We set out from San Jose on a Sunday morning, so there was little traffic to contend with. Our ultimate destination was Crater Lake up in Oregon, and we’d already made hotel bookings at various stops along the way, because neither of us had seen that part of the state before. Also, we found that by pre-planning this aspect, we could avoid the impending July 4th surge!!
Our first stop was Mount Shasta. [Pics: 1 2] It was a 300 mile journey at the end of which we stayed at the Best Western Tree House. If you do go to Shasta, we recommend you make a stop for dinner at Lily’s, an organic restaurant down town, which seems pleasantly progressive when you are surrounded in such rustic simplicity!! Also visit Lake Siskiyou (great circular hike around for 7 miles) and pass through the town of Weed, CA!
The following day we left California and headed to the city of Klamath Falls, which is about another 85 miles north and is in Oregon. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort up there, which was actually really quiet, set on a golf course, and close to Klamath Lake. [Pics: 1 2] (In fact, it was not like a Holiday Inn at all) The best part about it was the bird watching around a marsh area actually on the resort premises. We stayed there for two days, and enjoyed the nature walks and the woodpeckers outside the room. Just make sure you take mosquito repellant!
While staying at Klamath Falls, we drove up to Crater Lake [Pics: 1 2 3 4], which is about an hour’s drive. As you approach the crater, you have a couple of choices as to how to approach the drive. (You cannot walk around it, you have to drive.) We drove clockwise around the lake (33 miles, the west rim drive), taking advantage of the multiple rest areas and look out points to take photographs and absorb the view. If you drive clockwise, you get to be on the edge of the road closest to the lake, so you get the best view from the inside track. As I mentioned before, words don’t do it justice, it’s pretty spectacular.
On our return journey, we headed about 190 miles for the coast via Klamath California. The highlight of that drive was the incredible Siskiyou /Klamath National Redwood Forests. We stayed at the Historic Requa Inn, overlooking the Klamath River. The people at the inn are very friendly, and love cats! There are some interesting geographical landforms in that area due to the build up of silt from the river as it winds downstream.
Heading down to Fort Bragg was another 200 mile journey, but the weather had cooled off a lot by this point, so we just enjoyed the mist and clouds. Again, the coastal landforms were interesting; especially the eroded arches. We stayed at the North Cliff Hotel, and took a trip to Mendocino, which was lovely.
You probably know the rest; a 207 mile journey back home to San Jose a lot of it on the coast! At that point, we had decided to avoid driving through San Francisco, as we could feel the onset of the 4th July rush, and were determined to avoid it!!!