Monday, August 1, 2016

Shirley's Tippy Canoe - 08/01/16 - Troutdale, OR

Monday – August 1, 2016
Shirley’s Tippy Canoe
Troutdale, Oregon

On this segment of our travel we bid a fond farewell to Bend, Oregon and head north on US-97, then continue north onto US-26. Our destination today is Shirely’s Tippy Canoe restaurant in Troutdale, Oregon. This restaurant was featured on a segment of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives (DDD) that we viewed while spending the winter in Yuma, Arizona. Two of their specialties featured on the program were a Sloppy Joe and a Polish Dip. Since we were planning to visit Oregon during the summer of 2016, we put this restaurant on our places to visit.

There is a point on northbound US-26 that evokes an overwhelming sense of wonder. In the far distance suddenly appears the most famous snow-capped, iconic peak, of the tallest mountain in the Oregon Cascade Mountain Range: Mt. Hood (elevation 11,249 feet). With its snow-capped peak, it is a most humbling experience to personally witness the majestic splendor of this evolving, geologic structure of nature.

As we continued our journey northbound on US-26 we went to check out the Oxbow County Park Campground in Troutdale as a possible place to stay for the night. After a quick tour of the campground we decided it was too congested for our preferences. We decided we would stay at the Mt. Hood Ski Bowl Sno-Park that we had passed on US-26 while traveling to Troutdale.

With our accommodations for the night decided, we continued on our journey to Shirley’s Tippy Canoe Restaurant.

The restaurant is located on the Historic Columbia Highway. Constructed between 1913 and 1922, this was America’s first scenic highway, taking full advantage of the Columbia River Gorge’s natural beauty. Upon completion it was referred to as the "King of Roads." This was the historical significance we basked in while dining at Shirley’s Tippy Canoe. It was such a pleasant evening we chose to dine outside. We ordered their specialties featured on "DDD:" the Sloppy Joe and the Polish Dip. Both selections were excellent; and quite filling!

We retreated to the Mt. Hood SkiBowl and settled in for a restful night along with one other RV.

The Mount Hood SkiBowl is a recreation area on Mount Hood located near Government Camp, Oregon. It is the largest night ski area in the United States. The resort is the closest ski venue to Portland, with an elevation of 3,600 feet at the lodge, rising to just over 5,000 feet at the summit. The average snowfall at the area is 300 inches and 65 marked trails. The area is also popular for summer recreation with mountain bikers. An adventure park in the area includes alpine slides, zip-line, and bungee jumping.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Bend, Oregon
Departure Time: 10:35 A.M.
Arrived: Troutdale, Oregon
Arrival Time: 3:35 P.M.

Campground: Mount Hood Ski Bowl
Type: National Forest
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 45.30242
Longitude: W 121.77385
Elevation: 3685 Feet
Camping Fee: Free
Campsite: Parking Lot
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: None
Total Campsites: Several

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-3 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 215
Route Traveled:
North on US-97
North on US-26

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Marathon - 07/30/16 - Bend, OR

Saturday – July 30, 2016
Marathon – Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway
Bend, Oregon


While taking an auto tour of the Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway we were fortunate to witness, what we believed to be, a 26-mile marathon. The stamina of the runners traversing the steep elevations was absolutely amazing.

The Cascades Lakes Scenic Byway (Forest Route 46) is a National Scenic Byway in central Oregon in the United States. It runs for 66 miles in the rugged country of Deschutes and Klamath counties on the east side of the Cascade Range. It offers particularly good views of Mount Bachelor and provides access to many recreational facilities in central Oregon. The route is so named because it weaves past a number of small natural lakes along the Cascades, as well as several reservoirs on the upper Deschutes River.

The northern terminus of the route is in Bend, at U.S. Route 97. It follows the two-lane Century Drive Highway west into the Deschutes National Forest and past the Mt. Bachelor Ski Area, then south along the Cascades into northern Klamath County, where it terminates on its southern end at its junction with Oregon Route 58, approximately 40 miles southeast of Oakridge. Along the way, Century Drive (not the Century Drive Highway) turns east to Sunriver.

The Century Drive Highway begins at an interchange with US-97 (the Bend Parkway) in Bend. It heads west along Colorado Avenue and Century Drive, which it follows to the entrance to the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort, where Century Drive Highway ends.

We ended our auto tour at La Pine, Oregon, toured the State Park campground there, and returned to Bend on US-97.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Downtown Tour - 07/29/16 - Bend, OR

Friday – July 29, 2016
Downtown Walking Tour
Bend, Oregon


We awake to another beautiful, sunny day, at our dispersed campsite, nestled deep within the Deschutes National Forest. The temperature will be in the middle 80’s with low humidity (Dew Point in the 20’s) making for a perfect day to do a walking tour of the downtown area.

