Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day Eight Hundred and Forty-Three

So, how far east do you have to go for it to count as eastern Oregon?  I mean, if you go to the Wallowa Mountains or the John Day Fossil Beds or, y'know, Idaho, I guess you can say for sure you've been to eastern Oregon.  But for my purposes, I am defining "eastern Oregon" as "anything east of the Cascades."  I reserve the right to redefine this on my next 101 Things project if I decide I want to see the high desert (which is very likely).

As you may recall if you've been following this blog for a while (thanks, all six of you!), the kids and I have done annual summer road trips a couple of weeks after school gets out.  This is a great start to the summer, and it also helps with the "NOW how many days until Daddy gets back?" questions that inevitably start up on about the second day of their dad's annual two to three-week trip to Japan.

Our plan is simple:  We pick a compass direction.  Then we find somewhere we absolutely MUST go.  We pick another more general thing we want to do, often involving swimsuits and a body of water.  Then I open up Google Maps in one window and Wikipedia in the other.  I look at the most reasonable route to the MUST-SEE place, and zoom in until all the itty-bitty towns start showing up.  It's amazing what you can find once you get close enough to the map to discover that we do, in fact, have more cities than Salem, Portland and Eugene!  Then I look up those little towns on Wikipedia (or their town website if they have one) and find out something cool to do that in that city.

As a result, we have not seen the sights in Portland or Eugene.  We have not gone to the Newport Aquarium.  We have not gone to the outlet malls in Lincoln City.  However, we've walked across covered bridges, seen bits of the Oregon Trail, stood on windswept ridges in the snow (in June!), stood at one of the few places in the world where two rivers merge by running directly into each other in a straight line, and had some of the best hamburgers EVER in a restaurant in Oakland, OR (pop. 927).

In 2010, we went southwest - the Wildlife Safari, wandered out Highway 42 and took lots of pictures, and came back up the coast.  In 2011 (yes, I know I'm a little late blogging about this), we went southeast, to Central Oregon which we are calling Eastern Oregon because of that whole thing with the Cascades.

WOW that is a lot of sky.

It was fun watching the landscape change as we drove south.

We thoroughly enjoyed the historic main street in Oakland, Oregon.

Boo gets her feet wet in the Little River, just south of its very splashy confluence with the North Umpqua River.

  Hey, there's a hike to a waterfall! It's not that far! Wanna go?

Hey Mom!  I bet I can climb this!

I try to say "yes" a lot on these trips, and I reserve a little money so I can say "yes" when the pocketbook would normally say "no."  So when we saw a sign for horse rides into the woods in the foothills of the Cascades, I surprised the socks off of Boo by agreeing to do it.  It was a WONDERFUL ride through a beautiful and interesting forest, and I'm so glad we did!

Here, have a mountain!

Have another one!
(Those two shots were taken at the same park, and I pretty much just took one, turned around, and took the other.  AMAZING views.)

See how this is a little blurry?  That's because these woods, which have such interestingly different trees and undergrowth from what we're used to on the western side of the mountains, also have approximately five thousand mosquitoes per cubic meter of air, which we discovered as soon as we started taking pictures.

This prompted the immediate composition of our trip's anthem, "Welcome to Mosquito Land."  It is to be sung many times in succession in high tiny mosquito voices.  This may give you a sore throat if you do it for too many miles of highway.  Music shamelessly stolen from the "Music Machine" record of my childhood, and lyrics are as follows:

Welcome to Mosquito Land!
Welcome to Mosquito Land!
Welcome to Mosquito Land,
Where we will suck your blood!  YUM!

Our big destination - Crater Lake!  With SNOW!

Beautiful lake - such fun to photograph, and it would have been even MORE fun if my camera battery didn't die shortly after taking this!

We had our one really fancy meal here, at the lodge at Crater Lake.  Buddy asked about seventeen times if we could do the hike down to the mountain (elevation difference = about 900 feet, in the snow, so NO) and swim in Crater Lake (an even bigger NO).  After that, we took a leisurely drive up through Bend, enjoying the novel sensation of seeing all our familiar eastern horizon mountains from the other side, and at much closer range.  We stayed near Detroit Lake for the last night of the trip, and I managed to squeeze a couple more shots' worth of battery life out of my camera:

We spent the morning at Detroit Lake, and then drove home in the afternoon.  Long trip, fun trip, and next time I'll post about it a little less than a year after the fact!