Tuesday, June 6, 2023

A Big Decision in Beautiful Bend

 May 31 - June 5, 2023
Redmond, Oregon

We finished the Anne Hillerman audible book, and now we're listening to the Yellowstone PodCasts - very fun for fans of the show and its spin-offs. Jefferson White, who plays Jimmy, is the host and does a great job. 

Except for the sad increase in hate-agenda flags, it's another pretty drive into Central Oregon, all two-lane through mountains and cattle ranches. There are SO many cattle in Oregon! 

Lots more than we ever saw in Texas.

We stayed at the Expo Center RV Park in Redmond, Oregon, four years ago, and found it to be the perfect place for exploring the beauty of the Bend/Sisters area. With 50 amp FHUs on asphalt and concrete sites it's a safe, clean and very reasonable option. Our satellite connects, their WiFi is fast, and Tessa has some nice grass. 

Fairgrounds on the other side of the fence.
Tessa was groomed a few weeks ago, but they only had her down for a bath and no cut, so she was getting very shaggy. She's scheduled for a full groom (I make sure!) here in Bend, and on Wednesday afternoon she's looking spiffy - and much cooler! Used the time to get my Trader Joe's fix, the Jeep washed, and then a couple loads of laundry. Feels good to knock down those to-do lists :-) 

Wearing her own blanket.

Clean and lean!

I've been both looking forward to, and dreading, our stop in Bend. This is where I was able to make an appointment for the slide fix. I extended our stay several days just for the appointment, hoping it might be a one day repair. Realistically though, based on the part order we didn't want to wait for in Ogden, this isn't a one day fix. On our first day here we stop by the shop to talk with the tech instead of waiting for our appointment. He confirms it could be one day - or take several weeks to get any parts. I'm thrilled when Bill suggests we cancel and just finish out our trip with the slide staying in. Since he's the one most inconvenienced by the space reduction, I appreciate this big decision. The stress of the unknown lifts :-)

Tumalo Falls is a place we missed last time, very popular and supposed to be crowded every day. It's a pretty drive, and although we find the expected hordes, I'm glad we get the quick view of full and beautiful falls. 

Tumalo Creek

Tumalo Falls - sounds glorious!

Like other creeks this year, this one is bank-to-bank and moving fast.

I'm bummed to find that the Imagination Gallery has closed in Sisters - it was the only place I bought any art when we were fulltime on the road, and I was looking forward to finding another piece for the house :-(  Instead we find a lovely eatery next door to the now empty space - The Open Door has a small but interesting menu in a very pretty setting. An eclectic gallery shares the indoor space. Nothing catches my eye to take with me. 

Meat balls and marina with shaved parmesan. 

Friday is the last of the cooler days in the forecast so we head for Prineville Reservoir State Park about 30 miles east (we drove through the town of Prineville on our way here). The wildlife area back road is a beautiful drive, and I'm looking forward to exploring it again. 


Wonderful to see a full reservoir.

A large herd of geese in the cove.

With the back road closed we opt for the highway to the little market at Post. It marks the geographic center of Oregon. Crooked Creek, alfalfa and Sudan grass fields, more cattle, rock formations - it's a nice alternative on a blue-sky day. It's easy to see how a dirt road might be closed with all the signs of major flooding over the highway here. 

A tall ghost makes a quick getaway from this old cabin.

Looking back I note this exact same photo from our last visit - it is definitely worth capturing :-)

The actual very, very center is on private land nearby. 

We venture north to the Warm Springs Reservation area along the Deschutes River. Like the others, this river is flowing strong. With the interesting columnar formations at the top, it's a lovely river valley. The town of Warm Springs, a small burg along Hwy 97, has little more than a casino. We remember there was a small trailer that sold fry bread at the edge of town, a temporary little spot that made great tacos. 

I can't believe it! Four years later and it's less temporary now with a shaded sitting area :-) Sadly it's also closed today.

