Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Oregon Coast 2012: Day 1 - 3

On July 14th, we loaded up the Traverse and on our annual summer vacation.  We were up at 5am and on the road by 5:40am.  We like to start out as early as possible with the girls as they tend to sleep a lot more.  Our journey over the next 15 days was as follows: Alberta to BC to Idaho to Oregon to California to Oregon to Washington to Idaho to BC to Alberta.  We survived for the most part and can’t wait for our 3 week vacation next year!!
The traverse all loaded up and ready to go.  We bought a rooftop carrier this year.  Greg thought it was a bad idea but it turned out to be a great addition.  How did we survive so many trips without it??
The girls at 530 waiting to get into the car.  They were excited to being going camping!
Our first stop was at a pizza hut in Sandpoint, ID.  
After being stuck in the car for 5 hours, they were eager to go running.
We stopped for some shopping at Nordstrom Rack.  If you LOVE high end shoes, bags and clothes for ridiculously cheap prices, this is the store for you.  Most major US cities have them and they have been VERY GOOD to me.  Too good if you ask Greg.  On our way to The Onion (A Spokane must eat place) we hit a crazy rain storm.  This was the road we were on.
A mile later, this was the same road.  Weird man.  Crazier than Calgary.
After supper at The Onion, We continued our drive into Oregon where we would be staying over night in Boardman before heading to Crater Lake the following day.  We stopped at a walmart in Kennewick to pick up some groceries.  It’s ridiculous how much cheaper stuff is in the US.  It just isn’t fair!! 
Finally our hotel in Boardman.  It was a small town with an impeccably clean hotel room.  It is constantly getting Gold Star awards for how awesome it is.  Surprised considering it is in a town smaller than my neighbourhood.
As we left Boardman on Day 2, we drove along the Columbia River and saw a cargo ship.
Windmills.  Finley is obsessed with these.
We stopped for lunch at Panda Express in Bend, Or.  They invented Orange Chicken for their Hawaii locations in 1986 but it was so popular that they brought it out to the rest of the US – kinda like the invention of Ginger Beef in Calgary.  Panda Express was so good.  I wonder how we have never ate here before considering they were everywhere.  So, so good.
After lunch, we stopped at the Lava River Cave in The Newberry Volcanic Monument.
This was the entrance to the cave.  The darkness was how dark the cave was going to be walking through it.  We rented lanterns for $5.  Finley and I didn’t get very far into the cave because it was that dark.  I hate being places where there is not at least a little bit of light (lanterns not included).  We turned around and headed back while Greg and Penelope kept going.
Waiting for daddy and Penelope to return.  The only thing Finley liked this was the bat stamp you get for going in.  
Greg and Penelope in the cave.  Not sure who took this photo of them.
Greg and Penelope returning much to the excitement of Finley.  From here we went drove up to Lava Butte which is a volcano in the area.  There is lots of black rock around the area which is lava.  The top of the volcano is now a firestation for the area.
Arrived at Crater Lake National Park.  Lots and lots of snow!!!
Me and the girls with Crater Lake behind us
We arrived at Crater Lake at around 3:30 and sun and light made it absolutely a sight to see.  Truly breathtaking.  I don’t believe any photo will be as magnificent as seeing it live in person.
The view from the Crater Lake Lodge
Finley enjoying the view while rocking on her chair
Back at the campsite.  It was the dirtiest site I have ever camped at.  All dirt, almost no gravel, rock or grass.  The girls were FILTHY.  FILTHY is putting it mildly.  It also gets cold quickly here.  Once that sun goes down, boom it’s freezing.
Making supper on our new camping stove after our last one caught fire over the Canada Day weekend.
The next morning (DAY 3), it was 5 degrees when we got up.  BRRRR!!  We quickly got dressed and had breakfast because we had a boat tour of Crater Lake first thing.
You have to park and then hike down to the boating area.  It is pretty steep so they have benches along the way.  Finley resting at one of the benches.  Love this pic.
Me and Finley
Greg and Penelope down at the boating area
Finley and Penelope with their life jackets on waiting to board the boat.
The books that we are going to take around the Lake.
Crater Lake is 3 degrees in temperature year round.  It last froze over in 1949.  It is the deepest lake in the United States and second deepest in North America and 7-9th in the entire world.  It is the 3rd largest lake by volume in the world.  Also, it is the cleanest, clearest lake in the entire world.  It is crazy clear.  
Elephant Rock
The Sleeping Dragon
We were lucky enough to see the Floating Tree.  We were only the third tour that summer to view it. It floats around the lake and hovers close to Wizard Island making it hard to see, if not impossible.
Wizard Island.  you could get dropped off there to explore but your options were a 3 hour or 6 hour stay which is not very practical with 2 little kids
A waterfall coming into the lake.  It was quite impressive and came from the top of the volcano.  The water near the waterfall was a different colour then the rest of the lake.  It was more turqoiuse (think lake louise) then blue like the rest.  This is both because of the depth (more shallow) and because there are more minerals in this part.
Phantom Ship.  This is HUGE.  You can view it from the rim but it looks so tiny.  We went to view it later and wow, what a difference!
Close up of Phantom Ship
On the boat
Sunglasses Rock.
You are able to swim and fish in Crater Lake although it is cold.  There were some people swimming and they said it was amazing how much you could see under water because it was so clear.  
Phantom Rock from the rim.
We really loved Crater Lake.  Every lake Finley saw after was called Crater Lake.  It is so beautiful and I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list of things to do before you die.   It was the 5th National Park introduced in the US mostly because of how crazy deep it was.  Lots of the roads were still closed because of snow in the area.  
We had lunch at a picnic area that was infested in mosquitos and snow and mud.  If I have one complaint about Crater Lake it was its lack of picnic tables.  Some picnic areas only had one table.  You tended to see a lot of people eating in parking lots and in backs of trucks.  Get on this Crater Lake!!!

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