Fires, Dow Jones Down, Lava River Cave, Lava Lands Visitor Center

8/24/15 (Monday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Campground-TT)

I’ve been concentrating on our personal experiences, but thought I should note that this summer the Northwest (especially Washington it seems) has been suffering a terrible number of fires. It’s been so hot and dry, with little precipitation last winter. Most of the area has been blanketed with smoke from all those fires. Our hearts go out to all those affected. How sad that flooding is hurting many east of us while we are so dry. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get nature to share?

The Dow Jones dropped about 1,000 points last week. Now it’s dropping more today. This affects so many as well. The worst is that usually when the stock market drops drastically, it takes a really long time to build back up. Very hard on those depending on their 401(k) accounts.

We canceled our Emigrant Lake (near Ashland, OR) reservation due to the closure of Hwy 230. It’ll be much faster, fewer miles, to just drive straight down US Hwy 97 to I-5 to Redding, CA. We wanted to stop in Klamath Falls, but found problems with the campgrounds there. Our friends from yesterday said they’d often drive their 27′ trailer after Thanksgiving down all the way from Lebanon to Redding in one trip. They love the Elks’ campground there and that’s where we’re staying instead of Emigrant Lake. I did a little housecleaning while John cleaned our front cap (windshield and below). Then I got the blog posted and other computer efforts.

The Lava River Cave (USFS: $5/day or free with Senior Pass): “one of the first lava tubes to be discovered by settlers… and Oregon’s longest uncollapsed lava tube… The lava stalactites are the first known to have the term “lavacicle” applied to them.” It’s cold (42 degrees-like a refrigerator) and dark (need to bring or rent good light), about 1 mile to the end, then you get to walk back. You spend a lot of energy watching where you step! This was our first long lava cave, worth the experience. I think the photos say more than my words:

lava 1 lava 2 lava 3 lava 4 lava 5 lava 6 lava 7 lava 8 lava 9 lava 10

After the cave, we visited the Lava Lands Visitor Center nearby, enjoying their displays and nice video. This place is unusual in that it’s run by the Forest Service and feels very much like a National Park Service park. It’s just another part of the “Newberry National Volcanic Monument”. We’ll visit more areas of it during this week. A volunteer showed us a great water carrier, so we each got one for hiking and our flight to Hawaii in November.

After supper we watched “Gone Girl”. Wow, that was interesting. Great writing/plot.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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