Bend, Oregon Monday, Jul 31 2017 

We drove a beautiful, but winding road from Ashland to Klamath Falls where we connected with Highway 97, originally a migration trail for deer and elk, then a pathway for native peoples to follow game and seasonal gatherings. This important north-south highway allowed me to pass through Crescent (and Gilchrist) where I lived 48 years ago as a summer forest service employee.  Crescent now has three RV parks and other growth. We stayed in Crown Villa RV Park in Bend, the best RV park we have stayed in to date. We are in a site looking on a wooded hillside. Public spaces, such as restrooms, are high quality. Even the power at the site is superior to most other spots we have stayed. We did discover that we were using our water, not the park’s, which led to some confusion.

Plateau Indian Headdress

Plateau Indian Headdress

We visited the High Desert Museum, which opened 1982, where we took in the following programs: Fish Talk where rainbow trout were fed, Reptile Encounter featuring a cooperative King snake, a Carnivore Talk where one could touch the pelts of several animals, and Otter Encounter for another feeding. We visited with a retired forest service employee in a former Ranger Station. We explored the 1904 Miller Ranch and Sawmill. An 1884 Sheepherders “mobile home” included a canvas cover, Dutch doors, bunks bed, cook stove, and grub boxes. Within the Museum Main Building we spent time learning about Plateau Indians. The women’s basket hats were interesting and, of course, there were some dramatic headdresses. We made a very quick pass through the changing exhibit “WWII: The High Desert Home Front.” A poster about the “Danger of Racial Stereotypes” was a reminder about earlier forms of American fears about other nationalities.

Lava Butte

Lava Butte

Newberry National Volcanic Monument, about the size of Rhode Island, is a great place to learn about Central Oregon’s fiery past. We toured the informational displays at the Lava Lands Visitor Center, including a couple of introductory films. We walked the one-mile Trail of the Molten Land amidst basalt lava flow for views of Lava Butte, the Sisters, and Mount Bachelor. We descended for a one-mile hike in the Lava River Cave and its cool 42- degree temperature. Consider wearing light gloves. We also hiked about a half-mile along the Deschutes River in the Monument to see Benham Falls which was actually a series of rapids.

We enjoyed good restaurants (and beer from local breweries) in Bend by visiting Downtown and the Old Mill District. The city has numerous parks such as Drake Park adjacent to the Deschutes, a popular water sport space.

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Ashland, Oregon Saturday, Jul 29 2017 

Mount ShastaOn our drive to Ashland, we stopped at the Mount Shasta City Park where the headwaters of the Sacramento River emerge from rocks on a hillside. After collecting some water, we walked on a trail with multiple bridges that cross the fast-flowing river. We glimpsed massive Mount Shasta whose top was shrouded in clouds.

 

 

Allen Elizabethan Theatre

Allen Elizabethan Theatre

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a major draw in Ashland from May through October. We took in three very different plays. Beauty and the Beast, of course, is a Disney based musical. The open-air Allen Elizabethan Theatre attracted a goodly number of young people joining their parents or grandparents for this performance. The stage has three levels. The musicians played from the second level. The set was very simple, but used creatively. A high-backed chair, for example, also served as a bed. Our second play, in the same theatre, was an interesting version of Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor. Interestingly, a woman successfully played the sexist rascal Falstaff. This production used music from the 1980s to enhance the storyline for a modern audience. Most of the adults in the audience assumed that the sexual references were over the heads of the young people who were not as numerous as the previous evening. Our last performance was in the front row of the small Thomas Theatre for a world premiere performance of Hanna and the Dread Gazebo. This play explores family dynamics from a perspective examining South and North Korea issues as well as Korean children born in the United States returning to their parents’ home country. The simple set made use of an area that opened and a table, for example, could be lowered out of sight. A wall that was used initially for showing film footage was later angled down and used as a stage. This production made excellent use of lighting. The actors for all three plays were talented professionals.

We also did some hiking while in Ashland. Lithia Park, adjacent to the Ashland theatres, offers a wonderful wood chip lined trail along Ashland Creek. We found parking spaces around this park for each evening theatre performance.

The entrance to the Emigrant Lake Recreation Area was only a quarter mile south of Glenyan RV Park, our campground while in Ashland. We hiked almost a mile around the lake from the Point Campground until we faced a massive mound of rocks.

