Friday, June 29, 2007

Versatile Oregon

PHOTO: Granddaughter Choe enjoys the Pacific Ocean at Seaside, Or.,,OR,USA&sa=X&oi=map&ct=title, where she and her family own a beach house. I'm the walker in red with my poodles.

Seaside, Ore., ( treats Pacific Northwesterners to "their" day at the beach -- a bit rainy, always a chill and then, a bit rainy and windy. In late June, it was 59 degrees, windy and sprinkling, yet teens in bikins and sleeveless Ts romped through the sand and laughed without exposing a single goose bump.

PHOTO: Mount Mazama ( exploded, then collapsed more than 7,000 years ago, creating a caldera for what is today Crater Lake, Oregon's only National Park.

At Crater Lake (, we camped with the bears inside the national park (we didn't see bear, but we saw clumps and clumps of bear hair, scratched out, I imagine, after they awoke from their winter hibernation).

After spending two days in the wilds, we weren't up to Interstate driving, so we aimed East on Route 97 and found Bend, Or., (,+OR,+USA&sa=X&oi=map&ct=title) and its magnificent Big Sky Park dog park (three fenced acres of sage brush, pumice dust, lava rocks and big dogs -- St. Bernards, Great Danes, Labs and my guys). A BIG sign warns of rattlesnakes! We played anyway, all the while listening for rattles and watching to see if the curled sticks moved.

Bend is on U.S. Route 20, which snakes through Oregon's high desert ( midsection. Dusty towns along the historic highway cling to life covered in grit and sagebrush. Brothers was home to Klondike Kate ( and very few others. Those who did try to homestead there left after about five years, tired of battling droughts, short growing seasons, lack of topsoil and no lack of jackrabbits. Just imagine millions of desolate acres ...

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