Day 69: Sunday, August 8th, 2021

I was so exhausted last night that I was out cold by 9 p.m…and then slept through the night until 6 a.m. A FIRST for me in a while, pretty sure I needed it. This hotel room feels like I am staying at a friend’s home, the bed is super comfortable, everything is decorated, just feel’s nice. It was my day off from working out, so it was nice to just take a slow morning and snail pace it for my day.

I headed out by 8:30 to catch the opening of the “Lava River Cave” right at it’s 9 a.m. start. I’ve learned that on the weekends, especially this summer, to get to ANYTHING right at open to assure my self of a spot or chance to see it.  I got there about 5 minutes to, and there was a huge line of cars waiting for them to lift the gate.  So I just played on my phone until they let us in, and then it was park and line up.  They count out so many people, then space it out that one group get’s the information about the Cave, and another group lines up for the next briefing.  A third group is then waiting back on the road, where they intermittently put the gate down during the day to space out the groups. Online it was STRONGLY recommended to wear layers to go into the cave, so I wore my brand new Forks sweatshirt.

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

They had us all sit down and explained to us all about the Lava River Cave and how it was formed. When the  “Newberry Volcano” erupted over 75,000 years ago, it sent lava down it’s cone and it formed lava tubes. These tubes were formed by channels where the lava flowed over and over again, eventually cooling by the surface. The cave was born from these tubes, and if the volcano erupted again, this cave would fill with lava the same way, making them bigger.  It cost $5 for a parking pass, or INCLUDED if you have the “America the Beautiful” NP annual pass.  They offered a lantern to be rented for $5, and I was ALL about that!  They hold your car keys until you return it, apparently someone had sticky fingers in the past. Once you have your lantern, or bring your own light source, it was time to take the walk down to the cave and then IN the cave.

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

It is SELF-GUIDED, which I was THRILLED about! You can take your time, but you don’t want to spend to much time away from the groups- it is INSANELY dark down there.  I was so happy I rented a lantern, because a dinky flashlight or my phone light wouldn’t have done anything, the darkness just eats any small light.  You walk down these steep, steel steps, which feels like forever, until you get to the bottom and then it’s watching your step for the mile in and out. It take about an hour or more to walk to the end and back, but oh so worth it. Terrifying, exhilarating, 42 degrees, and dark.  I explored on the way in and on the way back I ghost hunted. Yes, with ZERO wifi, my ghost app was picking up all sorts of words. The most interesting was “Gone person.” It was crazy scary and I LOVED IT!! 

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

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Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave

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Once up and out, I headed to the Newberry Volcano which is located close by. I decided to hike it after a lovely sit in the parking lot with my granola bar, powerade, and a cool breeze today. It was so incredibly cool to see all the lava rock, the way it formed the earth, how life grows amongst it today, and it’s set amongst the backdrop of the “Three Sisters” Mountain Range. I had to get a pic of me touching lava…just so incredible.  Yes, she is an active volcano that is monitored every day. It was a first for me to be on a volcano, seeing lava, and experiencing the cave that was formed by the lava as well. You may think our planet is in the crapper right now, but I am telling you, I have seen things that tell me otherwise and a beautiful God that has hand designed it all.

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

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Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

Newberry Volcano

On the way back into town, I saw a Walmart and I tell you, seeing that or Target is the best site in the World. I am ALWAYS replenishing supplies, but I was particularly looking for solar lights to post in my campsite coming up. I got the idea online and I was like OH that is genius!! So I stop at the Walmart here in Bend, Oregon, and I can’t even describe to you what I saw, but I’ll try.  I walk into the produce area first, hoping to grab a salad for dinner tonight in my room.  All of the produce is moved to the middle in small coolers, and everything else is covered- all the big coolers have shower curtains over them. Ok, probably lost power, coolers went out, whatever right? Then I start walking around the ENTIRE store, looking at what I might need coming up here, and I notice that you can’t cross to the other side of the aisles….they have boxed merch lining every middle space. I mean, pallets and pallets of stuff. I get to the Lawn and Garden section, and I see this MASSIVE pile of boxes there. I saw a Walmart employee and asked “What the heck is going on in your store?”  He said it wasn’t staffing, he said all of it happened the last couple of days, stuff just keeps coming. I mean, LOOK at the pic I took…WHY do they have so many fans lining the shelves above this mess??? He was so nice, went and found me some solar lights, and I thanked him over and over again.  I was happy to leave tho, it was a really off vibe there.

Walmart Bend Oregon

Dropped by Blockbuster a second time for some more merch for others, grabbed myself some drinking glasses and stickers that I missed the first time.  Then headed to Panda Express, another beacon of light when I was starving and just wanted some comfort food.  They haven’t had their dining rooms open across the U.S. since I have been on the trip, so it was sitting in my hot box of a car until I had my Chinese goodness. 

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Nothing I love better than getting back to my hotel room with good food to eat, an accomplished day, a phone full of memories, and fun souvenirs that will be shipped out this week to the family.  So I have enjoyed my late afternoon here in the room, and will head out to Idaho tomorrow.  It’s been fun Oregon, a beautiful state!

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