We pulled into a WalMart last night in Klamath Falls, OR. It seemed like a nice area, but it evidently was a teen hangout. There was a lot of loud music, laughing, and carrying on. We were worried it would keep us from sleeping well, but we had no problems. We awoke to a quiet environment this morning. Charlie went and got the oil changed in the van while we finished up breakfast. We finally pulled out and headed up to Crater Lake.
When we got into Crater Lake National Park, I wanted to head to the Visitors’ Center first so that the kids could get there questions about how Crater Lake was formed, how deep it was, etc. answered before actually seeing it. The kids were so excited to see the snow when we arrived at Crater Lake. We spent a good bit of time at the Visitors’ Center, and several of the kids even decided to do the Junior Ranger program (which is a commitment for us as those things usually take a LOT of time for us to complete – so many little kids want to do it, and they always need a good deal of help). After finishing in the Visitors’ Center, we went out to the camper for lunch. The kids were able to run around and burn off some energy, and we were all looking forward to a 2 mile hike on the rim of Crater Lake.
Back into the van we went to drive to the trailhead of the hike and to finally see Crater Lake. Well, we made it up to the trailhead, and there was nowhere to park the van and camper. It was so busy that probably a dozen cars had all parked in the RV parking spots, so there was no room for us. We got just a little glimpse of the lake and decided to drive further up the mountain and around the lake a little to find parking. Unfortunately, just about as soon as we started driving up the mountain, we encountered fog. We kept thinking that we would get out of it or it would lift, but no such luck. We did find parking, but the fog was so thick that you couldn’t see the lake at all. We were even driving by snow that was taller than the van! The road finally led us out of the park, and we just kept going. I was so disappointed. The kids were mostly disappointed that they weren’t going to be able to turn in their Junior Ranger booklets. I told them that we would mail them back. How disappointing though…there was nowhere to turn around, and we knew that once we had given up the parking at the Visitors’ Center that there was no way we were getting back in because it had really filled up since we had arrived. Once again, the weather was keeping us from seeing much. Oh well…I’m going to assume that God had different plans for us.
Driving again and once again unsure of where we want to go next. We were trying to decide between going to the Oregon coast and going to Mt. St. Helen’s. We just started driving north and knew we would make a decision on the way. About 5:00 we decided to look up Mass times for the vigil Mass. The only option that we could still make we knew would put us there a couple minutes late, but we decided to do it anyway. We stopped at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Cottage Grove, OR. Charlie had explained to the kids that we were running late and that they needed to hurry out of the car and into the church. It was so comical watching everyone trying to hurry out of the van. Just picture it… First of all, there is only one door on a 15 passenger van for the kids to get out of, so we open the door and everyone is trying to get out as quickly as they can. However, we also keep about 6 gallons of water, each in 1 gallon jugs, sitting at the sliding door. So, as soon as the door is opened, there is at least 1 gallon jug falling out of the van and into the parking lot. Then, there is always at least one child scrambling around trying to get the jug while there is usually another jug being knocked out of the van by someone else. We are also trying to get Damien’s shoes on and put AnaClaire in the baby backpack on my back – which she absolutely did not want since she was ready to get down and move. Isaac had his shoes on, but they weren’t tied, so I started trying to tie them. Instead, Charlie picks up this rather stocky, almost 7 year old and carries him to the church in order to speed us up. Of course, this is how it always is, trying to get out of the van, for us, but everyone is not nearly this fast on a normal excursion. Anyway, I was about to die laughing because we were all trying so hard, and it just looked so crazy. We finally did make it into Mass, and they had just begun the Psalm, so we weren’t too late.
Hopefully tomorrow the weather will be nice enough for us to spend some good time outside experiencing whatever we decide to visit next.