California is truly awesome! But, frankly, not quite as awesome as Oregon. I was talking to my mom this morning and telling her that I thought Oregon was the most beautiful state we have been to so far. She laughed and said “Erin you have said that about every state you have visited” which was true, but this time I truly believe it. After 4 months of 90-100+ temperatures and no rain we moved into Oregon. The state has over 30 million acres of forested land. It has towering trees and beautiful forest, raging rivers, magnificant snow-capped mountains, volcanoes, gorgeous mountain lakes, waterfalls, perfect campsites and did I mention the Pacific Ocean. It is an outdoor paradise. We are so lucky to have spent so much time here.
Last time I posted we were in northern California. We had just arrived at Lake Shasta 8 miles north of Redding CA. Tragically, Redding is being ravaged by forest fires in the last week which have burned more than 190 square miles and have taken 6 lives. The fires that we have seen in the west are surprising to us, although this seems to be a way of life out here, it still is unsettling to see smoke in the distance and know there are fires burning.
Lake Shasta is a beautiful reservoir with over 365 miles of shoreline located at the base of Mount Shasta. The temperatures were stifling while we were there so we rented a house boat and spent a fabulous day on the lake. Being on the water was a very well needed break from the heat. We also toured the Lake Shasta dam that amazingly provides a large percentage of the water needed for the State of California.
From California, we headed into Ashland Oregon. Ashland is a quaint town just north of the border. It is known for it’s Shakespeare festival that runs 9 months of the year. From Ashland we headed to Crater Lake National Park. This is one of the most beautiful parks that we have spent time in. On a sunny day the water is a mesmerizing deep blue. It’s also the deepest lake in the US and was formed when Mount Mazama, a stratovolcano,volcano erupted over 7700 years ago. We hiked several miles of the rim trail, which offered beautiful views. Our campground was just a few miles outside Crater Lake on Diamond Lake. Diamond Lake is a large lake with an 11 mile trail system that circles around the lake with volcanos, mountains, forest and meadows. We walked the entire trail one day and were pretty proud of ourselves at the completion.
The pictures below are a slide show of Crater Lake and Diamond Lake. Just click on the arrow to view.
From Crater Lake we headed 90 miles north to the town of Bend. Bend is located in central Oregon and is the fastest growing town in the state. The current population is 80,000 and growing steadily. Bend offers everything most people would want in a community. Mt. Bachelor is about 25 miles outside of town and offers winter skiing, and year round hiking. The Cascade Scenic highway circles the mountain where there are 14 beautiful mountain lakes. The downtown of Bend is charming, clean and full of brew pubs, small shops and cafes. The Deschutes river runs through town where people raft, paddle board and tube the lazy summer days away. We really can’t say enough good things about Bend. During our stay in Bend we were able to meet up with a friend of mine and her family who recently moved to Bend from California. It’s always nice to have a chance to catch up with old friends
From Bend we headed to Eugene, the home of the University of Oregon and the mighty ducks. While in Eugene we were able to meet up with some friends of Jeff’s and spent a couple of evenings with them. On our off night, we were able to catch a ballgame.
From Eugene we headed to the Pacific Coast where we are currently. We went from 95 degrees to 65 in 2 hours. I am loving the coolness of the coast and being on the Pacific Ocean is beautiful. Our campsite is a 1/4 mile walk to the beach. Yesterday, we had a picnic on the beach and watched people flying kites, riding horses and just enjoying the “summer” Oregon weather. The fresh seafood and chowder have been pretty amazing and we’ve been enjoying a much slower lifestyle.
We will be on the coast for the next 9 days and then will arrive in Seattle where we will visit our daughter Carly, son-in-law Randy, and our sweet pea McKenna! We are super excited to see them and to explore Seattle and the state of Washington.
Included below is a link to an article that Jeff and I were recently featured in. It was written by our good friend, Kay Newton, who lives in Mallorca Spain. Kay is a very dear friend and an accomplished entrepreneur, author, life coach and all around fabulous person. The article was written for a publication in India about people in their 50’s who take “gap years”
We hope everyone is enjoying their summer as much as we have been enjoying ours.
Loving our life in Valhalla
Erin and Jeff………and Ola