#91 PNW - Crater Lake in Oregon

2007 July 19
371 miles
PNW Trip
Day 12

I pulled out of my friend's driveway in Vancouver, Washington at 9:15am. A short time later I was crossing the Columbia River back into Oregon for the last time this trip.
I'm always willing to stop when I see a covered bridge. This one is outside Eugene just off OR58 on the way to Lowell. It's been made into a fishing pier and Interpretive Center with the new bridge next to it. Crater Lake was one of the top locations on my priority list for this trip. I've had a dream of visiting Crater Lake for awhile now. Driving down this road, my excitement builds as I think how close I am getting to that dream coming true.
Moving down the road ... getting closer to Crater Lake. North entrance to Crater Lake National Park.
This isn't exactly the terrain I was expecting to see inside Crater Lake NP.
I also take note of the dark clouds up ahead. But now with some elevation under the wheels, the view is more what I was expecting.The excitement is totally from inside my head. Let me explain...this natural wonder isn't like Mount Rainier...where you see it looming in the distance, growing bigger and bigger as I ride closer until it is so huge it almost seems out of context to its surroundings. Quick views providing an excitement that grows with every glimpse of the target. This is not the case with Crater Lake. You have no idea that it's hiding just over the rim...just out of sight. The lake is just out of sight to the right of the bend in the road in this photo. True story:
In June of 1853 a gold prospector was riding along the area on a mule. He wasn't paying attention when the mule suddenly stopped. He was about to kick the mule forward when he looked down and realized that they were standing on the rim of a 1000 foot drop. And what he saw astonished him. He was the first white man to see what I rode across the country to see today. Had the mule not been paying attention and stopped, the prospector never would have seen it before tumbling into it. The prospector's name was John Hillman. I do not know the name of the mule.
A photo can never capture the breathtaking beauty, but it is the best I can do to share the sight with you. See the wall? This is the safety stop so park visitors won't stumble over the rim like the prospector and his mule nearly did! The indigo blue is the most awesome Beautiful Blue I have ever seen...and I have seen the blue skies of Montana, blue waters of the Caribbean Seas, and blue sapphire gems...but none of these come close to the beautiful indigo blue of Crater Lake! None of these photos have been altered except cropping...and this was a cloudy and overcast day. When the sun would peak through the clouds, the water would shine even a bluer blue!Wizard Island in Crater Lake (named for the shape...like a wizard's hat). It is cool enough up at the rim that there is still plenty of snow visible in the area.I saw a few Harley riders in their jeans, t-shirts and leathers. They were cold and weren't afraid to admit it! I was glad to have my textile gear. Especially when we got just enough rain to get everything wet.
I'm feeling the cool, but the my chills are coming from my excitement and the feeling inside that this is a magical place. I've seen the light of the magic in Crater Lake. I still have chills and goose bumps even miles away at a lower elevation.
Even though I missed obtaining the stamp for my collection (the VC was closed by the time I reached the south end of the lake), it was well worth riding 4,000 miles to see! I have left it on my list because I want to go back and see more of it...and get the stamp!

After riding along the Rogue River for awhile, I can't resist the opportunity to pull over and get a closer look.
With my main goals of the day achieved, I set my sights (or Jill) for Medford, Oregon.
Even though I thought I'd spend the night in Medford, nothing spoke to me as being the right place for the night...so I kept going with Grants Pass as my new target for the night.

Grants Pass provided the perfect place...Sweet Breeze Inn...a mom & pop motel for under $70 for a single -- much cheaper than the options I saw in Medford. It was dark when I arrived, but I took these photos the next morning.
Beth & Jerry go out of their way to make you feel as comfortable as possible.

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