(Solar Eclipse, imagined over an alpine lake)
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As the avid follower of this blog, you, of course, are aware how much my family and I love camping. Also, thanks to your keen eye and incredible attention to detail, you did notice that I did not have a camping trip for a while now (more than a year), which you do know is very unusual.
(phone photo in panoramic mode)
So, when M Booth's Dana Balch reached out to give us an opportunity to test-drive a camper-truck... Well, more specifically a brand spanking new GMC Sierra HD All Terrain X with a Duramax 6.6L Turbo Diesel V8 Engine on a road trip to Oregon; as every logical people on Earth would do, we said yes (more like shrieked an unintelligible expression of excitement and lost control of ourselves for a considerable amount of time) and figured out a way to coincide it with an event as rare as an observable full solar eclipse.
The good people at Page One Auto, specifically General Motors Western Region Account Manager Mr. Kevin Williams facilitated a super easy drop off and I found myself at the wheel of a beast with 445 net horsepower and 910 net lb.-ft. of torque.
This lovable monster we affectionately named Wo-Wo-Wooooooooolfie provided us a fast, secure and comfortable ride for the 2300 miles we drove in 5 days. It also offered its bed for the truck bed tent we tested for the first time.
The first day, we drove for about eight and a half hours to get to Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was our first time in this lovely National Park and we quickly fell in love with it. My daughter made some new friends, a pair of twin sisters whose father we befriended quickly as well and we shared a delicious dinner, a wonderful conversation and some bourbon while the kids explored the gorgeous surroundings of the campground, created games on the Sierra and roasted marshmallows over the campfire.
(phone photo by David S.)
We woke up early and hit the road immediately to head up North to Elfenwood Campground, a kid-friendly community that usually provides camping grounds only for Oregon County Fair, that opened its doors for the eclipse-viewers at the very last minute and without price gauging, which we greatly appreciated. We were a bit late to the game and when we planned this everything, and I mean everything in and around of the path of totality was booked. So we were considering dispersed camping, and quite honestly, I was very happy to find Elfenwood Camp, where my daughter made another friend. They were like twin sisters or soul sisters... They had the same kind of humor, same adventurous free spirit, a highly developed sense of humor and an abundance of creative imagination. Her father and I exchanged emails and now the two girls are starting an old-fashioned penpalship, which I am pretty proud of to tell the truth.
(phone photo by Jason T.)
(phone photo by Jason T.)
We had a quick dinner and the inevitable s'more around the community campfire as the high fire risk prevented us from having campfires on our sites. The girls went to bed early, I stayed up a bit longer to enjoy the live music provided by the owner of the campground and a friend of his. Two guitars, and folk songs around a lovely campfire under the stars was a great way to get rid of the stiffness of the 6 hour drive.
I woke up incredibly early. We were going to drive up north to the path of totality as Elfenwood is about 40mn away from the south edge of the path. I wanted to experience the full two minutes, so I was planning to drive to the very middle of the path. My wife woke up with a migraine, my daughter was in a foul mood so I kept things quiet, got them some breakfast (and painkiller for Jen) and the girls took a nap during the uneventful 70mn drive.
When we arrived where we wanted to experience the eclipse, they were both in a great mood, the migraine vanished and we started waiting. We were there for about an hour and a half before everything started, so we made great friends there as well!
(above 5 - phone photos by Jennifer Fontaine)
As we were killing time, my daughter did some spontaneous and temporary art installations...
And then, it started....
(phone photo by Ms. N.)
The full solar eclipse is an absolutely amazing experience. I think everyone should witness at least one in their lifetime. I was so happy that Jen and I decided to do this with our daughter despite the school year has already started. My daughter's teacher was so happy for her and supportive that we were doing this, which satisfied me knowing that my daughter is in good hands this year. She will be giving a presentation next week to her classmates with most of the photographs you see on this blog entry.
(phone photo in panoramic mode by Jennifer Fontaine.)
Jennifer also caught the moment of totality on her phone. Here's that craziness:
After the eclipse viewing, we headed to Rogue Farms in Independence, OR. I always liked Dead Guy Ale, but I never tried other Rogue beers. So we got a couple of flights and the one that stood out among all the delicious beers we tasted was Jalapeño Helles Lager. It was a fantastic balance of spice and that smokey Jalapeño flavor in a deliciously crisp and refreshing lager.
Then we were back at Elfenwood to watch my daughter play with her new soul sister while they built fairy houses, jumped around, climbed up and down the truck and made us smile and laugh while we quietly played our game of Scrabble,
(phone photo by Jennifer Fontaine)
In the morning we headed back to our newfound love Lassen for another blissful night. My daughter and I had fun photographing her Princess figurines. Here are a few BHS shots (phone photos by Jennifer Fontaine) and a selection of the results.
Then we took a walk where she climbed and jumped off of the "plank tree" several times. We went by the peaceful Manzanita lake to enjoy the dusk and we had some serious talk about expectations and reality too.
(phone photo by Jennifer Fontaine)
Usually, I like to camp several nights at the same location and I like to get lazy (except a few hikes). This time, we were constantly on the run but it was worth every second! And my daughter is becoming a solid traveler who endures the boring and mundane parts as she knows the fruits and the rewards would be worth it.
The GMC Sierra's OnStar WiFi system allowed me to work on the go while Jennifer took the wheel on the way back to Lassen.
I'm going to leave you with some of my favorite shots from this trip. You can see the high quality versions of some of these photographs on Kerem Hanci Potography store. You can also click on the photos below to see the high quality versions.
See you next time!