This is the third Oregon post of the trip and the first time I've managed to work in an Oregon Trail reference. Quite frankly, I'm disappointed with myself. We certainly saw a LOT of Oregon and had an absolute blast! After the Wet Westies campout, we headed east to Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the US. The drive around the rim is gorgeous but steep and winding, which would become a theme for the next week. The roads out here are quite narrow and employ the hairpin turns quite liberally. The Westy is doing well, but asks for breaks every now and then to rest her engine.

From Crater Lake, we headed north and east to the small city of Bend, OR. Bend is a cool town consisting of an equal number of street-corner-drum-beating-dreadlocked-hippies and free-people-designer-jeans-hippies-with-credit-cards. The town is situated in the middle of some great hiking and rock climbing areas. After spending the afternoon exploring downtown, we stopped by the local McMenamins, Old St. Francis School. 

For those of you not familiar with the concept, McMenamins is a restaurant/hotel chain that takes old or historic buildings and turns them into community spaces. This particular one had a restaurant, cigar bar, movie theatre, hotel, turkish bath, and event spaces. We ate dinner at the restaurant and then checked out the turkish bath. It was lovely, tiled with mosaics and with cool fountains around the edges. We were the only ones in there except for one other guy. Turns out he moved to Bend from New Mexico - but he walked the whole way! With two burros! It took him 12 years off and on to make the trip and now he lives outside of town. He said the burros have gotten pretty fat since they stopped walking several miles every day.

Earlier that day, as we were getting ready to head into the restaurant, we met a couple, Jim and Anise, who were admiring the Westy. They had driven from San Diego to Chicago back in the 70s in their VW bus and had many fond memories of the trip. They now own a Eurovan and continue to enjoy camping in it. They invited us to stay in their driveway for the night, as the nearest campgrounds were a little bit out of town. We eagerly accepted and they even left the door unlocked throughout the night so we could use the bathroom if we needed! The next day they cooked us an amazing breakfast (baked oatmeal) and even gave us a few of their AAA campsite books for the west coast! Check out Jim's books (he's an LCSW/family therapist and published author) for a great laugh.

That morning we headed farther north to Smith Rock State Park for some world-class rock climbing. We got there a little late in the afternoon, but were able to get in a few climbs. The scenery was gorgeous and we headed to the climbers campsite for the night. The campsite was awesome and tents only. We met some fun girls from Calgary who were down for the week climbing while their friends were attempting to summit Ama Dablam in Nepal!
The next two days we climbed at Smith Rock. We had a great time and really got motivated to find some more climbing spots as we head down the West Coast. The weather was stunning, blue skies and cool in the morning and blazing hot in the afternoon, only to get cold again at night.

From Smith Rock, we headed further north again to Portland to pick up Katy and Kevin Linde, who were in town for the weekend. We met them at a mutual friend's (Rosalin and David) place and had a really fun night in Portland with everyone. Ros and David were intending to join us for a weekend of camping, but the night before we left, the toilet in their rental house overflowed and flooded into the basement, right on top of all their camping gear! So it was down to the Trimmers and Lindes for the weekend. We headed back south through Mt. Hood National Forest to hike Black Butte (note the very fashionable and responsible orange vests to avoid being shot by hunters). We camped right along a river in a state park called Camp Sherman. As always with the Lindes, we had great food the whole time! The next day we hiked closer to Bend at Tumalo Falls State Park. The trail was awesome and passed by 4 or 5 waterfalls. That night we dined at the Deschutes Brewery in Bend (yum!) and drove back north towards Portland to find some camping. It was a quick weekend packed with fun! We were so glad to host folks in the Westy "guest suite". It was surprisingly comfortable to have 4 adults living in the square footage of a minivan!

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    The Trimmers

    Lisa and Tom Trimmer are from Chicago, IL and traveling the country in their 1985 VW Vanagon Westfalia Campervan.



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