Motel in Redding, California. Well, the sign is fabulous, and that’s about all of the motel you can see in this picture. We passed by Friday afternoon, northbound to Eugene, and stopped across the street for some $3-a-gallon gas. We made the same stop, which also involved a Starbucks on an adjacent corner, on the way back south Sunday night. The motel didn’t look like it was open, and the sign was unlit.

Below, the humbler Stardust Motel of Curtin, Oregon, just off Interstate 5 near Drain. Kate spotted a sign for it on the way north, but it was after dark and we were in a hurry and didn’t stop. Returning home, we looked out for it and pulled off the highway, thinking that we’re starting a collection of Stardust Motel photos. This place was definitely open; the sign in the office window says so.


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Back South

We were gone 51 hours. Drove 1,035.3 miles. Left Eugene today at 1:51 p.m. and got home (514 miles later) at 10:34 p.m. Stops in Weed, Redding, and Williams. And in Dorris, California, too, to snap a picture of the Elm Motel (see below).


5:03 p.m.: Dorris is the first town you hit in California as you head south from Klamath Falls on U.S. 97. The highway makes several turns in town. This place is just south of the last bend, and just across the street from the big restaurant in town, a divey-looking place called La Tapatia. In addition to these two establishments, Dorris (population in 2000: 886) boasts that it’s the home of the tallest flagpole west of the Mississippi. Whether the claim is true or not (and I can’t find anything right now that contradicts it — stay tuned), the flagpole is an eyecatcher.


5:11 p.m.: You could see Mount Shasta for well over 100 miles to the north along U.S. 97 today, despite partial overcast. This is from closer up — it was probably about 45 miles to the northeast of the mountain and just a few miles southwest of Dorris and the warm welcome waiting northbound travelers at the Elm Motel.


7:13 p.m. At the In-N-Out in Redding. There were two Vettes parked just outside. This was the nicer one and the better picture.