Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 8 - 16, 2012 "Central Oregon"

The trip from Prospect was uneventful, which is the way we like it. We arrived at River Rim RV Park in Crooked River Ranch, OR, 9 miles NW of Redmond around 2 pm and checked in with the owner Renee. This park only had 3 reviews and we were not sure, so we only booked two nights at the Passport America rate of $16.50 per night. After we were set up, and had a chance to relax watching the Golden Eagles soaring above, decided this park and the surrounding area would be worth exploring, so we extended for an additional week at $20 per day.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument is located south of Bend, Oregon, within the boundaries of Deschutes National Forest. In a region rich with interesting geology, the landscape found within the Volcanic Monument stands out. Lava flows, cinder cones, a cave, and an obsidian field combine with the typical Northwest lakes, rivers, forests, and mountains to form a unique and amazing landscape of rock and greenery. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge.)

Just a short drive north from the Lava Lands Visitor Center parking lot is Lava Butte, a nearby cinder cone. At the top are incredible 360-degree views that include the lava flows as well as Mount Bachelor, nearby Cascade Mountain peaks, as well as several other cinder and pumice cones scattered across the land. A short trail circles the crater rim, passing by Lava Butte's working fire lookout tower. 

When we arrived at the park, the gate attendant asked us if we would like to drive up to the butte, and naturally we said yes. She then gave us a pass, and explained they only give 10 per hour, as there were only 10 parking spots at the top. Our pass allowed us to depart at 11:15, and return at 11:45.

Peter Ogden was a Canadian who worked as fur trader and explorer for the Northwest Company and later for the Hudson Bay Company, and explored Oregon starting in the 1820's and discovered the Crooked River area.

Adjacent to the parking lot is this sign, which I have never seen before, especially the lower one. But after the short walk to the canyon, it became apparent.

There are 3 bridges at the viewpoint. The first, built in 1911 was, and is, a railroad trestle bridge over the Crooked River Canyon. In 1926, the second emerged as the only car bridge across the canyon until 2000 when the new bridge, called the Rex Barber Memorial Bridge, opened. Today the 1926 bridge is a pedestrian bridge over the Crooked River from which you can see the canyon and the old and new bridges on each side. As you look at the canyon below, know that "back in the day" when the first bridge was built, workers camped in the canyon and climbed up a 350 foot rope ladder to get to work each day.

A grisly historical footnote, the Ogden viewpoint was where two women from Oakland, CA threw two small children over the canyon wall, most likely from the railroad bridge, to their deaths in 1961. The mother, Gertrude Nunez, received a life sentence, but was paroled after 10 years of incarceration. The other, Jeannace Freeman, (Nunez’s lover), was convicted and sentenced to death, but when Oregon abolished the death penalty, the governor commuted her sentence to time served, and was released.

Famous throughout the country, Petersen's Rock Gardens is a testament to dedication and the fruits of one man's labors. As scenic attractions go, the Rock Gardens is small, nestled away in Redmond, a small town in central Oregon. Petersen's Rock Gardens is the creation of a Danish immigrant Ramus Petersen, who came to America in 1900 at the age of 17.

Over the years, he collected all kinds of colorful local rocks from an 85-mile radius of his home. These colorful rocks included Oregon agates, obsidian, petrified wood, malachite, and jasper. Ramus started building with them in 1935. At first, it was just a small rockery near his home. But he kept on building and building on his 4-acre site, until his death in 1952. He mortared the rocks together into miniature buildings, monuments, lagoons, and bridges, surrounded by lush gardens with lily ponds and little streams.

Rasmus built his folk art constructions of rocks and glass reminiscent of his native Denmark. But he also honored his new home with a tribute to democracy by constructing a concrete American flag and a replica of the Statue of Liberty carved by a local sculptor from a large boulder and the statue is even holding a light bulb torch. In front of the Statue rests a bronze plaque which Peterson had emblazoned "Enjoy yourself: it's later than you think." 

Steelhead Falls is on the Deschutes River, adjacent to Crooked River Ranch. It has an 18-foot, big river drop, in a sage and juniper canyon. It’s a moderate half-mile hike to the falls, with a few steep and narrow spots along the trail.

As we arrived, CC noticed two young men, about 18 or 19, standing above the falls. (Not surprising, being the cougar that she is.) By the time I retrieved the camera, only one was left standing. A few seconds later, he joined his buddy, plunging into the ice cold 35 degree water. (Click to enlarge image in red circle.) When the two emerged from their “swim”, I asked if the water was cold. They both replied, “Only the first time. Are you going to jump? It’s so much fun!” My reply, “I was only your age ONCE; for a reason”.

The Three Sisters (pictured below) are three volcanic peaks of the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the Cascade Range in Oregon, each of which exceeds 10,000 ft (3,048 m) in elevation.  They are the third, fourth, and fifth highest peaks in the state of Oregon and are located in the Three Sisters Wilderness, about 15 mi (24 km) southwest from the nearest town of Sisters, Oregon.  The three peaks have 15 named glaciers among them, nearly half of all the 35 named glaciers in Oregon.  The Sisters were named Faith, Hope, and Charity by early settlers, but these names have not prevailed. 

