Leaving the warm confines of Mary and Roger’s home just outside of Portland, we headed over the mountains into the high desert to camp in Bend, Oregon for a couple of nights. Unfortunately, our arrival coincided with the day the government shut down. While this didn’t hurt our camping plans in Oregon (the state has a fantastic park system), it did mean we were blocked from visiting several of the places we wanted to check out. For starters, we weren’t able to see much of Newberry National Volcanic Monument. We headed over there on the morning of the shut down, hoping to see a bit before the monument was fully closed, but we only got so far as one back road that had not yet been gated. We had been looking forward to it since we enjoyed Craters of the Moon so much, but instead we spent the day checking out the great town of Bend. We spent the morning at the fantastic town library. While we intended to read with Van, he spent the entire time playing with the library’s toys and the many, many other children who were also at the library that morning. While we were both big fans of Bend, we decided that two nights was the limit because the temperature was dipping into the twenties at night. Even with the long underwear, hat, sleeping bag, and blanket, Van was still a little icicle in the morning. We now know that camping in the thirties, while not ideal, is completely doable, but camping in the twenties is something we’ll try hard to avoid.
Instead of heading south to Crater Lake, which was our original plan before the government shut down, we headed east on the Cascade Lakes Highway toward the coast. And what a beautiful drive it was! I’m disappointed we missed Crater Lake, but so happy we were able to travel on this majestic road.
We woke up in the high desert, traveled through snowy mountains, and ended our day at the rugged and windswept Oregon coast.
We packed a lot into those four days, from an after-hours lighthouse tour (thank you to the gracious lighthouse keepers that showed us around after we let ourselves in to the open door, not realizing it was not open for tours at that time – oops!), to a fantastic tour of the historic Hughes House at Cape Blanco State Park, as well as beach walks, rock throwing, and wave watching.
But even with a hobble in Alan’s step, we were still able to appreciate the unparalleled beauty of the Oregon coast. Because the state granted public access to all of its beaches back in the 1960s, Oregon is a great place to view accessible and unspoiled coastline. And we were not alone. There were lots of other folks, including many bicyclists, making their way down the coast. You can’t drive more than a few miles before hitting another excellent and affordable state park. We were practically tripping over great places to picnic and camp. If only traveling were always this easy…