Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And In Conclusion....

Redwoods - Can't even begin to get the whole tree in one shot.

See how HUGE that tree is?

Corkscrew Redwood - 4 trunks all entertwined.

This is an overlook where we saw some gray whales. No pics because they were so far away but we could see them "blowing" and every once in a while, one would surface. Sooo cool. Thank goodness we bought the binoculars.

On our way home we passed through the Lassen Volcanic National Park. The only place that has all four types of volcanoes - cinder code, plug dome, composite and shield. First stop was reflection lake.

Can't remember the name of the lake but it was pretty with the volcano behind it.

In a part of the park, there were sulphur steam and bubbling pots. Smelly :-) but neat

This is a typical view that we saw all the time in Washington and Oregon and even Northern California

And THIS is what we saw on Highway 50 (remember the Highway 50 Survivor Kit?) Hwy 50 is also the route that the Pony Express took. I could not imagine riding over this landscape for weeks on a horse!

Also on Highway 50 was the "Shoe Tree" Legend has it that a young married couple had a disagreement and, let's say the husband threw the other wife's shoe in the tree. When they made up, the wife threw the husband's shoe in the tree. And since then many, many, many shoes have been thrown on the tree. Pictures can't portray what the shoe tree really looked like!

At the end of the Survivor Highway 50 (and just let me say that the Utah portion of Highway 50 is MUCH more desolate than the Nevada Highway 50) was the Great Basin National Park. When we reached 10,000 feet I made Ben take my picture.

Today we drove from the Utah border to Denver, Colorado. We were still a little early for the fall color but the scenery was still pretty.

And thus ends the blog on the Pacific Northwest trip. :-)

HUGE Surprise

Even though I spent months pouring over travel guides from various states, researching on the Internet and reading, planning, etc. for this trip, I completely missed something.....and I'm so glad I did.

One of the scenic routes I had for us was the McKenzie-Santiam route on our way to Crater Lake. Because of the lateness of the day we were only able to one one leg of the route (hwy 242). It was one of those very winding routes, very beautiful, very forested. UNTIL we reached the top.

I do remember reading about the Dee Wright Observatory and I remember seeing the word "lava" but I certainly did NOT expect this!!

I was totally surprised, shocked, and stunned at this site. I was thinking "What the heck!" The little tower thing you see in the picture was the "observatory" to view the scene. Even though it was VERY cold, we walked (quickly) to the observatory to record what we were seeing.

Now, when we got back to the car, I was thinking, "How did I miss this???" I got the literature about the scenic route out and there it was in black and white: All about the lava, observatory and very clearly states that at the McKenzie pass is a 65 square mile lava flow. 65 square miles!!!

Now, had I been paying attention and had known this was coming, it would not have made such an impression on me. I am glad I was not expecting this site. It made such an impact!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Random Pictures

Here are some pictures from the trip. I'm sure you really don't care about the names of the lighthouses, beaches, covered bridges or waterfalls. :-) Just enjoy the beauty. I will comment on a couple of things.

Stone House at Cape Perpetua (highest point on Highway 101) built in the 30's and used in WWII to watch for Japanese invaders.

Harbor Seals or some aquatic animal swimming. :-)

Rogue River - a Wild and Scenic River
As we left snowy/foggy Crater Falls and drove to the coast we happened upon this part of the Rogue River. Imagine the water rushing....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thursday we drove to Crater Lake but was cold, snowing and foggy so we left and drove to the coast. Spent the night in Bandon. Friday was an “easy day” working our way back over toward Crater Lake.

So….as we were paying for breakfast Friday morning, I saw a postcard of a pretty waterfall and asked where it was. There were actually two falls - Golden Falls and Silver Falls, which are close to one another up in a State Park by Coos Bay - about 20 minutes away. The lady said it was a long drive to the falls but worth it. In retrospect, she should have said LONG drive. I do recall her saying it was a 45 minute drive (and I timed it on the way back and it was a 45 minute drive) but SAYING it’s a 45 minute drive and actually driving for 45 minutes are not exactly the same!
We drove up to Coos Bay found the turn off for the falls and started on our adventure.

