08.29.15 La Pine State Park in La Pine, Oregon

lpsp 1 (Medium)Friday, August 28, 2015 – La Pine State Park, located next to the Deschutes River, is a beautiful place near our RV park. After resting all day yesterday I woke feeling my lungs had recovered enough for us to take a trip to see this State Park. the air quality must be really bad today because wee smelled smoke as soon as we left Dora which is normally not the case.

The park is home to Oregon’s largest ponderosa pine. Nicknamed “Big Red,” the tree is 162′ tall, with a circumference of 326 inches, diameter is 8.8 feet, and may be in excess of 500 years old. It is also recognized as an Oregon Heritage Tree. It’s estimated volume is 25,000 board feet. It was quite impressive, larger than we thought it would be. lpsp 2 (Medium)

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The bark on these types of pines is very different than normal pines. Here’s a picture of each so you can see this.

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The other stop we made in this state park was the Don McGregor Viewpoint which provided an amazing view of the Deschutes River as it made a bend right in front of us.

lpsp dmcg sign (Medium)lpsp 11a (Medium)lpsp 9 (Medium)This place was very pretty but even in these pictures you can see some smoke in the air. There are a lot of camping sites with either electric only for $24 a day and full hookups for $26 a day.

We’re looking forward to a few days of rest before we get back on the road next week headed to the Redwood Forest in California!!

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08.28.15 Lava River Cave in Bend, Oregon – oh what a day!

lc 1 (Medium)On Wednesday we made it to Lava River Cave, which is a mile-long lava tube. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to tour the entire cave. Initial access descends 55 stairs to a combination of flat boardwalk, uneven surfaces and stairways.  Average temperature in the Cave is 42 degrees.

lc 2 (Medium)The sign above probably should have stopped me from going in but I figured I’m not a child, I’ve done caves before and this is only a mile long.

This was probably the worst thing we could have attempted and we paid for it.  I was only able to make it about 1/4 of the mile into the tube.  I waited there for Roy to complete the mile and come back to where I stopped.  He made it back fine so we then headed back to the cave’s opening.

I’m not totally sure why the exit was so difficult for me.  The air quality has been dangerous recently here in Oregon because of smoke from local forest fires.  I have asthma but haven’t really felt different because of the smoke, so going into the cave didn’t seem to be a problem.  It was very damp and very cold (and I was in there over an hour) and all the fungus or mold (which I’m highly allergic to) that must be in a damp dark place like that, and I guess coupled with me having breathed the smoke for a while caused me to have extreme difficulties breathing while getting out of the cave.   A very nice young lady tourist who happens to be a Cardiac nurse stayed with us until we got out.  Also, a forest ranger brought me some water when we were near the finish line.  There were many steps to climb to get out and I could make it a few steps before having to pause for several minutes.  I was dizzy and had extreme difficulty breathing and standing up.

The last time we toured a cave I had a little difficulty near the end, but nothing like today.  We will not be planning anymore underground cave tours in the future.  We’ve toured several over the years and need to be happy with those experiences!

There aren’t many pictures to share since it is pitch black in there and the tourists have to bring their own to see a little bit in front of them.  Roy set us up with head lights and a strong hand held flashlight and we both had our Southeastern jackets on to HELP keep us warm. I forgot my gloves so they were near frozen even while keeping them tucked into my jacket!

The first picture shows the pathway through the cave.  Then you’ll see us with our very fashionable head lights on before going into the cave.  the other pictures are from the hundred feet or so into the cave where there is still some sunlight shining in.  After that it was all blackness!lava river cave pathlc 4 (Medium)lc 5 (Medium)lc6 (Medium)lava-river3lc7 (Medium)lc 10 (Medium)This is the view I had while waiting for Roy to return of the people entering that part of the cave.   They are coming down the steep steps which we had to go up to get out.  When there was no one coming from either direction it was pitch black and extremely cold.   This was absolutely one of those times I wanted to trip the young adults just be-bopping their way up and down the stairs!!!  When our mind thinks it’s still that  young and our body knows different, we get ourselves in these pickles! lc 13 (Medium)

Roy saw these two signs with good information further down the passage way so I’m sharing!lc highway crossing (Medium)lc tube in tube (Medium)I’m use to writing about the things we see and do because I’m excited to share it with ya’ll.  This was a different story and actually quite humbling.  I am staying in the RV today to let my lungs and body recover from whatever they went through yesterday.

We want to go to La Pine State Park tomorrow which will be non strenuous and hopefully will give me an outing without doing further damage.  We have a campground BBQ Saturday, work Saturday and Sunday for me with RVillage and then we’ll see what Sunday brings.

As I shared with ya’ll, our plans have changed as Russ and Annie’s plans changed.   We still hope to meet up with them along the way!  The overall plan for the rest of our trip includes:

Redwood Forest for a week

San Francisco/Napa Valley for two weeks – this is where my boss Hillary lives and I’ll finally get to meet her and Cam in person after working for them for over a year and a half!!

