On Friday morning, when Michael, Callie and I pulled out of our Klamath Falls, Oregon campsite, we were all very exhausted from the day before. We had driven from Victoria, BC – a distance of over 500 miles nonstop and 15 hours in the RV to get to Klamath Falls. We had gotten up in the dark at 4 am to make it to the Black Ball Ferry Line. Callie couldn’t believe her good luck when we got up so early. That is the time that Callie has insomnia and every once in awhile she is fortunate enough to have me get up before the sun rises. So she was pleased as punch to get the show on the road and hung out on the dash of the RV as we pulled up to the ferry line and waited for U.S. Customs to wave us through.
Madras, Oregon has a solar eclipse totality of 100% and we watched as RV after RV pulled into farmland campsites, one after the other, while driving through town. Rock concerts are scheduled on some of the farms and it felt like we were gazing at a Woodstock in the making. In spite of feeling torn between staying or pressing on, Michael and I decided to honor our reservation at Klamath Falls. In hindsight, we should have canceled and tried to find a place to spend the night a lot sooner because our reservation wasn’t that big of a deal to the motel and I felt pretty disappointed in the accommodations. After setting up the RV, and before falling into bed totally wiped out, a decision was made to move on the next morning.
When we woke up, it was now 3 days before the eclipse. We drove into town to get diesel fuel and groceries at a local outlet store and started to drive to Diamond Lake, north/west of Klamath Falls. We didn’t believe that we had a chance in hell of finding anything but thought we would drive north until we did. Long lines were already gathering at gas stations and a buzz of excitement filled the air. Dropping by the bank, a teller joked that she was going to rent a room out for 100’s of dollars a night. Marquees posted on the side of the streets warned drivers of congested road conditions and heavy traffic due to the eclipse. Our drive took us past Crater Lake and with my suggestion to at least ask the ranger what she thought, we jokingly asked and she replied rather cheerfully “there just might indeed be a spot available!” We were advised to drive over to the park headquarters and find out for sure.
So we pulled up into the parking lot, parked the RV and walked up to the kiosk still assuming that we wouldn’t have any luck. Better to be realistic and not get let down! When Michael asked the girl at the check-in counter, she replied “yes there are sites available” and ‘that it was very unusual!” (Michael and I think it is because of the forest fires raging all around us) She also commented with a big, sincere smile “that we had a special kind of luck today!” She was young and pretty, with sparkly, glitter eye makeup on and was totally excited about the solar eclipse herself! We were given a yellow card filled out with a reservation of August 18 until August 21, and away we went to find a spot. There were at least 3 sites available and probably more. We couldn’t believe it!
After driving around for a short distance, we settled on a fabulous location, F-5, which was tucked into a grove of pine trees with grass for Callie, a picnic table, and a bear-proof garbage disposal bin. The skies are still smokey, but the campground is quiet and beautiful. We will be able to watch the solar eclipse over Crater Lake. There are hardly any campers here and it feels a little spooky! I am assuming a ranger will come driving through with megaphone blasting if we need to evacuate because the fire has burned its way up to our campground! The rainfall from last winter has made it a tough fire season for all of the forests in the area. There are at least 2’fires burning out of control as I write.
SATURDAY morning the sun is rising to clearer skies and I am truly appreciative of our good fortune and reminiscing about last year. Michael, Callie and I were here a year ago in the SUV, dreaming about someday doing this in an RV, and now we are here and our dreams have become a reality. Today we are going to drive around the lake to see where the best spot would be in which to view the eclipse.
After our late afternoon bike ride, lunch and a nap, the three of us headed up toward Crater Lake with the hope of picking out a good location in which to view the eclipse over the lake. On the west side of the lake there is a lot of construction going on and by the time we rounded the bend toward the east side, the visibility was almost gone and you could smell the smoke even inside the RV. It looks like dense fog billowing up and over the west side of the park and snaking it’s way onto the lake and obscuring Phantom Ship Island. There are two major fires burning out of control and every late afternoon for weeks now, the sky is darkened and the visibility reduced. There is no threat of evacuation that I know of, but the air quality is very poor and those suffering from asthma- (Michael and Callie) will experience shortness of breath and coughing. Callie hasn’t coughed now since we went up-Island on Vancouver Island, so I am keeping my fingers crossed she doesn’t relapse. Michael is also exhibiting some coughing spells, so two more days of this and then we are out of here.
It is now Sunday morning and Callie and I just finished going on a serene catwalk. She is going out farther and father and trusting that I will protect her if danger were to threaten us. The sky has cleared enough every morning and it is staying clear enough for a 10:00 start of the solar eclipse. We are going to take a run up to Crater Lake tomorrow morning and we hope to find a parking spot. It is difficult to tell how many people will be up there. The campground is not completely full and just possibly the fires have kept people away.
We are having a fantastic time in spite of the pollution and I am appreciative to be here and away from the crowds. Callie thinks that this is the best campsite of all times. She has a gigantic picnic table in which to lounge on, squirrels by the dozen that chatter and scold her, woodpeckers feeding their young with a stellar jay hoping to snatch a free meal, bears are in evidence but keep their distance and the neighboring campers are quiet and respectful.
Monday morning and the day of the eclipse is upon us. This has been a long post. Excuse we did not have phone or internet service for the entire time we were at Crater Lake Campground. We stayed at Crater Lake for 3 nights and went up to the lake at 7:00 Monday morning to watch the eclipse scheduled for 10:18. We met wonderful people and had a great view of the sun and lake. The solar eclipse was 98% and very eerie to witness. It got really cold and our shadows were odd to look at. It didn’t get as dark as I had thought but it was still really interesting to witness. Having the special viewing glasses made all the difference and we shared them with the group of six viewers that hung out with us. We turned it into a party! Heading to Yosemite this morning. We haven’t had internet service since Friday and am posting a rather long blog.