Road Trips

Road Trips

Crater Lake Detour

Our weather this past week has been positively springlike and today promised us more of the same…a perfect day for a Sunday drive. We climbed in the truck and Reg aimed uphill. Our sights (and appetites) were set on lunch at one of our favorite mountain area restaurants.

But then I said, “Let’s go to Crater Lake.” And so we did!

This was our first winter visit to Crater Lake National Park. Fortunately we didn’t need a cozy fireplace to warmup today since the lodge is closed for the season. Without snowshoes we had to settle for wandering along the plowed village road, peeking at the lake when we could.

Since we detoured from our original plan, lunch was a casual affair at the Village Cafe. While we ate we eavesdropped as a park ranger spouted statistics to a family of first time visitors:

Crater Lake is the deepest lake (1,949 feet) in the United States. Deeper than Empire State Building stacked on top of Seattle’s Space Needle.

Because of clouds, fog and bad weather, winter visitors have only a 50% chance of seeing the lake. (We felt lucky!)

No streams flow in or out of the lake. Water level remains constant due to precipitation, evaporation and seepage.

Today’s drive opened our eyes to just how close we live to this beautiful National Park. Winter, summer, spring or fall…this is a detour we’ll be sure to take again!

Categories: Ashland life, Road Trips, U.S. National Parks | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Wimer Bridge Spans More Than a Century

Covered bridges never fail to conjure up romantic images of days gone by. All have stories to tell and the Wimer Covered Bridge in Southern Oregon is certainly no exception.

Spanning Evans Creek for more than a century, Wimer Bridge has experienced several transformations since it’s original construction in 1892. It was completely replaced in 1927 and then placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Refurbished in 1962, the structure closed in the mid-70s until repairs could be made. Reopened to traffic in 1985, Wimer Bridge once again transported vehicles across the creek…until disaster struck.

In 2003, a year before scheduled maintenance, the bridge collapsed, falling 40 feet into the water and injuring three people who were crossing it.

Five years later, with the help of federal funds and local labor, a newly rebuilt Wimer Bridge reclaimed its rightful place across Evans Creek and reopened to one-way traffic. As the years go by, there will, no doubt, be more stories for this bridge to tell.

Categories: Ashland life, Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Family meetup before the Bluegrass

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  1. A bluegrass music festival in Placerville, California brought son Chris and his girlfriend Gail from West Virginia to Sacramento for a day. Sue and I drove from Oregon and Brad came from Chico for a day of walking, eating, and even showing our skills at a shooting gallery. We wrapped it up with drinks at a K Street bar. Sue and I opted out of the weekend campout, but Brad and girlfriend Ashley returned the next day for the weekend festival.

 

Categories: Road Trips, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

A Whale of a Good Time at Yaquina Head

When smoke continued to choke the Rogue Valley last week, we decided it was time to live dangerously. We hitched up our trailer and headed to the Oregon Coast…without reservations! Spontaneous and risky! And successful. Arriving early on the last day of a three-day holiday weekend allowed us to easily find a full hookup spot at a first come – first served campground.

Our favorite outing of the week was a trip to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse with friends and fellow campers, Lan and Jeff. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the lighthouse has the distinction of being the tallest (at 93 feet) on the Oregon Coast. Free tours of the lighthouse are available most days. Space is limited, so check in at the Interpretive Center to get your tickets.

As great as the lighthouse tour was, the stars of the day were the resident gray whales that linger off the coast near Newport from May through October or November. They swim surprisingly close to shore and put on quite a show for us throughout the afternoon.

Scanning the water, we were continually rewarded with a glimpses of a water spouts, followed by gracefully arched backs of the diving whales. The sight of a fluke (when the tail sticks straight up) never failed to raise a cheer from spectators.

Although the whales were swimming just beyond the rocks, capturing them with my camera lens was impossible…so, while we have no photos, we do have many memories of a beautiful afternoon spent at the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and surrounding Natural Area.

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Tee Time?

Well…more like Tea Time for us!
While teeing off at Pebble Beach sounds like a dream, lunch has always been a far better fit for our travel budget. We made a day of it though, riding our bikes south from our Monterey Bay hotel along the famed 17 Mile Drive. As you can see, we arrived right on time to scored a front row seat at the 18th hole!

