Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Tizzy & Doris' Great PNW Road Trip

Astoria-Megler Bridge

 Checking out the Astoria-Megler Bridge and being a tourist
 Haystack Rock Cannon Beach, OR
Jumping for joy we made it!
 Oregon Coast
 Tillamook Cheese Factory, do you spot a Tizzy?
 Salted butterscotch and Vanilla
 14 years of friendship, love her!
 Crater Lake!
 Supporting Phil B!
 Crater Lake from a different angle
 Love them!
 Diamond Lake
 Shrimp salad for dinner!
 Our setup
 Mile 25 haha
Run Brett Run!
Went to Germany with these two in high school, now we here lol
 Short hike to Umpqua Hot Springs
Tizzy enjoying the warm waters
 Definitely worth it, hot spring pools on the left
 To another successful road trip!
 Smith Rock State Park 
 Adventure partner #1
 Love love this place
 Horse ford, crossing the river, shoes in hand!
 Can you tell I am excited?!
Crossing the river and my pale ass legs lol
 Rowena Crest
The Gorge

The idea for this PNW road trip came about when I was talking to my good friend Phil B back in March. He mentioned that him and some friends just signed up for the Crater Lake Rim Run in August. In which I have been wanting to see Crater Lake, so I told him I'd be down to meet up with him that weekend. After some back and forth with Tizzy, she eventually bought a flight to Seattle to take part in this road trip. I also invited my best friend Jaclyn and her fiance Bryan to come camp with us and they were down. By the time the plans came together, there were no more open sites I could reserve at Mazama Village Campgrounds at Crater Lake, so the next closest campground was Diamond Lake Campground, which was about 20 minutes away from one of the Crater Lake entrances, which wasn't bad.

Inside of Crater Lake National Park, there are only 2 campgrounds you can car camp at Mazama and Lost Creek. You can reserve sites at Mazama ahead of time, but for Lost Creek, it's walk up only and there's only 16 sites. I didn't want to chance it this time around, especially during peak season. Diamond Lake Campground turned out to be great! Anyways, let's go in order of how this road trip went.....

Day 1: Wednesday August 10, 2016
Tizzy flew into Seattle this day while I worked a 9-5. We hit the road around 6:00 pm that afternoon for the Oregon Coast. Plans were to camp at Gnat Creek Campground on the outskirts of Astoria, OR. Gnat Creek was the only walk up site I could find in the area. Well, we had no luck that night, all sites were full when we pulled up at 10 pm. So we decided to drive into the heart of Astoria and see if we could find anything. The KOA campground was also full, we called around to all the motels and they all were either full or more than what we were willing to pay (Motel 6 said they had an ocean view room for $200.... uhm, we were only going to be there for less then 8 hours. No thanks, and it was a Motel 6!). So we opted to sleep in my Mazda 6. After some bickering of where we should park my car and sleep, we ended up on a hill next to a trail head. We parked it, I leaned my seat back while Tizzy crawled into the backseat, and we snoozed for a full 8 hours. Turns out, sleeping in the car wasn't the worst night's sleep we've ever gotten!

Miles driven: 180 miles

Day 2: Thursday August 11, 2016
After waking up Thursday morning in the car, we went and got breakfast at Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe (which was delicious and healthy!), drove around town a little, checked out the Astoria-Megler Bridge, which was pretty massive, 4.1 miles long with a height of 400 ft, and headed south to Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach is a coastal town in Oregon known for it's Haystack Rock. We got in around lunch time, walked on the beach to get a closer look of the rock, and had lunch at a great fish and chips spot, Tom's Fish N Chips. I so wanted ice cream after lunch but knew we couldn't because our next stop was... Tillamook Cheese Factory!! (also a huge ice cream distributor, if you didn't know) So after Cannon Beach, off to Tillamook we went!

The drive down to Tillamook was beautiful. A lot of the road sticks to the coast, so we had some gorgeous views. Pulling into Tillamook, we knew we were going to a tourist spot, so we expected the crowd. We both knew there was a tour, cheese was going to be involved, and also ice cream, but didn't know what else to expect. Walking in, there were people everywhere! The tour is self guided. You can see the employees in the factory packaging cheese and what not. Then downstairs, they've got free cheese samples, which eventually after the cheese line spits you out into a market. Wish we had been hungry, the grilled cheese sounded delish! But we passed and opted for ice cream. They have so many flavors here! I ended up with 2 scoops, Salted Butterscotch and Vanilla.

