Our big road trip for the year included a drive down into the U.S. reaching as far as Northern California. Our main goal for this trip was Crater Lake in Oregon but we actually went briefly into Northern California to see the fabled Redwood trees. Our drive from Victoria to Crater Lake National Park took two days at a leisurely pace as we stopped at Mount Hood and Smith Rock State Park in Oregon on the way.
Crater Lake was amazing. It is a former volcano which erupted and fell in on itself thousands of years ago. You can drive up to the rim of the former mountain and view the beautiful crystal blue lake inside. We drove the circumference of the crater which was well worth our time, taking two hikes around the rim along the way.
After exploring Crater Lake we continued further south to Northern California. I had always wanted to see the giant Redwood Trees of Northern California. We had difficulty finding a camping spot among the trees so we looked at back-country camping along the beach but both had an eerie feeling about the area. We ended up camping at the local KOA Campground. In the morning after finding some WIFI we discovered that we were incredibly close to the Pelican Bay Maximum Security Prison, in fact we had driven past it a number of times as we were looking for a place to camp! It confirmed our eerie feeling, grounded by the fact that we were so close to a super-max prison!
The drive back up the coast of Oregon was beautiful as always. This was my first time driving the southern most coast of Oregon and seeing the sand dunes of Oregon. The dunes literally meet the pacific providing an incredible contrast. We found a sweet little campsite here nestled among the dunes. We also found an incredible restaurant in Florence, Oregon called the Homegrown House. I had the best fish and chips I have ever experienced before, which was made from Albacore Tuna! I would drive back to Florence for that dish again, amazing.
We continued north, stopping at the various beautiful beaches along the Oregon Coast – there are so many! We also popped into Portland for some quick exploration, followed by an excellent pizza at the Oven and Shaker.
We then crossed over into Washington to explore Mount St. Helens and the surrounding area. Our last stop was at Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park before crossing over to Victoria and returning home,.