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!


  1. I’m sure Oregon is super green! How nice to be back up there. Tessa looking good with her new do. Nice that you can continue on and fix the slide later.

    1. It's been a great year for green and water. We're making it work in the smaller space - like you are right now :-))

  2. Such a beautiful part of the country.....I'm happy you're just able to say - screw it, we can live without the slide and continue to enjoy your life. It's not perfect, but things don't have to be, right? Enjoying our ride along Jodee.....

    1. Perfect is definitely overrated, and we redefine it on a regular basis :-)

  3. Like Suzi I too am glad to hear that you can adjust and still enjoy the trip you planned to have.
    While in Sisters di you look for Dan Fouts? Another football find for your trophy box.
    Eastern OR looks as beautiful as it can get.
    Glad you've enjoyed all the Hilleman books, I just finished the last Joe Picket from C.J. Box.
    Still looks cold in along the Atlantic, but warming nicely on our coast.
    Grands are all looking ... well Grand!

    1. Didn't see Dan in our exploring, but did enjoy watching him play with the Chargers for all those years! I've heard of Joe Picket, will have to check those out.

  4. Isn’t it wonderful to make decisions, breath deep and get on with the fun and adventure? That is a beautiful part of the country…minus the dang mosquitos. I can almost hear the sound of the roaring water. I never thought I would miss the gigantic pines, but there is nothing quite like that butterscotch scent. And snow…we just had our hottest day yet today at 97 degrees!

    1. If there's a mosquito in 10 miles it will find me! Fortunately once away from the lakes we didn't see them again. I got tired of all the trees traveling in the east, but these forests are a treat.

  5. Bummer so many things were closed, but there is enough nature out there to explore that never closes. Love the waterfall pictures!

    1. I'm sure the winter sports folks loved the longer season, but now the summer folks are having to wait! That was the most beautiful falls we've seen this trip, bummed there were so many people there on a weekday (people should find something else to do on the days we want to be somewhere!)

  6. Some times it's just best to enjoy life! Enjoy the rest of the journey and I will send bad thoughts to all those mosquitoes! Tessa looks great with her new haircut!

    1. So much to enjoy "out here"! Thanks for taking on those pests for me - let's hope they stay out of your neighborhood too :-)

  7. Really envying you your ability to cancel your appointment and know that when you get back home there is someone who can fix this for you. Really beautiful waterfall. Sorry there were so many people. I love to be alone with waterfalls but I have to get up really early in the morning to do that in the summer. 2-3 feet of snow and 82 degrees seems wrong.

    1. Finding the great RV shop near the house last year was such a big deal!! The waterfall was the first really crowded spot we've been to so far - getting spoiled :-)

  8. Thanks for the memories! We really enjoyed our visits to Bend. It was a super snowy winter for them when we visited. As a matter of fact Mt Bachelor was open for skiing until July 4! As a result we couldn't do many of the hikes I wanted to do because of the snow. So we decided to return in August to try again...wildfires!! No hiking in the mountains! Love seeing all the fast flowing water in your photos:) Beautiful!! Good decision to wait for the slide fix. Adorable grandgirls!! I didn't recognize Ezra in his summer cut!

  9. Oh, what a sense of relief to not deal with the slide until you return home! Yay for Bill for suggesting postponing the repair! Love seeing your photos of Sisters and your explorations around there. The Open Door was our favorite restaurant the two years we went to the Sisters Folk Festival. In all of our years in Oregon, I think our worst experiences with mosquitoes were when we were hiking in the Cascades. OMG they were fierce!

  10. I do love that part of Oregon but hope the mosquitoes are gone by the time I get there. I barely recognized Ezra without long hair.

    1. Fortunately there were no more mosquitos away from the little lakes. Hope they stay away during your visit!