Tired is an understatement. Two fifteen hour days on the road and we still have six hours until we reach Los Angeles. We only did 767 miles yesterday but because most of the roads were 55mph it took forever to reach Vallejo, California.
The alarm went off at 630am, a horribly unwelcome noise in my ears. I haven’t had an alarm set that early in over two months, and even then when I was due in work at 7am, my alarm would be set for 650am! Still, it’s all for a good reason! We headed off straight away down towards Crater Lake, with the idea of cutting through it from the north, exiting south and continuing down to California.
Fuel. That’s the reason we didn’t get a minivan to begin with. Gone are the days of spending $20 on gas. Hello to the days of spending $50!!! Now we wish we had chosen the Fiesta or the Hyundai. Our eyes were bigger than our bank balances…
As with any best laid plans, they don’t always go 100% to plan. Nor did ours. As we reached the north entrance there were signs saying it was closed! I checked the NPS website and couldn’t find anything about it being closed. We continued driving, thinking the signs were wrong, because clearly we know best right? Wrong! There was a barrier shutting the road. Apparently snow fall is still too heavy to slow vehicles along it. So, we headed to the west entrance, still within our target of getting there by 11am.
It seemed like every single road through Oregon had a 55mph limit. This made every journey seem like it was taking forever. We eventually arrived at Crater Lake west entrance, to find there was a huge queue to get in! A queue to get in when it’s half closed? It must be a good place to visit. Flashed our pass, collected our map, we headed in. It was still another 7 miles to the visitors centre, but the roads were lined with snow! Thick, deep, white snow! It was stunning.We collected our stamp and then continued up to Rim Village. Finally we saw why everyone was queuing to get in. The lake was spectacular. The water looked completely still. Wizard Island showed its reflection in the mirror-like lake.
This is the deepest lake in the United States. It’s deepest part sits at 1943ft deep and it ranges from 4.5 miles across in its narrowest bit to 6 miles in its widest part. The highest point above the lake, around the rim in 1978 feet and the lowest point is 507ft and the lake holds a staggering 4.9 trillion gallons of water!
How did this beautiful lake form? 7700 years ago a maaaive volcanic eruption happened from Mount Mazama. This pushed a huge column of pumice and ash up to the sky from the vent in the northeast summit. There was tremendous pressure building beneath the mountain from rising magma and as this magma chamber emptied, the mountain couldn’t support its own weight and therefore collapsed. Now, a deep caldera, filled with rain and snow is what is left. And it has breathtaking beauty.The Rim was adorned with glistening snow and hosted a lodge, cafe and gift shop. We couldn’t drive any further as snow ploughs were working hard to clear the snow so we drove back down to the entrance. The next decision made was to continue south via Redwoods National Park as it was still 12 hours from Los Angeles.
We didn’t have time to stop for food so we grabbed a cheeky Taco Bell drive thru, where Nathan learned you really can’t eat tacos whilst driving. It was highly amusing to watch though! Redwoods was about another 4 hours away. The trees were huge! Not only were they incredibly tall, their trunks had some serious girth! It was a delightful drive along the winding roads of the Pacific coastline down highway 101. The forests surrounding us featured thousands of Giant Sequoias and Coast Redwoods, which grow 2-50miles from the coastline. Redwoods can grow to nearly 380ft tall and live about 2000 years. Sequoias grow to 311ft and live 3200 years!We stumbled across a black sand beach with towering boulders resting in the ocean as waves crashed against the shore. Crescent Beach.Truly beautiful. We continued our journey south, past grazing elk and back onto the winding roads.The scenery around us was just unforgettable, as have most places we have been lucky enough to visit. We still had about 10 hours to go in order to reach LA so we booked a motel where we would arrive at about 1030pm. That still left a 6 hour drive today. The motel was in Vallejo just off the freeway. We drove into the car park and were met by a security guard. First motel we have had that! I went to check us in and the two in front of me felt like having a good old chat with the check in clerk. I yawned, not rudely but just because it had been a long day and the woman then insisted I was being impatient! I chose to say nothing.
Eventually we checked in, walked through a rose garden where fellow residents were smoking weed and headed the bed. The walls were paper thin so it was midnight by the time we nodded off. Then that horrible alarm noise sounded at 630am this morning. I actually don’t think I woke up until about 10am. Almost used mosquito spray instead of dry shampoo on my hair, couldn’t find any clothes to wear but we set off anyway. We had to be parked and at the CBS studios in our upper scale going out to a nice dinner clothes by 230pm. We’re travellers who often stay in the same clothes for a couple of days and they think we have nice clothes to wear???
Time to rock out the only dress I have. It is 105 degrees. I’m not wearing jeans unless they want a melted Emma to clear up off the floor! We still have 86 miles to go…