It is often stated that first impressions are important. I suppose this is true enough, although I believe every “rule” has its exceptions. If I were to have followed this rule today, then this trip would have been considered doomed from the get-go.
First, we left about 2 hours later than we expected. As a result we ran into a little more traffic than we would have liked. We knew that once Ainsley woke up we were going to stop, you know be free-form and try not to be too regimented in our schedule. So when she woke up around 9:30 we stopped at the closest park. After some good swinging and sliding we got back to it. We gauged that we would be at the first campground around 1:30PM if we drove straight through. Since we couldn't check in until 4PM we might as well take a detour to Crater Lake. I've never been there, so let's do it...let's be “crazy” and ad-lib this part of the trip.
If you recall we bought a new atlas for this trip, it was a steal at 9 bucks. Great deal huh? Too good to be true? Sadly the only way to find this out is through experience. So how exactly do you judge the quality of an atlas? Well I would say the best indicator of quality is the detail of the maps and the ability to get you from point A to point B. That being said, I believe that this 9 dollars was approximately $8.45 too much. The granularity of this “map” is rather poor. You can't tell where to turn which road numbers to follow and many of the places you are actually in aren't listed on the page!! Needless to say that we, and the trip, took a few bad turns. I wouldn't say we were lost...men don't get lost. But I will say we were...confused. Very confused. We ended up at a sign stating “End of Pavement”, at which point we thought we were close to our destination. Several washboarded gravel switchbacks later we are at another junction we come to a crossroads. Literally and figuratively. We have been driving for about “forever” and all signs point to another eternity to go. We are now deep within the logging and forestry service roads of Oregon. The car is starting to overheat , we have no cell phone reception and really can't turn back.
On we go, yet to encounter the “narrow road” that is actually a stretch of road that is nearly all washed out and barely passable, more washboard switchbacks and more poorly marked turns that leave us scratching our heads in indecision. After 75 miles , a few hours of driving, enough dust to actually reasemble a miles worth a rocks and some rather tense and frustrated moments we make it “out”. Paved roads, passing cars, buildings. It was glorious. Sure, we didn't make it to Crater Lake, and by the looks of it on the map, we weren't really that close. However, we ended up checking into our campsite about 5 o'clock and were quickly greated by a young deer. Ainsley has quickly claimed the top bunk in our first ever Yurt experience, the sun is shinning and things are looking great.
So luckily we didn't follow the first impressions rule, if we had we would probably have driven back home by now and ordered a pizza. I would assume that the trip can only get better from here and if this is all of the “trouble” we are going to see this trip I am thrilled to have gotten it out of the way.