Day 17 – Crater Lake National Park

We left the hotel at 7:30 and made the 2 hour drive to Crate Lake National Park.  It was a beautiful drive through the woods on Hwy 62 to get to the park.

At the gate to the park we showed our pass and the ranger gave me a map of the park.  I asked about a park newspaper, but the ranger snapped back saying if the did a newspaper he would have given me one.  Not exactly a polite response, I thought.

We drive to the Visitor Center and Post Office to find that the Visitor Center was closed and so were the restrooms.  A lady at the Post Office informed us that the closest rest rooms where 3 miles up the road at the crater overlook.  So we drove up the the crater overlook.

After all using the restroom, we walked over to the crater overlook.  It was a beautiful view and we spent about an hour walking along the rim toward the lodge.  At one point we walked down steps to reach a viewing platform.

We visited the gift shop which opened at 10:00, but besides stickers and a decorative tote bag didn’t see anything we wanted to buy.  The gift shop had prepared sandwiches, so we bought lunch to eat later in the day.

We started driving East on the Rim Road stopping along the way to take in various sites.  We drove the road to The Pinnacles.  We did not hike the complete Pinnacle train, but did enough to get a good perspective.  After leaving the main parking lot we drove along the road back to the main Rim Road.  We stopped to use the restroom in the woods and we ate lunch in the car at the same stop.

We continued driving the Rim Road stopping when inspired until we almost reached the crater overlook.  Then we turned around and drove the Rim Road in the westerly direction.  At the end we felt like we had thoroughly seen the park and drove back to the hotel.  On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at COSTCO and filled the car with gas.

Once back at the hotel we started searching for Mexican Restaurants.  We found one not too far from the hotel and called to make sure they had table service.  The restaurant was El Molcajete Mexican Grill.  They have two locations and we drove to the Stewart Avenue location where they were doing Dine-In service.  When we were seated they brought us chips and salsa along with queso and refried bean dip.  We all ordered margaritas to drink.  Our entrees were delivered quickly and everything was delicious.

Our original plan was to turn south here and head to California. We planned to drive the Pacific Coast Highway from Crescent City, California to Santa Monica. At Santa Monica we would start driving Route 66 East. Unfortunately, we had to abandon that plan. New Mexico is requiring out of state travelers to quarantine for 14 days. In California, most of the restaurants only allow outdoor dining. Taking this into consideration, we decided to return home via Rocky Mountain National Park.

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