It was a pleasant 136 mile trip from White Salmon, WA to Redmond, OR. It did involve some significant ascending and descending the plateaus in Oregon on the east side of the Cascades. As usual, the Allison transmission handled the grades down well enough that I rarely touched the brakes. It was amazing how fast the terrain changed once we crossed the Columbia River and headed south. We went from the lush Columbia Gorge to high desert in about 20 miles!
We are staying at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center RV Park. It looks to be a fairly new park built to handle big rigs. There is absolutely no problem negotiating the turns or entry into the sites. The sites themselves are level concrete with an attached concrete pad for another vehicle, in our case Libby. The site is long enough so that detaching Libby is not really necessary but since we were here for five nights and did a lot of touring we were more interested in getting the hookups exactly where we wanted them and that left marginal room for Libby in front or behind us. We have a 50 amp, full hookup, pull-through with strong Verizon reception and no trees in sight so the satellite was an easy sight-in.
After getting set up we made a quick trip back a little north of Redmond to visit the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint
which features a couple of bridges and a very deep gorge complete with waterfall. We then went on to the outskirts of south Redmond to visit the Petersen Rock Garden
where we spent the rest of the afternoon strolling amongst the creations Dane Rasmus Petersen spent the last 17 years of his life constructing. These are starting to need some repair but are in remarkable shape considering he died over 60 years ago. I have include way too many pictures but they give you and idea of how intricate and detailed his many creations are.
Thursday was an all day trip to see a couple more items near Redmond or Bend. First was a trip to Tumalo Falls
. This falls is several miles east of Redmond with the last two and a half miles being on gravel - Libby loved it!! It was a pretty drive and the falls were spectacular, one of the best we have seen this trip.
We then head back south of Bend to the Lava Lands Visitor Center
which is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument
which covers over 50,000 acres between Bend and La Pine, OR. Near the Visitor Center is Lava Butte
which is the 500 foot cinder cone from whence all the lava in that area came. To drive to the top of Lava Butte, you have to reserve your time slot as they only allow ten cars to go up at a time. Everyone gets a time then drives up the cone, exploring, and getting back down within 30 minutes. After viewing Lava Butte we then took the Trail of the Molten Land which takes you out onto the lava for a up close and personal introduction to the lava.
After finishing at the Visitor Center, we headed southeast of there to another part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument to visit Paulina Peak and the two alpine crater lakes located there. We first drove the three and a half mile, heavily wash boarded, gravel road up Paulina Peak which put us up in the air about 8,000 feet. This did afford us some beautiful views of the area. We then descended down to the Big Obsidian Flow
which has a little over a square mile of volcanic glass.
Friday was another long day as we drove out the McKenzie Highway to McKenzie Pass
. When we started this 129 mile trip, I expected to drive up through the Cascades to some beautiful viewpoints at the top of the pass. Boy, were we surprised!! McKenzie Pass is where the Dee Wright Observatory
is located at the apex of a huge 65 square mile lava flow. They have done a wonderful job of constructing the observatory and access out of the lava rocks themselves and then a paved trail through the flow with some very good explanations about the eruption, lava, etc. I included about a million pictures of this trail but you can skip them if you want. :-) It was a very pretty area as you could see all of the peaks in the Cascades surrounding it. It was even high and cool enough up there to really enjoy it.
Saturday and Sunday was COLLEGE FOOTBALL TIME!!!!!!!!! We have waited all Summer for our next favorite past-time to finally get here. Fortunately the Gators played well enough to win but they had better get a lot better if they want to compete for the SEC Championship.
Tomorrow, we head for Chiloquin, OR about 120 miles south of here from which we will see Crater Lake.