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Fine-tuning...Second Thoughts on Tail-End of Oregon Vacation

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May 8th, 2011, 06:27 PM
  #1
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Fine-tuning...Second Thoughts on Tail-End of Oregon Vacation

First, thank you to everybody who helped to plan our vacation to Oregon this coming September. I thought it best to start a new thread on this specific question. (Sunbum1944, this more or less follows your last comment, http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...s-question.cfm)

Near the end of our trip, we are completing our loop, returning from SW Oregon through Crater Lake to Hood River and finally Portland. My question is whether I should add a night in between Crater Lake and Hood River, subtracting a night from Portland. Here is the current piece of the itinerary:

- from Crescent City to Crater Lake - 1 night at Crater Lake Lodge (Tuesday nite)
- from Crater Lake - stop & hike Newberry Lava Tube - 2 nights in Hood River (Wed/Thu nites, dinnertime arrival)
- to Portland for 2 nights; spend Saturday at Ape Cave/Mount St. Helens (Fri/Sat nites)
- early morning flight back home (6:30am Sunday)

As you see, the day between Crater Lake and Hood River doesn't give much time for Crater Lake. I suspect we won't get to see much of Portland either. Both lava tubes are a big deal to the 4 of us, so that needs to stay in.

Do you think I should move the Hood River nights to Thursday & Friday, adding in a night near Bend, and only 1 night in Portland? Or will we be ok for that one long day? My expectation is that we should get to Crater Lake around lunchtime and leave after breakfast. It's not much time, but in the overall context it was the best I could think of.

Oh - it was my plan to use Priceline to bid for a 4* hotel in downtown Portland the last 2 nights. Appreciate your thoughts as I finalize everything. Since I prefer to have all hotel paid in advance, this is the time to make changes or not.
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May 8th, 2011, 07:03 PM
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If you are visiting the lava tubes, you should stay in Sunriver or Bend. Take the time to see the High Desert Museum.
You won't feel like driving all the way to Mt. Hood after your time in the Bend.
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May 9th, 2011, 12:02 PM
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That's what I was beginning to think. Any recommendations? After almost 2 weeks, we will not want to pop for a super-expensive place. But, it's my friend's birthday and so it would be great to find a special place to stay and to have dinner, so not just a Days Inn-type place either.

Sunriver Resort looks great but is a bit too pricey. How is Mt. Bachelor Village Resort or Seventh Mountain Resort? Any interesting B&B's or unusual places?
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May 9th, 2011, 01:44 PM
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I didn't check the rates but you might check out this place in Bend- I loved staying here and its close to downtown so you can easily walk - its owned by the same company that owns the Edgefield I suggested in the Gorge area

http://www.mcmenamins.com/421-old-st...is-school-home

There is a theatre, a soaking bath, firepit, live music sometimes - fun place to stay
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May 9th, 2011, 04:14 PM
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What a unique place! The rates are within reason, as well. Thank you, sunbum1944.
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May 12th, 2011, 07:48 AM
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McMenamins is a fun place. I was just there on Monday for dinner. They have Happy Hour from 3P-6P every night. They brew their own beers and they are know in town for them. Bar tenders will even mix them for you.

Not sure when you making this trip, but the Lava River Cave is closed until July 1. There is a lot of road construction going on in this area (Hwy 97). Lava Lands Visitor Center is very interesting. Go up to the top of the butte for a fabulous 360 degree view of the area. It is only open Thursday-Monday until July 1. Then it is open daily.
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May 12th, 2011, 07:52 AM
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Ah, I see you are going in Sept. Both the Lava River Cave and the Lava Lands Visitor area will start on their shoulder season schedule (open only Thurs.- Mon.) on Sept. 8.
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May 12th, 2011, 08:10 AM
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The information you need for the Lavalands Visitor Center.
http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centralorego...avabutte.shtml
By September the Lava Tubes should have good access. Closed for now. The fire lookout on the top of Lava Butte has a permit system to prevent parking problems at the top above the Visitor center.
If Mcminnamins or Sunriver is not your style check on the Phoenix Inn near downtown Bend.
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May 12th, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Well, shoot! The information I downloaded in March said it would be open Wednesday-Sunday. Now, as you say, it lists fall shoulder season as Thursday-Monday. No fair! So, since we'll be there on Wednesday, 9/14, it looks like we will not be able to do the Lava River Cave after all.
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May 12th, 2011, 12:32 PM
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Here is an alternative since some of the places you want to see are closed - if you like to hike there are a variety of trails, some easy, some not so - this place is world famous for rock climbing - you could even take a lesson if you want ( not for me but fun to watch the climbers)

http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_51.php?md=pic
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May 12th, 2011, 04:14 PM
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Thanks, sunbum1944; we may just do that. Monkey Face rock looks very interesting. The vision of me on a rock climb was pretty hilarious, though - maybe when I was in my twenties...

We are very interested in volcanic features, and so of course were drawn to the lava cave. Do you know if the rest of the park is accessible, although the cave and visitor's center are closed? Wondering if we could at least drive through and see a bit, but I can't really tell from the website.

Appreciate the help.
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May 12th, 2011, 08:47 PM
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Now that the access road to the visitor center is open, you can get to the parking lot and go on the self interpretive trails. The road up to the Lava Butte Lookout tower should be open until late September. You might have to walk it if they choose to lock the gate. You can now drive out the road to a parking lot near Benham Falls. The Deschutes River goes on the west side of the lava field. They are hoping to have a new access road to the Lava River cave on the east side of US 97 open by July 1. Not sure of the new route. Make sure to see the High Desert Museum about 5 miles to the north.
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May 16th, 2011, 05:51 PM
  #13
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Just a note -

Thank you to sunbum1944 for the recommendation to Mcmenamins. I was able to get rooms there. The guys in particular were pleased at the thought of staying essentially at a pub.

Thank you also to tomfuller for the dose of sanity so that we can enjoy that leg of the trip without unnecessary road fatigue. Some birthday celebration that would be, eh.

BarbAnn, although you brought me unwelcome news about the lava tube, I am very happy to have learned now and not when we got there--thank you. Everybody has given me some fine alternatives, and we will still have a full fun day.
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May 16th, 2011, 09:22 PM
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Make sure you find your way to the outside area behind the "Priests Garage" which has been turned into a cute bar - there is an outside sitting area and on a chilly night there will be a fire in the firepit

Also loved the soaking tub.
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