Benham Falls, Trail of the Molten Land, Trail of the Whispering Pines (Newberry National Volcanic Monument)

8/25/15 (Tuesday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Campground-TT)

Lazy morning with french toast then later we both played with the Wii exercises. You can smell the smoke, but it’s not terrible to breathe.

We took off to hike some trails today (near Lava Lands Visitor Center). Our water carriers worked well (ChicoBag).

Benham Falls (on Deschutes River)-not quite the waterfalls we’d envisioned, more a cascade.  They created a log jam (first photo), tying the logs together to hold it, in order to catch debris that might damage the pilings.  Now the silt has allowed lovely wildflowers to grow there.  Bird is Stellar’s Jay.

benham 1 benham 2 benham 3 benham 4

Trail of the Molten Land-hot (85 degree day), but the wind made our trek bearable. More interesting than we’d thought it would be.  That tall “hill” is Lava Butte.  You can only reach the top via the USFS shuttle, which you can see (if you enlarge the photo) in photo #4.  This Molten Land trail gave us a pretty high viewpoint to enjoy, for free.

molten 1 molten 2 molten 3 molten 4 molten 5 molten 6 molten 7

Trail of the Whispering Pines-the perfect cool, quiet short stroll that we needed after our Molten Land hike.

pines 1

Before our dinner we searched high and low for our laundry quarters. It’s been a really long time since we’ve needed to use the campground laundry. Never did find them. Sigh. We played cards for a change after supper. I won both games. Shock!! I’m afraid all my good luck may have been squandered now….

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Fires, Dow Jones Down, Lava River Cave, Lava Lands Visitor Center

8/24/15 (Monday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Campground-TT)

I’ve been concentrating on our personal experiences, but thought I should note that this summer the Northwest (especially Washington it seems) has been suffering a terrible number of fires. It’s been so hot and dry, with little precipitation last winter. Most of the area has been blanketed with smoke from all those fires. Our hearts go out to all those affected. How sad that flooding is hurting many east of us while we are so dry. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get nature to share?

The Dow Jones dropped about 1,000 points last week. Now it’s dropping more today. This affects so many as well. The worst is that usually when the stock market drops drastically, it takes a really long time to build back up. Very hard on those depending on their 401(k) accounts.

We canceled our Emigrant Lake (near Ashland, OR) reservation due to the closure of Hwy 230. It’ll be much faster, fewer miles, to just drive straight down US Hwy 97 to I-5 to Redding, CA. We wanted to stop in Klamath Falls, but found problems with the campgrounds there. Our friends from yesterday said they’d often drive their 27′ trailer after Thanksgiving down all the way from Lebanon to Redding in one trip. They love the Elks’ campground there and that’s where we’re staying instead of Emigrant Lake. I did a little housecleaning while John cleaned our front cap (windshield and below). Then I got the blog posted and other computer efforts.

The Lava River Cave: “one of the first lava tubes to be discovered by settlers… and Oregon’s longest uncollapsed lava tube… The lava stalactites are the first known to have the term “lavacicle” applied to them.” It’s cold (42 degrees-like a refrigerator) and dark (need to bring or rent good light), about 1 mile to the end, then you get to walk back. You spend a lot of energy watching where you step! This was our first long lava cave, worth the experience. I think the photos say more than my words:

lava 1 lava 2 lava 3 lava 4 lava 5 lava 6 lava 7 lava 8 lava 9 lava 10

After the cave, we visited the Lava Lands Visitor Center nearby, enjoying their displays and nice video. This place is unusual in that it’s run by the Forest Service and feels very much like a National Park Service park. It’s just another part of the “Newberry National Volcanic Monument”. We’ll visit more areas of it during this week. A volunteer showed us a great water carrier, so we each got one for hiking and our flight to Hawaii in November.

After supper we watched “Gone Girl”. Wow, that was interesting. Great writing/plot.

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Beautiful Campground Day

8/22/15 (Saturday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Campground-TT)

Another gorgeous smoke free day, but getting cold (39 degrees) in the am and hot (85 degrees) in the pm. That’s what comes with high elevation (4185 ft) desert climate. Spokane is similar, but at around 1500 ft the high/low differences aren’t as great.

Not much to report – up late, did Wii yoga for the first time in our rig, then worked on the blog.

After lunch we relaxed, then enjoyed sharing a Rocky Road ice cream sundae. Yum! I then watched classes on Hungarian Folk Dancing and Rhythm Dancing, while John went back to our RV for some TV shows.

