You probably already knew that Crater Lake was the deepest lake in North America and I suppose it comes as no surprise that the weather in Bandon is unpredictable and that Face Rock really does resemble a … face.
Most of you have lived here far longer than I have, so forgive my childlike enthusiasm. The Ackerman Clan is still discovering the riches of Douglas County and its immediate surroundings, wondering what took us so long to get here.
I’m not big on vacations (the control freak in me always thinks the place can’t possibly operate without me), so I generally take a “staycation” that I sandwich around a weekend. With cellphones and emails we are always tethered to work, but we can’t seem to bring ourselves to totally disconnect because we might miss something important back at the office — like a food fight in the lunchroom.
My wife’s friend was visiting from Southern California and my daughter was on break from the U of O (Go Ducks?), so I thought I’d take a couple of days off to take the crew for some sightseeing.
My chickens and moles and dogs can only provide so much entertainment, so it was time to fill up the truck with blankets and water bottles and snacks and hit the road for a couple of day trips.
The first thing I tell people is that you can get anywhere from Roseburg in just an hour and a half. That assumes there isn’t much to do in Roseburg itself, but that it’s centrally located to places with sand, or deep lakes, or perhaps a 10-story building with an escalator.
I wonder if people in Eugene tell visitors how close they live to Roseburg? “The best part is that you can drive to Roseburg in an hour!”
And while I’m on the subject of Eugene, I discovered early on that the airport isn’t actually in Eugene. It’s in Kansas. At least it seems that way after driving to Eugene to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight, which I’ve done a few times already.
“Where the hell is the airport?” I asked the gas station attendant on my first trip.
“You get out on the Beltline and head toward Kansas,” he said. “Turn left at the third haystack and keep going until you see a bunch of cows and then you should see an airplane or two.”
Anyway, we piled into the Ackerman truck and headed to Crater Lake for the day. It was maybe 90 degrees when we left the compound, so none of us thought to bring warm clothing. We’d learned that lesson on our first trip to Bandon, but figured Crater Lake would be warmer.
We were wrong. Crater Lake isn’t only deep, it’s cold.
“Look, there’s the lake!” I proclaimed, standing over a lookout and pointing down.
“OK, run for the truck and turn the heater on!”
We sat in the truck and ate our Subway sandwiches with half the Ackerman Clan wrapped in blankets.
Then we made our way to the old lodge, where they had a fire blazing in the lobby, surrounded by other guests who were wondering why they weren’t vacationing in Las Vegas.
“You said we could go swimming, Dad!” one little boy pleaded, as his father pretended to read a hiking brochure.
My guess is that they sell a ton of Crater Lake hooded sweatshirts for $40 each. You can pay, or freeze to death in the middle of August. It’s your choice.
The next day we headed for Bandon and the beach, this time equipped with jackets and sweaters. Before heading down to the beach we stopped at the new Face Rock Creamery for some cheese, salami and crackers. The Ackerman Clan is never far from its cheese and crackers, especially if the Ackerman Clan is hunkered down behind a large rock looking for protection against the 70 mph wind that blows along our stretch of sand.
There is a reason the beaches in Oregon are not littered with the oiled, muscled bodies of Malibu. And nobody wants to chase a wind-blown ball three miles after every serve, so beach volleyball is out of the question.
On the plus side, there is no need for an expensive facial in Bandon. Just poke your mug above a rock long enough to get sandblasted. Within an hour I had six pounds of sand inside my ears and another two pounds up my nose.
“OK,” I announced. “Beach time is over! Run for your lives and I’ll meet you at the truck!”
Our guest from Southern California went home with a Face Rock Creamery hooded sweatshirt probably made by the same guys who make the Crater Lake ones. It kept the sand out of her ears, so $40 was probably a bargain.
We still have a pretty long checklist of new places to visit — all within an hour and a half of Roseburg. And that works out well because it’s tough to find a good chicken-sitter in this town.
Jeff Ackerman is publisher of The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.