Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Big Ro-Day: Redwoods, Crater Lake and Portland...August 2015

Not only did we decide to take an old-fashioned family truckster trip up to Oregon via the redwood forest in a rather beat up 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan, but we invited my mom and dad to come along!

First stop, the Chandelier Tree where we waited in a long line of cars for the requisite photo op. My dad drove too close to the passenger side so I couldn't get out for the big pose. I compensated.

We were all really taken with the beauty of the redwoods. We stayed right outside of Avenue of the Giants. We took the time to walk through a few groves and drove through the park and out to the Lost Coast. This proved to be a pretty taxing journey for our jalopy, but she made it.

Our Lost Coast loop spit us out into Ferndale. Very cute town, although pretty dead on a Sunday afternoon...

We loved the very cute and very clean vintage cabins of the Miranda Gardens Resort and would recommend a stay there. 

Totally worth stopping in Klamath to say hi to Paul Bunyan and Babe!

He talks to visitors. And waves!

Miles and Audrey had their National Park Passports out for stamping. Miles ended up leaving his at the visitor center of Redwood National Park. I decided to call a few days later and they had it at the cashier and mailed it back. We were very grateful and the thank you note has already mailed!

From the coast, we crossed over to Crater Lake. I didn't know much about this park but for some reason, a whole host of friends visited this summer, so I was able to get a glimpse. There's something about the story of a relatively recent mega volcano explosion that subsequently filled with snow and rain to form a giant bowl of pure water that makes you gasp in awe. I can't explain it, but the fact that all those years snow was falling and melting and accumulating in that bowl. 

There was a lot of smoke from nearby fires and I heard after we left, things got worse.  I hope thing settle down soon. I hastily talked everyone into the boat cruise on Crater Lake, not fully grasping how strenuous the hike down and back up would be for everyone. Lawd, I thought I'd kill my parents. Actually, I thought they'd kill me for having them do this. It was rough going down and really rough coming up, but we all agreed so worth it to be in the lake, on that amazing water. We also all agreed we wouldn't do it again. Our kids might. They weren't even sweating on the way up. Ah, youth. 

Near Crater Lake, we rented a private home that was right on a river. Really lovely. We looked at the stars, listened to music and played cribbage. Very nice. 

After Crater Lake, we hiked up to some civilization and explored Portland. We all felt that we didn't spend enough time. My parents took a bus tour to see the Columbia Gorge. We nerded out at Powell's and sugared up at Voodoo Donuts. I also got to see an old friend who had moved up there about 10 years ago and that was so wonderful. And, I also met a Facebook friend in person and her amazing husband while downing some potent tiki drinks at Hale Pele!

Note: Portland's traffic is suprisingly horrible! Light rail the way to go!

After Portland, we started coming back home to the Bay Area with stops in Salem (state capitol building is really art deco cool), The Simpsons mural in Springfield (and also a really wonderful pioneer mural behind it), and lovely Ashland and a quick peek at the Sundial Bridge in Redding, Ca. 

It was a wonderful big ro-day!