At the end of August, Micheal and I took a much needed vacation to Bend and Crater Lake. When it comes to travel, I'm a planner. I'll have reservations, maps, agendas, bottles of wine, and tickets finalized months prior to the trip. This trip was exactly opposite of that philosophy. The epitome of spontaneity, I hadn't had the time to think about this particular vacation until about 2 weeks prior. The result? Lodging reservations about 45 miles from the lake at the Historic Prospect Hotel, and tickets for the Crater Lake Boat Tour on a day that had a marginal weather forecast.
We arrived at Crater Lake on a gorgeously sunny Friday afternoon. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and has a transfixing deep blue color even on the worst of days. On a sunny day, the lake literally sparkles. After driving around the 33-mile Rim Drive (he he, Rim Drive), we headed into Prospect to eat at the Dinnerhouse at the Historic Prospect Hotel where we were staying. After an awesome prime rib paired with some wine from Crater Lake Cellars, Micheal and I reviewed our plans for the next day. Drive to the lake...hike a quick little jaunt down to the boat launch at Cleetwood Cove...and head out for a 2-hour spin around the lake with park rangers. Awesome. The revised weather report indicated a high probably of rain and a moderate temperature. Not so awesome. It was Oregon though, so a little rain wasn't going to stop us.
We hit the road to the lake on Saturday, the day in question, and the drizzle started. It was about 50-degrees and a little foggy, but no big deal. As we started gaining elevation, the temparature started dropping. And dropping. And dropping. By the time we ascended about 2000 feet to the parking lot for the boat tour, it was 30 degrees. And snowing. That's right, snowing. In August, in Oregon. And we were scheduled to go on an open-top boat in the middle of the deepest lake in the nation. Brrr. The ticket attendant looked at our light jackets and noticeable lack of gloves or hats, and intelligently talked us into a refund. We decided to still do the hike down to the boat launch, the only place at Crater Lake where you can access the water. The little jaunt wasn't so little. Despite only a mile in distance, the hike dropped almost 1000 feet in elevation over that mile. It was steep, and cold. We did the loop and my seat warmers never felt so good. But, as it was only about Noon and still snowing and cold, we needed to find a way to occupy the rest of the day. What to do...what to do.
Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?
A few weeks later after the trip to the Sakery, 2 wineries, a flat tire, and an awesome dinner at Chang's Mongolian, Rick and I opened the bottle that was meant to be. The Claret was everything I dreamed of and more, and at $19.99, my frugalness was shining after having worked so hard to get the bottle. I first noticed the deep, dark purple hues on the wine and Rick pointed out some delicous blackberry notes on the nose. The blend is one that we knew would be a homerun out of the Rogue Valley:
- 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 30% Merlot
- 10% Malbec
- 10% Cabernet Franc
Next thing we knew, the bottle was empty and the Del Rio episode was done. For now. Luckily, I have another bottle on the rack for the next time I want to have an absurd and random experience. Oh, and next time you want that awesome bottle at an awesome price, check out the grocery store in Shady Grove. Don't worry about the name, it's the only one. Cheers!