Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oregon Visit


In our year of travels, we had made it to all of our immediate family’s homes except for Jonathan’s Grandparents Youngblood. So, paying them a visit had been on our list for a while. Their location just hadn’t crossed our path yet. Since they live near the western coast of Oregon, it seemed only fair that we would should stop by. So they tentatively penciled us in for the whole month of September.  (That’s about as accurate as we get due to our notoriously variable travel plans.)

After visiting Craters of the Moon we made our way west across Oregon’s eastern deserts.  The rain shadow from the Rockies is serious business.  There is no simple way to traverse central and southern Oregon; so, true to form, Jed (our GPS) sent us down the slowest, most-winding path possible without actually taking dirt roads.  Despite the Jed-induced misguide-ment-ness, we arrived at a reasonable hour.  Unfortunately, it was quite warm in this region.  Highs in the upper 90s, although humidity was reasonable.  Fortunately, we didn’t have to worry about temperatures as much in Fred & Martha’s nice air-conditioned house.

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Being situated in a classy neighborhood backing a golf course, Chuck got plenty of interesting looks (he is probably the oldest car for miles, and the dirtiest).  However, being near the vanagon mecca, he didn’t stand out too much, and we saw plenty of Westfalia campers and regular vanagons alike.

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The day after we arrived, we decided to visit Crater Lake National Park for some hiking-picnic action.  Thankfully, the many thousands of feet in elevation gain reduced the temps to manageable levels. Crater Lake is a member of unique group of lakes situated in the craters of dormant or extinct volcanoes. 

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On Friday, Fred had to work; so Martha sent us out to kayak one of the nearby lakes. It had been a very dry summer, though, and most of the lakes  were low.  Not wishing to paddle and stare at muddy banks, we opted to do some shopping and go to the Mercedes dealership.  Without batting an eyelash, a salesman took us to look at some new Sprinters.  As far as vans go, they were rather cool, and expensive, with base models starting around $30k, and easily breaking $45k with options.  Sure makes Chuck seem like a bargain. Though, the combined 30mpg engine they are coming out with next year is pretty tempting. Also interesting is that they now have electric Smart cars (only costing in the low 20s). Apparently if you buy one in California, the state government will pay half of your monthly payment, making it really reasonable. We spent the rest of the day catching up on our miscellaneous items that we needed to do.

With the warm temperatures in the interior of Oregon, the place to go is the coast (if you aren’t already at Crater Lake). So, on Saturday, all of us piled into the car to explore the Oregon coast. The temperatures were cool as promised. Cool enough to require long sleeves and jackets. But it was perfect kiting weather, and Jen had never successfully flown a kite before. So Fred and Martha pulled out their kites and succeeded in teaching Jen how to fly a kite.

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Our kites. The colorful one was easier to fly than the seagull.

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Flying a kite is exhausting on your neck. It is much easier to watch your kite laying back like that.
Sunday took us to Fred and Martha’s church, where we learned that they knew half the church. After lunch, Martha made us some delicious peanut butter popcorn balls and I tried out a homemade Butterfinger bar recipe (substituting white chocolate for the milk chocolate, of course).

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We took our leave Monday morning so that we could see more places before I had to depart for my sister’s bridal shower.

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