Transitions – People and Geography

Trip Start Jul 12, 2013
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Trip End Jul 26, 2013


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Flag of United States  , Oregon
Friday, July 19, 2013

This morning we all meet for breakfast and the first thing we do is have a group hug. Like birds, we're flying off in different directions today – Stu & Susan are heading to Portland and we’re off to Crater Lake National Park.   One more opportunity to sit at the breakfast table together on our porch deck by the river and then we’re all packed and ready to go.  Another group hug as we stand next to our cars.  We’re missing each other already.

As we drive east and south towards Crater Lake National Park, the terrain changes dramatically.  We leave behind the giant old growth Douglas Firs and the McKenzie River and we now see pine trees that have been attacked by beetles and many are dying or dead, just ripe for a forest fire.  Abruptly all the trees are gone and we are driving through a black lava field with lichen and a few low lying plants and see snow covered mountains in the distance.  What a stark contrast!   We stop at the Pumice Desert and then oh my G. we park the car for what we think is an overlook and there is the bluest blue of Crater Lake – take a deep breathe!  Is it real?  I’m so excited that I’m running from one vantage point to another to have a look and take photos!

I’m so curious to see if the photographs show the color as we saw it – unlike anything I’ve seen before! 

We follow the rim road and turn into every overlook viewing the lake from another perspective, just like sculpture.  We stop in at the park visitor center as they are closing their doors for the day, but the young woman is nice enough to answer our questions about the lake boat cruise.  Of course the first question she asks is if we read the newspaper we received at the entrance where we purchased our park tickets, but we haven’t done that yet.  She’s still very patient with us and we promptly follow her suggestions and stop in at Annie’s restaurant down the road, walk up to an automated kiosk and get our tickets for tomorrow.  The park doesn’t appear to be very crowded at all.  We’re sorry though that the lodge within the park was full – that would have been so convenient.  But on the other hand, if we had stayed in the park, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to:

Exchange the sound of the McKenzie River for the mooing sound of cows on Sun Pass Ranch in Fort Kamath, our B&B and Horse Hotel, for the next two nights.

OR

Eat at the Indian casino called KLA-MO-YA in Chiloquin.  As we departed the National Park, we were wondering where all the people were – the roads were deserted.  It seems that we found their cars in the parking lot of the casino!  Walking through the casino to the restaurant we passed people mesmerized as they watched the electronic slot machines (I think that’s what they’re called).  The air was rather thick with smoke and I was surprised with how many of the women had grey hair – I always notice this for some reason.   The restaurant must have some special air conditioning ventilation because there is only a hint of smoke and it turns out a pretty good chicken sandwich with green pesto.  And as you might expect of a casino they had a very convenient ATM machine!  No photos were allowed within the casino!

It was quite a drive back to the Sun Pass Ranch.  You might forgive us thinking that we’re in Montana – the big wide open flat expanse with cattle ranches.  I’ve got to ask Patti where they do their food shopping – no quick trips to pick up a forgotten item on the shopping list

We’re now snugly in our comfortable room and right outside our window the cows are roaming!  When Patti, the owner, greeted us and we asked about internet she told us that there would be access to the cell from one particular bench in the front of the house.  I’m relieved to see now that we seem to have wifi our room.  It’s been an experience not having internet (it was so slow in our cottage at Cedarwood that it was hardly usable), so we’re feeling a bit deprived.  Going to start posting on Travelpod the entries for the past four days!

Just another note – Harvey purchased his Lifetime National Park Pass for Seniors – one of the grandest bargains for $10 which gives our car entry into any national park!  Did you get the "lifetime" part?
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