Crater Lake, Oregon

Well, once again, I am way behind on posting about our adventures, so I’m going to take the next week or so to try and catch up.

July 19-23, 2017

Oregon is an amazing place to visit with its diversity of geography, climate, and natural beauty.  From Bend it was on to Crater Lake for about a week where our daughter Erin would be visiting us for a while.

This time of the year, sites in RV parks are a bit difficult to find.  It seems the winters up here are pretty cold and with the onset of warmer weather, everyone wants to get out.  Add to that all the folks from other parts of the country that want to see this beautiful area and you have a recipe for full RV parks.  Fortunately, I realize that about a month ago and started making reservations along our planned route. 

The RV park is on the “main” road to the south entrance of Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Highway 62, but there is not much traffic during the day and almost none at night.  The park is basically one outer loop with the sites on the outside and an “island” of grass in the middle with the bath house and laundry.  Our “home” for the week was a back-in site under some beautiful mature trees that gave us plenty of shade.  So, I pulled up, lined the rig up with the site and started to back in.  Just as I was coming to a stop to reassess the angle, I heart a big scraping sound and knew that was not good.  I got out to take a look, only to realize I had “found” a huge bolder that was lining a pathway to the bath house.  Fiberglass and boulders are not friends.  Fortunately, there was only minor damage with a little bent aluminum bay door and some fairly minor fiberglass that will need a little body work.  We will just have to get it fixed when we visit the Tiffin Service Center in November.

Chiliquin is the nearest town, only about 10 miles away and has seen better days.  As with many small towns, when the two factories there closed, the town pretty well dried up.  There is still a small grocery store, some churches, and a liquor store there, but not much else. 

The weather, even at the end of June was still only in the low 60’s during the day and low 50’s at night.  We went over to Crater Lake one day, which was also only about 10 miles away, and found that the south entrance, the one we were closest to, was the only of the four entrances that was open.  The rest were still closed because of the snowfall.  Lynette has a Senior Park Pass which that only cost $10 for a lifetime and gets us into National Parks, Corps of Engineer’s locations, and other properties owned by the Federal Government, for free. The price is going up this fall to $80 for a lifetime this fall and anyone age 62 or older is eligible.

Only about 7 miles of the 33-mile loop around the park was open when we visited because the snow had not been cleared from the other entrances.  The park gets about 45 FEET of snow each season, so it takes a while for it to melt since the road is between 6500 and 7900 feet in altitude and winter lasts for eight months.  Also, some of the snow drifts up to 60 feet in some areas. There are sensors built into the road itself to help snow removal crews locate the center of the road under all that snow.  Interestingly, there are no rivers or streams that flow into or out of the lake.  The water level is maintained by snowmelt and evaporation and is the deepest lake in the US at 1,949 feet.  It is a majestic place to visit and there were plenty of foreign visitors that also wanted to take a look. 

Wizard Island in Crater Lake

Wizard Island in Crater Lake. Named so because the island looks like a wizard’s hat.

The dull part of the water is where the ice has not yet melted and the shiny part is where the ice has melted.

On Wednesday, we drove about an hour and a half up to Medford, Oregon, to pick us Erin at the airport.  Since she had been up since 4:00 AM that morning in order to make her flight, we decided to wait till the next day to do any sightseeing. 

On Thursday, she and Lynette went to the park since I was not feeling well.  Wouldn’t you know it, they had removed the snow and had opened almost all of the rest of the park, so the girls got most of the full experience. Crater Lake would be a great “bucket list” item for anyone who enjoys seeing unique places and natural beauty.

Strange things about Oregon

  1. You are not allowed to pump your own gas. There are attendants at each station, though they don’t clean your windshield and check your oil like back in the “good ole days”.
  2. Diesel fuel is 30 cents less for truckers than for other diesel users and you are allowed to pump your own diesel. It is not a flammable as gasoline. I am told the state makes up for the discount with road use taxes they charge truckers
  3. There is no sales tax. An item costing $2.99 is $2.99.
  4. Signs along the coast constantly warn, “Tsunami Hazard Zone”. I never thought much about tsunamis until we traveled out here.
  5. When going up a steep hill on a two-lane highway, there is often an additional lane on the uphill side for slower traffic to use so others can pass. However, downhill traffic is allowed to use the inside uphill lane to pass if no uphill traffic is coming.
  6. Along the coast, the wind blows almost constantly and the summer temperatures rarely get above 65 degrees with lows in the low 50’s.
  7. There is almost no one in the ocean itself or along the beaches. The water is just too cold. Often, fog rolls over the beach sand because of the really cold water and the much warmer air.
  8. Most of the RV parks along the coast also have a “Fish Cleaning Station”.
  9. There are state parks along the coast about every 20 miles or so.
  10. There are almost no “beach houses” along the shore line. It is just wide open sand and you can see for miles with nothing built along the way.  It is really pristine and beautiful.

Growing up on the east coast, we never thing about earthquakes and tsunamis.

The fog sometimes is so thick on the beach that you can cannot see more that about a hundred yards.


We are really enjoying ourselves and loving the diverse beauty of the country as we are RVingthecountry.





2 thoughts on “Crater Lake, Oregon

  1. Tent camped there at Crater L. in June…had to climb down inside the sleeping bag to stay warm! Most of the circle drive was closed then too…Awesome place though.

    • We drove through the campground in the middle of June and the snow was still about 5 feet high with a spot dug out just wide enough to park a car and pitch a tent.

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