Researched some of our campground reservation plans until supper. Seriously considering canceling our reservation at Emigrant Lake -The Point RV Park. It looks like a very nice park BUT we really would need to take Hwy 230 to get there and that isn’t looking like it would be open for sure.

After supper we watched the belly dancing entertainment. John left at the half time break (“to each his own”) while I stayed for the second half. Lots of fun -for me!

8/23/15 (Sunday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Campground-TT) Fun Singing With Church Choir

We went to St. Francis of Assisi Church in Bend. Surprise, surprise, they invited anyone in the congregation to come join the choir. Naturally I couldn’t resist and got right up there. It was so much fun. Poor John got left alone, but that happens most of the time at our home church. He has a hard time carrying a tune. We’ll be here for another 2 Sundays so I hope we make the drive to Bend those days. We got our shopping accomplished after Mass.


We relaxed at the rig until 3:30 when we walked to the lodge for the “Hot Tub Social”. Well, nothing happened at 3:30. We kept waiting and a lady showed up. She was late because someone had got lost on their tube ride down the river, so she’d been trying to help “collect” them. Anyway, eventually we (all at the adult pool area) were treated to our own box of chips and salsa. Best of all, John and I had a good time getting to know a couple from Lebanon, OR who gave us tips on more places to visit while we’re here. Interestingly, they have a “Blu Boy”/suitcase for carrying waste water but only use it for their black tank. Regarding their gray tank water: they take showers at the restrooms, wash clothes in the laundry, and toss their dish water to the nearby vegetation. They figured all the tent users did that. We didn’t, nor did we with the tent trailer. John would haul a bucket of that water to a toilet. That water surely shouldn’t hurt vegetation, when there aren’t phosphates in it.

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Newberry National Volcanic Monument: Paulina Falls, Paulina Peak Overlook, Big Obsidian Flow

8/21/15 (Friday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Cmpgrnd-TT)

We headed for Crater Lake but on the way saw signs that Hwy 230 and the North Entrance to the park are closed for fire containment. So after driving for an hour we turned back and went to the Newberry Caldera instead. The Newberry Volcano blew around 1300 years ago, spewing magma that became pumice and obsidian as it escaped onto the surface. All have 73% silica but the pumice, because it had gas bubbles floated to the top while the obsidian stayed in the bottom of the flow. Because it has the bubbles pumice is absorbent, used to absorb oils/water while Obsidian is a glass rock. The Paiutes used it for arrowheads and other tools, gaining wealth trading it. Today people even use it for surgical blades in Europe; it has a much cleaner edge than stainless steel. After that eruption 2 lakes were formed in the caldera (Spanish for cauldron) that was left of the mountain: Paulina (Paul EYE naw) Lake and East Lake. You can see them both, as well as the Obsidian Flow from Paulina Peak Overlook. Warning, the 3 ½ miles of the road there is washboarded gravel. I cringed much of the way, worried for our car. The view today was SO clear, since the Maritime winds were blowing any smoke in the area away.

Paulina Peak Overlook

p peak 1 p peak 2 p peak 3 p peak 4 p peak 5 p peak 6

Before that drive we hiked to Paulina Falls, just lovely, both the hike and the falls. Those jumbled rocks at the bottom were created/broken by the force of the water’s flow. This falls once was 200 feet forward of where it is now, but as it destroyed it’s wall of rocks it has moved back.

Paulina Falls

P Falls 1 p falls 2 p falls 3

Some shots from our hike through the Obsidian Flow. Those are White Bark Pine trees, only able to survive because the Clark’s Nutcracker has a strong enough beak to break open their pine cones to collect the seeds and “cache” them all over. The bird remembers where it buried about 95%, but those it forgets manage to grow in the harshest of environments. Thus they are far older than they seem.  The smaller one is about 30 years old and the larger one is about 300 years old.

Big Obsidian Flow

obs 1  Lost Lake obs 2 obs 2a obs 3 obs 4  White Bark Pine 30 years old obs 5  White Bark Pine 300 years old obs 6 Clarks Nutcracker

We checked out Paulina Lake and saw a couple Ospreys. They are so gorgeous!



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Restful Day

8/20/15 (Thursday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Cmpgrnd-TT)

We proclaim this to be a day of rest. The weather should help – highs in the 80’s instead of the 90’s. To start I slept in until 8, then took all morning to get my “chores” done like posting our blog. John read. He doesn’t want to drive much today. Can you guess why?

In the afternoon, more relaxing, with a short trip to a nearby ROD park (Cascade Meadows). We found out that they have some sewer sites, some of which of 50 amps. There would be no guarantee that our reservation would get us such a site. Plus it’s completely in the open, near a highway, so there’d be highway noise, wind and the full sun. We like our site at Bend much better, so we won’t move to this park for a sewer site.

