Leaving Crater Lake began the worst part of the trip for me. Strangely, every time Scott drove, the roads turned evil. His driving always seemed to involve the most treacherous of mountain roads, with abrupt drops next to the shoulder (or lack of shoulder), sliding off into bottomless oblivion. I did not like it one bit. It didn't help that Scott had flown in from Japan days before, and was trying to adjust to driving on the right side of the road again. I'd have gladly driven it all, but Doug and Scott understood that I would most likely drive 10 mph.
I had a few pathetic coping strategies. One was to take off my glasses, NOT look out the window, and take apart my camera lenses. I took off the filters, and systematically cleaned each and every surface, many times. Many, many times. I also only allowed myself only 5 "Go Slower!!!!" wails per chunk of driving time. This was all partly my fault: I was the one who picked out the "scenic route." It's not scenic if you can't look out the window.
We were headed from Crater Lake, Oregon, to Ashland, Oregon, to see a play at the Shakespeare festival, Comedy of Errors. We decided to stop off at Lava National Monument. Crater Lake may be the most under-rated National Park, but Lava National Monument must be the ugliest National monument! Two outcomes of volcanic activity, but they look very different. Look closely at this photo; you'll see a tiny, tiny Doug and tiny, tiny Scott walking up the mountain, in the center of the photo. I stayed at the bottom and took a photo.
From Wikepedia: "Lava Beds National Monument covers a geographic area that is pock-marked with cinder cones and flooded with ancient lava flows. It's also in the desert and can be very hot and extremely dry during the summer months. Or it could be cold and pouring rain." Yeah, lovely. If I'm going to suffer steep mountain driving, I want to at least see pretty trees and lakes.
And here is Balloon Installment #5
These are just some more views and perspectives to give you an idea of what it's like to be floating around about the earth. Strange, how this didn't bother me, although there was nothing below me but a wicker basket, whereas a concrete highway at ground level gave me no comfort at all.
This is Frank's hand pointing in the photo. Over his 30 years, he's been witness to many marriage proposals, and balloon rides immediately following a wedding ceremony on the ground in a vineyard. How romantic is that!