Roadtripping: An Oregon Kind of Day

Crater Lake National Park

We left Seattle this morning and were on the road again, this time south to Portland, Oregon! Justin is meeting us there, and his train was due in 10 a.m., so we had to head out early.

The drive was beautiful. Along the way some highlights were the capitol building in Olympia, some awesome roller coasters, and the Columbia River. We got into Portland only a tad bit late and picked Justin up at Union Station (which is a really cool place in its own right, and totally deserves some research).

Powell's Books in Portland

We drove by Voodoo Donuts downtown and thought we might stop, but wow!!! the line was like five people wide for over a block, so we decided we didn’t really have time, and the kids wouldn’t really have the energy. Instead we decided to spend a few minutes at another one of Portland’s post iconic hotspots – Powell’s Books.

I am fairly certain the kids had never seen a bookstore that required a map before. We spent half an hour wandering the stacks, inhaling the smell of books, books, and more books, and barely hitting the tip of the iceberg in our biblio-adventures. We each bought some books, snapped a quick photo outside for posterity (everyone should remember their first trek to Powell’s), and then hit the road once more.

We stopped at a little drive-in that appeared to be super popular with the locals called Burgerville USA, where we got deep fried asparagus (everyone gave it a try) and were encouraged to compost our cups. The kids meals even came with cucumber seeds to plant! I had never heard of them before, but I was pleased to learn of their awesome business plan. “Built on a tradition of serving fresh food made with local ingredients, we continue to partner with neighboring farms and businesses that share our commitment to quality food and regional vitality.”

Tummies filled with sustainable fast food, our trip ventured off the beaten path next, to explore Crater Lake National Park.

When we roadtrip, we usually try to make at least a few stops at National Parks, especially ones we have never visited before. Sometimes these little side jaunts are the most memorable parts of a trip. In fact, there are two investments our family has made that have proven to be among the most fulfilling. The first is our annual National Park pass. The second is the National Park Passport book. For less than $10, we record all of the places we have visited, including when. The kids get really into collecting the stamps in the book, and also love looking back through it every time we visit a new park.National Park Pass

We have actually had to purchase a second book, because parts of the first one had filled up!

Today’s agenda called for a drive to Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. It was a little bit out of the way, but the breathtaking views were definitely worth the extra time! Spectacular.

It was clear as we drove that we were leaving the hustle and bustle of a summer day behind and stumbling into something entirely different. Cars became fewer and farther between, and snow started to occasionally dot the grass beside us.

According the the Park Service, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, at 1,943 feet. Fed by rain and snow but no rivers or streams, it is also thought to be the cleanest large body of water in the world. No wonder it is so stunning!

The lake’s story is pretty impressive, as well – it was created around 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption resulted in a massive peak collapsing.

We made a couple of stops within the park, including one at the top of the road to get the best vantage point of the islands, and one at the visitor’s center to get our passport book stamped and check out the displays. An opportunity to explore more thoroughly on a future visit is definitely on our list now.

After dinner at Abby’s Pizza, we were moving into California as the sun set. Mt. Shasta guided our path, and soon we were in Redding, where we lay our heads for the night.

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