Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Union Creek Resort and the Rogue River Gorge

After we visited Crater Lake we drove about 22 miles to Union Creek Resort on highway 62. where we stayed the night. The resort is really just cabins, a cafe, country store, lodge rooms above the country store, and an ice cream shop. It is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It is however, listed on the Register of Historic Places and has had many notable visitors in the past century or so.

our cabin

The cabins are VERY rustic which was fine for us. We like rustic. The mosquitoes were out in full force that evening. The Rogue River flows right next to the resort and a creek flows on the other side.

home cooked breakfast the next morning at Beckie's

We walked a short distance to the Rogue River Gorge which was formed a long time ago when lava flowed from Mt. Mazama (Crater Lake before it was a lake :) down to the Pacific Ocean.

We saw lava tubes and lava rocks. The gorge is beautiful. Too bad the lighting was off for my pics.

lava tube next to red arrow

We left in the morning to head to Medford and then on the California border...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 8 - Umpqua River and Crater Lake National Park

We left Portland early in the morning and headed south on Interstate 5 about 3.5 hours to Roseburg, Oregon. Then we headed east on the scenic Rogue-Umpqua Byway. The highlights are beautiful scenery the North Umpqua River and the many, easy to hike to waterfalls.

Toketee Falls

Firefighters heading in towards the falls. A small fire was burning. Time for us to leave.

We drove into Crater Lake National Park from the north side. The landscape is awesome!

Pumice field


James and the girls played in the snow.

the Lodge. It is classic.

View from the inside

Crater Lake is beautiful.

I would love to go back someday and explore further.

Miles driven = 205

Friday, August 20, 2010

days 5-7 in Portland

Day 5
We very much enjoyed our time in Portland. We took the OHSU tram up to the hillside facility and had a private tour from Miss Karen, herself.

The history and tour is interesting especially the mixture of buildings built in different eras, decades actually, and how the building codes differ. The views from the top were awesome. We could see Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens.

Portland is a very green city and even the hospital composts its food scraps and recycles everything.

After, the tour, we headed to grandma and grandpa's hotel for a swim in their pool and then off to the park to let off some steam.

Dinner was at a restaurant call the Screen Door, southern food, where I had some pretty good fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and collard greens.

Day 6
James, the girls, and I drove to Washington Park to visit the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum. Washington Park is HUGE, over 400 acres, and hilly and crowded, but beautiful and a must see. For some reason, again, I thought everyone would take public transportation. The Forestry Center is near the Portland Zoo and parking was a zoo. After quite some time and finding parking a few miles away, we took a shuttle, to the center. The museum is completely hands on and unique.

After the museum I toured the International Rose Garden while James and the girls played at the Rose Garden playground.

In the evening, we headed to music in the park, where we ate, drank, watched the kids run and dance, and enjoyed some music. The night was a perfect Portland summer night and super enjoyable.

Day 7
Our last day. In the morning we took a nice walk around Karen's neighborhood while the girls rode their scooters.

Later in the day, we boarded the max and headed downtown. James was so kind to take the the girls out on the town and Karen and I headed to the adults only, International Beer Fest. The sun was shining and the beer was flowing. I enjoyed spending time with my cousin!

waiting to board the max

Before the beer fest we had lunch at a food cart. This is a must do. Serena had a giant burrito, I had fried rice, Karen had a gyro, and Julia had a hamburger. Excellent!

food cart pod

James took the girls to Finnegan's toy store and Ben and Jerry's for some ice cream.

obligatory shoe shot at the IBF

Thanks to Jaime for our free tickets!

Friday, August 13, 2010

day 4 - next stop, Portland

After packing up and a quick hike to the dunes, we sadly left Honeyman State Park. Serena actually cried. It really is a beautiful place.

We drove to Florence and grabbed some coffee and snacks at a grocery store and headed inland towards the 5 freeway. This was one of our shorter stretches of driving, only 178 miles, so we left a bit later in the morning.

We took state hwy 126 for approx. 41 miles. I found this route scenic as well. More twists and turns. Once we hit the 5, I was ecstatic. I love beauty and all, but boy was I happy to drive in a straight line again.

