Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon

I stayed in Portland until the end of September, and it was colder than I liked. I’d planned to make my way slowly south through string of  National Forests, and make a few stops in hot springs, Smith Rock, Painted Hills, Bend, Crater Lake, etc. But as I checked what the weather would be like, I saw that if I took my sweet time, it would be “too cold” all the way until I got to Southern California. So I spent a couple days driving south through Oregon. I skipped all of the planned sites that weren’t right on the way. 

In those two days I saw that Oregon has a huge variety of landscape. There is the coast, the lush and heavily treed areas near the coast, the Columbia river gorge, the high desert stuff once you get inland a bit, and I believe further east has more. I could easily spend an entire summer exploring Oregon and instead of wishing I was elsewhere, I’d be wishing summer was longer. So… maybe some other time.. 

 

On the way to Bagby Hot Springs

[The color is messed up on all the pictures in this post. I don’t know why. Maybe has to do with them getting resized. But I didn’t notice pictures in previous posts being screwed up…  I’d better figure this out]

  Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon

 

 

 

Babgy Hot Springs

My friends from Portland met me there (and one of them took these) 

 

Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon 

This was the first hot spring I’ve been to where it’s common to get in the water. It was…. ok.  Bagby is a little spring with no natural pool. A wooden building was made with wooden tubs. The water from the spring runs into pipes that go through the building and can be used to fill the tubs. It cost $5 go in. I paid and discovered later that I could’ve easily gotten away without paying, as many people did. For me, it wasn’t worth the $5. It’s a little weird going in tubs where you know thousands of people have been, and it didn’t feel like connecting with nature any more than just sitting down on the ground somewhere. 

 

 

Bend

Bend seemed really cool. There are a lot of outdoors enthusiasts there. Just outside of town are a TON of biking trails. There are also a lot of Forest Service roads – roads that look like they’d have really good places to camp.

One strange thing about Bend is that while I was there, it smelled bad. The whole city. It smelled the same way cloth does if it has been sitting wet too long and a lot of bacteria has grown. I have no idea what it was from. As I was driving into town I was like “What the hell? Is that me? Is that something in the van?”. Nope. This whole fucking town stinks! (I like Bend though)

 

Crater Lake

I took a nice scenic route out of bend – along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. It goes west out of Bend past Mt. Bachelor, and then south passing by a bunch of lakes. 

Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon

Some information about Crater Lake: 

  • It was formed when the insides of a big volcano collapsed about 8,000 years ago. All the sort of capillaries and paths the lava took left a many open voids in the earth and it all caved down on itself. 
  • It filled up with rainwater. There are out inlets or outlets. The water level stays pretty consistent now. Given normal evaporation and rain, the rate of water replacement would turnover all the lake’s water every 250 years  (though surely it doesn’t mix entirely so some of the water sitting in there has been there for nearly 8,000 years.
  • The lake is basically circular with a diameter of 5 to 6 miles.
  • The deepest part is nearly 2,000 feet.
  • It holds  5,000,000,000,000 (5 trillion) gallons of water. That is a lot of water! But in the U.S. alone, so much fresh water is used that if the lake was suddenly supplying all the US, it would be emptied in about ten minutes! (The U.S. pulls 355 trillion gallons of fresh water per day).
  • The water is as clear as any lake in the world because it is filled only by direct rainwater (and only a little bit of runoff from the inside edges of the volcano/crater). So there is very little sediment coming into the lake.
  • It looks so blue because of how deep it is. Blue light passes through water much better than other colors, so because the light is traveling so far in the lake, all you get is blue coming out. The banks of the lake are really steep so it’s pretty much blue edge to edge.

Driving south through Oregon

 

Driving south through Oregon

 

Driving south through Oregon

I didn’t stay long. Just enough to take pictures at a tourist spot and hike up along a nearby ridge. It’s hard to photograph the lake when you’re near it, because it’s so wide. Even my fisheye lens couldn’t really fit it all in. If I come back and spend more time here, I should hike down to the lake surface. You can also ride a boat out and get dropped off on the island. The lake is basically all there is to this National Park.

Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon

Driving – just outside Crater Lake National Park

Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon

Driving south through Oregon

Route

Here’s the route I took from Portland to Crescent City. It was prett-y darn nice. (the picture links to the actual route in Google Maps)

 Driving through southern Oregon

Next up, driving down the entire California coast. Yeah buddy!

Portland

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

I spent a month in and around Portland. I have some old friends that live in a suburb. I spent most of the time with them, barring three or so stints in the city during the week while my friends were busy working.

