Sept. 24/25/26: Crater Lake National Park

September 24th – day nine – we had a slower morning at our John Day River campsite and then headed towards Smith Rock. After quite some time driving, we arrived at Smith Rock to find it packed and with no free parking. Being that it was midday and the lighting was terrible, as well as the fact that visiting the park was going to cost some money, we decided to move on.

We drove from Smith Rock, to Bend, where we spent a few hours in town at a coffee shop and then did a load of laundry at a laundromat.

From Bend we drove quite a bit more to Lemolo Camp 2; a free campsite in the Umpqua National Forest.

On day ten (September 25th), we wished to visit Crater Lake National Park, but feared we wouldn't have enough gas to get there and then away. So, we drove the opposite direction from the park along highway 138 towards Roseburg. After about an hour of driving we found a gas station, filled up, and then drove back towards the park.

We stopped at Umpqua hotsprings along the way, but had some troubles finding them at first. The springs we nice, but a little gnarly. We then bathed in what I believe was the Umpqua river after spending a little bit at the hotsprings.

From the river, we drove to the National Park and spent the evening there. As an aside, there turns out to be a gas station within the park. We drove around the rim of the lake until finding a spot to watch the sunset. We met a few other groups of overlanders and chatted, took pictures, and ate our dinner with them.

After the sun had set, we drove back to Lemolo Camp 2 and spent the night there again.

On day eleven (September 26th), we drove from the camp to Roseburg, where we got a few groceries. From Roseburg we continued along the 138 back to the coast, where we visited the Oregon Dunes. From the Dunes, we drove to Suslaw National Forest Boating Site 'Noel Ranch' where we had planned to spend the night, but a lady in a van who'd been hanging around came over to us and spoke of “punks and Mexicans” that had threatened to smash her windows the night before. She also seemed quite unstable herself, so we decided to drive back to the 101 and camped at a pullout atop a mountain pass not too far from where we were.

Also, follow along with our journey in real time by clicking here.

 

Wizard Island as seen from the rim of Crater Lake.

The Phantom Ship as seen from the rim.

Danielle enjoying the sunset.

...and now capturing said sunset.

One of the overlanders we met. She was from Australia, I believe, and had bought her bike somewhere in SoCal and was headed north to Alaska.

Danielle at the Oregon Dunes.

Cooking up dinner at Noel Ranch.

The completed dinner, which we enjoyed prior to being accosted by the vandwelling lady.

BONUS PHOTO: Me capturing bangers atop Bilbo. Photo Credit: Danielle Seeliger.