Thursday, January 2, 2014

Oregon Bound: pt.12

This will be the final chapter of this little series that I started of so long ago. There's simply a lot of stories to fit into a drive across the country! But I'll reminisce more towards the end. First on the agenda today, we finally reached OREGON. Naturally, even just crossing the border into the state had its own little bit of drama.
 Upon crossing the border from Idaho to Oregon, we wanted to pull over and take a picture with the sign. But the minute we crossed the bridge into Oregon, we passed by a group of state trooper police cars sitting on the median. No sooner had we passed and pulled into the visitor center for Oregon, then a state trooper pulled up as we were walking to this very sign. He inquired as to where we were going and what we were doing, and though my dad was very put off by all of this (as he later told me, "It's profiling!") the cop eventually dropped his guard and we had a nice little chat about Oregon. I found the whole situation to be quite comical, actually. I mean honestly, some kid and his dad driving a packed and loaded car with two bikes on the back. What could we possibly have been doing? I suppose we were a suspicious party simply because we had New Jersey license plates.

As the cop told us during our little chat, eastern Oregon pretty much looks like a desert. Though once you cross through the mountains (not sure which ones those are) you will soon have, as he put it, "more trees than you know what to do with." Upon passing out of civilization a bit, it was very clear that this desert foreshadowing was exactly on par. We even hit some seriously nasty rain storms (pics to follow) and it kinda felt like we were in Oklahoma or something. However needless to say rain is, as we soon realized, one of the staples of Oregon. (After a whole term of living there, it doesn't really bother me anymore!)

Oregon.... desert?
here comes the rain!
 As we headed toward Bend, though, the skies parted after going through one of the mountain ranges, and the sun came out for the evening! Though driving through rain is never really that fun, I think that it makes you appreciate the sunshine that much more -- and there is simply nothing more beautiful than the sun showing its face after a nice rain storm.

After reaching Bend, Oregon (one of the earthiest places I've ever been to) and a slightly rushed dinner at Shari's (Oregon's equivalent of diners, though it is a chain), we headed to Klamath Falls, to a little motel that would hold us hostage for the night and unleash us the next day upon the cliff roads of Crater Lake. Crater Lake was one of those things that was definitely out of the way as far as getting Eugene, but both my dad and I wanted to see it. My dad had heard stories about it growing up and said that it really was something that had always been on his bucket list. And so we went. Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful, tranquil, and incredible places I have ever been in my life. Not only that, but we had an absolutely perfect day for it too! There's a little path that sort of winds its way up to viewing points in places, but other spots are literally just drive-your-car-up-and-look spots. I couldn't get over how blue the water was, nor how quiet everything was! The view was, put simply, spectacular.

This little rock formation is known as the (hold on, let me go check my facts...) Phantom Ship of Crater Lake. It's basically a bunch of pillars, and when it's super foggy, it actually does look like a ship coming through the mist. Obviously we didn't exactly have fog around to test that theory, but I'll take their word for it, and it does look kinda like a ship. I ended up taking some really cool shots of this place, but that often happens when you're at a place with views like this. But let's both pretend I'm good at photography for a moment, and I'll tell you with pride that I actually took a panorama I took on my phone, blew it up to 12x36 and framed it and gave it to my parents as a Christmas gift! It was a hit.

obsessed with the water droplets

My dad and I even found a few short paths to check out that involved some truly barren soil (above), gnarly trees, and even a sweet little action shot of dad (it was a little slippery). The paths like that are cool, and not just at Crater Lake but in general in the outdoors because they sort of segregate you from the cars we depend on oh so much in our every day lives, and allow for an unobstructed view of nature's beauty.

action shot 

That fun little mountain bit in the middle is actually a part of a volcano that (I think) is still active and that's how it was created in the lake. In fact, the lake itself used to be a humongous volcano, but the gaps inside were too large and the whole top collapsed, hence the crater! Fun stuff, eh?

a beautiful day... just makes you wanna spread your arms in the air

One of the coolest things about the lake was how calm the water was. It yielded a pretty damn near perfect reflection of what was happening outside the water, and with a sky that blue, the water looked pristine.

And this, my friends, is pretty much where the journey ends. After visiting Crater Lake in the morning, we got back on US 97 and headed North, where we picked up OR-58, which took us more or less right in Eugene, Oregon. Over 4000 miles of pavement, and what had to have been 70+ hours of driving (including all of the "fun" driving like stuff around parks and things like that) and we had made it. Lo and behold we arrived on a beautiful sunny day, not a cloud in sight, with a toasty 70 degree temperature. It is a trip I will never forget and a time I will always treasure. It is not very often someone gets to experience the entire breadth of the country in such a hands on (or perhaps wheels-on) way.

And now, with one term of six before I finish school already under my belt, I can't believe that this trip took place 3 months ago. Shit, I can't believe that my Barcelona study abroad program was years ago now (I came home around 2 years ago)! I hope that you all have had a wonderful time over the holidays with your families and loved ones, and that the New Year will bring fortune to all. In the coming months I hope to continue with blog posts, and while they may not be daily, I invite you to pull up a chair, warm your hands and sip some cocoa, invite your friends, and listen to a good story every once in awhile. That's what this is kinda all about, right? More to come my friends. And until then, I bid you adieu.


  1. i feel like i always say the same shit when i read these posts but the photos leave me at a loss for words. that one at the end with your arms up in the air.. that one rocks :) what a lovely adventure you had with your dad, memories for the rest of your life, man.

    1. that means a lot kayla, thank you! indeed, memories for a lifetime!


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