8/28/15 (Friday) in Bend, OR (Bend/Sunriver RV Campground-TT)
After meandering through our morning routines, we took off for the “Hole-in-the-Ground”, near Christmas Valley, OR. Getting there is tricky: Take US 97 S from the campground (via S Century Rd, Huntington Rd, St. Recreation Rd) for 25 miles (just past the Hole-in-the-Ground sign) to a black mailbox with “Outback Station” on it. Turn left here. Following this road about 3 miles to the rim. It is simply a huge hole in the ground/crater, caused by a meteor. There are a couple high clearance needed spots (washouts/big rocks). You can drive around the rim or walk down into it if you’d like. IF you turn at the Hole in the Ground SIGN that road will also take you to the rim, after traveling for 4.4 miles on a washboard dirt road. We took the sign route in and the “Outback Station” route out.
Hole in the Ground
We continued S on US 97 until the sign for Fort Rock (town) and Fort Rock State Park, 2 miles past the town. In the town is an adorable set of original (we think) pioneer buildings. Even though the sign there said that the museum was open Thursday thru Sun, 10-4. This was Friday, around noon. Museum Closed. We stayed to enjoy our picnic lunch and the tables there. Soon another car parked next to us. Two couples who also wanted to see this museum. They called the numbers given, but only got answering machines. They were excited to go the “Cowboy Dinner Tree Restaurant” in Silver Lake at 4 (must make reservations). Apparently you get a whole chicken or 32 oz. of steak in your meal. Naturally you can take the leftovers home. They were from the area and also recommended Smith Rock, north of Redmond.
Fort Rock Museum
This is also where we saw an actual map for “Crack in the Ground”, a really cool place where tall rocks form a crack. This is where I REALLY wanted to go, after seeing pictures, but the sign at Fort Rock Museum indicated high clearance vehicles were highly recommended for the road to get there. John didn’t want to try in our little CRV, even though it is an SUV. ..”Turn at little green outhouse, trail across the road….hot above, cool below.”
Crack in the Ground
John also didn’t feel it necessary to drive on to Fort Rock St. Park, so I just took photos from afar. Great defensive position, I’d say, in this large open area.
Our CRV was giving us a reminder light that our oil was at 15%, time to get new oil, so we went back onto US 97 N to Bend. Unfortunately, we came upon a bad car crash at US 97 and Vandervert, what should have been a 1 hour drive became a 1.5 hour one. Then, a couple cars pulled into Oil Can Henry’s just before us, so we got to sit for another hour. They do marvelous service for what you pay, checking 20 things and fixing them, like filling your tires, filling washer fluid, even guaranteeing to top off any fluids in the next 3 months after your service there. Loved their uniforms, double checking that all items were closed/put away and the camera views of them working on your rig, set right next to you. We even found out that Oil Can Henry’s is all through the West. Yipee!!
It was with a huge relief that we then went grocery shopping, then home. When John moved the groceries from car to coach he discovered a lady from the group we met at the Museum had put her purse in the backseat of our car! We tried calling the restaurant, but could only leave a message. Dang!
We enjoyed a new recipe; garlic mushroom beef (crock pot), on noodles. Yum! Then a game of cards. John won again, by 2 points!
PS: We love Oregon’s no sales tax, so every purchase has a built in discount.