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Hidden detours off Interstate 5.

Interstate highways get you from one place to another fast. But they rarely let you savor the distinct flavors of regions you pass through along the way.

For instance, drivers cruising on 1-5 usually miss two valleys near the California- Oregon border. The pastoral scenery alone makes driving through them worthwhile, though you'll probably want to stop, stretch your legs, and take a closer look-or even consider a stay in a bed-and-breakfast inn.

In the Scott Valley, gold rush artifacts and cherry phosphates

This time of year, stacks of mown hay cover much of this 28-mile-long valley,

parallel to 1-5 degreess route through the more arid Shasta Valley, about 15 miles east. The Scott River meanders through this largely agricultural land. The Salmon, Scott Bar, and Scott mountains surround it, giving a sense of isolation.

Driving north into the valley from the tiny town of Callahan, you see piles of gravel along the river, left by hydraulic gold mining operations abandoned in the late 1800s. Gold was first discovered downstream from here in 1850 by John Scott.

A sign 12 miles past Callahan marks the turnoff for Etna; with about 750 residents, it's the valley's most populous community. During the gold rush, this pictur-

esque town, with its frame and brick buildings, earned the name of Rough and Ready. The name was later changed to avoid confusion with the town by the same name in the Mother Lode.

A free map, available at Scott Valley Drug (511 Main Street), plots a walking tour of 19 historic structures. The brick drugstore, built in 1880, houses an old-

fashioned soda fountain and a small collection of local artifacts in an antique walk-in safe. Try your hand at panning for gold in a sluice box on the porch.

Two very different restaurants are worth a visit; both serve dinner only. The more surprising of the two is Sengthongs (434 Main). Its delicious Thai cuisine could easily hold its own against any Thai res-

taurant in San Francisco. Hours are 5 to 9 Wednesdays through Sundays. At Outback Bar-B-Q (412 Main), owner Rusty Coleman cooks steaks to order at an open grill while guests relax on the deck. Hours are 6 to 10 Fridays and Saturdays, 5 to 8 Sundays.

Continue north 7 miles to the junction with Quartz Valley Road, and turn left to visit this smaller valley. Four miles ahead, a cluster of 19th-century ranch houses in the hamlet of Mugginsville (named for a card game once popular here) rival Etna's for postcard perfection. As you pass through town, keep an eye out on the right side of the road for a rusty old stamp mill, long retired from its days of crushing gold ore.

For a bird's-eye view of the Scott Valley, turn right on a dirt road about a mile past Mugginsville. It winds 1,200 feet up to the Quartz Hill fire lookout; climb the manned tower to survey the agricultural valleys and densely forested mountains. Mount Shasta's snow-capped peak, about 40 miles east, looms above closer ridges. Scott River Road takes you back to State 3 and the town of Fort Jones. A historical marker, 1 mile south of town, stands where a log fort was built in 1852 to protect white settlers from Rogue River Indian raids. The native-stone exterior of Fort Jones Museum, on Main Street, is

literally embedded with local history-millstones, cannonballs, and Indian mortars and pestles form the walls. Inside, a jumble of artifacts includes an excellent collection of Indian baskets. It's open 11 to 4 weekdays.

Marlahan Ranch House, a turn-of-the-century farmhouse 1 1/2 miles south of Fort Jones, has four bed-and-breakfast rooms for $45 to $70; telephone (916) 468-5527.

Colestin Valley: fresh herbs and Buddha

Colestin Valley is an enclave of both the old-fashioned and new-aged. It seems to attract people who pursue alternative lifestyles, yet retains much of its traditional rural charm.

Just off the Hilt freeway exit, a service station with a store and cafe has a collection of antique gold-mining machinery outside, including a stamp mill and a large steam engine that once drove it. Photographs inside the cafe show how the company-owned lumber town of Hilt looked before it was completely razed in the 1970s.

As you drive into the valley, pavement gives way to gravel near Cole's Station (it later becomes graded dirt). The stately white residence with a veranda and picket fence dates from the 1850s; it served as an inn for stagecoach passengers until the San Francisco-to-Portland railroad began running in 1887.

Into Oregon, a mile from Cole's Station, a ranch gate spans the entrance to Rising Sun Herb Farm. Owners Elizabeth and Richard Fujas cultivate more than 40 varieties of organically grown herbs (15 types of basil alone). You can buy herbed honeys, rice vinegars, dried tomatoes, mustards, and pesto.

For the next stop along Colestin Road, turn off at a sign for Tashi Choling- Retreat Center for Yeshe Nyingpo. A short drive brings you to an unusual sight in a sleepy rural valley: a giant, brightly painted Buddha. As you view the shrine, listen closely: you might hear members of the Yeshe Nyingpo Buddhist sect chanting in the pagoda high on a nearby hill. From here, Colestin Road begins to wind up into conifer-covered hills. You have to keep a sharp eye out to spot Treon's Country Homestay, a bed-and-breakfast inn nestled in the woods. Guests can paddle a canoe around an attractive pond, play volleyball, or pitch horseshoes. Francis Treon might even demonstrate some skills of Gohn Dagow; he's reputed to be the sole remaining master of this ancient Chinese martial art. The rate for each of three guest rooms is $55; call (503) 482-0746.

If you're prone to motion sickness or driving a recreational vehicle, you should probably backtrack to the freeway rather than attempt to negotiate the remaining four miles of scenic but tortuously climbing road to Mount Ashland Road, which would return you quickly to I-5.
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Title Annotation:Colestin Valley, Oregon and Scott Valley, California
Date:Sep 1, 1989
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