Lava Beds and Skull Cave


At the mouth of Skull Cave.

At the mouth of Skull Cave.

What a wild and beautiful landscape we found ourselves in yesterday.  The Lava Beds National Monument is a must-see and do park.  Out in the middle of no where near the Eastern Oregon border, it can be found just south of Tulelake.  Did you know Tule is a reed like plant?  The Modoc indians made their canoes out of it and worked the lake way back when.  When the Indians inhabited the area, the lake was 75% bigger than it is today.  The settlers, after running the Modocs off their land, drained much of the lake for agricultural crops which are still there today.  However, the birds don’t seem to care.  Tulelake is a stop off for thousands of birds that migrate up and down the great state of California.  When you look out at the lake, you see some birds early in the season…or perhaps they are the ones that hand out here all year.  Don’t know.  But we did see lots of birds.  From afar.  I should get myself some good binoculars.

However, that’s just part of the story.  The Lava Beds National Monument is fascinating.  It has, guess what?  Lava beds.  Black, dark rock (unscientific explanation) scattered throughout the landscape.  And a neophyte “geologist” would just love this spot.  Are you reading this Gary?  You can imagine the lava spewing forth and hardening into the various shapes that are present in the Beds.  And beside the Beds, there are cones and other odd geological wonders.  We climbed up to a cone and peered down into it and it seems like a bottomless pit.  And there are caves.  The caves are rated easy, moderate, and difficult.   We took easy.  And it was deep and cold and had very small steel stairs down to the bottom where a floor of ice could be observed.  On the ceiling, there are bats.  Couldn’t see them very well.  But they live in the caves and the Park Service is trying to save them from a bat virus that has already killed 6 million of those darling little creatures.  While not the prettiest of creatures, the lady at the visitor’s center expressed their important in the ecological web of life.  We left convinced that bats are cool members of our earthly society.

Entering the cave.

Entering the cave.


Lava beds.

We tromped all over the park.  And confined ourselves to the one cave.  We only had the day and there were battlefields and other things to see.  Plus, it was about a 45 minute drive from our RV campground to the park.  We should come back.  The place is other-worldly and bleak, and beautiful.  You cannot see a telephone pole.  There are no houses.  It is remote and out of the way.  And so oddly different.  We loved it.

After returning from the park, it was usual routine.  Feed Beau.  Walk Beau.  Fix dinner.  Eat dinner.  Only thing different was that we watched TV.  Our satellite worked!!  How, I don’t know.  But it did.  After one show, I went to bed and continued my read about the Mob in Cuba.  A true story.

This a.m. we got up and got going.  We drove from the RV park near Lava Beds to Sisters, Oregon.  What a beautiful little town.  Population about 3,000.  With the Sister’s Mountains nearby and visible, it is a very picturesque community.  We are here for 3 days.  The only adventure we had was finding a gas station and getting gas.  Our digital devices let us down.  By the time we were on fumes, we turned off the main highway and ended up in a residential area.  There we parked while we searched to the nearest, cheapest gas.  When you are buying 56 gallons, you need to be aware the price/gal.  Anyway, we found a place and headed off for it.  This meant retracing some of our path and two left turns.  Left turns are not my fav in an RV.  And today every vehicle in the state of Oregon was on the highway.  We finally found the station but the driveway was so narrow, we had to unhitch the car in order to leave the station.

The long and short of it is that we escaped the gas station and drove to Sister’s RV park.  A dandy place.  Lot’s of gardens, a lake, trees.  So many trees we can’t use our satellite tonight and that’s why I’m blogging.  TV keeps us from doing so many things.  We are much better with less of it.  Especially during this election cycle.

But I digress.

So, we pitched our tent, so to speak, and Rayman washed the outside of the windows while I dusted (2 Swifter’s) and dusted the floor.  This new RV has a built-in vacuum cleaning system but this p.m. was not the time to try to figure it out.  Everything is so complicated.  Patience is required so tomorrow is the day to fool around with the vacuum.

The entertainment system may be the end of me.  OMG.  The people that write and produce the DVD that explains everything…have some explaining to do.  It has taken me 4 days to figure out how to turn on the radio.  Really.   The RADIO.  So you can imagine how frustrating it is to try to get the TV to work, the blu-ray to work, the surround sound to work.  In a word, we haven’t figured it out.  And may never.  You figure with all the buttons and options one can select, there must be about 3,000,000 variations.  And we have to figure out the right one.  Good luck with that.

It took two days with help from our friends to figure out how to turn on the ice maker.  This thing is complicated.   Space age meets stone age.  We’re stoned and lost in space!!

Tonight we had Aidell’s sundried tomato sausages, corn on the cob and eggplant…all grilled to perfection by Rayman.  I prepped and planned.  He cooked.  I cleaned up.  And here we are.  In a beautiful spot with fresh bread from a local bakery in Sister’s for tomorrow’s Labor Day breakfast of bacon and eggs and toast.  Life is good.


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