Sunday, September 2, 2007

Around Oregon in Seven Days

On September 2, 2007 I flew to Portland from Sacramento and met up with Darrick to begin our now-traditional Labor Day Weekend road trip/vacation. This year's destination was the state of Oregon itself, which is more or less Darrick's "backyard" since he lives in Portland. I had to travel just a bit to get there.

Having arrived at the airport, we proceeded to the Alamo rental car counter and attempted to pick up our rented vehicle. We were checked in and instructed to take the bus instead; Alamo is one of the few car companies that keeps its vehicles off-airport in Portland. Paperwork in hand, my instructions are to proceed to stalls E6 through E9 and pick any vehicle that is there. I get off the bus and wait two minutes for Darrick to catch up (he had driven his own car to the airport and had to bring it with him to the rental location so I wouldn't get lost getting back to his house) and while waiting, the two Toyota highlanders in slots E6 and E7, along with the Chevy Equinox in slot E9 were gobbled up by other eager tourists. E8 was empty to begin with. This left me with four empty stalls form which to choose from. Unsure what to do, I begin aimlessly wandering the lot to see if there's anything else that looks rentable, when a lot attendant asks me if I need assistance. I explain my predicament, and he points me to a fully loaded Chevy TrailBlazer that was probably intended for the elite customers. I nod, smile, and take it before he changes his mind.

Having completed the rental process, we head to Darrick's house to drop off his car and pick up his camping gear. From there, we begin the trek. First stop: Beaverton, where we pick up perishables and lunch.

From Chipotle, we begin our real trek. First destination: Crater Lake. We take a maze of roads to get there: US 26 from Beaverton to OR-217 to I-5 in Tigard, I-5 South to Eugene, OR-58 east to the US 97 junction, and finally US 97 South to OR-138. We arrived at Crater Lake at about 9:30 PM, passed through the closed entrance gate without paying, and stopped at a turnout to take some night photos. While doing this, I flagged down a passing Park Ranger and asked where we might have the best luck with campgrounds, and were informed that the offices for all of them would be closed at this late hour and that we should attempt to find an open site (on Labor day weekend, good luck!) and then just go pay for it first thing in the morning. We ended up stealing a site from someone who had apparently checked out early, but more on that later.

Photos are below as always.

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