Friday, August 2, 2013

Soaking Up Oregon

 It’s been a bit since our last blog post and we’ve covered a lot of ground, by bus, by plane and on foot.  We’ve been on the road for almost 8 weeks and 2000 miles.   The bus seems to have hit its traveling stride- which is about 45 miles an hour whenever it can get away with it.  The veggie oil is flowing, the wheels are rolling smoothly down windy mountain roads, and we made it across the border into Canada without a hitch (Though, it’s usually the reentry into the States that is problematic).  Since our last blog entry we have: checked out the hot springs and lakes in the national forests of Oregon, visited with friends and biked the streets in and around Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, explored lakes, forests, and mountains in Olympic National Park and the Cascades, and flown to New Hampshire for a wedding and to visit with family and friends.   Below is the start of the blogging of recent adventures.  More soon!
Prairie Crane Lake - our free camping spot for a few nights.

Hot Springs:
                Oregon made up for its first impressions by providing many beautiful hot springs to relax and soak in after the stressful Boose breakdown. In total, we hit three springs. The first was Umpqua Hot Springs in the south, which was amazingly gorgeous with its seven lime-encased bright blue pools and plenty of good conversation. Unfortunately, it seemed to be a bit of a party scene for a few folks, as people tossed there cigarette butts about and carelessly brought glass beer bottles into the pools.

                After Umpqua, we explored Crater Lake before being chased off the volcano by a storm. Fortunately, as it began raining we found a beautiful free campsite in the National Forest on Crane Prairie Lake. As we arrived here, we were greeted by four or five bald eagles of all ages swooping over our heads. Betsy got some great pics. There were also large white cranes, osprey, ducks, and geese. The following day, the sun broke through and we rode a 25-mile circuit around the lake on back-country forest roads. It ended with a warm dinner in the bus back at the campsite and nice sunset to boot.
                Up the road a bit, Deschutes Brewery happened to be celebrating their 25th Anniversary when we arrived for a tour in Bend, OR. We got to try a bunch of their brews and see their new facility. My favorite was their new 25th Anniversary Black Butte Porter, which was an amazing consortium of malty chocolate, coffee and caramel flavors, without being  too sickly sweet. Yum! They were nice enough to let us stay in their warehouse parking lot for the night before we headed up to hot springs number two, Breitenbush. Rather, the “old” Breitenbush. We couldn’t get reservations at this Harbin-like resort, so we followed a path down to the old site, where the ruins of the old buildings still lie, with hot water flowing into their foundations.
                From Breitenbush we took a slight detour south to swim in Detroit Lake before heading to Bagby, or final Oregon hot spring.  Recently updated, Bagby is an immaculately maintained group of wooden tubs about a mile and a half from the road.  It offers  both the more common large wooden barrel tubs and novel long soaking basins carved out of the trunks of large trees.  The spring’s water is piping hot, but you can cool your freshly poured tub off by hauling buckets of cold water from nearby barrel. 

Portland, City of Many Friends:               
After leaving the hot springs and forests behind we came to Portland for our first city stop of the trip. We pulled into Try On Life Community Farm, where we visited with some old friends of Jori’s, Isabelle and Giles.  We spent most of our nights in Portland on Sauvie Island, just north of the city, staying with our friend Anne, who we originally met in Oakland several years ago, and her husband Travis.   The island is covered with small farms, including a wonderful lavender farm we visited one afternoon, and was great for biking around.    
We spent a good deal of our time in Portland reuniting with wonderful old friends who live in or near the city or happened to be passing through.  It was great to visit with everyone and hear about all of their adventures and pursuits over the last few years (or decade )and it made me thankful to have crossed paths with so many people who are doing interesting and positive things in the world.  In between catching up with people from various phases of our lives, we had a few great bike rides around different parts of the city, visited the famous Powell’s Bookstore (we made it out with only 3 new additions to our bus library), and sampled tasty offerings from a few of the many, many food trucks.

Portland turned out to be the sort of city we could see ourselves getting stuck in for a few years, but don’t worry families....We are still en route home.

Track Our Journey

Track Our Journey
The journey continues. . . 5 years later