After driving for some time we came to a sign that said Golden and Silver Falls 10 miles. About a mile later another sign Golden and Silver Falls 10 miles. This did not instill confidence. But we’d come this far so we continued.

We passed some houses - some for sale and wouldn’t you like to be their real estate agent? Some houses had those newspaper holders. Not enough money to be a newsboy out here!!

About 5 miles further the road which had by this point become a one-lane road, now became an unpaved one-lane road for the final 15 minutes of the drive.

We finally made it to the park which not surprisingly was the end of the road and yet amazingly enough we were the only people in the park. There was sign that said “No overnight camping” I wondered why anyone would drive all that way to have a picnic and then have to drive all the way back. It was a pretty little park, but still.

Two paths to the falls - Golden Falls 20 minute round trip. Silver Falls 15 minute round trip. I checked and Golden Falls was about a 20 minute round trip. Silver Falls is a 15 minute round trip only if you are a mountain goat or antelope. Most of it is uphill and old folks don’t do uphill very fast.

Both waterfalls were underwhelming. I’m sure in the peak season, they are spectacular. I will, however, have to take other people’s word for this because I’m not coming back this way!

Here are pictures of the falls and of the rocks I scampered over (ok, ok, climbed very carefully over) to get the picture. Ben opted to take pictures from where he was. Wise man!

Highway 50 Survivor

I know it's cheesy but so what? We are traveling across Nevada on Highway 50 which has been designated as the Loneliest Highway. Nevada has turned this into a tourist attraction. Since we were traveling Highway 50 anyway, I figured I might as well do it. (Ben just rolled his eyes) :-)

The idea is to get a Highway 50 Survivor Kit (a small passport-like booklet). As we travel across Nevada we will stop at six designated cities and get the passport stamped. Then I send it and receive some sort of souvenir and a certificate signed by the governor. (Ben will NOT get a certificate!)

At Fernley, the start of the Highway, we went by the Chamber office but they were closed. Stopped at the Post Office and learned that I could get a "kit" at one of the stores in town. Went there, got my "kit" and got it stamped. (Fortunately I was driving - Ben would never have gone to this much trouble!)

Now we are in Fallon and I already have my stamp! :-) Tomorrow we will complete the journey, get all my stamps and I will mail it in when I get home. Can't wait to get my souvenir and certificate!! LOL

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Most Beautiful Highway to date

Of course, I guess that could be said of any drive you've just completed since memories are short. :-) But Highway 299 from about Eureka, CA to Redding, CA is probably the most beautiful drive! Hard to explain. A lot of the scenic routes we have been on this trip have been scenic in spots - overlooks, etc. with towering trees lining the roads. Highway 299 was scenic the whole way. No trees along the highway to block any view. Climbing you looked down on valleys and across at tree-covered mountains. In the valleys the road ran alongside a rushing river and you looked up to towering tree-covered mountains. Seemed like at every turn in the road was another beautiful sight!! Lots of winding roads of course and driving up the mountain, then down the mountain, then up the mountain. It was an awesome road.

Funny thing though. Most of the roads we've been on have looked semi-straight on the map. HA! Guess they can't show the roads as little tight squiggles! LOL

Have a lot of pictures I haven't had time to post yet. Maybe as we stop for the night on the way home.....which, by the way, we are....on the way home. I noted in my notes that at 4:30p.m. Pacific Time we said goodbye to the Pacific ocean and turned East for home.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Crater Lake - AWESOME!!

Today was a stunningly beautiful day for a stunningly beautiful Crater Lake. So
worth the two days we spent waiting for weather to clear. Could not have had a more perfect day! Crater Lake rates right up there with Mt. Ranier and our flight around Mt McKinley in Alaska! I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves and it was difficult picking a few out of the almost 400 that Ben and I took today!

If you can find the teeny tiny little bitty white dot in the upper right part of the lake you might get some perspective of the size of Crater Lake.

Phantom Ship

Wizard's Island

See, I told you there was snow on Thursday. Seeing today's perfect weather, had we not been here on Thursday in the fog/snow, it would be hard to believe.

More pictures to enjoy!!