As we left John Day, Oregon, we headed west towards Bend, Oregon. Our plan is to spend a little time in Portland as I fly back to Santa Barbara for a couple of days of work. Between here and there, we have a few stops along the way.
Not too far from John Day we found Clyde Holliday State Park. It is a really nice park with an awesome campground that has massive sites with water and electric hookups.
A river runs right next to the campground which only means one thing during the summer: mosquitoes.
We stayed a couple of days here because we had all come down with a little bit of a flu. We took turns getting infected so it was nice to have hookups and stay to recuperate.
We continued west and found ourselves at the John Day Fossil Beds.
It is a national monument so that means one thing: Junior Ranger Badges.
The visitor center here is big and very informative. The rangers were also very helpful in working with us to help the girls earn their badge.
Just a couple hundred feet down from the visitor center is the Cant Ranch.
The ranch now is operated by the National Park Service but was owned by the Cant family who came from Scotland in the 1910s and operated it until the 1970s.
It has been restored to how it once looked in the 1930s.
The fossil beds are known for its painted hills. This is called Sheep Rock as seen from Cant Ranch.
Here is a reproduction of the cabin that once stood here. Rangers always like to talk about how amazing it was that whole families would live in a space this small. Ummm… seems pretty big as compared to the Airstream.
It was a getting a little warm so the kids enjoyed running through the sprinklers when they came on. I hope they don’t use reclaimed water.
There are three separate units of the National Monument. The ranch is called the Sheep Rock unit. A few miles away by the town of Mitchell, Oregon is the Painted Hills unit. The town is about the smallest one we have ever stayed at. There is a small park at the end of this one street town and it had a couple of spots for overnight camping on the honor system.
Most of the stores in the town were closed except for a couple of restaurants. We didn’t get to shop at the Whole in the Wall.
The Painted Hills of John Day Fossil Bed is a beautiful region of Oregon seldom visited by tourists. Through millions of years of sedimentation and erosion, we end up with hills like these.
We are all still recovering from our sickness so very little hiking got done here. Sitting under this shade will do.
After just a night in Mitchell, we headed off again. This time we are going to Bend, Oregon. We have heard so many great things about Bend and were very excited as it will be our first time there.
This is Smith Rock State Park north of Bend. This is the birthplace of modern rock climbing.
We didn’t camp or bring the Airstream here. Before we got here, we drove into town and found a spot at the Elks Lodge where we will be staying for a couple of days.
This little one is getting pretty heavy to carry around.
While at Bend, we made a day trip to Tumalo State Park to swim in the Deschutes River. We had heard that the cell reception here is not great and that was one of the reasons we didn’t stay at this park’s campground.
The water was pretty cold but that didn’t stop the kids from wanting to stay here for hours.
The Elks Lodge is something sort of new to us. Marlene’s parents had been members to their local Elks Lodge for a long time and we’ve known that many of them offer camping. This is our first time staying at one and we opted to dry camp along the side of the building instead of the crowded hookup sites for $10 a night.
Even though the Elks Lodge in Bend is not particularly scenic, just behind there is a small trail that connects to the nearby neighborhood. We got to pretend for a moment that we were in the beautiful Oregon wilderness.
While in Bend, you’ve got to try some breweries. We asked one of the other RVers at the Elks who happens to be a former resident for many years. His favorite was 10 Barrel Brewery so we gave it a shot.
The beer was tasty and the pizza was amazing. Definitely give it a shot if you have not been.
Apparently our dip in the Deschutes River was not enough for the kids so we looked up and found the Juniper Swim and Fitness Center for some community pool action during another day while we were in Bend.
Our final day in Bend was spent visiting the lava tubes at Newberry National Volcanic Monument.
It is a National Monument operated by the USDA. Yes, the same one that grades your beef. It did seem sort of weird for them to operate this place but I guess it makes sense since they also manage many national forests.
The lava tubes here once contained hot flowing rivers going right under where Bend, Oregon is today.
It goes on forever and keeps a constant temperature year round.
If you decide to go, make sure to bring a jacket.
We left Bend and started heading towards Portland. On our way there, we stopped at a highly recommended National Forest campground near Mount Hood called Camp Creek.
This campground is one of those reasons why we still carry around a generator. The little amount of scattered light does practically nothing for our solar panels but I would be very disappointed to have our stay cut short because there are no hookups here.
Build by the Civilian Conservation Corps, Camp Creek is like a land of fairy tales.
The forest around here is amazing and the sound of a constantly flowing creek nearby let’s you know that this is what camping is all about.
When we posted a picture during our stay here, one of our social media friends Kim from The Small Small Trailer saw that we were nearby and stopped by with her husband for a surprise visit.
