Tag Archives: Oregon road trips

Oregon Coast Quick Trip

Even though we recently had a fantastic five-day excursion to Crater Lake and Lassen Volcanic National Parks, our lust for road-tripping wasn’t sated. When our cat-sitter again became available for three days and two nights, we loaded up the Outback and headed for Oregon’s magnificent coast, planning to focus on the southern stretch, which we have driven along but never explored.

Our itinerary was perhaps over-ambitious for a three-day round trip from Portland that would be spent largely on the winding Pacific Coast Highway, for we wanted to squeeze in a visit to our favorite redwoods in Jedediah Smith State Park near Crescent City, across the California border. Reader, we did it. The dreaded weekend traffic on the PCH never materialized, the weather was deliciously cool, and we revisited a few old friends, such as Cape Perpetua, and made a lot of new ones. 804 miles well spent. We need to get to the south coast again soon!

Highlights included:

  • The best fish and chips (albacore tuna) at South Beach near Newport
  • Lovely beach walks at Seal Rock, Beachside, Bullards, and more, and a few short hikes on the Oregon Coast Trail
  • A tranquil, fragrant grove of myrtlewood at Humbug Mountain State Park south of Port Orford
  • Shore Acres State Park on Cape Arago, with its gorgeous botanical garden and a short walk down to geologically fascinating Simpson Beach, pictured above (hat tip to Wendy Wagner for turning me on to this place)
  • The windiest walk either of us has ever had, out to the lighthouse on Cape Blanco: sunny, incredibly windy, and glorious
  • Delicious oyster stew in Bandon
  • Zachary’s creation of the song title “The Devil You Know and the Six You Don’t” as we drove the Seven Devils Road
  • Every single wayside, park, and viewpoint in the scenic Samuel Boardman Corridor between Brookings and Gold Beach
  • The Howland Hill Road and Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith SP
  • AND we saw a wild bobcat bound across a quiet gravel road!

Quenched Blobs and Chaos Jumbles

We got home last evening from our second multi-day excursion of the pandemic era, and it was swell. Among the highlights (details below) were the fulfillment of a lifelong optical-phenomenon goal and the cutest wildlife experience ever.

Chaos Jumbles, Lassen NP

Even before the pandemic, it had become a challenge for both Z and me to be away from home at the same time. Our ageing cat, dear Xerxes, gets medicated twice a day and hates to be alone, but alas, a couple of years ago our longtime cat- and house-sitter moved two hours away. She became briefly available last September, so Z and I rolled the Covid dice and chanced a three-night road trip to the Wallowas, which we loved. A few weeks ago we learned that she’d be available again for four nights in June. We jumped on the chance.

We drove south on I-5 to Roseburg and took the North Umpqua Scenic Byway (otherwise known as Hwy 138) to Diamond Lake, just north of Crater Lake. We spent our first night at the DL Resort. On the evening of the second day we drove from Crater Lake National Park southwest to Redding along the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Highway, passing just north of Mt. Shasta. After a night in Redding we hastened to Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park and spent an entire day there, ending up at Z’s stepsister’s house 90 minutes away. We spent our last two nights there and drove home yesterday, breaking the eight-hour drive with an all-too-brief visit with Z’s cousins in Ashland. Xerxes and our recent addition, Xanthe the Speckled Menace (a young Bengal cat), were in fine fettle when we arrived and seemed barely to have noticed our absence, which speaks well of our sitter.


* Green flash sunset at Crater Lake. We watched a nearly fluorescent sun set behind the rolling hills west of the lake. As the last bit of it sank below the horizon, we saw the green flash. It was yellowish-green, almost chartreuse. I was thrilled. I have long wished to see this phenomenon but even on a long sea cruise never had the luck. So that was pretty damn cool.

* Babies in ground squirrel town. Ground squirrels scampered everywhere around the Diamond Lake Resort. The lawn leading down to the lake had a patch of burrows like a miniature prairie-dog town, with squirrels popping up and down, grazing in the grass, and standing sentry. Then we saw two squirrels bring up their young, who were about as big as my thumb. There were half a dozen of these little ground squirrels altogether. They frolicked and played like puppies, running up a little sand hill and rolling down, piling onto and chasing each other. I didn’t try to use my crappy phone camera because I didn’t want to disturb them.

* Half a dozen good hikes, some of them short but steep. One benign walk took us to the famous Bumpass Hell in Lassen NP.

* Watson Falls, at 293 feet the highest in southwestern Oregon, and Clearwater Falls, where we saw a lot of American Dippers (sometimes called water ouzels). These were not my first Dippers, but it was the first time I’d seen such a close, clear, and protracted display of the bobbing movement that gives them their name.

* Geological phenomena at Lassen, including Quenched Blobs and the Chaos Jumbles. My next band name. . . .