Driving in remote areas during the middle of the week is a wonderful thing. We are often the only vehicle for miles, and we are constantly remarking, “hey…guess what? We don’t have to work today!” On the one hand I know that luck has a lot to do with our situation. I was laid off, we were gifted a pick up truck (thanks mom!) which enabled us to sell our cars for travel funds, and Andrew’s part time gig at REI is allowing him to take a leave of absence with full health benefits for both of us. On the other hand, I believe a certain amount of chutzpah (or fearlessness to you gentiles) is required to take a leap like this. We often hear the remark, “I’m so jealous!” when we tell people what we’re up to. I do understand that this kind of adventure is not accessible to everyone, but I firmly believe that if one wants something badly enough, there are ways of making it happen.
Our last few days on the road have been a whirlwind of activity, driving, and lakes. Lakes, lakes and more lakes. And a river. Our next stop after Mammoth Lakes was Lake Tahoe. Andrew’s college friends Scott and Ashley live out here, and I got to meet them for the first time. Scott told us about his hunting adventures, including the time he had to tackle a big horned sheep. Needless to say, I really liked Scott and Ashley. They showed us a secret camping spot with an amazing view of Lake Tahoe, and we spent the evening drinking wine and telling stories about how we couples met and fell in love. It was wonderful, and after a cold night Andrew and I woke up to an amazing view and did a little top-rope climbing before hitting the road.
Next up was Crater Lake, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It is the cleanest large body of water in the entire world, and the visibility and color of the water is phenomenal. We arrived after dark, and decided to take a risk and drive out to the small campground that only has 16 spots. Naturally the campground was full, but we met a nice young couple that let us pull into their extra space and even shared their picnic table with us. Thanks Judson and Amanda, we hope you enjoyed the wine we left you! Road Trip Rule #1: Always bring extra alcohol. It is a great way to make friends and say thanks!
The next morning we packed up and did a driving tour around the lake. First up was “The Pinnacles,” an amazing outcropping of volcanic rock that were created when hot gasses escaped the rock, and the surrounding hillside eroded to reveal these amazing spires. Afterward we stopped at an overlook on Crater Lake and did a mini yoga session to wake up our muscles and prepare for the long drive ahead, and I’m fairly certain we surprised more than a few tourists with our “downward dog” maneuvers.
On our way up through Oregon we decided to take the scenic route through the Deschutes River area near Mt. Bachelor. We stopped off at beautiful Little Lava Lake for some lunch and so crazy Andrew could take a dip in ice melt. Zephyr played more “fetch the stick” and tired himself out for the next leg of the drive.
Our stopping point for the night was Smith Rock State Park, which is an awesome rock formation seemingly in the middle of farmland. Smith Rock was stunning, with huge red rocks towering over an idyllic gorge with a calm river that winds through a green valley. Gaggles of Canadian Geese flew overhead, which reminded me of my mom, a bird lover who is having her own fun adventure in Australia. Hi Mom, I miss you!
At Smith Rock there is no “car camping” allowed, and so we were required to set up our tent and camp away from our trailer. At first I was a bit grumpy at the prospect, but after we got into our sleeping bags I laid back and watched the brilliant stars through the open screen “ceiling” I was glad for the change of scenery.
The next day we awoke with the sun and did some quick rock climbing. Afterward we took real showers (huzzuh!), and drove west to meet my brother at his favorite fishing hole. Every time I visit the Pacific Northwest I am astounded by the greenery. Trees and ferns are literally dripping onto the road on all sides, and it is absolutely gorgeous, especially when it is sunny and warm. After catching three Rainbow Trout, we headed to Jared’s house for dinner and called it a day (or three)