Monday, June 26, 2017

Ridiculous Road Trip #1, Part 16 - Portland

June 2
Early Friday morning, we left Bend and headed north through the Mount Hood National Forest. 

We came VERY close to driving an extra hour up in the mountains to see the lodge from "The Shining", but sadly opted not drive the winding road with the trailer in tow. 

On this trip, with just a few exceptions, we didn't have reservations at campgrounds. For the most part, we had great luck finding spots, but weekends were sometimes challenging with full campgrounds. But our luck was holding, and we snagged one of the last spots at Wyeth Campground along the Columbia River Gorge just before noon. 

With our lodging settled for the weekend, we headed into Portland, to tourist around for the rest of the day. We started out at "The Grotto" or the National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother, a Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary. It was a lovely peaceful place. As our visit ended, I lit a candle for all the fathers that we have said our final goodbyes to this year--our dad, Stan, and two of my sisters fathers-in-law, Bill and Dan. 

Then we headed toward downtown, and ended up enjoying several hours at the famous Powell's Books. 

Then we opted for a fancy dinner at Ataula, where we had tasty Chorizo "lollipops", quail egg toasts, paella, and other yummy goodies. 

June 3
Doug was pretty excited to be in a good fishing area for Oregon's free fishing weekend. He went out early, after a bit online research, ended up at the old Cascade locks. There were a bunch of fisherman already there, fishing with some odd gear. They were using three hooks, with yarn tied around them, and a large weight on the bottom. Then instead of casting, they would drag the rod across the water. Shockingly, they seemed to be catching fish with this weird technique fairly frequently. Doug didn't have all of this weird gear, but set up as best he could. He managed to catch about 10 fish, all shad, that were between 14-18 inches. 

Doug came back to the campground late in the morning, and we went out to the trailheads in the park. There were a few trail options, so we needed to decide which one to take. I have the TrackMe app on my phone, a nice route mapping app that can work offline. If you have any signal, you can download a basemap that shows most of the hiking trails in the area. I had already researched the trails, so I knew that I wanted to take the one that went along the Gorge, witch some uphill and some rolling hills. Doug, of course, decided on the other, that went immediately up into soul-crushing switchbacks. He went about 12 minutes up a beautiful shaded forest before his soul was officially crushed and he headed back to camp. Besides, he still had more fishing to do. My hike, on the other had, nourished my soul. There was just enough uphill to feel like I was getting some exercise and the scenery was spectacular. 

After lunch Doug headed back out to find better fishing gear, which included a big ball of yellow yarn, and ended up doubling his catch rate--15 fish in two hours. Although Doug caught a lot that day, the best fisherman prize went to the little boy on the opposite bank. Every time the boy would catch a fish, he'd proudly yell he number to his dad, so Doug knew the 8 year old had caught 25 fish in the same amount of time that Doug had caught 15. 

During the afternoon, a conservation officer was out surveying the fisherman. He dubbed Doug, "Indiana", and was surprised to find out that Doug was catching and releasing. When Doug asked what other fisherman tend to do with shad, the CO replied that he'd seen it all, since shad are really bony fish and challenging to prepare. He'd laughed as he said fisherman have been known to hide them in other fisherman's coolers. 

June 4
Doug woke up early to claim a good fishing spot. He was rewarded by catching some great big fish. A bit later, an energetic international tourist in his twenties came over to quiz Doug about his fishing secrets. Doug had just caught a big fish, so he gave it to the tourist, who immediately placed it on his own line, then shouted to his friends to admire "his" catch. That's when Doug found out it was his new friend's first time fishing, and that the new guy was officially addicted to fishing. Doug gave him some tackle that would work better. And since shad fish is an invasive species in the Columbia River, there's no catch limit, at which the tourist was very excited. He and Doug then filled a big bag full of shad. Doug ended up using Google Translate to explain that shad was a very bony fish and the best way to prepare them for eating. Doug was pleased with his entertaining day of fishing, and happy with his biggest catch, a 20" long shad. 

And then we enjoyed the quiet of the evening next to the campfire. 


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ridiculous Road Trip #1, Part 15 - Newberry, Bend

June 1
On our way to Bend, OR, we stopped at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. When we stopped in at the visitor center, Doug decided to ask the rangers the all important question that he had been torturing me with for more than a week. "Why pine cones? What is the evolutionary benefit to pine cones?" They gave a variety of the same reasons that I'd been giving, but Doug was not satisfied. It was awesome. 

Then we hiked a mile and a half up the 8% grade to the caldera of the volcano. 


And we rescued a frog from the exhibit space. 


After our hike back down the hill, we drove a little further to uncollapsed lava tube. And we scrambled and tripped for a mile to the end by the light of our headlamps. 

Then we headed into Bend. We found a great roadside produce stand where we bought a crazy amount of fresh fruit and veg. Then we snagged one of the very last campsites at Tumalo State Park. And we revelled in our first real hot showers in 10 days. 

Ridiculous Road Trip #1, Part 14 - Klamath, Crater Lake

May 30
Our campground was was just a 45 minute drive from Crater Lake National Park, so we headed there in the morning. 

The snow we had seen in Tahoe NF paled in comparison to the 15 foot piles of snow at the Crater Lake Visitors Center.


We drove up as far as the roads were plowed and did a quick walk along the rim above the lake, with me squealing as the snow found its way into my sandals to my bare feet.

Doug did a little climbing to make his mark on the wall of snow. 

He got most of his name there before he slid down. :)

We were amused by the "Please keep off the roof" sign

Then we headed back down out of winter and into spring. We did a quick hike at Wood River. 

On our way back home, we stopped at the logging museum across the road from our campground. 


We had some extra days in our schedule so we decided to stay near Klamath for one more day. It's possible the Doug may have decided based on a fishing brochure for nearby Lake of the Woods.  The brochure promised bass in the shallows, perch in the middle of the lake, and catfish below the perch. Doug caught a bass in the shallows, he caught ALL of the perch in the lake, but never managed to find the catfish. 


As Doug fished the early morning, I enjoyed the quiet in the campground and the lovely fragrance the creosote released in the rain.