Epic 2011 Oregon Adventure

What better way to shake-off the school year than to race out to vacation right of the gate!?!

DSCF2001That’s what we (or at least David & the Girls) did for the Summer of 2011. We hit the road on Monday for a trip to Southern Oregon to visit GrandMaMa & GrandPaPa in Roseburg. Of course, don’t let anyone fool you: The real stars of the visit were probably Maddie & Daisy, the adorable basset hounds who run the house.

After a fairly simple run straight up I-5, we arrived for dinner on Monday, and the began in earnest on Tuesday with a visit to the Douglas County Museum of Natural History, followed by a visit to the N. Umpqua Fish Ladder that allows safe passage for fish around the dam at Winchester. That afternoon, the girls started on an art project, following in GrandMaMa’s footsteps painting designer leaf casts.

Yep: those are Giraffes and Tigers. … oh, and Jocelyn and Felicia in the side-view mirrors!

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Wednesday was just another day at Wildlife Safari in nearby Winston, one of our grandparents’ favorite places to take out-of-towners. It was Jocelyn’s second visit, but Felicia’s first. They were both very excited to see the wild animals up close, and to feed the giraffes later in the afternoon.

Thursday’s adventure was a bit further afield — and quite a bit wetter.

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We never got a really warm summer day during our visit, but we ventured to Grants Pass on Thursday for a Jetboat ride down the Rouge River to Hellgate Canyon. These boats raced west out of Grants Pass along the Rogue upstream to the canyon and then dinner at the OK Corral Dining Hall. The views along the river were fantastic, featuring numerous scenic canyons and lots of wildlife, especially Bald Eagles, ospreys and blue herons. The boats included a bit of fun, too … and the picture on the right attests to the waves we created as the boats did 360-degree spins in the water.

Friday: Karen Arrives! A trip to Elkton and the historically-recreated Fort Umpqua preceded David’s jaunt to Eugene to pick-up Mommy from the airport. Karen had spent the week working in Austin, and was eager to join us for the last two days of our trip.

Friday (updated): A trip to Elkton and the historically-recreated Fort Umpqua preceded pizza dinner and a hasty reconfiguration of the weekend’s activities after Karen missed her flight connection through Las Vegas.

DSCF1973Saturday: Susan Creek Falls with the Puppies!

Although the weekend didn’t include Karen, it did feature a ton of Oregon Waterfalls. Saturday’s walk was a mild hike into the Susan Creek watershed and the beautiful Susan Creek Waterfall. The trail was nice and easy, allowing Daisy & Maddie (and GrandPaPa) fairly easy access to the fun. Along our path, we talked about the incredible variety of plants and lush green hillsides.

That night, we had our first clear sky, and took the opportunity to a bit of star-gazing.

Sunday: Clearwater Creek and Crater Lake: Gateway to more adventure!

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Our tour of Oregon scenics byways and rivers ran one last day on Sunday, with trip along the N Umpqua River all the way to famous Crater Lake. We made stops along the way at Clearwater Creek and Diamond Lake, before cresting the rim to see the famous lake. It was a little cold — and fairly windy — but at least we have photographic proof of David’s participation in the trip.

After a nice lunch at Crater Lake Lodge, we left for home. … Sort of …

[To be Continued …]

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You can also enjoy the trip by reliving my Twitter Feed for the month of June, beginning on June 6