Lake Simtustus above the Pelton Dam on the Deschutes.

Stunning ridges.

The Deschutes meanders through the narrow valley.

The Sisters

Crooked River Bridge is a pretty stop, but these signs in the parking lot send me back to the Jeep with Tessa!

The area is surrounded by many snow-capped peaks with access to Mt Bachelor and Broken Top along the  Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway. It's a beautiful drive along several small lakes, through forests of Ponderosa pines, and beside large lava flows. The mountains peek out, as do the occasional long views. At 82 degrees the last thing we're expecting is snow along the road! In many places it's 2-3 feet deep under the trees. The Elk Lake Loop is open but very rough, and the entrance to Elk Lake is still closed.

A pretty stop along the river where mosquitos immediately find me :-(

Little Lava Lake - more mosquitos.

Lava Lake - yep, here too. Fortunately almost no people.

We see a lot of downed trees throughout the day.

Lots of snow at 5000 feet.

Devil's Lake - gorgeous colors.

Mt Bachelor across the marshes.

The blessing of azure skies.

Massive lava flows.

Long views at the end of a short trail.

Breathing in the butterscotch scent of the pines.

Although I've cancelled our repair appointment, I'm still waiting for a delayed package shipment. We're fine here, already paid (non-refundable) until the 10th, but on Monday I call and move our arrival date at our next stop forward a couple days. I hate cutting into our week in little Idanha, but I'm glad we have some wiggle room. 

Even with the bits of drama we've had this year, we have been truly blessed with the weather. Only one or two days we could call hot, no high winds, enough rain to keep the dust down and the grass green, a plethora of clear blue sky days. Real summer is still ahead of us - but so is the beautiful Oregon coast!

Reese and Penelope hold down their parents in the Atlantic coast winds.

Reese and Penelope holding down the cuteness.

Ezra (with his summer short hair!) shows off Mommy's name on the college graduation program. 
Good job Shalise - we're so proud!!

Elliott checks in - hi everybody!

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Absolutely Amazing

May 27 - 30, 2023
John Day (Mount Vernon), Oregon

We're surprised to hear rain overnight, and to have it continue into Saturday afternoon. While I feel bad for the holiday campers, for us it's lovely to have the cooler, wetter weather this late in May! It's also perfect for a relaxing country drive on our weekly avoid-others-day. The lilacs are in full bloom, and small gardens show off irises, poppies and daffodils.

The third unit of the national monument is Painted Hills, about 70 miles west on Hwy 26. We'll drive most of it when we leave on Tuesday, but the area we want to visit is not RV friendly. Much warmer, it's still another great day to be out exploring. 

Brunch at Dayville Cafe is a treat with the best biscuits and gravy (I try a bite of Bill's), and friendly servers. 

We do find a lot more people on this Sunday day trip, but are still able to find parking spots where we want to stop. The little town of Mitchell is hosting several dozen motorcycles - part of the Memorial Day Ride for POWs and MIAs - and it's packed! 

The national monument has no fees so it's surprising there aren't more crowds. Yay!

More Journey Through Time Scenic Byway

This first hill is a bright introduction.

Dumb as a......

Vivid yellow wild flowers add more color.

The trail overlooks Painted Cove.

A variety of minerals in the clay make the red and orange bands, and the lavender is from remnants of rhyolitic lava flow. 

Red Scar Knoll

Flowering meadows between the colorful hills.

Painted Basin - stunning from the overlook.

The cliffs between Mitchell and Sheep Rock rise on both sides of Hwy 26.

The working world heads back home on Monday so it's the perfect time for staying off the highway and just hanging out at our pretty site. 

Tuesday morning there's a long line at the dump which is available free to anyone - a nice service for passing campers but a pain if you're staying here. Still, we're just moving on to another beautiful place and not returning to a work schedule!

Ezra saves a lady bug from the ravages of yard work :-)

Big M getting a ride.

Little M gets his turn.