Welcome to post number 5 from our six week 2015 West Coast Swing. This week we are visiting friends and acquaintances in the Corvallis area, seeing Crater Lake National Park in Southern Oregon, and checking out the Lassen Volcano National Park in Northeast California. And I’ll share some of the narrative from the nine emails I sent to family and friends during the trip.
First, a little about the song title selected for this portion of the trip. “The Vagabond” is a song composed by Ralph Vaughn Williams with poems drawn from Robert Lewis Stevenson’s collection “Songs of Travel and Other Verses.” I’ve pluralized vagabond to include Donna, my partner in this adventure. When researching the song title, I came across an interesting parallel and a bit of historical context to traveling. Between 1915 and 1924, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and John Burroughs calling themselves the Four Vagabonds, embarked on a series of summer camping trips. They toured the Everglades, the California Coast, the mountains of the Northeast, and northern Michigan to name a few places they visited. Can you imagine the discussions these prominent Americans had sitting around a campfire at the end of the day? Anyway, I’m glad we are able to follow in their footsteps and see this great country.
And see it we did. Here is part of the email message sent from Crater Lake. “We are currently in a campground near Crater Lake National Park, plan to spend the day there tomorrow. Unbeknownst to us, there is a pretty decent fire in the north part of the park that has been burning about a month. The road is open but looks like it will be smoky depending on the direction of the wind. We traveled here today from the Corvallis/Albany area after a great visit with our long time friends, Marilyn and Jeff Lesmeister. We’ve been friends with the Lesmeister’s for about 40 years and it’s always a joy to see and visit with them. I don’t think we are supposed to advertise this but Jeff is a great cook, we’ll be eating salad for the next several days! Even though we haven’t seen them in a few years, we started our visit right where we left off. During our visit we made a quick trip to the Oregon State Fair in Salem and yesterday (Labor Day) we did a hike at the Silver Falls State Park, again lots of steps but only about 40 flights of stairs! Really a nice park, lots of families were there enjoying the holiday together. Again, really enjoyed our all too short visit with old friends.” Here are a few photos from our visit.
And the email continues. “The other thing is that I failed to mention in the last email is that we stopped to see Greg and Rita Thompson in Philomath, OR. Greg is originally from Beulah, ND, the next town over from where I grew up, he is a little younger than I am but we knew each other through 4-H and FFA activities. Greg was the Ag Teacher at Drake High School when I was the County Extension Agent in McHenry County, ND back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. We both moved on and lost contact, we reconnected a year or so ago on Facebook. Greg just retired as a professor of Ag Education at Oregon State and knows our son-in-law Daniel and daughter Melanie who work in the same field. It was great to visit about families, our careers and now our retirement plans.
And now on to Crater Lake. “We are doing well, every day thrilled to have this adventure and as a bonus, we are still talking to each other! The other day as we were exploring Crater Lake, we talked with a couple from Milwaukee who were in Oregon for a weeklong vacation. We told them we’d been traveling for four weeks and they just stared at us and asked if we still were talking to each other. We told them it seemed to be working out, although didn’t tell them we had a pre-travel nuptial agreement just in case! (Kidding of course!)”
“Speaking of a truly awesome site, everyone should have Crater Lake National Park on their bucket list. We spent a couple of days in the Crater Lake area and were struck by the beauty that nature provides. It was smokey in the park as there were active fires that have been burning for over a month, we overheard a park ranger say that they had rain and snow on the Labor Day weekend that helped to dampen the fires but then the hot weather and winds returned to stir things up again. Regardless, an awesome, spectacular, stunningly beautiful site.” Crater Lake was created about 7700 years ago when the volcano collapsed. There are no rivers flowing in or out of the lake so evaporation is compensated by rain and snow. This is the deepest lake in the US at almost 2000 feet! The water is so blue thats because it’s mostly free from pollutants. Again, an amazing site the behold.
The following are a couple of photos of a fire that continued to burn in the Park. It was in such a remote part of the park that it was allowed to burn as there were higher priority, more easily accessible fires to fight.
Here’s what I wrote last year about Lassen: “When we last left you, we were just outside of Lassen Volcanic National Park, in California. We did get a few hours on Monday to explore the Park and decided it deserved more time, very unique and interesting.” And there aren’t tons of people as it’s not nearly as popular as many of the other National Parks in California. Again the air was very smokey and the day was overcast but here are a few photos from our stop. Lassen Peak towers over the park, it’s the largest volcano of it’s type in the world.
Thanks for riding along on this portion of our West Coast Swing. There will be one or two more articles on this trip in a couple of weeks. Next week watch for an article with the working title, Happy Anniversary! Curious, check next Sunday.
Until then, take care.