Once we were in Coeur d’Alene, I had this odd sensation that we were nearly home. After all, it was the last “real” stop on our route, and it was nearing the end of week six. We’d be back in California in a jiffy, right?
WRONG. Silly me and my lack of perception when it comes to distance: There were actually a whopping 851 miles to go! So, while Oregon wasn’t necessarily on my initial list of “must stops”—SVV was born in Portland, I had spent some time there during college, and we were primarily targeting destinations neither of us had ever visited—it did wind up being a great way to wrap up our time on the road.
We cut over through Spokane and entered Oregon from the northeastern corner. We had originally intended to drive down through Boise, a town I really want to visit someday, over through Burns and come back through California via Plumas National Forest. SVV, the geeky son of a geologist, was chomping at the bit to see some obsidian deposits near Alturas, but once we had driven just a third of the way through eastern Oregon, an endeavor that was not only boring and monotonous but took all day, we realized how slow Highway 395 was and that it might take us an additional day to get back to Sacramento at this pace. So we ditched the obsidian, rerouted and decided to head for Bend instead.
We stayed just outside the town in one of the nicest RV parks we’d found yet and spent the next morning wandering through the artsy little town and its green spaces.
Some of us had more fun than others (that would be the party who is more than content finding a pine cone or feather to chase).
We even let her have one last road trip thrill and chase the geese off leash.
Then, it was onward…through fields and fields of cows! Don’t worry: You guys taught me the difference between a steer and a heifer. I won’t make that mistake again.
It was here and now that we realized the pup’s affinity for cows, which was a hilarious sight to behold.
Ella was going absolutely nuts whining inside the truck at the fields of cows we were passing by, so we pulled over to the side of the road, at which point she LEAPED OUT of the driver’s window and onto the pavement below in pursuit of the bovine. Luckily, SVV caught her leash just in time to prevent a full-on cowtastrophe and stampede.
We’ll make a herding dog out of her yet!
While initially we were just going to drive through the whole state of Oregon without making a stop, we decided we wanted to see Crater Lake after all, so we found a camping spot about an hour south of there in Lake of the Woods. The “resort” wasn’t the nicest—not sure I would stay there again, as management was run by college kids with little knowledge of how to man such an operation—but it had a killer location right on the lake.
Thanks to the sun setting at 10pm each night, we arrived with plenty of sunlight remaining to take out a canoe for a couple hours. We paddled to the far side of the lake and tied up to a floating log so we could just chill out and enjoy the cool early summer evening.
And naturally brought a six-pack of Deschutes from the general store for the occasion. When in Oregon.
We’re bad parents, because the pup even stole a few sips. She’s been a beer lover since birth—who are we to deprive her, even if she still is underage? Pretty soon, we’re moving her on to the “hard stuff”—you know, Jack, Jim and George, all my favorite men. (I’m from Tennessee. Cut me some slack.)
The following day, we would put the pedal to the medal and wrap up our trip with a 343-mile drive back through Northern California, so it was nice to enjoy one last relaxing evening while we still could.
That night, we continued to chill with a campfire and enough s’mores to make us both sick.
It was the perfect final note to our 42-day trip, because Lord knows, the craziness to come was going to be far from relaxing.
Week 6 Overview: June 19-26
Distance Driven: 1420.7 miles
Total Trip Distance: 5744.3 miles
States Visited: Idaho, Oregon, California
Gas Used: 130.8 gallons, $499.75
Cheapest Gas: $3.65/gallon; Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Most Expensive Gas: $4.19/gallon; Dale, Oregon
Best Gas Mileage: 15.9 miles/gallon
Worst Gas Mileage: 6.3 miles/gallon
Lodging/Campground Fees: $207