When we booked our trip to Oregon I never expected to say “hands down, Central Oregon made the trip for me”. And I know I would be lying if I said Oregon Coast was my favorite part of our trip.
After taking in one day of sunshine on the coast - insert sad face - we packed up and headed inland to Crater Lake National Park.
There are numerous trails around the upper rim of the crater and some sections of the road are pretty sketchy with a few nerve-wracking drop-offs. We hiked the Cleetwood Cove Trail, the only legal hike to get down to the lake. The water was blue and warm enough to swim in! Definitely worth the hike and a dip in the lake is a must. This is also the same place the boat tours leave from. We opted out to save some cash for other things but I can only imagine how magical it’s.
The Mazama campground in Crater Lake National Park was a great way to disconnect and camp for a few days. We had a fire going, no cell service and the store at the campground is on point. If you’re low on gas you’re in luck too. Need Diesel? Well, not so much.
Bend and Portland
Our family of 4 enjoyed 2 days of no cell phone service at Mazama Campground at Crater Lake - I LIVE for this - and then went on to Bend, Oregon. On our way, we stopped at the Lava River Cave near Bend. And what a sight this is! We used to have a volcano obsessed kid, so we couldn’t wait to take him to a lava tunnel. It’s a 1-mile walk through a large lava tube that’s part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Bring or rent a good flashlight, closed shoes and an extra hoodie. Your typical dollar store flashlight won’t cut it. You need something really bright! And it gets pretty cold down there.
Bend brought us back into small town living. Our blended family set up camp in town and for the next 3 days explored Bend by bike.
Bend, I love you, seriously. You definitely made my top 5 list of cute little towns to visit. We explored the farmers market, visited one of the many craft breweries, played Pac Man at a classic arcade, biked along the Deschutes River and enjoyed late night patio food with our crew.
The summers in the Okanagan Valley, where we live are hot, and that’s how we like it. The weather in Bend was hot, hot, hot. So, with the help of a wonderful lady at Bend’s Visitors Centre, we packed up the kids and some snacks and headed out to Elk Lake after a morning at the Pilot Butte and High Desert Museum. It was always go, go, go on our road trip and an afternoon on the lake was very much needed for all of us.
With a heavy heart, I said goodbye to Bend and we were on our way to Portland.
Portland, you didn’t get the time from us you deserved. We had grand plans of spending a lot of time in the city but after a long drive with stops along the way all we wanted to do was crash and hang out at the campsite.
Day 2 was all about Lego Festival and exploring Portland - insert really excited kids - if you ask them, the Lego Festival IS the highlight of our trip. So yes, I’m embarrassed to say that we only spent an afternoon in Portland, ate at a food truck, found a farmers/craft market, walked along the river and went running in the other direction when we saw a minimum 2-hour line up at the Voodoo Donut Shop. I'm sorry, I just can’t. Can a donut really be that good?
The next day it was August 21, 2017. You know what I’m talking about, right? No? Maybe it rings a bell?
It was TOTAL Eclipse Day.
Hubby and I had no clue a total eclipse was set to show itself when we booked our trip. We found out 2 months prior. Just don’t tell anyone about our cluelessness. If you ask me, this was the highlight of the road trip and I’m sure my stepkids will forever remember witnessing the total eclipse.
And they’ll remember the insane 4.5 hour traffic leaving the eclipse’s ‘path of totality’...
The Columbia River Gorge
My heart skipped a beat when I read about the Eagle Creek fire which has taken over the Columbia River Gorge with its huge flames. The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most breathtaking places I’ve seen and one we plan on visiting again.
Our crew was able to squeeze in two stops. The first was at the famous Multnomah Falls and the second was a short hike through the Oneonta Gorge and Falls hike. The hike starts off with a logjam and a pretty sweet ‘log jam warning sign’ stating that it’s not secure and basically you can die while crawling over it. This did not help my nerves. Once you’ve made your way over the logjam, which took me a while, you’re waist deep in the creek!
Both places are worth visiting, although I'm not sure what's accessible due to the fire.
Lake Chelan, WA
The best way to end our trip was to spend two days at Lake Chelan! We had nowhere to go other than the lake. It’s wasn’t go, go, go anymore. Now it was all about lounging on the beach and swimming from 9 am until dusk. A perfect ending to a 3-week road trip!