After Tillamook, we made our way to Portland. We got dinner that night with Jaclyn at El Cubo de Cuba, did some final grocery shopping at Fred Meyer, and called it a night.

Miles driven: 160 miles

Day 3: Friday August 12, 2016
Slept at Jaclyn & Bryan's Thursday night, woke up, and dragged Tizzy's butt to Pip's Original Donuts (I love Pip's way better than Voodoo!), packed up our cars, and hit the road for Crater Lake. Jaclyn & Bryan took their own car. We ended up with so much stuff, I don't think all 4 of us could have fit in just one car lol. We got to Crater Lake early afternoon and the weather was perfect. We headed to Mazama first to go find Phil B and friends. The road in has numerous viewpoints that you could stop at, we stopped at 2 spots. It was gorgeous! Tizzy was right, we should've hiked down to the lake, but we didn't have time. Once we got to our friends' campsite, no one was there. So we waited around a little, and eventually everyone showed up. 3 of them were running the full marathon the next day, none of them looked thrilled lol. After hanging out for a bit, and once Jaclyn & Bryan showed up, we headed to Diamond Lake Campground to find our campsite. We set up tent, made dinner, had some s'mores around the fire pit and called it a night.

Miles driven: 254 miles

Day 4: Saturday August 13, 2016
We slept in a little, woke up, made breakfast sandwiches & coffee, and just hung around camp in the morning. At around noon, we drove back to Crater to see if we could catch the boys finishing up the marathon. Lucky us, we stumbled across them in my car at the 25th mile! The boys were still going! Woohoo! They stuck together the whole time, and finished 2 minutes under 6 hours. (There goal was 6 hours lol). Kudos to them though, Rim Run is a tough marathon, with 3000 ft elevation gain in 8 miles. We hung out at the finish line, and then eventually migrated back to the boys' campsite, where Phil B's sis was hanging out with her friends (they ran the half marathon). After hanging out, Jaclyn, Bryan, Tizzy, and I made our way back to our own camp to grab food, and head to the hot springs nearby.

Umpqua Hot Springs is about a 30 minute drive from Diamond Lake, and totally worth a visit if you want to experience natural hot springs. It's a short hike to them, and there are numerous pools you can sit in. The pools are located on the side of a mountain. When we got there, there were quite a bit of cars at the trailhead, so we were a little weary about how crowded the pools were going to be. But once we hiked in, it wasn't too bad! We got a couple of the pools to ourselves even. The upper pools are warmer, and as you go further down the hill, the cooler the pools get. Hottest pool was well over 100 degrees. Beware, clothing optional!

After our soak, we headed back to camp and made dinner. My friend Lee showed up with her friends, and we all hung around the campfire till well past 11 pm. Another successful day of camping!

Miles driven: 100 miles

Day 5: Sunday August 14, 2016
We woke up, ate breakfast, packed up camp, and hit the road. We knew we had a long day of driving, so we hit the road before 10 am. Our first stop was Bend, OR. We didn't sightsee too much here, just grabbed a quick lunch at Spork (best Asian Fusion I've had!), and some coffee and then were back on the road.

Next stop was Smith Rock State Park. So happy we stopped here! Such a beautiful place. We ended hiking around for 3 miles or so. Way too hot that day, temps were hitting 90. This was probably one of my favorite stops on our road trip. It's a place you wouldn't imagine being located in Oregon. Dry, rocky, and hot. Park entrance is $5 for the parking. We looked at a map, and decided on a trail, but then realized it was too hot so we changed routes lol. Tizzy and I ended up crossing a waist deep horse ford along the river. It cooled us down! Once we got back to the car, we hit the road for Rowena Crest.

I added Rowena Crest to our itinerary last minute. I feel like it wouldn't be so well known if it wasn't for Instagram lol. I've seen numerous pictures of the bendy road. It was on the way for us anyways. It's actually just a viewpoint stop. It wasn't crowded either when we got there, which was nice. The bendy road was pretty cool, the view of the Gorge was beautiful from here!

After Rowena Crest, back to Seattle we went. We pulled into Seattle around 11:45 pm that night. Such a long day on the road but glad to be back home.

Miles driven: 437 miles

Total miles driven in 5 days: 1131 miles

Overall, the road trip was a success! We covered a lot of ground, we saw a ton of Oregon, and I got to hang out and see a ton of friends:)

Until next time Oregon!

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