Wanderlust Complete – 4NOW

Wanderlust Complete – 4NOW

May 18, 2021 Off By justin

Our first journey to Crater Lake Oregon was a lot of fun. My foot played nice enough that we got a little hiking in, some walking around Crater Lake, the gift shop, and it even hung in there so we could wonder around Ashland OR (where we stayed).

The hotel was quirky and clean. The “Continental” breakfast was taken from a list you gave them the night before. It came in a brown paper bag up in what used to be a coffee shop (but Covid has about shut it down). Weirdly, in the little coffee shop, there’s a DRAGON! The hallways look like a 1400’s hallway with black 1×4 borders, and white stucco looking wall textures. The room was really decent, and the bathroom was huge (partly because they gave us a wheel chair accessible room).

There be DRAGONS!
Beware! There be DRAGONS in Ashland Oregon!

The first thing we did after getting to the hotel was to start hunting for dinner. Turns out, restaurants in Ashland don’t really open until after 4pm, and close by 10pm (The chain places hold normal hours, but I wanted “local” places). We ended up hitting “Pie + Vine” and do no regret it. The food wasn’t “cheap” but when on vacation, I like to leave some wiggle room for good food, and drink (thought I’d uploaded pictures form Pie + Vine, nope).

The next day, we couldn’t sleep in because we were anxious to jump on the road to see what central Oregon was like. We weren’t disappointed. We had no real time frame we were following, so when we came across a little hiking trail with waterfalls, we acquiesced to the call and pulled off. 1st we hiked down to see Mill Creek Falls, then over to see Barr Creek Falls (not very far apart). The trial was soft from the plethora of pine needles acting as a trail bed, and some of the trails were pretty steep, but not too bad for a the old bones to navigate. It felt good to get all “Artsy Fartsy” with the pictures too, so please excuse the odd log images, and of course, the sun lit doggy do-do baggie (that I picked up and took to the trash once I was done photographing it).

After getting our walk on, we jumped back in the Volkswagen Atlas (an upgrade from the Toyota Camry they had on my list). And drove until we found Beckie’s Restaurant (highly suggested from the Customer Service lady in the Medford Air Port when we arrived). I would say it was “good” but the homemade chips weren’t to my liking. Shari thought they were great. It tasted like they’d been deep fried with something sweet in the mix. I got the BLT, she got the um .. 🙂 .. I can’t remember, I’m sure she’ll “remind” me. The BLT was really good though, and the Iced Tea was refreshing.

Stern Faced Tourists
Doing our best to use our “Stern” faces 🙂 .. Hard not to smile when you’re on vacation though ..

After Beckie’s, we continued on up to Crater Lake. Little known fact to indicate how long it’s been since Justin has been to a state park, they actually charge to enter. I used my retired military ID to get a pass for the season, so that helped a lot. Crater Lake wasn’t open all the way, but what was open was amazing (lots of snow still).

From the pictures, you can see all the snow, and they haven’t been able to clean up the fallen trees yet, but the lake its self, was beautiful.

Once we had spent enough of our kid’s inheritance at the gift shop, we headed towards Klamath Falls Oregon. On the way out of the park we passed some “Fossilized Steam” formations (around the edge of Crater Lake). Very interesting, but to me, they look a lot like the badlands of North Dakota, or some parts of Southern Utah.

Klamath Falls really isn’t much to shake a stick at. We tried to find the Link River, but kind of gave up with out a struggle because tired. Since we couldn’t really find the river, but did find some old timey bridge stuff and things, I let the eye wonder around and took a bunch of pictures just because “interesting” point of view.

With out any time constraints, we again, took a path less traveled. The little VW Atlas did pretty well, but we were eventually stopped by the laws of physics vs front wheel drive. Perfect opportunity for a photo op.

The trail really didn’t show us anything crazy, but it was fun to get the dust kicked up, see how well the little sauerkraut machine could do, and jump out to sniff the fresh air. There were a lot of burned up places around here from last summer’s wild fires. Oh, we did have a pair of Suzuki Samurai 4 wheeler guys go zippin’ down the trail just after we clicked our trail selfies.

After our dirt road excursion it was down the mountains we went. Two hours of curvy roads, on and off the brakes, and more curves can make anyone nuts, so we whoahed up again, and took off up a big nicely taken care of gravel road. Saw some deer (Black Tail we think), and a few houses that were giving me more reasons to pull up roots and move to the woods of Oregon. We pulled out onto the road, and I immediately saw fields of these purple low growing flowers everywhere. They almost looked fake in the late afternoon sun. So, we stopped and I took more pictures.

And with that, we crawled into our hotel room, ordered take out from a Mexican place, and relaxed our weary tourist bones. Even though this trip was a short one, and not more than a couple hour plane ride away, it was amazing to see new things, meet fellow travelers, and taste new foods (maybe not new, but in a new location).

Wanderlust is wonderful. Time, money, and life generally get in the way, but from the experiences in my recent past, do not take what you’ve got for granted, balance you and your partner’s happy times, and by all means, go make more memories with who ever you enjoy spending time with.

Be adventurous, and take the road less traveled once in a while….

The Road Less Traveled