As we crossed the Deschutes River, on our way to town, "tubers" were leisurely floating down the river. The more adventurous "tubers" were running the man-made rapids. Several years ago, the city of Bend developed the rapids so residents, young and old, could enjoy the experience of "riding the rapids." This is probably one of the most popular areas during the summer months.

Downtown Bend is just a "cool" place to visit. People are friendly, the town is clean and thriving with all kinds of boutique shops, general merchandise stores, cafĂ©’s, breweries and street performers. One elderly cowboy had a lasso and was roping a man-made steer head mounted to a saddle. He was quite good. He never missed, while we were watching. Another young man with a guitar was dozing off, with his back propped up against the wall of a store. Probably partied too much the previous night! Ahaaa… to be young again! Well… upon further reflection, maybe not!

Bend, Oregon Facts
Incorporated: January 4, 1905
Elevation: 3,623 feet
Population: 76,639 (2010)
Annual precipitation: 11 inches – most of it during winter.

Bend is Central Oregon's largest city, and despite its modest size, is the de facto metropolis of the region, owing to the low population density of that area. Bend recorded a population of 76,693 at the time of the 2010 US Census, up from 52,029 at the 2000 census. The estimated population of the city as of 2013 is 81,236. Bend's metro population was estimated at 165,954 as of July 1, 2013.

The name Bend was derived from "Farewell Bend", the designation used by early pioneers to refer to the location along the Deschutes River where the town was eventually platted, one of the few fordable points along the river.

Bend is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range along the Deschutes River. Here the Ponderosa Pine forest transitions into the high desert, characterized by arid land, junipers, sagebrush, and bitter-brush. Originally a crossing point on the river, settlement began in the early 1900s. Bend was incorporated as a city in 1905. Economically, it started as a logging town but is now identified as a gateway for many outdoor sports.

Tourism is one of Bend's largest sectors. The Mount Bachelor ski resort brings in tourists from all over Oregon, Washington, and California. The nearby Cascade Lakes are also a large draw for tourists. Recreational activities include downhill and cross country skiing, hiking, biking, rafting, golfing, camping, fishing, picnicking, rock climbing, and general sightseeing. Men's Journal ranked Bend as one of The 10 Best Places to Live. Much of Bend's rapid growth in recent years is due to its attraction as a retirement destination.

Bend is home to the Deschutes Brewery, the 6th largest craft brewery in the nation and the largest of over a dozen microbreweries in the city. Each year the city hosts many events celebrating its brewing culture including: The Bend Oktoberfest, The Little Woody Barrel Aged Brew and Whiskey Fest, Bend Brewfest, and Central Oregon Beer Week. Beer aficionados can also visit many of the breweries along the Bend Ale Trail. Since 2004, Bend has also hosted one of the top indie film festivals in the nation: The Bend Film Festival.

Bend's climate is typical of the high desert with cool nights and sunny days, classified as semi-arid. Annual precipitation averages 11.2 inches, with an annual average snowfall of 23.8 inches. The winter season in Bend provides a mean temperature of 31.1 °F in December. Nighttime temperatures are not much lower than daytime highs during the winter.

Central Oregon summers are marked by their very large diurnal temperature ranges, with a July daily average of 64.5 °F, and an average diurnal temperature variation approaching 35 °F. Hard frosts are not unheard of during the summer months. Autumn usually brings warm, dry days and cooler nights, and Bend is known for its annual Indian summer.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

High Desert Museum - 07/28/16 - Bend, OR

Thursday – July 28, 2016
High Desert Museum
U.S. Highway 97
Bend, Oregon


We spent the day visiting the High Desert Museum.

High Desert Museum Facts:
Established: 1982
Location: Bend, Oregon
Type: Natural history
Visitors: 150,000 per year

The High Desert Museum sits on 135 acres of pine covered forest land in Central Oregon. South of Bend on U.S. Route 97, the museum includes various indoor and outdoor exhibits, wildlife in natural-like habitats, living history demonstrations, a library, a desertarium, and a cafe. Opened in 1982, it brings regional wildlife, culture, art and natural resources together to promote an understanding of natural and cultural heritage of North America's high desert country.

The museum was founded by Donald M. Kerr, a native of Portland, Oregon. Kerr had a passion for natural history that inspired a lifelong interest in environmental issues, especially the protection of native animals. In 1974, Kerr established the Western Natural History Institute, and the High Desert Museum was an outgrowth of the institute opening in 1982. The museum was originally called the Oregon High Desert Museum; however, the name was later changed to recognize the regional nature of the high desert environment it highlights.