The drive for most of the way shows Oregon's farms and countryside. About an hour from Portland we decided to stop in Salem for a much needed stretch. The outskirts we nothing special to look at, but I found the downtown area quite cute. We located an information center and asked for directions to a nearby park. The woman at the desk was helpful and pointed us towards a riverfront park.

The park is scenic and located next to the Willamette River and I wish I took more pictures. Oh well. The weather was in the high 80s so we put the girls bathing suits on and let them run through some fountains with many other children. The park also has a historic carousel and big play structure not to mention 23 acres of grassy area and footpaths.

Willamette Queen

Back in the car we set off for Portland. How silly we are that we did not plan around rush hour traffic. Duh! We sat in traffic for about an hour once we hit Portland. For some reason I thought there would not be traffic since the public transportation system is so advanced. I should know better than that. It is still a large city and there will always be some traffic.

Finally, we made it to my cousins house in Southeast Portland!

The first thing we did was go eat at HUB. My parents are also on their own vacation and in town for a few days. Karen's boyfriend is a brewer their so we were given the special treatment. The restaurant is huge. Karen scored us a table upstairs next to the pinball machines, SCORE! The kids were happy, plus they had a cool train table and toys for the kids, SCORE!

The adults did some beer tasting with Karen and Jaime giving us their beer expertise.

Next we headed down to the brewery for a private tour from the brewer himself. The girls learned the art and science of brewing beer which included pushing buttons, flipping switches, smelling hops and tasting barley.

It was a fun day. I think the kids got to bed around 11pm. So much for schedules.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 3 - more redwoods and the oregon coast

We left Eureka and set off to complete the northern California drive via hwy. 101. Our destination? Jesse M. Honeyman Memorial State Park near Florence, Oregon.

Before that, though, we made multiple stops. First we drove through Redwood National Park and made several stops along the way. One place we stopped was at an elk viewing site. So sad, no elk sightings for us. The elk in the park are Roosevelt Elk and are the largest elk in North America and only live in the rain forests of the Pacific Northwest, specifically Olympic and Redwoods National Parks.

no elk sightings for us

It took us several hours to reach Crescent City where we stopped at the National Park visitor center, had lunch, and let the kids play for a long time at a really big and cool park nearby. Before we left town we viewed the Battery Point Lighthouse. Too bad it was high tide and we could not cross the water to physically tour the buildings. Darn.

Next we set out for the Oregon border and some wonderful, winding, driving along the coast and cliffs. Beautiful!!!

An interesting focal point is when the Oregon dunes abruptly begin in Coos Bay. It is so odd and then they continue on for around 40 miles. Crazy!!

For the life of me I cannot remember the town we stopped in when we were starving. It was around 3:30ish and not quite dinner time and the town hardly had any restaurants. We randomly selected a nice little cafe and went in. The cafe brought out large pieces of paper and crayons for the girls and had a big basket of toys which made them happy. This made James and me very happy, too. We had the best darned pizza and lemonade! It was the perfect refreshment to give us some renewed energy for the last hour or so of driving.

I had to take a picture of it since it made me so happy!

I know he is not showing it, but James is very happy here. :)

Alas! Jesse M. Honeyman Memorial State Park. This park is awesome and one of my top 3! The park is about 2 miles from the beach, has over 400 sites and it totally wooded. The bathrooms are clean, free hot water showers, a huge playground for the kids, plus a fresh water lake for swimming, and of course the dunes! So much to do so little time.

the girls riding their scooters throughout the massive park

Six months earlier I reserved a yurt for our stay. Since we were taking such a long trip we really did not want to lug our tents so a yurt was the perfect option for us. Many Oregon state parks offer yurts as an option.

Isn't it cute? It has electricity, a locking door, windows, and a heater which we actually did use. The temp. did get down into the 50s at night.

one half of our yurt

climbing a dune. The sand is so soft and the dunes are massive.

mossy tree on nature trail to dunes

Cleawox Lake

dunes down to Cleawox Lake

264 miles (many of them winding)
around 6 hours of driving time