Jacket: Nike; Jeans: Gap; Shoes: Nike
Isn't it strange how you can live in a state for many years and not see the majority of it? Growing up in Hawaii, I only saw 3 of the Hawaiian islands in 18 years. I still have quite a few to check off the list. Ben, a lifetime Oregon resident, had never seen Crater Lake, one of the most famous natural destinations in the state. For us, the prohibitive element in seeing what our state has to offer is the distance and sheer driving time to see many of our national parks and beautiful natural features. Crater Lake is about 4 hours southeast of Portland. The Painted Hills, another wonder we've never seen, is about 4 hours to the east. We'd never seen the southern Oregon coast, about 5 hours southwest. And I have yet to see the entirety of Southeastern Oregon, a whopping 7 hour drive.
Though at face value, 4-5 hours doesn't seem very long, a lot of these wonders exist far from hotels, or motels. And to do a there-and-back in one day is hard on the driver, leaves little time for exploring, and can be really rough on an older car, like we drive. The entire purpose of our road trip last weekend, and the reason we rented a car to do it, was to ride in a new, clean, comfortable, and not-ours car. We were able to drive 5+ hours a day, to never get uncomfortable in the seat, to use the AC and heat all we wanted, to gas it up hills and around slow moving traffic. In our current car, we like to keep the AC off and the windows down, to give it all the power it needs to get going (it's a Corolla that lacks oomph power on hills, especially with the AC going). We also get pretty uncomfortable in the seats - backaches galore!
We were so thrilled to finally make it Crater Lake (over many a mountain, forest, hill, and long stretch of highway) and see the giant lake that everyone talks about here in Oregon. Though we'd both seen photos, we were blown completely away by the gorgeous, massive lake perched below some snow-capped ridges and peaks. Pictures cannot capture even half of the beauty, the vivid blue, or the awe-inspiring feeling it left us with. 100% worth the drive.