Bend to Crescent City

Published: May 9th 2014
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I planned on reaching the California coast today and that should take six hours, which is less than travel times for a day so far. I decided I would take my time and see things on the way.

Besides staying in a noisy motel last night, I also woke up in the middle of the night feeling awful - tender tummy and a roaring headache. I think it was something I ate during the day. The result was that I didn’t get much sleep. I wanted to sleep in, but the rest of the residents at the motel, who were mostly tradesmen and travellers, were up bright and early to get to work. Many drove large, noisy trucks so I was left no choice but to get up and get underway. To help me start the day I went to one of the many great coffee places in the old town and had a great latte. That helped.

I took an unplanned trip around the southwest part of Bend. I hadn’t paid attention to my GPS, but when I finally realised I was lost, I used it to get me back on track.

Shortly after I was south of Bend the trees on the side of the road close in, blocking any view except what was straight ahead on the road. This continued until I got up in the mountains near Crater Lake so the first part of the day was a boring drive. Driving in the prairies is boring as well, but at least you can stretch your eyeballs and get a sense of where you are. Driving through that corridor of trees today was boring in a different way.

I wanted to go into Crater Lake, but the access road I planned on using was closed due to snow pack. The one that was open would have meant that I had to drive a half-hour in and a half-hour out adding a full hour to my day’s drive. The time in there would have questionable value to me as there was still 3 to 4 feet of snow on the ground. I didn’t realise that Crater Lake is up at around 6500 ft.

The highest point I was at in the pass was only about 4000 ft.

The country on the west side of the pass was different and it wasn’t too long before I saw large redwood cedars beside the road. They were amazing; however, those ones that I first saw were dwarfed by the ones I drove by later in the day.

The rest of the day’s travel altered between tight canyons and open valleys between mountain ranges. The road had lots of twists and turns and would have been fun on a motorcycle. Those roads must be jammed with motorcycles during the summer. Mind you, I still had fun in the RAV4 and had a chance to see what the ‘sport’ setting meant versus the normal ‘econo’ setting. Evidently these setting influence accelerator response, firing, and valve motion. The sport setting definitely made the vehicle more responsive.

The landscape that I encountered during the afternoon reminded me of the country between Merrit, BC and Princeton, BC.

At Cave Junction I felt it was time to get something to eat. While using a back street to turn around I came across ‘Bea’s Fork-in-the-Road Trailer Park Cuisine.’ Bea herself served me and made up a perfect veggie wrap for $5. She said she used to own and run the diner on the highway, but retired 3 years before. “But I got bored and so decided to open up this place part time. I don’t know what part time means yet, but I’ll figure it out.”

I asked her, “You call this Trailer Park Cuisine, but I don't see a trailer park.”

“Oh,” she replied with a hoarse smokers laugh, “that is just my house trailer over there and this here trailer where I have the business. I had to come up with something and that seemed like a good laugh. You know I’m just what my mother hoped would never happen.”

Back on the road I drove the rest of the trip without stopping until I got to the coast and Crescent City. I found the Ocean View Inn right near the water. It was new, clean and only $79 a night. What a deal.

Not a very thrilling day, but I made it to the coast in the three days as planned, so now I can slow down and start taking in the ambiance of the coast and its communities.


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