11 August 2018
Ian and I were rudely awoken by neighbours leaving at 06:00, even though they’re not supposed to start up engines until 08:00. Cornelia woke up, needing the loo, and then wanted to cuddle in with us, so we all enjoyed an extra little snooze, although Cornelia’s went on until after 09:00! Ian had showered and dressed by the time she woke up, and she grinned when I said “Morning four year old!”
She really wanted to play with some of her birthday toys (specifically the pirate ship) and I really wanted to have a shower and wash the Gang in the laundry (who have become very stinky again). Ian made the mistake of telling her that they were going for a wash and she had her first meltdown as a four year old… I told her that we could wash them in the shower with us, while the rest of the laundry went in the machine, and then I chucked them in the machine without her noticing… and she didn’t mention them for the whole shower, and even when we got back to the RV. Result! I don’t make a habit of tricking her, but this was a particular success!
I left Cornelia with Ian to make the pirate ship at long last, and went to transfer the laundry into the dryer. I decided to wait the half hour of the machine cycle up in the sunshine, laying Cowbat, Cowding and Molly on the picnic table to dry and updating the blogs from the last couple of days.
Eventually everything was dry and when I returned to the RV, Bugsy was very excited to show me her pirate ship, which had finally been glued and painted and named! (It’s Cornelia, of course!)
We have decided to leave our site a day early to get to Crater Lake and Mt Cook, as recommended by Cat and Pete, so packed up and secured everything, before setting off up Highway 101 for the last time. The staff at the site were a bit concerned that it was something that they’d done, but we assured them it wasn’t!
We joined Route 42, which took us inland over mostly newly-tarmaced roads and through the rolling countryside, which looked quite English at times! We passed through little rundown towns like Myrtle Point, Riddle and listened to Real Country on the radio.
We stopped for a 15:00 lunch at a place called “Remote” which made us chuckle. There was still no sign of smoke in the air, despite being far inland now. We continued on, down Interstate 5 for a while, alongside an industrial-sized timber plant, before rejoining our more rural route passing through Surprise Valley and Days Creek and gradually climbing into the steep hills, still keeping our eyes out for signs of wildfires. We were surrounded by forests when we passed by a fire control compound, complete with trucks and helicopters. We knew we nearing the fire zones!
On another note, we had intended to stop around 16:45 to do Cornelia’s birthday cake but she bloody well fell asleep, so yet another opportunity had gone!!! We are destined not to eat this cake!!!
As we progressed along Old Highway 62 we saw more evidence of the fires, with massive logging operations in place to chop down and remove vast quantities of wood to prevent the fires from spreading further.
Then as we turned a corner, the distant sky was distinctly blue and then dark, smokey grey. A fire truck overtook us and as it did so, we could smell the smoke for the first time. We nervously carried on, confident that the roads would be closed or at the very least, there would have been signs at the fire camps we passed if there were any danger, and also knowing we had checked the routes were clear earlier, but we were nervous nonetheless. We noticed the orange glow on the trees around us, and when I looked up, the sky was grey and the sun was “shining “ through it, turned orange, and then red, by the smoke. It all felt quite surreal and a bit stupid. Luckily, by this point, Cornelia had fallen fast asleep.
We finally dropped far enough south and out of the forests for the sky and sun to turn back to their usual colours! We travelled east for a while before turning slightly north towards Prospect, Union Creek and Crater Lake at last, with the grey sky, orange sun and smoke surrounding us once again.
Crater Lake itself is high up – 1870 metres at the last check of my compass – so it was cooler than it has been when we left Bandon, and the smoke was much lighter. We paid the $25 entrance fee and parked up in the Village car park and I went into Registration to check in. Having waited patiently for nearly ten minutes, the friendly receptionist told me I needed to be at the kiosk just past the main building. D’oh! There, check in was quick – I was given a pass to secure to a board displaying the pitch number and we were allowed to choose whichever pitch we wanted, as long as it was marked yellow and brown. We selected D9, as that had been our pitch number for the last three nights, and Ian parked as level as possible. This is a “dry” site which means that there are no electricity or water connections available, but we are self-sufficient and have enough power and water for at least one night.
Ian and Bugsy explored the local area, while I whizzed up a pasta bolognese for our now very late supper. They came back and told me all about the amphitheatre just up the track from us. There is a talk tonight about astronomy with the opportunity to look for shooting stars, but I don’t think we will be going. Cornelia had started playing up a bit and was completely exhausted again.
She ate her tea very slowly while watching “Over the Hedge”, one of her birthday DVDs. In fact, I switched it off at one point because of her inability to eat properly, which led to a sobbing child curling up in my lap telling me how sad and tired she felt. But I REALLY wanted this darn birthday cake, so we stuck with it and finally she finished her meal.
I washed up quickly and popped the four candles in her cake, lit them, and Daddy and I sang Happy Birthday while she lay on the sofa, crying, saying she didn’t want this song again. For the love of God!!!! I nearly got a bit cross with her, before Ian reminded me how tired she was, so I bit my disappointed tongue, and dishes out slabs of cake to each of us, spoon-feeding Cornelia until her tears had dried. I should really have just left it in the fridge for another day, but I was really worried about it going stale and becoming completely inedible.
Anyway, she managed to make it through the rest of the movie, before she’d clambered into bed for her stories with Ian. She is currently whispering to herself (or to her Gang). How she has not fallen straight to sleep is beyond me!