North to Alaska: Hitting the Trail in Oregon

Note to all burglars: Yes, I am blogging about our great adventure to Alaska. But remember it’s posted on a delay. Now might be a good time to come rob me. I’m at the store picking up more ammunition… but careful, I’ll be home in a few minutes. And to everyone else, this year we are driving all the way from the hot desert of Arizona to the cool climes of Alaska. Chapter 1 covers our travels up through Washington.

After our usual early start we drove through the morning fog turning off toward Crater Lake. The distance wasn’t that great but narrow winding roads caused me to underestimate this portion of our trip. Add to that the fact that I wasn’t able to fill the tank and it made for a long day. Why couldn’t I fill the tank, you ask? As we learned, in Oregon it’s illegal for us ordinary citizens to pump our own gas. That’s a fact I didn’t remember until later, after I messed with the machine and finally got it to take my credit card for a set amount. A few minutes after I got the gas pumping the attendant came rushing up. He very kindly told me that he would just ignore my major faux pas but I should let him pull the receipt out of the pump. Sheesh.

A picture postcard day at Crater Lake!

A picture postcard day at Crater Lake!

Anyway, back to Crater Lake. I know, I know, I am sounding like a broken record but you HAVE to see this place. It is so worth the drive. And make sure you go late enough in the summer that the roads are open. We were able to drive our planned route from the south entrance to the north but travelers hoping to circle to the east discovered the roads were still snow covered and closed. Also, when you go it might be good to plan on two days because the lake is often enshrouded in clouds so many people don’t see it the first day.

It's not quite summer at Crater Lake.

It’s not quite summer.

The roads both in and out of Crater Lake follow raging rapids from rushing rivers. All are spectacular, especially to these desert dwellers. There are some beautiful National Park campgrounds for the hardy right along the rivers’ edge.

This is the view from one of the camp sights on the way in to Crater Lake!

This is the view from one of the camp sights on the way in to Crater Lake!

We returned to the I5 just in time for a major traffic jam in rainy Portland. The storm clouds and chilly weather put a quick stop to our planned tent night. But the friendly folks at Motel 6 kept the lights on for us just across the Washington state line.

day 5

Tomorrow:  A Volcano and a Reunion.

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