The High Desert Museum has a 53,000-square-foot main building. Exhibits include a Forest Service fire truck, a stagecoach, and a number of Native American history displays. The Native American exhibit covers life on the land before the white man, and life on a reservation.

The museum's Hall of Exploration and Settlement has displays highlighting a hundred years of high desert history. Scenes include a trapper's camp, survey party's camp, pioneer wagon train, a mining claim, an early western boomtown, and a high desert buckaroo camp.

Outside the museum building a quarter-mile trail follows a forest stream lined with aspens and ponderosa pines. Along the way visitors can stop at a number of exhibits and animal habitats. The popular outdoor exhibits feature a river otter, a porcupine, sheep, gray fox, and birds of prey.

There is also a Native American encampment, a start-of-the-20th-century sawmill, logging equipment, homesteaders cabin, and a forestry pavilion. A visitor can actually walk through an early 1860s town complete with blacksmith shop, Chinese mercantile, and stagecoach stop.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dispersed Camping - 07/26//16 - Bend, OR

Tuesday – July 26, 2016
Deschutes National Forest
Dispersed Camping – Forest Road 41
Bend, Oregon


We spent a restful night at the Sno-Park, mile marker 14, on Forest Road 46. During the night two other campers in Class B RV’s had joined us to spend the night.

We passed a Forest Ranger Station on our way to the Sno-Park yesterday. It was closed for the day. We returned today to get information and maps on dispersed camping within the Deschutes National Forest. The ranger provided us five maps and basic rules for dispersed camping. So off we go on Forest Road 41 to find a campsite!

We find a temporary spot on the river-side of Forest Road 41 to unhitch the trailer while we search for a suitable campsite. About 1.5 miles east of Forest Road #46 we find a rutted dirt road leading into the forest. We subsequently see log trucks hauling logs on this road from the interior of the forest. An adjacent road leads up a hill and forms a circular route back to the logger road. There are a few very nice campsites, all occupied, with about 100 yards between them. We return to the logger road and find four more campsites that are also occupied. We find another dirt road that splits off from the logger road. We follow this road for one mile and success! We find the perfect campsite. Large and totally isolated from civilization. We now have a home base while we explore the Bend, Oregon area.

The Deschutes National Forest is located in central Oregon. It comprises 1.8 million acres along the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range. Within the boundaries of the Deschutes National Forest is the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, containing cinder cones, lava flows, and lava tubes. The Deschutes National Forest as a whole contains in excess of 250 known caves. The forest also contains five wilderness areas, six National Wild and Scenic Rivers, the Oregon Cascade Recreation Area, and the Metolius Conservation Area.

Recreational activities in Deschutes National Forest include boating, fishing, wildlife watching, and hiking, as well as mountain biking on an extensive system of trails. Hiking and skiing can be done on Mount Bachelor, a stratovolcano in the Cascade Range.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Snow Park – Forest Road 46 – Mile Marker 14
Departure Time: 9:30 A.M.
Arrived: Deschutes National Forest Ranger Station
Arrival Time: 9:50 A.M.

Campground Name: Dispersed Camping – Forest Road #41
Type: Deschutes National Forest
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 43.98896
Longitude: W 121.40256
Elevation: 3,969 Feet
Camping Fee: Free
Campsite: GPS Coordinates
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: None
Total Campsites: Several in area.

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-1 Bar
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Takes 25 minutes to download service - many trees blocking antenna

Total miles traveled today: 8
Route Traveled:
North on Forest Road 46 (Century Drive Highway)
East on Forest Road 41 to Dispersed Campsite

Monday, July 25, 2016

Deschutes NF - 07/26/16 - Bend, OR

Monday – July 25, 2016
Deschutes National Forest
Forest Road 46 – Century Drive Highway
Bend, Oregon


As we passed through Sisters, Oregon, on OR-20, we were surprised to find such a quaint town. The town features boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Numerous visitors were touring the town as we passed through. We decided we would come back to visit on our next visit to Oregon.

Upon our arrival in Bend we visited the Tumalo State Park. The purpose of our visit was to check out the campground. As we expected, the campground was full (typical during summer season – Oregon State Parks are very popular). Some of the campsites have full hookups (electric, water and sewer). Of interest, this state park campground does not have a dump station. Those campers that do not have a campsite with full hookups, and need to dump their tanks, must do so at a fee-based dump station facility in the Bend area or for free at the La Pine State Park in La Pine, Oregon. We were not impressed with the campsites at Tumalo State Park. The campsites were too close together for our preference.

