Twinkle, twinkle, all the stars…

What a night! We’re in Klamath Falls, Oregon. On our way here from Crater Lake, we were driving on an unlit road at night. It was so dark that we were able to see the stars. At first, it started out as a few stars, but as our eyes adjusted, we saw many more stars. For safety reasons, I told hubs that we needed to find a safe place to pull off the road so that we could stare up at the sky together. I wanted to see the milky way, something I’ve only seen in pictures but never with my own eyes, and hubs said that it would take 10 minutes for our eyes to adjust to night sky and we’d more easily be able to locate it. So we pulled into a campsite parking area, opened our moon roof, and turned off our car. As we allowed the darkness to surround us, I felt as though I could see all the stars. The entire sky was speckled with stars. To be able to share that magical moment with hubs, the two of us squirming around in the car in order to see as much as possible before settling into a slouch and simply gazing up through the moon roof, it was truly romantic. There is nobody else that I would rather be with when making wishes on shooting stars. Everything was perfect. The crickets were making their cricket noises, the air was crisp at only 15C, and we were whispering to each other, pointing out things we found interesting. We both spotted the milky way in the same spot. I wish we could do this every night. As soon as we neared our hotel, I looked up into the sky and could not see any more stars due to the city lights. I won’t soon forget this beautiful evening.

Today we left Portland early as we had to get to the sand dunes in the town of Florence, about a 3-3.5 hour drive from Portland. We were signed up for a Sandrail Tour with Sandland Adventures at 11:00 am. I was scared as our driver Mike strapped me in.

sandland tours getting started

sandland sand protection

The guy that signed us in had recommended long pants as he said the whipping sand on your flesh can sting. So I suited up in my rain pants and rain jacket, for easy dust off. Each buggy holds 7 guests plus the driver. Mike put the heaviest three in the back for traction. His preference was to have me, the lightest person, up front with him, but I was too scared to sit at the front, so I got mid-row, in the centre. Although I did do quite a bit of screaming, I also did a lot of laughing. It was a scary good time as Mike sped up and down the dunes at intensely fast speeds. Yes, you end up with sand everywhere.

riding the dunes

Hawaiian food truck

After a very quick stop at a Hawaiian food truck, we set off for Crater Lake National Park, a 3.5 hour mostly scenic drive. The sun was beginning to set when we arrived just shortly after 5:00 pm, but we did manage to get some spectacular views of the lake.

The lake is at least 7,000 feet in elevation, which actually caused our unopened bag of potato chips to explode! There was no time for hiking, so we drove the 33 mile road around the crater lake. I would suggest arriving earlier in the day for more photo opportunities. The colour of the lake is such a brilliant shade of blue, and it being set in a crater is just amazing! There are hikes, but hubs thinks that the views from the road are similar, though there is one strenuous hike that takes you down to the water. That would be pretty cool, and if it’s something you’re up for, arrive earlier.

hubs crater lake

For us, this return portion of the trip feels like a race against time. I gave my boss a specific return date, so we’re trying to pack in as much as possible. All these wonderful places we’re visiting acts like a teaser, and it’s giving us reason to re-visit places in a less rushed fashion in the (hopefully) not too distant future.

Tomorrow is going to be a long driving day as we leave Oregon and head into Utah. Hubs said that we can sleep in a little. I need that since we got up at 5:55 am this morning!

Here are some of the teasers I am referring to:

Pike Place Market in Seattle. Bustling and crowded. Interesting, but I still like the market in Barcelona better. Witnessed fish being thrown around at a seafood stand, beautiful flowers for sale, and a gum wall. It’s so disgusting that it’s a tourist attraction.

Pike Place seafood

Pike Place floral arrangements

Pike Place flowers

Pike Place gum wall

Hip-on-the-Hill food tour in Seattle with Savor Seattle. A fun way to spend the afternoon. Our guide was energetic and interesting and we had the opportunity to try some tasty food.

savor seattle food tour

City bike tour of Portland, Oregon with Pedal Bike Tours on a rainy morning. It could have turned into a disaster as there was a large family from LA with young kids that had never been on bikes before and were screaming and crying. Luckily, the guides decided to split the group, after those without children were made to wait an additional 20 minutes. Turned out to be a really great time with just the five of us and our guide. And the sun came out!

suiting up at pedal bike tours

brews and bikes

portland by bike

Dinner at Veritable Quandary in Portland. This restaurant has been in business for 45 years, and has now closed its doors for good. I’m glad we had the opportunity to dine here, one of Portland’s most iconic restaurants.

Veritable Quandary

I was in my happy place as soon as I set foot inside Powell’s Books in Portland. Floor to ceiling books. Multiple levels. Even after two hours, I hadn’t walked through the entire store. I’m definitely going back.

Powell's Bookstore

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We spent part of an afternoon roaming the grounds at the International Rose Garden in Portland. It’s a gorgeous place with so much eye candy everywhere you look.

Rose Test Garden

RTG smell the roses

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RTG hubs photographing

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And my all-time favourite rose – Rainbow Sorbet!

RTG Rainbow Sorbet rose

In the same area as the Rose Test Garden, there is a Japanese Garden. There is an admission fee of US$9.50 per adult, which I felt was high. I did not think the garden was that interesting.

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Portland Japanese Garden

Watching an awesome performance by Ande Marimba on a street corner in Portland.

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