I love reading in our “backyard”, where there’s shade. A little chipmunk dashed from my feet to a few feet away when I’d turned a page of my book. I’ve seen a chickadee and one morning three large gray squirrels with very bushy tails playing in nearby trees.  The “Dump Site” sign is at the very left of the first photo.  Can you find our rig?

site 1 Dump sign at left site 2

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Moving on to Bend, OR

8/19/15 (Wednesday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Campground-TT)

On the trail before 8 again, grateful that the dump site was clear, so we could dump and even get our “toad” hooked up right there. Already warm. The camp host told us it would be 100 degrees here today. Glad we’re leaving except, with the poor power that the TT campgrounds often experience, the 90 plus degrees in Bend may feel just as bad. That’s Rving-roughing it smoothly.

Essentially we took US 97 all the way south to Bend. Nice road in Oregon too-primarily 2 lane with good shoulders and some passing lanes/turn outs.

Near Shaniko we passed a sign that noted we were at the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. Is that why it’s so hot? It’s sort of like West Texas here in that there are fences, sagebrush and sprinklings of cattle and wheat/hay fields. No cactus or windmills or flat land though, it is rolling hills, like our Palouse near Spokane. US 97 is still a good road here in Oregon, with some construction here and there. Closer to Madras there was water to irrigate with, so green fields.

Bend is a high desert region, just like Spokane, so there are plenty of Ponderosa Pines that require little water along our road to the campground.

Arrived at 11, all set up by 12:30. Bend/Sunriver is a large campground with very few 50 amp sites and no sewer sites plus it’s very wooded, so it took awhile to find “our” spot: I-41. We have 30 amps, but the weather should not be too bad after this day (in the 90’s today). Best of all we have TV reception and good Verizon cell phone reception. This site does look on to the dump site, but we’re okay with that. Interesting to say the least.

The power seems to be holding pretty well too.  Best of all we have TV reception and good Verizon cell phone reception. This site does look on to the dump site, but we’re okay with that.  They have a cute Western town just behind the Welcome Center.  The staff is great with plenty of activities for all.  I’m really looking forward to the Hot Tub Socials on Sundays, with free snacks.  Oh, everyone is traveling at 5 mph (except one boy on a bike).  Maybe it’s because everyone else is, maybe it’s because of the invisible speed bumps in the roads or just maybe it’s because of the rules page you had to read and sign when you checked in!  It’s not as dusty as Leavenworth TT was (more gravel).

Love this sign in the bathroom:


After lunch we drove to Bend (17 miles away) for groceries. My goodness our larder is stuffed. I keep thinking we shouldn’t need to shop again except for milk and eggs but somehow that hasn’t happened yet. We saw a vegetable we’d never seen before. It’s beautiful, maybe a cross between cauliflower and broccoli, which were presented on both sides of it: Romanesco Broccoli


Once we got back home we relaxed. When it got cool we walked around the campground. It seems to have changed a lot in the 15 years since we were last here in our tent trailer, far more trees and brush than we remember.

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Moving on to Rufus OR

8/18/15 (Tuesday) in Rufus, OR (LaPage Park Campground-COE)

Thank you, James and Jenn for your generous hospitality!

On our way to Blewett Pass around 8, continuing south on US 97. Nice 2 lane road, smooth with turnouts and passing lanes, all the way down to Oregon.

CW 3 CW 4

Arrived 11:30 after getting fuel and DEF at the nearby Pilot. The great news is that we got in, without any reservations, to their ONE walk in site, #22. Yay! Nice 50 amp power with water, so we could run both our air conditioners. Thank heavens because it was in the 90’s. Heat pump A/C struggles, so we managed to cool down to 86 degrees before the sun went down. It got into the 70’s after dark, so I’m once again thankful for our bedroom paddle fan.

We did explore a little. If you turn off I-84 at exit 109, the John Day Dam exit, you can turn left next and go to a “rock pile/gravel pit” where you can park for free (COE). There are even outhouses there. You even have a view of the Columbia River. If you turn right after that exit there are places you can dry camp on asphalt with some trees, but if your rig is long/big I wouldn’t recommend trying any places where you can see the maintenance shed/cyclone fence. Too tight to turn around and get out.

John Day Dam:


After supper, once the sun was down, we enjoyed a walk around the campground too, finding out that Lewis and Clark stopped here on there way to the coast and back. Then we settled in for the night.

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