May 6-June 6 - Back in Oregon
Sometimes getting there is half the fun. We left Estes Park CO on May 6, and allowed ourselves four days to drive the 1100+ miles to the Bend OR area. We've never been much for dry camping - just pulling up for the night someplace inviting and settling in. So we gave it a try. Our first night out, we pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot in Rocky Springs WY and spent the night (along with several other RVs) for free. Free is good. Next night, realizing we were running low on fresh water, we paid a whole $10 to park at the Power Pop RV Stop in Glenns Ferry ID, where we added water to the tank. We were the only RV in the park, which has all of 14 spaces. The place also sells weight-loss lollipops (really), thus the name. Third night we parked in the overflow parking lot at the Old Camp Casino in Burns OR, again for free. And the next morning, it was an easy drive to our destination. It's quite liberating to park for free. We'll probably do it more now that we know we can and survive.
Across the Eastern Oregon desert, we kept watching for the famous Tennis Shoe Tree - a tree along US 20 that had acquired several hundred pairs of shoes over the years. We didn't find it. Sadly, the tree is no more - it apparently succumbed to the weight (or aroma) of all those old shoes, plus age and weather, and fell down about 18 months ago. We understand there are a couple other trees along the road now starting to show shoes, but we didn't see them either.
Bend, Oregon area: We hadn't been to the Bend area for more than an overnight stop for many years. We were overdue. We parked at the 1000 Trails Bend/Sunriver preserve about 20 miles south of Bend. There are several families from our home church in Reedsport who have settled in the Bend area, and we thought we might connect with some of them. We struck out our first Sunday at First Presbyterian in Bend - seems all the people we know go to the early service, and we went to the later one. But a few emails and phone calls later corrected that. We had a delightful lunch with Bobbe Crain, Lynda Hathorn, Cindy Toney (visiting from Reedsport) and Cindy's sister-in-law. A week later, we had a great brunch with Bob & Bobbe Crain and Tralve & Lynda Hathorn after church, and then spent the afternoon with the Crains at their "log cabin" in the woods. It's always good to connect with friends.
The Central Oregon high desert around Bend is quite scenic. There's a very dramatic volcanic history to the area, with many cinder cones and lava flows to show for it. Interesting thing we didn't know is that the primary volcanic force in the area was the still active Newberry Volcano, and it's a completely separate lava system from all of the volcanos in the Cascade Mountains just a few miles west. The result of all that volcanic activity (the most recent eruption was less than 1,100 years ago) are waterfalls, caves, rivers, lakes, and mountains, all punctuated by the towering (and still snowcapped) Cascade Mountains. We did a fair amount (for us) of wandering trails leading to waterfalls, and generally played tourist. We also took advantage of being in relative civilization to see the new Star Trek movie, and managed a delightful visit to the High Desert Museum.
Florence Oregon area: We were at the 1000 Trails South Jetty preserve just over a week, and spent most of it connecting with friends. We were also surprised that we didn't take any pictures(!) the whole time. We lunched with Wes & Vendy Lockard and John & Valerie Smart. had dinner with Dave & Audrey McDougald, and attended a joint church service staged by 11 Reedsport churches, where we saw a lot more friends. We drove to Eugene and spent the day with Judy's sister Joanna, whom we hadn't seen since Christmas, and saw Star Trek again (it's that good). Judy had a couple of visits (and a couple of lunches) with her harping buddy Ruth Boddy, and we consulted with our realtor and decided maybe the time was right to try to sell our house again, so it's again listed.
Albany Oregon RV Rally: The almost annual Family Motor Coach Association's Western Regional Rally was held in Albany, and it was fun. We'd never been to an FMCA rally, and this one fit into our schedule. There were almost 600 motorcoaches in attendance, with almost 1200 people. We parked next to Santa Claus. Really. Got his business card and email address, too, if you ever need it. There was a pretty nice vendor hall where we bought a few things, a lot of very good meals, and over 100 new and used coaches for sale that we could tour. And in the middle of all that, Judy attended a Red Hat luncheon with about 200 other fun ladies. We think we'll probably go to more of the FMCA events when it works out. There's a whole different feel than the big Rallys we've been to.
And then it was on the road again, this time to Seaside OR. From there we'll go to Eugene OR, then to Big Sky MT, then to Yellowstone. And after that, someplace else.
The slideshow for this report contains fewer than 100 images. Click here to see the pictures.