Accidental tourists

There are worse places in the world to be trapped by circumstance than Ashland.

Semi trucks and stranded travelers lined the streets of Ashland Wednesday waiting for the southbound Siskiyou pass to open.

Mike and Darlene Leonard, of Ranton, Wash., were heading to Las Vegas when traffic stopped at I-5 mile marker 12.

"We waited an hour in our car and then we heard we had to have chains," said Darlene. "So we chained up, waited some more and then they turned us around and told us to head back to Ashland. So here we are."

She and many others killed time at the Wild Goose Restaurant and Bar, waiting on word that the pass would open.

Kay Roetcisoender and her friend Karen Olsen, both of Washington and hanging out at the Wild Goose, were on their way to San Carlos, Mexico.

"We got into Ashland this morning and thought it would be smooth sailing from here," said Roetcisoender.

But when they got onto the interstate, they learned that they had to have chains. "So we drove back into town, spent $85 on chains and hit the road again &

only to be turned back again."

Olson said she'd heard that the pass should be open again around 5:30 p.m. "But we reserved a hotel room just in case."

Many of the travelers parked along Ashland Street, like Jaak and Barb Magie, were snowbirds from Vancouver Island migrating toward Palm Springs.

"We got caught in the line up around 10:30 this morning," said Barb, who was passing the time with quick naps and reading books. "We're keeping informed by the truck drivers. If somebody hears something, they pass it onto the car next to them and the gossip just spreads on down the line."

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