Knowing the scenery would be getting greener as we moved west across Oregon, I was happy to be moving on. However it looked like we were only moving closer to the fires and smoke. Luckily we had not planned on going across on Highway 84, because it was now shut down.
We watched the news with fascination. The west coast was on fire and the gulf coast was getting soaked. What a crazy weather the entire country has been having, and it makes me feel so blessed that our families are safe and that we’re able to move our home as needed.
The scenery was not pleasant on our drive. No point in stopping at viewpoints because there was nothing to view but grey smoke. I was even smelling it now. Our hiking was kaput.
However I was still looking forward to seeing Bend and a storm was predicted so maybe the smoke would be cleared. We found a BLM campsite out side of Bend that had lots of gravel and no dirt roads, so we set out in the Jeep knowing that our motorhome would not get stuck.
The air in Bend was the worst yet. It made me cough. Some people were wearing masks. Then the rain came, and it came hard! We could barely see the downtown as we drove through. the street gutters were flooding after ten minutes of downpour. We sat in a parking lot for a bit deciding what we could do. Go to a brewery? Catch a movie? Then the rain let up and we decided to check out a waterfall in the area. Turned out to be a good choice.
Yes it was still grey and dreary, but the forest was still beautiful and it was a big waterfall. The path was steep but short and Tom found a way to go behind the waterfall. His shoes got soaked. The rain started again and we made it back to the Jeep damp but not soaked through because Tom had an umbrella. Note to selves: now that we’re in the wet side of Oregon we should keep the rain jackets in the Jeep at all times! We got back to the motorhome feeling like we’d accomplished something.
We thought the rain would have washed away the smoke, but it did not. Thankfully we headed over the Cascade mountain range and saw blue skies for the first time in DAYS.
We camped in a little town called Lebanon, right alongside a beautiful river. Tom had contacted an old friend from work letting him know we were in the area, so they invited us to have breakfast with them in their new town just ten minutes away. The Lacey’s are recent transplants from California to Oregon and we had a lovely visit with them.
Our next stop was Silver Falls State Park, “the ‘crown jewel’ of the state parks system”. I was hoping they would have a camp spot available but they were full. Still, we were able to park our home in the park. It was still early so we decided to do the eight mile Trail of Ten Falls. It was AWESOME. We even had sunlight later in the day. We did a whole video of it – you can see by clicking here. Here are a few of the pictures we took:
We were very impressed by all the water, but according to the pictures in the brochure, the falls were no where near full. I would like to come back in the spring. You would definitely need a raincoat then as you’re able to go behind many of the big falls.
We spent the night at Polk County Fairgrounds (and slept very well!) and then we headed north to Hillsborough for more visiting.
Our favorite (and only) former employee, Veronica, and her mom, Patricia, live there. It was a treat to see them again. They are also recent California transplants.
We caught up on their lives and learned how Veronica’s brothers and friends are doing. We reminisced about our former store, the Cosmic Corral, and Patricia really warmed our hearts when she said she felt that having Veronica work at “the Cosmic” changed the course of the lives of their entire family. It brought tears to my eyes. We were so happy to see them doing well, and so happy to pass through their area. Traveling is so much fun when there are people to see along the way!
Peace & Love, Joy