oregonroadOne of the hallmarks of my roadtrips is just driving. Especially driving on roads less traveled. So the plan from Pendleton on the Lost Coast Then Just Lost Tour was to make a long haul down the full length of Oregon. Oregon makes it easy. Since there are no major interstates out in the Eastern part, I didn’t have to work hard to find an alternative route. It was Route 395 all the way. While it plays a distinct second fiddle to US 101, some people feel Route 395 offers much more diversity. Some day, I’ll traverse the whole thing from Washington to the terminus in the Mohave desert. Today, I just followed it the full length of Oregon. It was an amazing cruise through semi-arid high desert. I think I’ll mostly let the pictures do the talking. Sure it was a long, long haul filled with signs saying “Next Services 80 Miles”. But it was an incredibly beautiful landscape. And, with the exception of maybe half a dozen trucks, I was the only car on the road.

The drive started out with a lot of classic high desert scenery.

The drive started out with a lot of classic high desert scenery.

And a lot of incredible clouds.

And a lot of incredible clouds.

An abandoned and derilict Catholic church. It has its own outhouse in the back.

An abandoned and derilict Catholic church. It has its own outhouse in the back.

Buttes and clouds.

Buttes and clouds.

More high desert.

More high desert.

And mountains with pine forests.

And mountains with pine forests.

Then I rounded a corner toward the Southeastern part of Oregon and came upon what looked like a drying up lake. By “came upon”, I mean I drove alongside this lake for miles and miles.

The lake was so reduced from what seemed to be its original banks I started to wonder if Oregon had a worse drought than California.

The lake was so reduced from what seemed to be its original banks I started to wonder if Oregon had a worse drought than California.

Turns out the lake has dried, but not in this century. Actually not in this millenium. This is Lake Abert, an alkali lake that is a remnant of the Pleistocene epoch when vast areas of south-central Oregon were covered by lakes and wetlands.  Now only brine shrimp can live in it, which makes it a magnet for migrating birds. (You can read more about the geology of Lake Abert here.)

Now the lake is a thin ribbon of its former self, but it goes on and on for miles.

Now the lake is a thin ribbon of its former self, but it goes on and on for miles.

Towering above the lake are black volcanic buttes.

Towering above the lake are black volcanic buttes.

Definitely one of the most amazing geological sites in a day full of them.

Definitely one of the most amazing geological sites in a day full of them.

More pictures of today’s travels here.

Want to follow the whole Lost Coast Then Just Lost Tour? Follow the links to Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, and Day Five .

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