Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Oregon Trip Day 2: A Study of Contrasts

Yesterday's drive from Fernley to Klamath Falls via Gerlach, Cedarville, and Alturas was mostly through clear, cool, sunny weather. This morning in K-Falls, the wind was blowing in from the Cascades. As we were packing the minivan, the lid blew off a Bankers Box containing some of our stuff, and I had to quickly chase it down or it would have blown halfway to Tulelake in no time. Not having many time constraints today, Lisa suggested that we take an alternative route via Bend and Madras, the Deschutes River canyon, and skirting the southern edge of Mount Hood. This route is only about 30 miles longer than the shorter route via OR-58 and I-5, and I said I saw no reason not to go that way. Had we known what was ahead, we would have tried something different.

It looked very much for most of the drive that we wouldn't have any pictures at all today, because it was mostly grey and gloomy. We did think of stopping at Collier Logging Park and taking pictures of the changes there since our last visit and of more Bloody Conifers for flick, but decided to keep pressing on. We started getting rain; initially just brief squalls, but soon more and more rain, although it was still patchy at times. For instance, when we stopped at a surplus store in Bend that Lisa likes, it was gloomy but not raining. After that, we stopped at a Carl's Jr. for lunch, a location we will never patronize again. The fish sandwich upset Lisa's stomach, and I complained to the manager when I saw one of the workers (not the one handling our food, or I wouldn't have eaten anything) use the toilet without washing his hands. The manager told me the worker had just been replacing the toilet paper in there, but it doesn't matter; that worker should have washed his hands before returning to work no matter what.

Anyway, we pressed on to Madras, where US-26 turns west and heads into the Deschutes Canyon. Some of this area is quite spectacular (such as the US-26 crossing of the Crooked River), but there was no place safe to stop and take a picture, or else when there was a place, there so much gloom that there was nothing to see. So we continued on west toward Mount Hood. As we climbed back into the Cascades, the rain started getting heavier.

Then I realized that it wasn't rain anymore: it was snow!

At a place where it was safe to do so, I pulled off the road to take a picture of the van in an unexpected snowstorm. Note that travelswithkuma, visible looking out the front window of the van in this picture, does not normally ride here, but in his car seat belted in. He just was ready for his close up.

At the rest area at Government Camp, just past the turnoff for Mt. Hood's Timberline Lodge, the snow had started accumulating and was blowing harder and harder.

Although getting stuck at Mt. Hood in a blizzard was not our idea of how to spend Memorial Day Weekend, I took the opportunity during our restroom break to take a short video.

Once I was finished shooting video in the snow, we got moving down the mountain. We were both a bit nervous, and I took the drive rather slowly. Chains weren't required (a good thing, as I'd packed mine away in the garage for the summer), but "Winter Driving Conditions" were in effect. I was glad we had the new tires, and I drove more slowly than most of the other people out there, moving over for them when I could. I wasn't going to let people pressure me into driving into a ditch just because they wanted to drive 70 MPH on a curving mountain road in a snowstorm. Fortunately, once we dropped down from the summit at Government Camp 1500 feet or so, the snow turned back into rain. It was still IMO treacherous driving conditions, and my reaction to conditions in which I'm uncomfortable is to slow down.

We got to our hotel south of Portland around 8 PM. Alas, my upgrade-fu did not work, as they were completely full up, and we ended up in a double-queen room. We don't like it. Too much of the room is taken up with the second bed, and the layout isn't good. We may ask to be moved to the room type for which I'd originally reserved for the second reservation that starts tomorrow, despite our desire to not have to change rooms in mid-stay. At least tomorrow is the least-crowded day on our schedule, as much of it was planned to decompress from the travel, something which I need more than I planned after that snowy crossing of the mountains. (Besides, it looks like Day Jobbe stuff may be necessary anyway.)
Tags: kuma bear, lisa, travel, weather

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