We headed further inland via Willamette Highway, otherwise known as Oregon 58 and after the short trip of about 3 hours, arrived at the Bend-Sunriver Thousand Trails RV resort and campground. Such a beautiful drive, following almost the entire length of Lookout Point Lake, continuing along the winding road east over the mountains. The scent of pine was constantly present and traffic was non-existent, making for a refreshing, stress reducing transit.
Arriving at our destination the park was packed! Here it was, a Thursday and there was a line of RV's checking in, something we had never encountered before. When I asked the front desk, I was informed this was father's day weekend so they had an influx of folks from the greater Bend area taking the weekend off. Father's day?!? Where had the month gone? Fortunately we were able to score a nice secluded site with plenty of shade, little dust and close enough to the park store to make it a short walk for the obligatory ice cream drumstick (critical camping supplies!).
Last year we toured the Crater Lake area which is about an hour south of where we were staying. This year we decided to go for the seemingly less visited yet just as magnificent Newberry National Volcanic Monument which fortunate for us was celebrating their 25th anniversary and offering free admission to all of the sights in the over 50,000 acre area. The place is so large we only got to see a few select spots but oh so spectacular!
First up was the 50 story (500ft) Lava Butte. I've included the USFS picture along with some of ours to get a better perspective. Suffice it to say, pictures ARE worth a thousand words. Granted this was not where near as recent as Mount St. Helens but the devastation is readily visible. By the time we got to the visitor center it was already getting a bit warm outside so we opted to take the shuttle bus to the top. Using a phrase like viewpoint is similar to saying SS Minnow is like the QE2.
With the long days of summer upon us we had a good bit of time left to us so we headed over to the Newberry Caldera which is sort off like Crater Lake as it is a volcano whose crater filled with water forming a lake. The differences are the sides collapsed so the two lakes that formed are easy to get at and host a number of campgrounds. The lakes have also been stocked with fish and word has it there are some big ones lurking about. Time and funds prevented us from conducting a population survey but next time...
Overlooking the sunken crater is Pauline Peak, probably one of the remainders of the original crater rim and with its nearly 8000ft elevation, provides an outstanding view of the whole complex. Definitely worth the stop if you are in the area though the drive in is an unpaved, narrow, winding road with some serious drop-offs. I am still bearing the impressions of Chris' grip on my leg.
After four days we we reluctantly decamped and headed home. We have some appointments to be at, some more house prep for sale and on July 1st I will be RiverCom for the last time in an “official" capacity. Unfortunately we'll have to stay in the East Wenatchee area for the next few weeks to rectify some minor damage to our motorhome and Jeep which were caused by an unknown driver while we were parked at one of our stops along the way. All cosmetic and but a few days to fix but really? Surely the other driver had to have noticed.
Such is life. Its still grand.