DAY 1: the (barely delayed) adventure begins
Woohoo! Time to embark on our journey across the country in our dope camper built with our bare hands with two adorable road dawgs in the back. We might’ve left a few days later than anticipated, but who leaves at the scheduled time for a road trip? A flexible date and a camper without a roof meant staying a couple extra days but it was worth it. In a little over 3 weeks, the RoadAbode (wooden camper on the back of the truck) was built and quickly assembled; once the roof was on and the camper packed, we were out of there with our fingers crossed it would hold up.
Sturdy it was, weather resistant it was not, a lesson we later learned.
Not trying to be too ambitious and set a drive goal too high, Crater Lake was the perfect first night destination in the ‘Bode and a place we had been wanting to go. It was about 280ish miles from The Loaded Brush (Portland, OR) or an almost 7 hour drive that included a couple of stops and some peace of mind as the RoadAbode passed with flying colors. We cautiously and safely drove the camper up to Crater Lake, with an impromptu stop at Dexter Reservoir for an amazing sunset.
We didn’t want to venture out into the wilderness too far, so we ended up staying in the visitor center parking lot with a few other travelers and access to a bathroom. As prepared as I generally tend to be, I was not prepared for the cold temperatures at the high elevation due to my intense mental focus on the heat and humidity of the South. It was a gloriously chilly night and we were at the crater within an hour of waking up, not the worst way to start the day.
Crisp, clear, cool and fairly empty- the conditions were perfect for our first viewing of that big, beautiful water hole. A morning wasn’t nearly enough time to even bestow our eyes upon the great lake but we wanted to be in Santa Cruz that night. Crater Lake and the surrounding forest was as lush and lovely as ever, giving us a super scenic drive back down the mountain and into California.
We relished Mother Nature’s beauty as we made our way down the mountain and out of the forest, heading South for the summer. This was like a farewell to the PNW and what felt like the official start of our maiden voyage. It was the first time I had ever seen the Milky Way but throughout it was only a taste of the astronomical beauty to come.
Review of Crater Lake: not enough time to truly experience much of that CL magic, astounding, great stars (my first Milky Way), chilly, bearware
MILE COUNT: about 280