The ocean was the goal. But there was still the beautiful state of Oregon to traverse. Few think of Oregon as desert, But from the Idaho border, traveling west across Oregon to the high desert town of Bend, the landscape is a vast, open, sagebrush-covered, wind-swept land, punctuated by fascinating geologic formations and lava fields. From Bend, the land rises into the Cascade Range and the lovely little town of Sisters, named for the peaks that stand guard over it. It was there that we spent the night, with llamas grazing just outside our room. We searched out an interesting restaurant, The Open Door, and spent a pleasant evening dining in the garden on fresh beet salad and flatbread pizza.
Up and over the winding McKenzie Pass we went rising 2000' through Ponderosa pine forests before opening up to an amazing lava field dating back over 2000 years.
The jagged peaks of the Sisters, Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson rise abruptly out of the rocky chaos. At the summit sits The Dee Wright Observatory, built entirely out of volcanic rock by the CCC in the 1930's. Small observation openings, lava tubes, reveal the surrounding geologic features.
|Mt. Jefferson through the lava tube, Oregon's second highest peak.|
|Bronze Peak Finder at Dee Wright Observatory|
From the summit we descend into the lush greenness for which Oregon is so famous, winding along the beautiful McKenzie River, emerging into the bustle of Eugene. We pushed on to the coast, my ocean fix long overdue. Driving down Highway 101 brought back good memories of many trips past. The Oregon Dunes, seafood in Florence, incredible state beaches. In Bandon, we settled for a few days in a funky little guest house with a great view of the harbor, and walking distance to all of the town.
Lazy days were spent exploring the beaches, the wildlife refuges, the lighthouse, the village and the harbor and the seafood restaurants.
Right behind our inn was a most amazing museum filled with 'artwork' created from the trash washed up on the beaches. The Washed Ashore Project aims to educate and create awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution through art.
American oystercatchers poked through the rocky buffet just out of easy camera range, but I succeeded in capturing this one.
Fog settles in along the coast, creating surreal and ethereal scenes.
Next Up, continuing down the coast of California. Perhaps I can finish documenting this trip before the next one begins. Well, perhaps not.