It was really great to finally meet her in person.
Our site at Camp Creek has probably the best fire pit of all of the camp sites we have ever camped at. Actually it is a stone fire place that probably once was part of a cabin. This is all that’s left of the cabin and we took advantage of it and had a couple of fires.
We didn’t have any firewood but there are so many downed trees around here we were able to forage more than enough wood for a fire to roast marshmallows.
Camp Creek is just a few miles away from the road up to Mount Hood. We took a day and drove up and did some exploring.
Trillium Lake sits in the shadow of Mount Hood. Even though it is June, there is still plenty of snow at the top of its 11,250 ft peak.
We drove up to the ski resort and were surprised to see that there were still runs operating this late in the season. The lodge at the resort is the world famous Timberline Lodge. It is famous for being the exterior of the Overlook Hotel from the movie The Shining and is seen during the opening sequence.
It was build during the 1930s just like when the CCC constructed Camp Creek. Just like Camp Creek, it was a product of the New Deal. If you don’t know what that is, you need to go back to high school.
After a couple of nights at Camp Creek, it was time to head out and into Portland. Of course not until the kids built a little fairy house as it was clear that Camp Creek is a place where fairies live.
Don’t worry, we did not follow the directions of the arrows were pointing to on the ground. I am pretty sure someone was drunk when they did this.
Portland, like many large cities, does not have very many camping options close to town. Here we took advantage once again of our Elks Lodge membership and stayed at the Beaverton Elks Lodge. It is not pretty but very convenient.
We heard that one of our friends we met last winter in Arizona was in the area so we planned to meet in the Rose Garden.
Kelly, Mike and their pups are on their way north to Washington and stopped here for a few days. Thanks to Instagram, we were able to meet up again.
The roses here were in full bloom which did a number on my allergies. It was so bad here that my eyes were constantly swollen shut.
Through Instagram, we met up with another one of our followers in the area. This is Sarah, AKA @alifepacific. She had been spending a year in every city for the last 7 years simply by transferring to another restaurant in a national chain. It was a very unique way to see the country and we had an awesome time meeting up with her and her boyfriend Zac.
We went with Sarah and Zac to the nickle arcade across the street at the Avalon Theater.
The kids were thrilled. We never let them play arcades but sometimes you just have to bend the rules a little.
One of the reasons we are here in Portland is because there is a direct flight to Santa Barbara. I caught a flight for a couple of days to visit the office while Marlene and the kids stayed here.
They got a chance to see more of Portland while I was gone. Here is the Ace Hotel for example.
All those people talking about Salt & Straw ice cream being super delicious? They were all correct.
Marlene is a fan of Schoolhouse Electric so a visit was in order.
If the walls of the Airstream were large enough for this print, I think the girls would be all over it.
But according to Marlene and the kids, the donuts at Voodoo Donuts were a bit disappointing. Next time, we will give the other donut shops a chance in town.
One of our last days in Portland after I got back from my work trip was a hike through Forest Park. Portland is a beautiful city with lots of amazing places to explore right in the middle of it.
A couple of miles in the trail we came to this stone house called Witches Castle.
This spot of one of the most haunted locations in all of Portland. It belonged to Danford Balch who filed a claim on it back in 1850.
After one of his workers on the property fell in love with his teenage daughter and eloped, Danford was enraged.
Danford ended up shooting the man in the head and was later found guilty of murder and became the first person to be executed by hanging in the Oregon Territory.
We didn’t see any ghosts there but it is probably not a place I would feel too comfortable hanging out at after dark.
We hitched up and left Portland and decided to drive along the Columbia River Gorge. We had hoped to stop at Multnomah Falls but being that it was a weekend we could not find a single place to park the Airstream.
We continued driving along the gorge eastward and stopped at the Bonneville Lock and Dam to check out these fish ladders. The fish ladder is a series of passages ways that fish can swim past the dam so they can come back year after year to spawn up river. Believe it or not, someone’s job here is to stand here and count the fish as they go by to get an idea of how the population is doing.
We made our way to Pendleton, Oregon and spent the night in the parking lot of the Wildhorse Casino. It is there where we met up with the Works family once again. They had been exploring more of Washington and decided to come with us as we head into Idaho.
As we make our way to Idaho, we checked into the campground at Wallowa Lake.
Here I got to celebrate another father’s day on the road with my monkeys.
Josh and I got to fly our drones around the lake to capture some beautiful scenery of eastern Oregon.
We had spent a lot more time than we expected in Oregon but we really enjoyed it. Time to head east into Idaho.
over and out,