Road Trip from Oregon to California: Bend and Crater Lake
I could have easily stayed spent another week eating, hiking and drinking my way through Portland but after four glorious days, it was time to make the drive back to California. Since we had already driven up the coast on the way there, we opted to head east on the way back along Highway 26 through Mount Hood National Forest.
There was so much that I wasn’t able to capture with my camera because we were driving but the views of Mount Hood from the highway were breathtaking. My original plan was for us to stop off at Buzzard Point to take in the view from afar but unfortunately the road leading there was completely snowed-in. So instead we drove up to the Timberline Lodge which sits right on the southern slope of the mountain.
We all got to stretch our legs for a bit and then it was back in the car to make the drive to Bend. The scenery went from lush and green to a dry dessert within a couple of hours.
Along the way we stopped at the Peter Skene Ogden Scenic Viewpoint to get in a little more walking and sight seeing. Again, my pictures just don’t do it justice. The views were beautiful.
By the time we got to Bend we worked up an appetite so we stopped at Next Level Burger for lunch. I ordered their classic burger, Brandon got a loaded chili dog and we both split a kale salad. Oh, and I washed it all down with a local kombucha they had on tap. ‘Twas deeeeelicious.
Of course I had to find a bakery for a treat to take with me on the road. I grabbed a cardamom brioche bun from The Village Baker and it was amazing. Bend gets two thumbs up for food!
Actually, looking back I wish I would have planned a night or two for us to stay in Bend because it seemed to have an awesome vibe. I would love to go back to do some hiking, drinking and more eating! :)
The next stop was Crater Lake. We attempted to access it from the north entrance but (again) it was snowed-in so we had to backtrack and drive around to the south side. There was only a small section of the road open to visitors due to all of the snow but we were able to get a quick peek.
It was crazy how steep the snow was on the edge of the lake! I kept imagining an avalanche happening and me sliding right down into the freezing cold water. Eeesh.
Less than an hour from Crater Lake is the Running Y Ranch in Klamath Falls, where we had booked a room for the night. The pet-friendly lodging options in this area are pretty slim so I was grateful to discover somewhere that not only allowed us to bring Coco but also offered healthy options for dinner.
They let us eat at a table in the lobby by the fireplace with Coco which I thought was nice considering it was chilly outside. I had the Tuscan White Bean Ribollita and Brandon got the Stuffed Mushroom with Pesto, Quinoa and Marinara Sauce. I didn’t post any pictures because they came out terrible thanks to dim lighting but they were both fantastic. I already have plans to recreate the stuffed mushroom dish!
The next morning we had breakfast on the patio which overlooks their beautiful golf course. I had steel cut oatmeal with berries and almond milk and Brandon had an egg white frittata. It was delicious and it held us over for the 6-hour drive home.
We spent the last leg of the trip with a stunning full frontal view of Mount Shasta along Highway 5. It was the perfect end to an amazing trip!