Sunday, July 21, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 22

The eternal question: How come you can't find a police officer or a locksmith when you really need one? The Two Old Buzzards are working their way back to the roost and have just one item left on the Mercury News Road Trip Photo Scavenger Hunt: Number 10 – a police officer eating. The buzzards even went to a police station in Redmond, Oregon yesterday but it was just after 5pm and it was closed.  No problem. They open at 8am so the buzzards cruzed by there this morning on their way out of town, just after 8am. Still closed. Ever notice how you sort of lose track of what day it is when you are vacating? Today is Sunday and they weren't going to be open at all. The two police officers the buzzards did see later in the day were pulled off the interstate with their lights flashing and it did not seem prudent to interrupt their doings.

Breakfast was at Shari's ( John had eggs, biscuits, gravy, hashbrowns and bacon. Linda had a blackberry yogurt parfait and grapefruit juice.

There was a serendipitous find of a volcano as Wilma (our Odyssey van) headed south on State Highway 97.  John noticed a turnoff for Newberry National Volcanic Monument just south of Bend, Oregon. The old buzzards learned the area and hiked on the rim of a relatively young volcano (7,000 years). The area is called Lava Lands. Lava Butte is a cinder cone volcano that was created during a two-phase eruption. The first phase sent gas-charged molten rock into the air. The material solidified in the air, trapping gas bubbles and fell back to the earth as cinders in a pile. Lava spilled out of a side vent during the second phase and flowed for several miles to the Deschutes River. That lava cooled into a field of basaltic rock. There is a paved road to the top of Lava Butte. Visitors are issued a 30-minute pass since only 10 cars can be let in at a time. Once there, Wilma and Fannie parked their fannies while John and Linda hiked the Lave Butte Rim Trail, an unpaved 1/4 mile loop that lets you look about 150 feet down into the caldera. The Rim Trail also provides you with a panoramic view of Newberry National Volcanic Monument and the surrounding area. It looked completely different than any of the other volcanic areas the buzzards have been to.  The closest in appearance would be Craters of the Moon in Idaho. The rocks were mostly black lightweight pumice (one of which found its way into Linda's pocket!) and there was not a lot a lot of plant growth on the crater (even less than in much of the area near the Mount Saint Helens crater). There is a lava tube cave, two lakes, a forest area, an obsidian field and a waterfall in other nearby areas of Lava Lands. John chuckled at the name and said it reminded him of "Wally World" in the National Lampoon Vacation movie. He expected the Griswolds to arrive at any moment with poor old dead auntie strapped in her chair atop the family station wagon.

View from the crater rim onto the lava fields below

After their volcano adventure, the buzzards found a nice-looking park near Klamath Falls with shade and picnic benches near a standing water feature (key word here is "standing") and pulled off hwy 97 for lunch. John made it to the picnic table first and soon found out that HE was lunch for some kind of prolific insects that looked like Mayflies. He signaled that there was a problem and made it back without bringing many insects inside the vehicle with him. So, lunch was again “on the fly” (so to speak) which was easy since it was fruit that needed to get eaten before getting to the California Agricultural Inspection Station. The border was soon crossed and when the inspector inquired about fruit, John told her that we had one nectarine, one apricot and 5 cherries. She must have already had lunch because she said “Go ahead”.

At Weed, California there were lots of signs for "I (heart sign) Weed" t-shirts. There was also a sign to the sheriff. The buzzards found the office but the sheriff must have still been at Sunday School.

It was necessary to get on Interstate 5 to get to our lodging in Redding, California but John was happy to get to the four-lane highway since there were  extraordinary numbers of slow vehicles (mostly travel trailers) on two-lane highway 97 today.

There was an excellent view of Mount Shasta from Hwy 97. In one place it was so striking that John could not resist grabbing his camera for a shot while driving. (OK, I actually pulled over onto the shoulder and stopped the vehicle before taking the photo). Yikes! He tries to keep Road Trips exciting.  It was sad to see that Lake Shasta is even lower than the last time the old buzzards were in the area about four years ago. When they were much younger buzzards they took a 10-day family houseboat vacation on Lake Shasta and a really good time was had by all.

What a welcome back to California! The temperature in Redding was 107 degrees with no wind chill factor. After some delay in room readiness, and confirming that the Costco in Redding in fact does NOT have gasoline, the buzzards checked into Motel 6 and got cooled off. That was at 4:07. By 5:30 when the buzzards left to find the police station (still looking to feed an officer), the temp had warmed up to 110 degrees.  As Wilma approached the police station, we observed a couple of things: a nearby doughnut shop and a cruiser headed our way with an officer obviously munching on something. “He's eating, he's eating.” exclaimed Linda. But, short of flagging him down, there was no way to photo him with a member of Team Buzzard included in the photo. Tomorrow is the last chance to capture the remaining photo since it has to be taken while on the Road Trip and must be outside Santa Clara County. We're headed back to the police station after we check out of Motel 6.

Dinner was at Round Table Pizza which looked as if it was a Long John Silver Fish 'N Chips in its previous life. John had a small three-meat pizza and Linda had a personal size gourmet veggie pizza. Both pizzas hit the right spots in the gizzards of the old buzzards. Yum! And we both have leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

You can view the 33 images in today's photo gallery by clicking here.

The SONG O' THE DAY is “Circle of Life” by Elton John (1994) on page 74,75 in the Daily Ukelele Leap Year Edition Songbook. The Old Buzzards don't have internet access at our present lodging but you might try finding the song on youtube if you'd like to hear the tune. Here's a taste of the lyrics: “From the day we arrive on the planet and blinking step into the sun, there's more to be seen than can ever be seen, more to do than can ever be done. Some say, 'Eat or be eaten.' Some say 'Live and let live.' But all are agreed as they join the stampede, you should never take more than you give in the circle of life. It's the wheel of fortune. It's the leap of faith. It's the band of hope 'til we find our place on the path unwinding in the circle of life.”

Happy trails and may your wheel of fortune land on all the big numbers and have lots of bonus prizes.

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