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Monterey Getaway

We packed our bags, loaded our bikes and made a quick getaway Tuesday morning, escaping the smoke filled Oregon skies and daily thumping overhead as the new roof project continues back home. Our destination? Monterey, California where the only things cooler than coastal temps are competing restaurant signs.


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Oregon coast is a walking dream

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If you enjoy walking on the beach near spectacular rock formations, the southern Oregon coast is tough to beat. Harris Beach State Park near Brookings is the perfect base for exploring this area.

Camping with longtime friends Kathy and Doug, we parked a truck at Arch Rock, then returned to Thomas Creek to walk the four and a half miles north. The walk starts on the cliffs and goes down to the beach a couple of times. Some of it travels through deep, dark forest, a treat for Mordor fans.

Kathy and Sue held up the Oregon Coast Path sign for a bit before the sun broke through toward the end of our trek.

The next day, we celebrated Doug’s birthday by driving north to Cape Blanco. We parked at the historic Hughes House and hiked two miles along the Sixes River and the beach to the lighthouse, built in 1870. Perched at the westernmost point in the continental United States, the lighthouse sends a beam 26 miles out to sea.

Tours of the lighthouse and Hughes House capped a beautiful, but very windy, day.

William Sullivan’s Oregon Coast hiking guide has maps and details of both walks. If you are hiking in Oregon, his books will help you find fantastic walks.

 

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Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Goodnight From Harris Beach State Park in Oregon

We are enjoying a four-day escape from home where work has begun on a new roof for our town home. Longtime friends, Kathy and Doug, drove their trailer up from California, joining us to camp and explore Oregon's beautiful Coast. We finished dinner just in time to rush down to the beach and catch the setting sun.

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I Caught a Few Salmon in Astoria, Oregon

A few salmon photos that is…of several artistic trash bins celebrating Astoria’s rich salmon fishing history.  I “caught” these floating among the sidewalks along the waterfront.

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Lewis and Clark and two Oregon forts

 

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We are camped at Fort Stevens State Park and have enjoyed exploring an area known for being at the mouth of the Columbia River and the turnaround point for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The campground is the largest Oregon state park with more than 500 campsites. Before you wince at that number, we must tell you that the loops are arranged such that we felt like we were in quiet, small campground most of the time. We were joined by many resident mosquitoes, however, who enjoyed the swampy surroundings and lush vegetation. A dense, tall forest keeps it comfortable for them. Our campfire and a ring of defense chemicals (including Bounce sheets) kept them at bay.)

Speaking of defense, Fort Stevens was a military installation from the Civil War through World War II, with many batteries, such as the one pictured, standing by to protect the Columbia entrance.

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Our son Andrew drove from his Portland home to join our expedition that included a walk to the ocean to see the 1906 wreck of the Peter Iredale, which ran aground while looking for the Columbia River mouth.

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To find where Lewis and Clark first saw the Pacific in 1805, we crossed the Columbia River on a three-mile bridge from Astoria and found the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Washington. Our 11-mile roundtrip trek from Cape Disappointment took us through forest where William Clark and his men camped.

The cape got its name in 1788 from an English captain who could not find the Columbia River mouth. Disappointing. I’ll say!

Some nice ocean views and Waikiki Beach (east!) marked our walk. Our destination was the North Head Lighthouse, which was shrouded with scaffolding while undergoing restoration.

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While looking for a place to spend the winter, Lewis and Clark canoed across the river to what is now Oregon and quickly built Fort Clatsop, part of Lewis and Clark National Park. We decided to go back by car.

We found that the Park Service had rebuilt the fort and we covered our ears while  a ranger demonstrated an early 19th-century rifle firing. During her talk, she told us that a misfire was called a “flash in the pan” and the gun’s parts gave us the expression, “lock, stock, and barrel.”

The fort is also the site of some family history. We brought Andrew here when he was one year old. Actually, younger sons Brad and Chris were here too, in a much more confined state.

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Categories: Road Trips | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

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