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Best Lake, Worst Beer, Best Food, Worst Town

Crater Lake, Waterfalls, and Eugene, Oregon

Sept. 1
We woke up at 6:45 even though we thought we were getting up late. We packed up the tent and made our way to the Crater Lake Lodge. It was quite posh for a lodge -- rich people mingled in the lobby and they gave them free coffee, but not us -- and I sat by the fire, breathing in the smell of a European lodge and wanting to stay here forever. I let the large, wooden door slam shut loudly, so they don’t like me there; time to go find this lake, I guess.

We began hiking and saw Crater Lake for the first time and said our initial !Wow! like the newsletter said, only it was more like Whoa. 101_0646.jpgWizard Island was in the middle and then there was a small Pirate Ship island. I felt like Lewis and Clark because we were the only people out there and it seemed undiscovered and pristine. We hiked around the lake for quite a while and it got more and more blue by the minute. I fell in love with that lake.
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As we began our descent, a woman was coming toward us and said, “There’s a big fat Japanese tour group headed this way, look out.” We had a laugh over that and Charlie pointed out that they were overweight until we passed some without shirts, looking buff. We decided it was a Japanese break dancing tour group and the overweight ones were their tech people. We had definitely beat the rush of tourist hikers. We passed lots of people on the trail and felt again like Lewis and Clarkette, but not proud to share our find.

As we drove along, we stopped at various waterfalls. The first one was White Horse Falls. The temperate changed by 20 degrees the closer you got to the water.
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The next falls was Watson and on the way there was a car that was going slower than Charlie for the first time on our whole trip. These falls were part of Umqua National Forest. Watson was a plunge falls and the trail there was misty moisty and then the falls were my first real waterfalls since Amicalola Falls in GA. The way the sun hit it perfectly was probably the best part. That, and the South American drug lord taking his extended family to Oregon along with their lap dogs.
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We followed the highway past the artificial flys of South Umqua and small winding waters to Roseburg to a brew pub. I had printed out a list of every brew pub in Oregon and Charlie insisted on stopping at as many as possible. We stopped at one of those roadside espressos first, for $1.75 for 2 coffees with straws and on to a picturesque pub owned by McMenamins Pubs and Breweries. It took them forever to seat us and we were beginning to really hate the place. The beer came, there wasn’t very many choices and they all tasted like sweat, so we left.

From the wikipedia we learned that McMenamins is a chain of over fifty brewpubs, microbreweries, music venues, historic hotels, theater pubs and more. The chain is located mostly in the Portland metropolitan area, but has many other locations in Oregon and Washington. I liked this part of the article: The brothers have faced some criticism, mainly from some who feel that the business uses a vertical integration model that could easily be co-opted by large commercial breweries. Others feel that the company's many locations may be pushing out smaller microbreweries.
The beer was NOTHING LIKE the Creamery in Klamath Falls. I need to post a picture of the Creamery here to remember its goodness to get me through this blog posting.
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As we were leaving the place, a vast group of Japanese students came in and sure enough: It was the exact same group we saw at Crater Lake and it turned out that the lady who had called them big and fat was actually their own tour guide.

Charlie had this guidebook written by Thomas H. Booth which described Eugene, Oregon as being very eclectic and raved about the university library there saying it was a place to find “books on nearly every subject.” Why would they write about it? Or maybe they actually had books on the topic of “nearly every subject.” We might have to check that out.
Me: Mountains? Again?
I was thinking how I wanted to get a souvenir, like a stuffed Crater Lake and thought about how I could sell stuffed landmarks like a stuffed Grand Canyon with Velcro-ed animals and plants that are also around the canyon. Cute. We listened to old radio shows like Fibber McGee and Molly which had the line “more rattled than a gourd in a rhumba band” and The Great Gildersleeve, that old radio pervert, and Our Miss Brooks, not a pervert.

“Eugene has all types of people, from children to elderly,” goes the guidebook. And the town of Noti has no tea available. I wonder if we can get coffee in Noti? Do you have coffee here or just no tea?

We found our hostel in Eugene which was run by stoned hippies, of course. Yeah, the place was the number one most hippie-filled place I’ve ever been. We would be putting up our tent in a yard of the hostel which was nice. I rearranged things in the car while Charlie talked to the people on the porch and they all shared their problems with him. To give you an idea: when he asked about a brew pub the girl thought he said, “group home.”

We made our way through the hippie infested neighborhood to the weird, weird downtown area, passing a Greek place called Poppi's. It looked good, but not what we were looking for … that was the brew pub of course. We first found one called Eugene Brewing Co. which had lots of Rogue stuff but also their own and the girl there agreed with us that McMenamins sucks and thought that was place okay, but it was more of a sports bar. She told us to go to Steelhead but that we probably wouldn’t liked it. We found that place which was more yuppie, but pretty good actually. But we needed a place with atmosphere -- and I guess we could stand to get real food instead of just peanut putter and chilly.

So we stopped at Poppi's Anatolia (10th & Willamette St.) which was about to close and ordered the vegetable thali which had dal, potatoes, spinach stuff, awesome chutneys and lots of butter. It was the best food of our lives and Charlie told the girl so. And then she came out with the special and let us have all their leftovers for free! The best ever, and in Eugene of all places.

We found a bar eventually and got the Mirrorpond and some N something beer. Mirror Pond was the stuff Charlie had heard about but one guy told us it was bad and so we left his bar, jerk. Anyway, it was a college type place and we read my old manuscript, laughing at how silly it all was, but hilarious. Oh, before we passed a ballroom dance competition and I took this photo from the street. Number two only good thing about Eugene.
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Then it was back to the tent at the hostel. A VW bus pulled up and a bumbling guy got out and asked Charlie how he liked the place and asked when he got there and Charlie asked him when he got in and he said, “Oh, I own the place.” It was like he was so high on dope that he forgot he owned the place. He reminded me of Beauregard from the muppets. Oh I own dee place. I’ve lived here all my life.

Posted by seabear 21:01 Tagged tourist_sites

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