Good morning from Portland and many weeks into the future…
Hank and I are about a week into the road trip and having the best time. We (read: I) packed up our apartment over the course of 5-ish days, with the help of Lauren – a fellow Gaucho who I befriended while studying abroad in Costa Rica and who drove from San Jose area to come help me pack and drink mimosas on a Saturday, what a doll! – And my mother, who came on a Sunday to help clean in exchange for Thai food and one last night in Hopkins House. Despite this, we (read: Hank) hadn’t finished moving all our stuff into the Uhaul/car until one hour after our property manager arrived for our walkthrough. He had other property manager stuff to do, so it was fine, but by the time we got it moved into the storage unit it was afternoon, so we decided to spend one more night at Hank’s parents’ house swimming, getting the blueberry irrigation system set up, and returning to the storage unit for something Hank forgot literally all the way in the back of it, which required some spy-like acrobatics on my part. My body was so sore and I had a bunch of bruises but I slept like a tini baby Jesus (I misspelled that on accident but I like it).
We departed bright and late Thursday morning, after stopping at the storage unit one more time, and made for A. W. Way County Park in Petrolia. This was a semi-long drive, and highlights were Clear Lake, which was beautiful and seemed fairly inexpensive, lodging-wise, Leggett, which seemed very beautiful, and the area right before/maybe possibly also Leggett, which seemed a bit kitschy. We stopped at “Confusion Hill” which turned out to be more touristy trappy and less cool than expected. I’m sure that area is lovely and Hank and I agreed that we just have much to learn about discerning the stops that will be neat from those that won’t. The road to the park (which I discovered by googling good campsites near Lost Coast) became decreasingly well paved and Hank hit a big bump at one point which we didn’t notice at the time but apparently knocked one of our hubcaps off.
The campsite was clean and peaceful, near a shallow creek and very few bugs. We set up camp, washed Hank’s mud boots in the creek, gathered dry driftwood, and made a fire to heat dinner which was chicken and bean tacos with wine. We played some music and went to sleep.
In the morning, we headed out early because we wanted to stop at the Redwood National Forest before settling at Crater Lake. The drive out of the campsite up the lost coast was insanely beautiful. There was only one road out of the campsite going north and it took us along the coast similar to the PCH and it was insanely beautiful and secluded. However, because it was so rural, there was another bump just as it was peaking in beauty and on this one, we lost a second hubcap. Which was also when we noticed the first was missing. Both rims of those tires were also dented and we were a bit freaked out, however we made it back to cell signal in one piece, and upon consulting google, decided that we were fine, albeit janky. That bump really should have come with a warning because it was huge but we figured the area was so remote that everyone who drives that road knows its there. And so a lesson was learned: with the privilege of discovering something special comes the need for caution and alertness. And we are planning to get a good look at the rims in Seattle.
The drive in Humboldt and the Redwoods was stunning. If you live in range and haven’t seen them, you should go. That is all on that. From there we meandered up into Oregon and watched the scenery slowly change from distinctly NorCal to distinctly Oregon. I wish I could explain this more betterly but Oregon seemed to have more pine/scrub pine and less civilization.
There are two campsites at Crater Lake and only Mazama was open, so that’s where we stayed. Hank booked the site over the phone while I was driving and we were set. There was no one manning the Park entry booths, so we entered without needing to pay a fee. Hank says this is normal? Regardless, it was pretty sweet, because our stay here ended up being cheaper than the previous night. However. THE MOSQUITOES. Or should I say midge flies. They are an important part of the park, and notable because they hatch from eggs at the bottom of the lake, which is around 2000 feet deep. Pretty crazy but they are crazy annoying and were all up in the campsite. We set up our tent as quickly as possible, threw our sleeping bags and pads in, spent a few minutes clapping all the midges which had made into the car, and booked it tf out of there to the lake (which is 7 miles away) to drive the rim. The first viewpoint we stopped at was Cloudcap and the midges were terrible there also. we were trying to cover as much skin as possible but they were in our hair and on our faces and other viewers were at this point so we figured we were going to have to suck it up if we wanted to watch the sunset over the lake, and we didn’t want to, lol. So we kept driving. However, once we were about halfway around the lake from Rim Village, we tried getting out again at another pull over. I don’t know which viewpoint this was as I didn’t see one on the map that would have matched where I thought we were, but it was higher up and windier and out of the forest a bit and lo and behold, there were no midges! So we had two kinds of fish for dinner (tuna and gold), cracked a pair of pbrs, and ate dinner with a view. We rounded out the rim drive, returned to Mazama, stowed all our open food in the bear box, and dove into the tent. We spent the night reading and Hank periodically shared quotes from his book, Grapes of Wrath, in an accented voice which he thought was awesome and appropriate. The next morning we headed to Rim Village and checked out a lower lookout point and the educational resources they have there about the lake. They were very interesting and I want to learn more about geology. Don’t know much about that. Afterwards we hiked some unlabelled trail near Watchman Point that I thought was Watchman Point trail but was probably just a segment of Rim trail and got a great look at Wizard Island, then we set out across the Pumice Desert and exited the park to the north.
The first half of Saturday’s drive seemed underwhelming but probably only because we had literally had the most beautiful drive of all time the day before. We stopped in Bend and ate lunch at Deschutes. Cute town with amazing and close views of the Cascades and good bison chili and (mostly) good beers. Leaving Bend we passed through Sisters, Oregon, which Hank made many jokes about the signs of (“You are now entering Sisters,” “World-famous Sisters Rodeo,” “Sisters’ Meats”), and Detroit Lake in Detroit, Oregon, which was beautiful.
We’ve been in Portland at my sister and her boyfriend’s since Saturday evening and have visited the Skyline Tavern with some college friends (awesome), Dan and Louis Oyster Bar (delicious), Nike store (for new hiking shoes but also relevant) and enjoyed the views of Aster Tower with Hank’s brother, who also lives in town. We tried to view Multnomah Falls but most access was closed, so we just enjoyed the gorge drive (and the proximity… it was only half an hour from where we are staying).
Heading to Seattle tomorrow for another 5-night stay with friends. Very excited to see more of Washington than Vancouver, a new city, a huge mountain, and get some Dnd in… 😉