Monday, July 19, 2010

Tour of America - Day Nine

Up early – 6:00 am – to pack up and hit the road by about 7:00. Looooong haul day, about 10 hours to our “destination”, Valley of the Rogue, Oregon. Hit McD’s for breakfast in the car, and crossed into Oregon by 9:00 am. There we met a rare and wonderous creature, the service attendant at a gas station. Apparently by law, all gas stations must be full service. The attendant even washed our windshield.

Had a few moments of time confusion trying to figure out what time we would actually arrive at our destination. I programmed the GPS to “Pacific” time, getting us in around 4:00 pm. I was sure OR was on Pacific time, until we asked the gas station attendant what time it was, and she responded with a “Mountain” time. Ummmmmm. But, thanks to the amazing technology with which our SUV is bursting at the seams, I pulled out my laptop, plugged in Papa Bear’s air card, and looked up US time zones. Turns out, there one goofy little section of Oregon that sticks to the “Mountain” time zone, while the rest of it is in “Pacific”. Same with Idaho. Go figure.

A quick stop at Walmart (yeah, I know, we were desperate) to replace T-Bear’s shoes (unaccountably lost somewhere at the last KOA Kampground) and my sandals (which broke for the second time the other night, and are now beyond repair), and a couple more shorts for the two older boys. Oh, and ingredients for ice cream. More on that later.

We passed farmland with a variety of crops, including onions, corn, and some sort of herb, and saw a crop duster. After entering high desert country, Papa Bear spotted some odd white thingies on the horizon, and we debated for a bit trying to figure out what they were. He thought the tips of snow-capped mountains, but I didn’t think so…they were right ON the horizon, barely poking above it.

Within about half an hour, Papa was proven right.

Wow! It really gives you a sense of the curvature of the Earth, seeing the tops of mountain peaks just barely peeking over the edge of the world! And, I loved seeing the layering of topography and vegetation zones as we passed from high desert into forest with snowy mountains ahead. What a sweet and amazing place the world is!

The same mountains kept getting closer and closer until we pulled into Bend.

The gas station in Bend, OR had the pleasure of charging five of the American Express cards with small balances left on them. Papa Bear had used a bunch of his AmX rewards points to purchase pre-paid gas cards, so the first week’s gas was pretty much free. Sweet, huh?

About 2 ½ hours from our destination I broke my Vortex record by completing level 22. Yeah, I know, a homeschooling mom like me should be reading Shakespeare or Tolstoy in the car, but there’s something comfortably numbing about compulsively playing a video game on a really, really, really long drive. Just ask my kids.

Continuing on our way, we pulled off briefly and took a peek at the Rogue River.

We drove through several parks, much of which was nearly canopied by the tall trees.

Then, to our destination!

After almost twelve hours in the car, the kids were certainly ready to run and romp and play for a while, and Papa Bear and I were ready to relax for a bit. We set up camp quickly while the kids ran over to re-introduce themselves to their uncles and aunts and cousins, and after dinner we all hung around the campfire and shot the breeze.


  1. All that in a DAY?!!!! I have done some long drives, so I can believe it, but it's still exciting to hear about. My favourite drives are like this, long drives exploring places I've never been, where every turn (or horizon approach) reveals another surprise. How amazing, discovering those snow-capped mountains!!! I love the way you shared the diversity of the landscape.

  2. Phenomenal! I am blown away by the shots of the mountains, tips to full-blown majesty. That is very cool. Congratulations on reaching your primary "tag-up", as Billy and I would term things. I am loving following your posts- and thanks for always mentioning states and major cities, because it makes for an easy and fun US Geography lesson! ;)

  3. We were just in Bend for Thanksgiving. Love it there? Are you headed to California? The Golden Gate?

  4. loving all your posts and pics about your travels. thanks for keeping us in the loop..... you have traveled thru some of our favorite places...

  5. The pictures are beautiful!!! Looks like a lot of fun :)