Incredible Blue!

Best Breakfast

One of our last mornings of this Spokane visit we had breakfast at Frank’s Diner. An awesome breakfast is served in an old railroad car.

This car, a “Laketon”, is a Pullman coach known as a “Heavyweight.” The car is exceptionally large, requiring 12 wheels and weighing over 130,000 pounds. This one started service in 1913 with the Great Northern Railway in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was configured as a sleeper car, and ran through Glacier Park and Spokane on its way to Seattle. After WWI, the railroad needed to cater to sightseers more, and wanted dining cars. Cars like the Laketon were the biggest and smoothest riding, so this would make a premier dining car. After WWII, air travel displaced rail travel, and this car was relegated to feeding railroad work crews. Retired in the 90’s, it took two years and over a million dollars to become the elegant diner in which we enjoyed our breakfast. If you’re ever in Spokane…

Weird Bird

Karen thought I should feature a very strange bird we noticed hanging around. I think it’s a Green-Headed Gas-Toter. Let me know if you know better!

Portland, Oregon

As we headed towards Portland, we marveled at the views along the Columbia River. We did part of this drive a few months ago, but the sky was so smoky we could see nothing! Without the smoke, we now we had a breathtaking view of Mt. Hood.

We tried a different campground in Portland, this one being right across the road from the river. The Portland Yacht Club looks nice, but it seems to be members only, and we aren’t.

Just down the road, however, is full of interesting homes and boats. The many “houseboats” are of all sizes and shapes – really all they have in common is that they are floating and tied to a dock. Some were two stories with balconies, some had tons of potted plants, all were unique. And they can keep their boats close to home!

One of the main reasons to go to Portland was to see long-term friends Jeff and Marilyn. So I celebrated that by forgetting to get a picture of all of us… Why do I do that??

We went for a nice evening’s walk with them to Kelly Point Park, where the Columbia and Willamette rivers converge. A beautiful place to watch the sunset!

After our walk along the shore, we went to their daughter’s home. Katrina has been a friend of ours (and our daughters) since she was a little kid, and it is fun to see her now – all grown up with kids of her own. Great to see all of them: Jesse, Katrina, Edda and Asa. (And you notice I at least remembered to get a picture!)

Crater Lake National Park

Crescent, Oregon, was a great stop, if you like gorgeous scenery! Colors are changing in the woods, and absolutely fabulous.

But the fall colors have nothing to do with the beauty of Crater Lake. The blue is so incredible!! The lake looks so perfectly smooth, and is such a deep blue it is unlike any other. It is about 4 x 6 miles across, and at 1,943 feet deep is the deepest in the country. (Lake Tahoe is about 300 shallower.)

Crater Lake is formed in the caldera of an old volcano, and has no rivers feeding into it. That means no sources of silt or anything else flowing into the water – only rain and snow. The result is incredibly clear water – tests show you can see straight down to around 130 feet. When sunlight hits the water, most colors of light are absorbed by the water, and converted to heat. But blue is not absorbed – it is scattered and heads for our eyes. If the water was dirtier, or less deep, the impurities would reflect other colors to our eyes as well and lessen the intense blue.

I found the lake irresistible, and took far too many pictures! (Who Knew?) So I’m not going to say a lot more, just show you a few of my favorites. We drove the whole Rim Road, circling the lake, and I took pictures from most every angle. Hang on!

OK, a little more commentary: Wizard Island is the large island near the western shore. It’s like a mini volcano inside the caldera of the bigger volcano.

The Phantom Ship is really a rocky outcropping, that with a bit of imagination can appear to be an old square rigger, with sails ripped and blowing around.

This little Chipmunk (actually a Golden-manteled Ground Squirrel: Thank you Wendy!) wasn’t too impressed with the view.

Wow! You made it to the end of my Crater Lake pictures! Hope you enjoy the blue as much as we do!


  1. Ah! Nostalgia! I got to spend a wonderful summer as an NPS ranger at Crater Lake in 2008. Love that blue blue water! I think the chipmunk might be a golden-mantled ground squirrel, but I think you got the Green-headed Gas-toter exactly right!–Wendy Swee, Maui

    • So good to hear from you!!! I’ll admit I figured it was really a squirrel, but didn’t look it up. And I figured somebody would correct me! So glad it was you! Because it was you, I’ll fix it! Glad you liked the Gas-toter…

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