I haven’t spent this much time with these friends for ten years. It was great. We did a lot together – day trips, going out in the city, bike rides, hikes, a trip to the coast, to a hot spring, to a casino, home/van projects, Monopoly games, etc.

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

Thoughts on Portland

On my first night inside the city, I met a girl to go on a bike ride together. We were meeting at an intersection, and one of the streets had a significant bike lane in it. This was a Monday, around 5-6pm, so it was rush hour. There were SO MANY people riding by on bikes. There were about 50 people riding by per minute. I’ve never seen so much bike traffic on a normal day, in any city I’ve been in. I did learn that this bike lane functions as sort of a bike freeway, so a lot of bike traffic is funneled through there. But still, it’s a lot. I saw a lot people riding in other parts of the city too.

There are also a lot of people out and about, walking around. Most of them are young. I would’ve guessed there are a lot more people ages 20-40 in Portland than in other major cities. I did a quick check and it looks like that age range is about 40% of Portland, and 30% of the U.S., so there’s a difference, but not huge. I guess the young people in Portland are out and about more than other places. Probably part of this phenomenon is that the city is very walkable. There are not big wide streets. There are not strip malls. There are sections of streets that have a lot of businesses along them. There are a lot of these little business areas spaced out around the city. People who live near these walk there a lot.

I like Portland. I was more surprised by how much I like Seattle. I connected with people quicker and deeper in Seattle than Portland. That could just come down to chance, but I have a feeling it’s not.

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

So many Vandwellers

Portland and Seattle have a LOT of people living in vans. Thousands, I believe. They’re all over the place. At each sizable park, there will be 5-10 on the street around the outside. At one intersection in a normal residential area, I looked around and saw 4 vans that look like people may live in them. Parking is super easy in these cities, especially in Portland. If you’re in the city (as long as you’re not in the areas you have to pay, or in certain specific congested areas) it seems you can park however and for however long you want. The direction your vehicle points doesn’t matter. How long you stay parked there doesn’t seem to matter either. Many of the van dwellers appeared to be doing so partly or entirely out of necessity rather than choice.

Built some shelves in the van

There is a vertical wall that makes up the back side of my bike box. The top half of this wall (the outside of the bike box) has been empty so far. I’ve been thinking about adding some more storage either here, or along the top sides of the walls. My buddy helped me a lot. Here’s how it turned out: 

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

We basically built wooden crates that are attached to the wall. I made them as wide as I could without them getting in the way of putting up the curtains (on the left side) or me moving around in the van (on the right sides).

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

The top 2 are the same depth, and the bottom one is deeper. There is less of a vertical gap between the bottom and middle shelves, so it being wider also helps with reaching in there.

Here you can see the widths:

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

They hold most of my clothes

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

This freed up other storage space in the plastic shelves. So far, I’ve just thrown my boots and sandals into the drawer that emptied out. One of my rubbermaid containers that’s under the bed is only about 1/3 full right now, so I have some spare room for whatever else I decide to acquire.

More Pictures

I added wax to my cotton jacket to make it a lot more water resistant. I think it worked well.

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

My friends are in a bowling league.

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

We went to 3 or 4 different McMenamins. We were all McMenaminsed out.

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

A short hike on some island

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

There were a TON of berries where we walked around. At one point, when a couple of our group were trailing behind, Craig found some berries that were pretty red, and decided to get their juice all over his hand, and as the two that were tailing caught up, tell them he had cut himself bad. (Earlier in the hike, we’d used my knife to help cut off some berries that were hard to reach, so he said he was using it and cut himself). ha!

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

Portland the land of young people, hipsters, and social justice progress

Photography

Oh, also I bought a used Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 lens. Got it for $300. I’ve been using it almost exclusively and for most landscape pictures, it’s better than the fisheye. I was thinking I would sell the fisheye and 24mm, but I’m not so sure now. There are specific pictures I want to take every now and then that can only be done with the fisheye (or that would take something like a 5mm lens). [note: a month or two later I sold the Tokina and the fisheye because I got a full frame camera. I bought a Rokinon 14mm, and now the majority of my pictures are with the Rokinon or my Nikkor 24mm.]

I’ve started trying to improve my landscape photography skills. I’ve been reading online and listening to podcasts, and I’ve started reading some books and looking for good Lightroom/Photoshop videos. I figure that since mobility and freedom of time give me incredibly good opportunities for landscape photography, and I enjoy it, so I might as well get better at it right now.

11-dsc_8151-copy

I took very few pictures in the city. Portland has some awesome bridges. Maybe next time I’m there I’ll take some good cityscape pictures including the bridges.