We continued on our way through the town of Bend on our way to National Forest Highway 46. This route will take us to the Lava Rocks Campground, a national forest campground, located within the Deschutes National Forest. The campground is about 30 miles south of Bend. We had planned to set up our home base here while exploring Bend and the surrounding area. At mile marker 14, we spotted a Sno-Park. Perfect! Fee Camping! We will spend the night here.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: Sisters, Oregon
Departure Time: 11:30 A.M.
Arrived: Sno-Park - Bend, Oregon
Arrival Time: 5:45 P.M.

Campground Name: Sno-Park
Type: Overnight Camping
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 43.98471
Longitude: W 121.40256
Elevation: 5,500 Feet
Camping Fee: Free
Campsite: large Parking Lot
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: Vault Toilets
Total Campsites: Several

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-2 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: Excellent Service

Total miles traveled today: 136
Route Traveled:
East on OR-242
East on US-20
South on US-97
West on Colorado Ave. (follow signs to Mt. Bachelor)
South on Century Drive
South on Forest Road 46 (Century Drive Highway) to MM-14

Friday, July 22, 2016

Sisters, OR - 07/22/16

Friday – July 22, 2016
Willamette National Forest
Sisters, Oregon


We spent a restful night at the Paradise Campground in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon. We headed east on Oregon Route 126 toward Bend, Oregon. "Navigator" Sharon suggested we explore Oregon Scenic Route 242. There is a warning sign posted at the beginning of this route that prohibits vehicles over 35 feet in length. A turn-around area is provided for oversize vehicles. We are 34 feet overall… so off we go!

The western section of Oregon Route 242 is a series of 15-25 mph switchbacks as the elevation increases from 1,600 feet to over 5,000 feet. The scenery along this route is filled with flourishing green forests lining both sides of the route. As we continued our travel eastward on OR-242 we encounter an area where we are surrounded by towering, black lava fields. Ten to fifteen foot high lava fields, line both sides of the road, and extend off into the distance as far as the eye can see. We have arrived at the Belknap Crater.

Belknap Crater is a small Holocene shield volcano with a capping cinder cone. It is located in the Cascade Range near central Oregon’s McKenzie Pass. It is a typical example of one type of volcanism responsible for construction of the High Cascade volcanic arc. The Belknap complex comprises many lava flows. The lava flows cover about 40 square miles. The main Belknap shield has a diameter of approximately five miles.

Eruptions from this area took place from about 3,000 to 1,500 years ago as a few different phases. The first eruptions produced tephra that spread over a broad area to the northeast and southeast as basaltic lava flows traveled eastward for 6 miles from a growing shield. About 2,900 years ago, a second phase produced a smaller shield known as Little Belknap. The third phase produced the remaining bulk of the volcanic complex, which erupted basaltic andesite lavas from the central vent (Belknap Crater, about 1,500 years ago) and from a vent just over one mile to the south (South Belknap cone, about 1,700 years ago). The final eruptions from the base of Belknap Crater sent lava 9 miles west into the McKenzie River valley.

We were so glad we decided to explore Scenic Route 242. It was a wonderful experience. Now we have to find a place to stay for the night. The state park campgrounds throughout Oregon are some of the finest in the Northwest Region of the United States, and not surprising, campsites are booked in advance for the summer season. Fortunately, we are traveling through the Willamette National Forest on Scenic Route 242. This national forest has several campgrounds and dispersed camping areas. Seven miles west of Sisters, Oregon we pulled into the oversize vehicle turn-around-area. Within this area, there was a dirt road leading off into the interior of the forest.

While Sharon waited in our vehicle, I hiked into the forest and discovered a dispersed camping site. As I pulled our trailer into the campsite, Sharon found it to her liking and we set up our campsite. This is perfect! Free camping! We are totally isolated from civilization. We are looking forward to the solitude for a few days.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

Travel Details:
Departed: McKenzie Bridge, Oregon
Departure Time: 11:50 A.M.
Arrived: Sisters, Oregon
Arrival Time: 3:30 P.M.

Campground Name: Dispersed Camping
Type: Willamette National Forest
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: N 44.30965
Longitude: W 121.70728
Elevation: 4,245 Feet
Camping Fee: Free
Campsite: Primitive
Campsite Hookups: None
Campground Amenities: None
Total Campsites: 2 or 3 dispersed campsites

Cellular Service: Verizon – 4G-2 Bars
Internet Service: Verizon Jetpack – 5 Bars
Dish TV Satellite Service: No Service (too many trees blocking antenna)

Total miles traveled today: 30
Route Traveled:
East on OR-126
East on OR-242 to Dispersed Campsite