Friday, July 22, 2011

Oregon/California Road Trip – Part 1

Day 1: July 14th
Destination: Crater Lake National Park/Crater Lake Lodge

Crater Lake Lodge

We left Kent around 8 AM with the intention of getting to Crater Lake before dinner. We didn’t have any stops planned in-between, although we knew we would have to make stops for lunch, gas, restroom breaks, etc. And sometimes it’s also more about the journey than the destination, so Lance encouraged me to let him know if I wanted to pull over at scenic overlooks and such.

The drive was fairly uneventful. Portland was cloudy, so we didn’t get to see the magnificent Mt. Hood. After Portland, we stopped at the first rest stop we could find to have a picnic lunch. (Hint: plug-in coolers are super handy. We have one that plugs into both my car and a regular power outlet. And no worries about replacing ice.) I packed a ton of food, because it was also my intention that we would eat in our room at Crater Lake Lodge instead of eating at their expensive restaurant.

We drove for a bit after lunch until we hit a national forest. And then another one. And then another one. It seemed most of Oregon was a national forest. It was a gorgeous drive and the weather was fine, although we had a few too many stops (due to road construction) for my liking. But we stopped to get gas in a really cute town in the middle of nowhere – Oakridge, I believe.

And then, finally, Crater Lake.

There was snow, and lots of it. As we drove further into the park, Lance noticed a scenic overlook. So we pulled into the parking lot.

There it was.

It was one of those rare moments when you feel like the air is literally sucked out of you. Crater Lake did that for me. The water so limpid, so blue. I think I stood there with my jaw on the ground for a good minute or so, just taking it in. It was incredible.

We spent several minutes at that scenic overlook, then moved to another one. We did this until we arrived at Crater Lake Lodge.

I fell in love with the lodge. It fits into its surroundings beautifully. Our room was quaint and comfortable. We had no TV, but we were prepared for that. I packed books and a deck of UNO cards. But we mostly wanted to spend our time walking around and admiring the view.

We tried to watch the sun set that evening on the lodge’s massive verandah, which looks out over the lake. But the mosquitoes proved to be too much. And the chill in the air got to me (even though I was bundled up). So we called it a night.

Day 2: July 15
Destination: Fairfield, CA/Travis AFB


I was up really early that morning – before 6 AM – and I went down into the lobby to watch the sun rise. I brought a book with me, and when they started serving coffee in the lobby at 6:30, I sat in front of the fireplace with my coffee and book. It was so relaxing. When Lance got up and ready, we packed up the car. We decided to have breakfast at the nearby Annie Creek Restaurant, which is in another part of the park. This is only because we didn’t know how long it would be before we found the next town.

It was a rip-off. I kind of figured that going in, because it had horrible reviews online. We paid way too much for a very small continental breakfast (it was all you can eat, but we were saving room for In-N-Out Burger for lunch). That was our first meal out on this trip (if you want to call it that), so we sucked it up.

Back on the road, and we hit the California border in relatively short order. We stopped in Weed for gas (should’ve waited a bit longer – it was about 20 cents cheaper per gallon later on). I was admiring the landscape as we drove, except for Mt. Shasta being covered by several clouds.

I had my first taste of In-N-Out Burger in Redding. It was worth it. I was skeptical about waiting in the long line at the drive-through, but I figured the food had to be good if it was that busy. And it was.

And that’s really all until we hit Travis AFB, which is where we stayed for several days. That’s where my brother (a sailor) is stationed with his family, and we needed some time to visit him, his wife, and our two darling nieces.

That’s all until Sunday, when we spent a few hours in San Francisco exploring Fisherman’s Wharf. Stay tuned.

Here are the pictures from the first 2 days.

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