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

After a 4,000 mile trek through what is now the United States, and being attacked by and killing many grizzly bears, and fending off attacks and thefts from some natives, and receiving lifesaving help from others, after 862 days after leaving St. Louis, the “Corpse of Discovery” team lead by Lewis and Clark set eyes on where the Columbia river meets the Pacific ocean. Clark wrote in his journal: “Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy!”. Actually, he wrote:

Ocian in view! O! The Joy!

Surprisingly, none of the 59 total members of the Corps of Discovery died from the journey. One of them did die, but it was probably from appendicitis. I bet he would’ve died wherever he was. No one died from bear attacks, boat crashes while navigating rapids, indian attacks, or falling off cliffs. That’s incredible.

I ended up following a similar route. I went from St Louis out to Astoria on a meandering path. And I didn’t die once! My meanders were to see wonderful places, to travel by back roads instead of the straight interstates, and to stop to see friends. Even with most of my days committed to leisure, it only took 90 days. In just a couple hundred years, man has created amazing technological marvels: roads, internal combustion engines and vehicles, refrigerators and little propane stoves, handheld computers with maps of the entire country including satellite images and elevation profiles, etc. etc. Wow!

Astoria

I drove out west from Portland to go on a hike with a guy I know from the internet. He took me along a river he fishes regularly. We did quite a bit of wading through the river and got back to a waterfall that is only accessible by doing the wading. Then I continued west to the coast and stopped first at Cannon Beach. I did very little research and was heading down towards Oswald West State Park, but I saw the huge haystack rock from highway 101 so I stopped in Cannon Beach.

I also went up to Astoria. These are near/from the Column in Astoria:

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

A Chinook canoe. The natives out here had figured out how to make canoes much better than were used in much of the world. 

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Corp of Discovery Winter Camp

While in Astoria, I went to the place where Lewis and Clark’s Corp of Discovery spent a winter. They built a fort here but the one in the picture is a recreation. There is a small museum there with info, movies, and some period or recreation objects similar to what the expedition team had with them. I suspect not a single thing is from their actual trip because they didn’t make any effort to save any of the gear and actually sold or gave much of it away.

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

A picture of one of their journals

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

They carried powder to make ink with

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Manzanita

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Unfortunately for the Corps of Discovery, they arrived in November and the weather was absolute shit up until they left the following spring.

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

 

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

 

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

 

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

 

Camping With Friends

My friends came out for the weekend.

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

We went to the beach near the campsite in the morning, and my buddy didn’t change from the warm clothes he’d slept in. 😀

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Hiking

We went for a hike in Oswald West State Park – on the Falcon Cove trail. It was a pretty nice trail with very nice views at the end.

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Then we went to the beach! There’s a really nice beach in Oswald. Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy!

Ocean in View! Oh! The Joy! (Northern Oregon Coast)

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

I went out to Olympic National Forest for a weekend of camping and hiking with my friends from Seattle. I drove out there on a Friday morning, and they came out in the evening after work to join me. I had been planning to do some research and see if I could find what look like good spots for dispersed camping. My friends have a small car so I wanted to find a good spot up a forest service road their car could handle. Come Friday morning, I had failed to do any research. So I left town worrying that I wouldn’t find a good place.

I called a few different National Forest places hoping to connect with a person who could give me good advice, but didn’t have much luck. I’ve found that the National Forest folks I speak with either know EVERYTHING I’m looking for, or not much at all. There hasn’t been much middle ground. This time, I spoke to three different people and got three strikes in a row. So I picked a road that is paved well into the Forest and tried my luck. I ventured off on a Forest Service road. It was in good condition, but there were no good camping spots. There were only a few areas where you could pull off just barely to the side of the road. I encountered a couple sitting and relaxing next to their Vanagon parked in this manor and asked their advice. They informed me that I wouldn’t find what I was looking for on this road. I didn’t want to spend all day driving around FS roads, so I went back down to a pay campsite and got a spot.

Leftovers from dinner with a friend in Seattle:

Olympic National Forest

Big trees near our campsite:

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Hiking

We went for a hike on Lena Lake Trail. The trail goes up to Lower Lena Lake, and then Continues into the National Park to Upper Lena Lake. We just went to the Lower Lake. There were a lot of really cool campsites at the lake. There are also more at upper Lena. This would be a good place to hike up to and camp.

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Lake Day

We also went to another lake. The name escapes me. This one was just a few minute’s hike form the F.S. road. It’s a wonderful place to spend a day.

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Forest

After my friends headed back, I explored a bit more. I went up another FS road and found more of the same – no good campsites. There were some good sites on the roads that did not go uphill. I stayed in those one more night and then drove back to Seattle.

Olympic National Forest