Friday, 29 May 2015

Road Trip Diary: Klamath Falls > Crater Lake> Bend

20. Redding to Klamath Falls
Saturday 23rd May 2015

We left Redding nice and early and drove north past the gigantic Mount Shasta just shy of the border with Oregon. We did some running commentary as we drove past it, googling and reading up about the possibility of it erupting and reminiscing about the volcano epic Dante's Peak. Classic.
We took some snaps, stopped off in a town called Weed (real place!) for some food. If I'm not careful this blog will turn into a diary of the best kitsch signage across the west coast but I just can't help myself.
We bid adieu to California for 22 days and said hello Oregon, the Beaver state!

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21. Klamath Falls to Bend
Sunday 24th May 2015

Our first dud ladies and gentleman. Klamath Falls probably wasn't the best introduction to Oregon. Long roads full of crappy chain stores, a basic motel, nothing interesting nearby and only a Burger King next door for sustenance. We made it work but we were happy to get out of there and on to what we had been really looking forward to, Crater Lake.

Now this is is what we were expecting. Even the Grand Canyon didn't stir me like this place did. All the cliches- breathtaking, awe-inspiring (my face in the first photo below accurately depicts my awe), magnificent. It genuinely didn't look real, the clouds reflecting in the super blue and eerily still waters of the lake made it out to be some piece of photoshop tomfoolery but this was in my actual eyes! We stopped off numerous times on the way around, to see it from various angles and it was stunning from each one. I've never seen anything like it and just thinking about it as I write this gets me a little emotional. This was the Oregon I was expecting.

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We arrived in Bend late afternoon, dropped the car at the motel and walked through an area called the Old Mill District, a relatively new-looking development with a cinema, Victoria's Secret and a load of restaurants all set on the banks of the Deschutes River. As we carried on up to downtown, the setting changed. The familiar grid of an American town returned and the streets were lined with cute little wooden bungalows and porches. We reached downtown, full of independent shops and markets and by this point we needed some refreshment. Mine's a margarita, his a pale ale.

We stopped in at the Pine Tavern for their excellent happy hour ($5 margaritas!), moved a few doors down to Bend Brewing Company to try their beers and then headed back to the Pine Tavern for more beer, some happy hour bar food and to grill the waitress about how Americans 'do' bank holidays seeing as the following day was Memorial Day (much the same as us in case you were wondering). A drunken walk back to the motel confirmed we were both already big fans of Bend.

22. Bend
Monday 25th May 2015

We rose late seeing as today, we didn't need to be anywhere until much later on- the doors for the Robert Plant gig didn't open until 5pm. We got a late lunch next the river before checking out the Les Schwab Amphitheater. It was very cute and almost British in it's quaintness- think a tiny little version of Hyde Park where everyone brings little lawn chairs and there's a white picket fence around the stage. As we were still too early we wandered up to the Deschutes Brewery and bagged four free delicious beer samples- a definite recommendation if you ever find yourself in Bend!

I'm a very big Led Zeppelin fan (me more than Ed) and I love his newer work with the Sensational Spaceshifters, so we had shuffled our itinerary around to make sure we were in Bend to coincide with Mr Plant. Unfortunately the amphitheater had strict rules on cameras with lenses (all cameras that weren't phones basically) so no photos but I can assure you he was awesome. His voice was top notch, the band were as brilliant as ever and he had perfect Englishman banter. The atmosphere was lovely and they played a great mix of old and new songs. I shed a few tears at Going to California, prophetic for us as it was, and I skipped home later on that familiar gig high.

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23. Bend
Tuesday 26th May 2015

Waking with thumping headaches and yearnings for coffee, we drove downtown to Thump Coffee, voted best local coffee in Bend four years running and mentioned to us via a couple of personal recommendations. After a latte and bagel for me (both very good) and a cookie and americano for Ed, a little debate about which is better, the populist doughnut or the humble cookie, we took a walk around downtown Bend, browsed the shops and made our way back to the motel for a little nap*.

For dinner, we popped into the Old Mill District again for four courses at a seafood restaurant called Anthony's (salad, bread, starter, great fresh garlic prawns, cod fillet and a little fudge sundae all for the bargain price of $22 per person) and a final walk around the river.
We were very sad to leave Bend. Loved the beer, all the people were really friendly and relaxed, the food had been the best we had come upon so far and the weather kept its promises. A brilliant three days all round.

*We are famous for our naps, especially holiday naps, but we are seriously lacking so far. Not many will believe it, but this was our first. Promise.

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4 comments

  1. Gosh, Crater Lake is absolutely stunning! I get what you mean about feeling emotional - I felt the same way when I visited Montenegro last year. It was everything I'd hoped it would be and it still makes me feel a bit teary about how happy I as to be there.
    Moon + Forest || A UK Travel Blog

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    1. Aw this is lovely! I've wanted to go to Montenegro for ages, it's supposed to be amazing. Thank you for the comment :D x

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  2. Wow! Crater Lake is breathtaking. I am seriously taking notes-- I love this journey and can't wait to see more.

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    1. Thank you so much Bella! We are loving it too, nearly half way through :( but still lots of great places to go! x

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