Saturday, September 15, 2012

DAY 25- Newberry Volcanic Monument...

I managed to get in a quick waffle breakfast(YUM!) and then changed into my cycling gear.  I drove over where yesterday’s Happy Hour couple suggested I go.  It was out on the east edge of Bend and I was told it was a nice smooth 2-lane blacktop highway with a good shoulder that a great deal of the bicyclists in the area used.  The guy had teased that he’d be out there with Gatorade and possibly beer with Gatorade if I bribed him.  I just laughed because that’s not what I would need at 8am in the morning.  I was listening to a local radio station on the way over and there was a warning to limit your outdoor activities because the air quality from the fire over at Sisters.  I had hoped to get 20 miles in but I decided to do just a quick easy 7 miles; just enough to get the heart rate up.

I fueled up and headed south on HWY 97.  The goal for the day was to be at my Aunt Lindy’s by 4pm; the actual drive of which was about 2 and ¾ hours time.  It was basically a straight shot but I did have a least one stop that I wanted to make. 
Photo- Instead of the yellow brick road, I followed the red road.

I was planning to stop at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument which the Lava Lands Visitor Center is about 14 miles south of Bend. I turned in and flashed my National Parks Annual Pass at the gate.  Now I have a quick comment here; it seems that when you flash one of those passes at National places the attendant at the gate seems more attentive to you.  It almost seems like handing them the platnuim credit card.  The gal at the gate gave me a little time sheet and instructed me to park in the left lot but when my time frame came up to follow the red road over to the Lava Butte and also went on to explain several different parts and areas to the park; being very attentive but maybe that’s how all of those attendants are? 

I went into the visitors center and I found it very interesting because it explained the how and why that volcanic activity occurs and all of the results of it.  I thought it was especially wonderful and informative after seeing Mt Saint Helens.  It’s like I got a specific example of volcanic activity there at Mt Saint Helens but this was a more in depth generalized explaination of volcanic activity.  They had some wonderful displays and a 15 minute film that were very interesting. 
Photo- The Lava Butte that I drove around to the top.

Next, I was off on the red road for my 1.5 mile drive up to the top of the Lava Butte.  The road winds around and climbs up the side of the Butte and the view just gets better as you go up.  You can see for miles and miles.  There’s a very small parking lot at the top and I guess that explains the time sheet.  You are allowed a 30minute segment of time to be up there.  I walked into the exhibit which is actually a windowed room where above they show outside what the names of the mountain and buttes are.  I also took the quick hike around the top circumfrance of the butte.  There’s a small crater area at the top of the butte but they have a loose cinder rock path the goes around it.
Photo- An amazing but smokey view from the top of the Lava Butte.
Photo-Another amazing view with Mt. Bachelor off in the distance.
Photo- The plume of smoke fire from the Sister's fire.

Did I say the views were amazing?  They were and off in the distance I could see where the smoke for the Sister’s fire was at.  You couldn’t see Mt Jefferson because of the smoke where the two days before I could barely see the top of Mt Jefferson from the Timberline Lodge.  The fire was only 10% contained and there was concern because the winds had picked up and the temperatures were staying high during the day. 
Photo- From the Lava Butte Parking lot looking up to the forest service lookout
the upper part of building and viewing area around base of building.

There’s also a forest service lookout station at the top too.  It has served as a lookout for the forest service since 1928.  It made sense because of the unobstructed view.  I ended up talking with the forest ranger that was on-duty watch.  He was from Midvale, UT which is located in the Salt Lake City valley area.  He was heading home in another week; he said he was getting tired of all of this and waved his hand with a cigarette in it and rolled his eyes.

There are Lava River Caves about a mile south from the Lava Lands Visitor Center.  I drove right by it on my way back to getting back onto Hwy 97.  The lady at the visitor center mentioned rules because of the live bat population in the cave and that you could bring a flashlight or rent a latern from the small info. center nearby.  Live bats and dark caves--- hmmmm, really I think I’ll pass.

I again turned off to Hwy 21, which takes you to the large Newberry Crater.  The crater has two lakes that are used for boating and recreation.  The first lake I came to is called Paulina Lake and had a bit of that blue-green color that was similar to Lake Diablo.  The next lake was called East Lake.  There’s a great deal of campgrounds along the whole area and I could imagine it would be a wonderful place to camp.  There was even an area for a horse camp and there’s tons of hiking trails in the area too.

I was back off onto Hwy 97 and heading south.  I was in need of a fule up and it was past lunch time too.  I stopped at La Pine and fueled up and then drove through town.  There were the usual fastfood places like McDonald’s and Taco Bell but I wanted something more local.  That’s when I discovered the Red Rooster Café, as I neared the end of town. 

The Red Rooster is just open for breakfast and lunch only.  They close at 3PM and here it is 2:30PM.  I almost got the impression when I came in and sat at the counter  the older guy wasn’t happy to see me.  He said hi and handed me a menu with a wrapped up silverware.  He came back with a glass of ice water and just stood there waiting for me to order.  It was a bit unnerving.  But after a bit he did finally loosen up.  He reminded me a bit of an old billy goat gruff but a softy inside.  I asked him a couple of questions about La Pine and he answered them with short one word answers at first. 

I had to laugh when I asked what the economy in the area was based on and he said Nothing!  Then, he came quickly commented that a lot of the people in the area were retired from else where.  He had retired from the valley.  I didn’t ask which valley just nodded and let him talk.  He asked me a few questions and found out I would be in Klamath Falls area for few days doing whatever sightseeing with my Aunt and the next thing he was ring out the La Pine City map which had a map of the area on the back.  He was pointing out all of the lakes in the area that would be nice to see.

Just a little before 4pm, I was still about 60miles away from my Aunt Lindy so I called her and let her know that I would be about an hour later.  She said good because her and my cousin Kimmie were still vacuuming and cleaning before I got there.  I could hear Kimmie in the background yelling hi.
Photo- The beautiful sunset that I watched with my Aunt Lindy on her front porch.
I went to dinner with my Aunt Lindy to a cute little Japanese place on the main street of Klamath Falls where Aunt Lindy was a regular.  The server gave Lindy a bit of a hard time but it was all in good fun.  We had fun catching up and then walked back to my Aunt's house where we saw this colorful sunset.

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