 

Burney Falls Thursday, Jul 27 2017 

Burney Falls

Burney Falls

If the road in Lassen Volcanic Falls was open, we would not have discovered Burney Falls. This magnificent 129-foot waterfall is the centerpiece of the McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park. The Ilmani and other Native Americans consider Burney Falls sacred. Fortunately, in 1922 the McArthur family, after lobbying the State of California, generously donated Burney Falls and the surrounding area to the State. The Park was established in 1926 and starting in 1934 the Civilian Conservation Corps built trails and other facilities. We hiked the Falls Loops Trail that follows Burney Creek. At the Rainbow Bridge, we detoured on a trail that leads to a PSEA Camp. I have since learned that the acronym stands for Pacific Service Employees Association, a non-profit for employees and retirees of PG&E. We drove to the boat launch on Lake Britton. On our return to the Visitor’s Center we spotted a handsome buck. Sal and Nancy Gutilla have dedicated a bench that has engraved “Breathe in the beauty – it is all good.” This 90-acre state park is a treasure.

Subway Cave

Subway Cave

In the afternoon, we headed a few miles south of our campsite to visit the Subway Cave Geologic Area. This is an easy one-third mile walk through a lava tube that was formed from the Hat Creek Lava Flow. Several other visitors with children arrived at the same time we did. There constant chatter diminished our experience. After returning to the parking area above ground, we decided to walk the Subway Cave again. On the second pass, we had the lava tube to ourselves and returned to the entrance underground, relishing the solitude and the forty degree temperatures.

Lassen Volcanic National Park Thursday, Jul 27 2017 

Mount Lassen

Mount Lassen

We entered Lassen Volcanic National Park from the northwest entrance at Manzanita Lake. After visiting the museum, we drove on the Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway to the Devastated Area. A half-mile loop trail uses audio to enhance the informational signage relating the impact of the volcanic activity in 1915. We then drove to the Summit Lake Trailhead which is where the highway is closed. We hiked about a mile, circling the lake that is at an elevation of 7,000 feet. Then we returned to the entrance area and hiked about a mile around Reflection Lake where we were gifted with a reflection of this impressive mountain. Because of the Park’s highway closure, we decided not to drive more than 140 miles one way from our campsite in Hat Creek to enter the southwest entrance.

Virginia City, Nevada Thursday, Jul 27 2017 

The Way It Was

The Way It Was

Virginia City claims to be “the richest place on Earth.” In 1859 gold and silver were discovered in what became known as the Comstock Lode. A young mining engineer, Philipp Deidesheimer, invented square set timbering like a honeycomb that allowed 3-dimensional underground cavities. No patent was submitted on this technique that then was used worldwide. The mining operation also had to resolve issues with water. We learned about this city’s history at The Way It Was Museum. We learned that Samuel Clemens was a reporter in Virginia City in 1863. It was here that he changed his pen name to Mark Twain. We walked the boardwalk to the edge of town to the Fourth Ward School, a four-story school from 1875-1936. We admired the architecture of St. Mary’s in the Mountains. We purchased a selection of taffy from Barrels O Candy. They provide customers with a large basket and then weigh the contents. We stopped for a beer at the Red Dog Saloon where we sat outside and listened to Delta Cat perform. We stayed in an RV park in nearby Dayton, the first place in Nevada where gold was discovered.

Lone Pine, California Revisited Sunday, Jul 23 2017 

Our Pacific Northwest 2017 adventure started with a stop in Needles, California at the KOA RV Park. The 108 degree heat caught us unaware. We waited until the sun started to set before cooling off in the swimming pool. Our water filter broke apart and caused a minor flood. It didn’t take long, however, for the water to disappear. We left early the Saturday morning to avoid driving in the heat.

Whitney Portal Waterfall

Whitney Portal Waterfall

We arrived early enough in Lone Pine to drive the Whitney Portal. The elevation changed from 3,727 feet to 8,374 feet on the 13.7 mile drive. The temperature dropped from 98 degrees to 81 degrees. After we admired the fast moving waterfall at the portal, we hiked along the creek on the Whitney Portal National Recreation Trail to the Family Campground. On our return off the mountain, we stopped to admire the face in the Alabama Hills. Travel Advisory recommendations alerted us to the good food at the Merry Go Round restaurant. Our experience confirmed the positive reviews. We returned to the Boulder Creek RV Park in time for a swim and soak in the hot tub. A great start to our adventure.

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