This was originally posted back in February, 2007 to the RV.Net forums, where I posted alot of my travel tales over the years. Now, I'm adding them to this blog, which will house my travels going forward into the future and any other related posts, such as projects on the camper and such.
Basically, sometime late last year, Craig (INSAYN) posted about his annual trips up to Diamond Lake to go riding on the snow with his quads. Having only had my camper a half year by this point and never tried snow camping prior (tent camping + snow = brrr), I decided to join him up on the mountain.
Before we get going to far into the tale, I'd first like to post this link:
This is the entire library of all 80 something photos taken that trip, only a handful of them are used in the thread.
And also, all photos are links, click one to go straight to the bigger picture.
Now, on with the story!
Now, I don't have any crazy toys like quads or snow mobiles, but I will happily take a donation of a running quad or snow mobile .
However, there's other things to do up at Diamond Lake besides Skiing (Another thing I haven't done for the same reason as quads and snow mobiles), Quad Trail Riding and Snow mobiling. Diamond Lake hosts a huge Snow tubing hill, $10 gets a year near all day tow pass to get tows up to the top of the hill. Its actually quite alot of fun to go down.
So, anyway, prepped for all eventualities, I loaded the truck and camper. My co-worker, Mike, who was originally going to ride up there with me, got ill from eating lunchables and taco bell, and went home before I left town,
he and his girl friend later joined me the following day up on the mountain.
About 60 miles of the drive to the mountain are on the intersate, the rest involved crossing the Willamette Pass, a very long 6.5% grade that's pretty much uphill for about 20 miles. My truck hates that pass, I hate it too, as I've never managed to go faster than 30mph over that pass.
However, along the lower half of the pass on the way to the town of Oakridge, last stop before the hill of hell, you have a nice winding drive around this large reservoir, the name eludes me at the moment.
(Above) This part of the drive is fairly relaxing and rather scenic in its views. I've been over it both during the summertime and the winter and its been beautiful regardless of season.
(Below) Ah, Oakridge, last bastion of civilization before the true proof that Diesel engine would definitely be perferred for this pass, increasing elevation and gas engines don't go hand in hand. Especially moving 10,000lbs down the road. Especially moving 10,000lbs down the road and you don't know yet that your Map Sensor gave up the ghost sometime last year.
You can already see the snow topped pass looming in the distance above the town.
The slog uphill begins, if I could have read a book during this part of the drive I would have, but I probably would have fallen asleep instead of just nodding the whole time. Jerry Reed is my savior for this trip, his music was about the only thing keeping me awake.
Time for a break, I keep going and I'm going to wind up in a ditch. Nothing like cold-ass air and a walk to wake ya back up a bit. This is why I dislike making these kind of drives with no sleep and no co-pilot, but what could I do? I was hours behind thanks to having a bad cold right before the trip, all my prep time was lost to being stuck in a bed feeling like warmed over carp.
CAMP AT LAST! Thank God, running out of daylight and stamina to drive much further (Damned drive took 5+ hours thanks to going over the 58 pass instead of up the route from Roseburg), I finally pull in to camp next door to INSAYN. Campsites cost $25 a night for eletrical, a bit spendy, but believe me, the eletrical is your friend, my little eletric heater kept the camper at a toasty 70 degrees the whole trip with my window inserts in.
Once camp was setup, it was time to fix a drink and relax. And believe me, I was ready for some relaxing. Fixed us all some Alabama Slammers, a nice mixed drink that I had to make at half strength due to the plastic cups not being big enough to accomodate the right percentage of orange juice to 3 1oz shots of liquor and a 1 oz shot of Red Grenadine.
While we chatted and sat around the campfire, me munching on some peanuts while sipping my drink and chewing the fat, Craig decided to put away his toys for the night in the trailer. After parking the misses quad, Craig decided to have a little fun parking his. Didn't quite make it...
(Left Picture) Whoops...
(Right Picture) No Craig, its not her fault yer stuck
Morning finds another crisp, clear day on the mountain, me recovering from a hangover from hell, (this trips lesson, never watch the aviator while you're feeling Ill from dehydration, the movie's hard enough to handle sober). Mike and his now ex-girl friend meet me up mountain top around noon, at which point I fix a late breakfast and we all take Mike's truck and zip over to the tubing hill.
Myself, I spend part of the afternoon using my old Radial Flyer Aluminum snow disc to go zipping down the side of a little hill that the kids had carved steps out of the snow, tied off a rope and made 2-3 little sledding chutes.
I actually shot some mini videos of playing on the snow disc hill, and uploaded them for people to view. Sorry, my camera doesn't record sound, never has, so all the videos are on the silent side. I'm the fat guy with the orange beanie.
The only draw back to this days festivities was I managed to slip stepping down into the parking and hit the ground flat on my back with a nice cracking sound.
Mike and his Lady had some fun up on the snow as well. Mike who brought both his inner tube and a snow ski (A skateboard with no wheels) and spent some time letting a kid try out trying to balance on it.
Now, I'd have to call Diamond Lake to a sense, the poorer man's Ski Resort. While they have a bit of the pander of the snobbier places like Mt. Hood, Mt. Bachelor, they lack the anal retentiveness and are more open to letting people just go off and have fun without charging them a fortune, or looking for a way to nickle and dime them to death. Case in point, if you were self sufficent and didn't need 110, you could have simply parked your rig at the end of the part of the road that had been plowed and camped there without any complaint what so ever. Quite of a number of people did just that.
Folks with headlights on their snow mobiles were out well towards midnight riding, after all, here's what they were riding on:
That's right, frozen solid lake. Diamond had been drawn down eight feet for the previous year to kill off the lake and start it over. Diamond's not a very deep lake in comparison to others, but its a wide lake. Taking 8 feet off dropped the lake quite a bit and made it freeze rather deep.
You could kind of call it the salt flats of snow in Oregon. Snow mobiles going across the lake a full throttle, damn if I wouldn't be worried about the chances of hitting a frost heave, that'd actually be a helluva lot of fun.
Well, its Sunday now, second to last day Craig and his Wife are heading back earlier to handle family matters, along with about 90% of the people there By that night I would wind up having the entire area to myself. But, before all that, I'm hankering for a visit down to Crater Lake, its been 6 years at least since the last time I was there.
Mike helps me offload the camper, before he and his lady say their goodbyes and head back (Mike's lady has to be in school on Monday whereas mike still has the day off, so he winds up spending it watching the sucker-- Whoops I mean Super Bowl.
Ah, wizard Island, picturesque as ever. I have quite a number of photos of Diamond Peak, Crater Lake and the what not, but since this thread's already fat with pictures, I'll just say, go to the link at the top and view through them all.
The snow pack was down this feburary, ironically it nearly doubled a week after the trip, but it was amazing how much less there was compared to my last visit, which was ironically, a month and a half later in the year.
All in all, it wasn't a bad trip. The things I'd definitely do differently would be:
A.) Not let Mike get firecrackers from Craig
B.) To make myself a washing machine firepit, fire's don't work on snow
C.) Not take an entire forest of firewood with me, especially damp firewood.
D.) Not bring the bicycles, I brought them in case I needed to ride my bike up the road to the gas station to get more fresh water.
I did get to test my version of Brad's water tank system and it works great. I place mine on the hood of the truck, vs a create on the ground, but that's only if the camper's on the truck. If I really need to, I could just lay it on the ground.