July 27, 2016 – We made our way to Bend, Oregon, to visit the famous lava tubes, on the advice of Tom’s son, David. On the way, we noticed that even though we were now on the opposite side of the country from our own Georgia, we were seeing many of the same stores — Starbucks, Pizza Hut, etc. Objecting to this “homogenation” of our country, we tend to choose local restaurants and stores most of the time, but sometimes it is comforting to see something familiar.
We passed strange rock formations that looked almost like buildings found in a Dr. Seuss book – they are lava or spire formations that stick up on the mountainsides. There exist many opinions about what caused these spires to occur … to date there is no definitive answer.
We passed Bend Center, with some familiar names. But we we stopped for lunch at McGrath’s Fish House.
Below is Tom at our table under a swordfish, and our smiling server who Tom thought looks just like his cousin Mary — there’s Mary in the cornfield on the right.
I just found out while writing this blog, however, that right before Christmas last year, this restaurant closed because they couldn’t pay their rent. What a shame!!
Continuing toward the Lava Tubes of Bend, we passed some lovely farm scenes …
As well as some that might have done well as a scene of a scary movie.
Ranches really do have entrance gates with their symbol, just like in the movies.
Here we are at the Lava River Cave entrance. We first had to confirm that we had not been to any other caves where bats may reside since there is a bat disease that can be spread from cave to cave by people. Lava tubes were created by volcanic activity thousands of years ago. As explained on the Welcome plate below, Lava River Cave is one of Oregon’s longest uncollapsed lava tubes. It was originally a conduit carrying molten lava to lower areas on the banks of the Newberry Volcano.
Besides bats and various animals and bugs that still live there, Humans inhabited lava tubes in antiquity. Here is a picture of a suggested domestic scene. Considering that entering this particular tube requires stairs and handrails, and the area near the opening is littered with rocks from a partial collapse, perhaps they did not live in this particular one. Wait – we actually went into a cave underground that had partially collapsed? Were we nuts?
Pictures taken near the entrance. Once beyond the entrance, it is totally dark. I mean really really black dark. Everybody had flashlights or lanterns and that was the only light.
Notice all the handrails for the path
After walking over an uneven pathway, there were metal stairs and cross-bridges. There was probably another half-mile to go, but by that time I had had enough. Call it claustrophobia … call it scared of the dark … call it whatever you want …. I had to go out. Tom was kind enough to humor me and so out we went. Not, of course, before taking as many pictures as we could.
That’s me hanging on the railing. It was also really cold down there even though it was high summer outside.
I haven’t moved … other people were coming and going of course
Hey, somebody send a rescue party?
This was a display, part picture, part statue, of a man catching fish. Note Tom watching from lower left
There were also some elaborate Indian headdresses that had been worn by Plateau men holding tribal authority, such as warriors or chiefs. The first one (on left) belonged to Red Hawk, Cayuse, in the 1930s; the second one (middle) was owned by Chief Tommy Thompson, Wyam, in the 1950s; and the third one (right) was worn by Chief Hi-U-M-Tick-Quin, Umatilla, in the 1920s and 1930s.
That’s me standing in front of a teepee of the Plateau Indian Nations. The teepee is real; the background, of course, painted. Inside the teepee, what you can’t see is quite a bit of furniture. Watch for it in the video, next.
Below is a panorama of the High Museum set to the music of an Indian dance.
By the entrance of the Museum is the actual stagecoach owned by Henry James “Hank” Monk. In it, he carried gold before railroad times, as well as passengers such as Horace Greeley, the Prince of Wales, General Ulysses Grant, Prince Alexander of Russia, and President Rutherford B. Hayes.