Finding a BBQ joint in Sisters was a surprise; but finding a really good one was a miracle. The pulled pork at Slick’s Que Company was smoky, juicy, and perfectly seasoned, as was the brisket. And those burnt ends…………..ahhhhhh…………to die for!

Once a lumber producing town, Sisters is now known as the Gateway to the Cascades. The downtown area has been transformed, and today Sisters is recognized as a unique place to shop with its many specialty stores and galleries. Below, CC tries out a pine rocking chair next to a juniper floor lamp; no two are alike.

Lake Billy Chinook has existed since 1964 when Portland General Electric constructed the Round Butte Dam. The lake was named for Billy Chinook, a well-known Wasco Indian scout from the Warm Springs region who traveled with explorer John Fremont in 1843. Surrounded by mostly public lands, the lake includes 72 miles of shoreline and a surface area of 4,000 acres. Its deepest point is 400 feet at Round Butte Dam.

About 10 - 12 million years ago, alternating layers of stream sediments, volcanic debris and basaltic lava flowed from the Cascade Mountain Range into a huge basin in this area. Named the “Deschutes Formation,” these exposed layers of material were capped by lava flows from Cascade volcanoes three million years ago. Known as “rimrock basalt,” the cap is easily seen high atop the steep cliffs of the canyons. Subsequent periods of dramatic water erosion and volcanic activity have formed the awe-inspiring canyons and vertical cliffs seen today.

The Humane Society of Redmond sponsored an open house alpaca shearing at the Crescent Moon Ranch; admission was free and donations were appreciated. CC and I were both very, very impressed with how perfectly manicured and well maintained the Crescent Moon was.

Alpacas are raised specifically for their fiber; unlike their cousins the llama, which are used as pack animals, as well as for their fiber. Below, a baby alpaca chases after his mother, on the lush grassy pasture where the young are kept.

We missed witnessing the birth of this newborn by 15 minutes. The female to the left of the newborn is due as well, and as we were standing there, the owner came and raised her tail to check on progress, and commented, “anytime now”.

Yearlings are restrained, for their protection and the ones doing the shearing. After their first haircut, restraints may or may not be needed, as some seem to enjoy losing their coats as warm weather arrives.

As the alpacas looked on with curiosity, the 75 – 100 owners of classic and custom cars were busy polishing and spit shinning their “rides”. We have been to a few car shows / rallies, but the overall attention to detail was as fine as we have seen.

This is their “hobby”, and they love talking about their car; what they have done, and how, and what they plan on doing next. There was a common theme amongst the owners; the work is never complete, no matter what. There is ALWAYS something bigger, better and badder on the drawing board, just as soon as finances will allow.

This ’69 Camaro was absolutely perfect; better than when it rolled of the showroom floor. It was my dream car in high school, (oops, showing my age) but a base price of $3,000 kept my dream from becoming a reality. Don’t ya just hate it when that happens?

That’s it folks. It doesn’t feel like we’re that busy, but writing about it sounds like work; and I must admit, it is. This lifestyle is not for the weak or faint of heart. We fully accept responsibility of the burden that has been placed upon us, and enthusiastically look forward to tomorrow.

From here, we will be moving just west of Mt. Hood for a few days. There is still snow, so who knows, we may even try a little schussing. Thanks for stopping by. Take care and stay well my friends………………….


  1. funny reading your day was a bit like reviewing things we did this past week... we are in Cove Palisades State Park for one more day and leave tomorrow for richand washington, too bad we missed an opportunity to meet up!

    1. Hey Duke, we cruised through Cove Palisades in the toad on our visit to Billy Chinook. In which campground did you stay; Crooked River or Deschutes? We drove through both. Probably drove right by you. Small world and I'm sure our paths will once again intersect.

  2. It is amusing to see that Crescent Moon publishes the untrue that all Alpacas are fiber animals and Llamas are pack animals. As a person who raised both, I can attest that not Alpacas have quality fiber. Many Llamas are raised as fiber animals and can have as high quality fiber. Nice photos. Sounds like a fun trip.

  3. Nan, good to know. I guess that's why they had a few geldings for sale; bad fiber. Being a novice at both alpacas and their fibers, I'm happy to be enlightened.

  4. Hi guys,
    I've been a subscriber to your blog for awhile now and really enjoy it when I go to my own blog sight to check in on your and others blogs I've joined. However, it would be really nice if I was able to receive your posts as emails, as I do with a few other blogs. I'll bet others would enjoy it too. You can add a small gadget to your site with your Blogger tools that allows viewers to subscribe via email. I've got one in the upper right hand corner of my site if you want to see what it looks like.
    It's similar to but different from the "subscribe by email" option that you have right below your comments window. Hope you'll consider it. Thanks.

    1. Great idea. I looked at yours and agree that it would be helpful. The only reason I haven't is that I'm already getting plenty of referrer spam sites hitting the blog, and don't need more. Have you experienced an increase in referrer spam since you added this "Gadget" to your blog?

  5. Dwight, did you fail to regale the jumpers with your own harrowing tales of jumping off the bridge at Lake Texoma?

    1. Chuck, I know not of this character "Dwight" you speak of, and can only assume by your comment that he may have not experienced sound judgement. Did he by chance have any co-conspirators? I, Fester, would never engage in such idiotic behavior.