29 Aug 2016

Road-trip in Oregon - Crater Lake to Bend

The following morning we woke up (late) to clear blue skies - which was definitely the weather I wanted at Crater Lake to see its blueness at its bluest! We left the shoddy Diamond Lake motel and drove back down to the Park, stopping at the first viewpoint to witness the true marvel of blueness. I took a series of vertical shots to make into a panorama, as the lake was just too big to capture with one shot, even at 16mm.

The shots of the slices of the lake look rather strange on their own - it's certainly a challenging lake to capture, even in such lovely blue conditions!

The park wasn't too crowded, but there were already a number of visitors there and the parking lots were pretty full. We drove on and stopped at another couple of spots. We eventually parked at the Lodge again and walked along the terrace where people sat drinking coffee, enjoying the view.

We went inside and got a coffee at the kiosk outside the restaurant, and it turned out to be one of the nicest coffees we'd had all trip, which was surprising. We sat outside overlooking the lake - possibly the best view I've ever had while drinking a latte!

 Before we moved on I wandered down the path a little to take a photo of Gabriel's Peak and the snow patch that we'd crossed the previous day. I've marked the spot!

Having done the big hike the previous afternoon we decided that we didn't really need to do it again, so sauntered back to the car. It would've been a perfect day to drive around the whole lake, but that would only be possible a couple of weeks later. They'd had 38 feet of snow this winter (about average), and it takes some time to melt and clear!

We drove out of the park behind a mini, passing through the weird desert landscape just before the exit, the pointed Mt Thielsen always ahead of us.

Soon we reach the highway 97 which took us the 90 miles to Bend. In certain stretches the road spread out in front of us for miles, seeming to go up an almost endless hill.

Eventually we reached Bend, a sprawling city right in the heart of Oregon, and a lot bigger than it looks (population of over 75,000, but felt far smaller). I'd booked a little Airbnb house for three nights, but we arrived early and went to the Pine Tavern for a bite to eat (nice selection of sliders) and a well-earned beer. After lunch we wandered through the park that runs along the very pretty river through the centre of the city. On the far side of the river there were some fantastic, enormous houses, with gardens reaching down to the river. Weeping willows spilled down from gardens into the water.

We then headed back to the car and drove to our house, just on the other side of the river, about a ten minute walk from the centre of the town. It was an adorable little place, called Vintage Pink - a one-bedroom house all done up in '50s style, with pink bits and pieces and all sorts of vintage paraphernalia. Some of the decor reminded me of my granny's, like the bedspreads. The owners had left a jar of home-made cookies and there was a hot tub out the back. Not a bad little spot at all!

In the evening the plan was to try out a few of the town's breweries - one of the reasons that we were there - so we headed off by foot to explore the closest ones. First off was Silver Moon, where we enjoyed a tasty flight, before the guy next to us became annoying and morose, talking about how the city had gone to the dogs, as had Boulder, Colorado before it (where he used to live). He eventually started talking about war so hubby said that he was getting us down so we were leaving.

Next up was the McMenamins Old St Francis School. We had a flight in the dark and cosy theatre bar, a knowledgeable barman helping us out with our choices. 

 After that we felt a little peckish, but still wanted to try out more beer. We'd left it quite late, and given that nothing stays open very late in this state - even in the cities - our choices were limited. We headed back to the Bend Brewing Company (BBC) which was on our way home anyway, and found that we were just in time to get some food served, although it was pretty much only burgers. We had some more decent beer to finish the night off.

We walked back across the river to our quaint little abode, alarms set relatively early as we had a long drive into the desert to see the Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds.

Map of day's drive to Bend

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