Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Field trip to Central Oregon

So right after Sed's birthday we packed up the van and took a much-anticipated trip to Central Oregon!

***NOTE: Bunny chronicled this trip as well.  See her blog for Day 1 and Day 2! (She does such an awesome job with her blog!) ***

We love taking mini-trips like this one because it's do-able for us to leave for a few days and drive somewhere fun.  (Bigger trips, like the ones that involve planes, are usually scheduled just once a year.)  Every trip counts as "homeschooling" which is awesome, and this trip in particular was very educational.  The main reason for this trip was geology and boy did we learn a lot!

Our constant companion on this 500-mile round-trip was a "Roadside Geology of Oregon" book that we got for Christmas.  I highly recommend this series for any road trip!  I read out loud from the book for each highway we traveled on.  Very very interesting!

First stop, Mount Hood (aka Grandma's Mountain)
 After a pitstop at Mount Hood, which we thoroughly enjoyed and would love to visit again, we continued on to our feature destination, Richardson Rock Ranch.  We chose this rockhounding destination because of it's proximity to other fun places (Bend) and because it had a retail operation.  Good choice…rock hunting in 100+ degree heat is not a good plan for a family of 6 young kids.  The store was a much better idea.

rocks all throughout the parking lot
Next we made our way to the hotel, which was a Best Western lodge that we'd passed by on our other trips to Bend/Sisters.  Marcus had even stayed there when doing business with Les Schwab (tires) many years ago.  We all loved the hotel and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area.  It was especially suited to large groups or multi-family excursions.

pool time
 On Monday we visited the High Desert Museum, which we also visited a few years ago when our church campout was in Bend.  What a great place!

stopping to take photos
 The High Desert Museum has a mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits.  Indoors has live animals, art, rotating exhibits, and a lot of displays about Native Americans.  Outdoors has replica buildings, a Birds of Prey center, and more (we did not see it all!).  It seems to be the #1 place to go in Bend, which is saying a lot because Bend is awesome!

After the museum we drove a short distance south to Lava Butte.  A bus took us to the top and we enjoyed great views and more learning about the geological landscape:

The view is nice but the hair is blinding me!!
The sun must be super-intense here.  I need sunglasses
to block the glow of Mariposa's tresses.
 The Newberry National Volcanic Monument (where Lava Butte is located) also has an amazing lava cave.  This was somewhat of a surprise for the kids--the older kids may've overheard us--and it was really special!  Marcus put Seddy in a backpack and I had Celeste in the sling, and we descended the 55-step stairway down to the cave.  It was a balmy 42 degrees and pitch-black.  Our Harbor Freight flashlights worked fine but a nice lantern would've been better.  :o)

We made it ALMOST to the end of the one-mile cave.  A park ranger was turning people around as it was 4pm and the cave closed at 5pm.  We were so close!  But it wasn't a disappointing trip at all.  We have such great memories from being in such awesome nature!
on the way up
 On Tuesday we made our way back home, but first had to stop at the Rock Ranch again:

we made a full circle around Mount Hood this trip
 We made one last excursion when we took a potty break at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery.  I'm hoping to come back in the fall when the salmon are spawning.

map of Western Oregon
 Here's the path we took!  From Portland we took 26 to Mount Hood then continued on 26 traveling SE through the Warm Springs reservation (bordered by brown on the map).   The Rock Ranch was just outside the res.  We stayed in Sisters (north of Bend) and went south of Bend to the museum and cave.  Then on the way home we went north to The Dalles and the Columbia River, and followed the gorge back to Portland.
Hillsboro is in the upper left just SW of Portland,
and bend is in the lower right.  

I'm so glad we made this dream a reality!  I am already dreaming of the next road trip…

1 comment:

  1. What a cool adventure. I hope you can visit Mesa Verde on your next big adventure out to Durango!