So after leaving the redwoods, I decided to detour(ish) inland a bit to check out Crater Lake National Park. Because I was really trying to hit as many national parks as I could. And I am so very very glad that I did, because Crater Lake was totally my favorite of all the parks that I went to. Granted, I only spent about an hour there, and there really wasn't that much to do. But it was just so damn peaceful up at the top. And still. Even with a zillion tourists milling around, I found it completely zen because the lake at the top of the crater is just so serene looking. It was really just totally wonderful.
Also, the little volcanic rock island in the middle of the lake (you can see the very edge of it in the left-hand side of the picture I'm in) is called Wizard Island. And what's not to love about that?
It wasn't until after I left Crater Lake that I started having problems. First of all, the park is seriously in the middle of nowhere (okay, most of the National Parks are, but whatever) and I was a little afraid I was going to run out of gas. But I didn't so that's good. Although, it turns out in Oregon you aren't allowed to pump your own gas which sucks because I kind of hate letting other people pump my gas. But whatever, I lived.
But then, as I drove along the curving roads of Oregon, I was getting a liiiittle bit tired of driving and wasn't focused as much as I probably should have been and I popped off the road a bit. On a normal road, this wouldn't have been that big of a deal. I probably would have just kicked up some gravel or something and fixed it. But on this particular road there was no gravel. Just a 6 or more inch drop off from the pavement. Going down over it wasn't that big of a deal, but when I corrected it and went back onto the road, both of my right tires popped. It all happened in about a second or two, but I knew immediately that something was very very wrong. I managed to pull over in a kind of decent area (but like I said, the road was very curvy and there wasn't really a shoulder) and called AAA to come help me. Obviously, I don't drive around with two spare tires, so it required a tow. I wasn't going to get anywhere for new tires before businesses closed, so I called the Costco (my original tires were Costco tires) in Eugene, Oregon and asked if I could have my car towed there and leave it there for the night in their parking lot. They said yes, and I just had to wait for the tow truck man to arrive. Luckily I had a few books packed, and I also utilized the time updating my budget to include the new car expenses. I booked a hotel using hotwire from the tow truck and managed to get a place that was only a mile or two from the Costco where I left my car (but the tow truck dropped me off there for the night and I only had to walk in the morning).
It actually made me feel better that something went wrong. I was more than a third of the way into my trip at that point and I had spent many many hours driving. I tried really hard not to speed that much, but I tend to drive a little on the fast side and sometimes I don't even notice cause I'm just in the zone. I'd been a bit uneasy, sure that I would have some sort of problem over the course of my monthlong trip, and flat tires was wayyy better than a speeding ticket (or, god forbid, an accident) that would have probably been more costly and potentially made my insurance go up (barf). So with this snafu under my belt, I felt a bit calmer about the rest of my trip.
Also, while I sat in the back seat of my car waiting for the tow truck to arrive, I found the receipt for the tires I purchased at Costco (they were less than a month old) and was then able to present it at Costco the next day. Lo and behold- my tires were still under warranty and I was able to get two brand spanking new ones put on completely for free. SCORE! It was pretty damn exciting, really. So with that whole catastrophe I was only out about seventy extra dollars. Not too bad, really. Praise the Lord for Costco's really excellent return policy/customer service guarantee.
And with that, I continued on my merry way to Portland. It was a day later than I'd anticipated, but all's well that ends well, I suppose.