This post is second in a series I am writing as our vacation unfolds. To catch up, read Murphy’s Law: On Vacation.
LAST CHANCE TURNAROUND! VEHICLES OVER 35′ PROHIBITED!!
“Dad, did you see that sign?”
No, what did it say?
“Last chance turnaround! Vehicles over 35′ prohibited! Aren’t we over 35 feet?”
No, we’re only 34′.
“Is that including towing your car?”
“Uh, no. With the car we’re 48′.”
Great. We just missed the “last chance turnaround.”
Oh. Well, we should be okay.
Fine is a relative term. This is the way we began 55 miles of scary-death-road driving on Oregon Scenic Byway Hwy242.
Picture this: A two lane, windy road through the woods, leading up a mountain. Peaceful. Beautiful. Now imagine that those driving lanes are only nine feet wide. And picture a 34′ motorhome, pulling a PT Cruiser behind it, taking up 10’6” of lane space.
Around sharp S-curves. And bend-yourself-in-half-and-see-your-rear U curves. For 55 miles. At anywhere between a comfortable 15 miles per hour and a smokin’ 35 miles per hour.
Oh yes. We did.
Note to self… and anyone else considering a driving trip over to the Oregon Coast:
Don’t even THINK ABOUT attempting Hwy 242 if you are in a large van or motorhome. In a car, or better yet on a motorcycle, it would be a wonderful, scenic drive with lots of places to pull off and take pictures. In a motorhome, it is flat out terrifying. There’s just nothing quite like looking out the window and seeing…. nothing… down next to the side of the motorhome. Nothing. No shoulder. Just a drop-off. And is that a truck coming toward us?
We pulled as far “over” as we dared and STOPPED when other vehicles approached. I didn’t have the presence of mind to get it on video. They just had to figure out a way around us because it wasn’t as if we had much choice in where to go. We were quite literally trapped. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you saw the status updates/tweets, the fear, and the prayer requests. (And thank you for praying!)
We came up to the summit, and the Oregon Lava Fields. Very impressive!
A little further and we got a short reprieve from the white knuckles when we came upon the Dee Wright Observatory.
It is at the very top of frightful mountain, in the middle of the Oregon Lava Fields. The observatory itself was built entirely from lava rocks. It is odd and beautiful at the same time.
And of course my boys had to be BOYS and make me have some Momma-worry when they sat on the window sills of the building with their feet hanging out.
On the roof there is a lookout, and a really cool brass placard with arrows on it.
D2 thought it was a sundial, but after studying it we realized that the arrows point to the “sisters” the chain of volcanic peaks that circled the observatory site. Every arrow had a name on it, and each one pointed to a different peak. There are 16 shown in all.
I’ve never seen so much lava in my entire life. It was impressive.