Los Angeles to hopefully see some TV shows taped

Las Vegas to see all that’s there

Grand Canyon – hopefully north and south rims

Sedona Arizona

Southern Arizona – where our real big boss, Curtis lives to finally meet him in person!

El Paso Texas to see the White Sands Monument.

Roswell New Mexico to see the alien places

See whatever we want as we go across Texas and then land in Louisiana for Christmas!

There will be lots of small stops along the way but these are our must see stops.  Any suggestions around those areas are greatly appreciated!

From where we are now in Oregon to Roswell, NM will take us 2500 more miles.  Roy hasn’t given his final blessing to this plan so it may change!  From Roswell NM to Amite, LA is another 1000 miles.

Next year’s plan is to explore the east coast and all that has to offer!

Here’s our most updated map of all the states we’ve visited!

visited states map august 18 2015

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08.26.15 Lava Land in Bend, Oregon

thursday almost fridayWednesday, August 26, 2015 – Monday after we toured The High Desert Museum we drove nearby to Lava Land, toured the visitor’s center then boarded the Shuttle for a trip to the top of Lava Butte.  A Butte is described as an isolated hill with steep sides and a flat top (similar to but narrower than a mesa).  Do not know why they can’t call it a hill, but perhaps Butte sounds better???!!!

Lava Butte is a cinder cone rising 500 feet above Lava Lands Visitor Center. A cinder covered trail encircles the rim of the cone with outstanding views.  We walked this trail which in long stretches was very steep to climb.  Not easy at all for us, but we are proud to say we made it!!!  This first three pictures was taken off the internet as we have none that show the cinder cone like this.

filename-lava-butte-cinder Nebe_lava_butte23753l Newberry-National-Volcanic-Monument-Lava-Lands-Visitor-Map.mediumthumbThe next pictures are from inside the Visitor Center, our ride in the shuttle to the top of the Butte and from our hike around it.    We could see the area around it a bit but I don’t think it came out well in the pictures because of the fire smoke in the area.  We receive Air Quality Warnings on our phone each day saying the quality is at a Danger level because of the smoke.   We were about 300 feet over the area where the lava flowed leaving the are black.  We brought home some black, red and gray lava rocks.




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ll 7 (Medium)From a sign by the hiking trail:  Pouring from a breach on the south side of Lava Butte, lava moved in a series of overlapping flows.  The lava spread dowhill to the northwest covering nine square miles and filling six miles of the Deschutes River channel. Within the Lava Butte lava flow there are several islands of trees on higher ground that were not overcome by the lava flows from their eruption.    ll 11 (Medium)  ll 14 (Medium)

Another sign:  Lava Butte is one of many cinder cones that erupted about 7,000 years ago from a Northwest trending fissure (crack) known as the Northwest Rift Zone.    ll 18 (Medium)

AT THE TOP OF LAVA BUTTE THIS SIGN SHOWED THE ELEVATION TO BE 5,020.ll 19 (Medium)    US ENJOYING THE HIKE!ll8 (Medium) ll9 (Medium)That’s it for today!  We plan to rest a day and then head to the Lava River Cave on Wednesday.

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08.25.15 The High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 – We set out this morning headed for Lava Land but ended up stopping at The High Desert Museum first.  I’d read rave reviews of this museum on Trip Advisor but didn’t realize it was on our way!  It is another location within the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon.

HDM Ent_0It is both an indoor and outdoor museum on 35 forested acres.  The indoor part is what we toured first. I really love seeing old stuff that was actually used in days gone by and this place has lots of it!  Volcanic eruptions and rivers shaped the museum site.  These exposed lava flows probably originated about 250,000 years ago from the Newberry Crater area, near here.

These first pictures are from the various areas of the indoor museum.

b13 (Medium) b12 (Medium) b11 (Medium) b10 (Medium) b9 (Medium) b8 (Medium) b7 (Medium) b5 (Medium) b3 (Medium) b2 (Medium) The next pictures are from the outdoors portion of the museum set amongst beautiful pines and flower bushes.  bo18 (Medium)  bo2 (Medium)bo3 (Medium) bo1 (Medium) bo roy (Medium) bo rosalyn (Medium) bo prey (Medium)One of the major outdoor exhibits is the Miller family ranch from 1904. The history of local homesteaders becomes vivid reality when you see the buildings on the Miller Ranch including the cabin, barn, corral, bunkhouse, root cellar and sawmill.  We got to see what life was like for local homesteaders more than a hundred years ago.  Kids get to do chores around the ranch such as digging in and watering the garden.  They could also enjoy playing one of several vintage games.

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Another outside exhibit was the Otter Exhibit.  Two adorable otters played in the water and entertained us all!  There is a pathway that leads to an inside area where you can watch the otters above and below the water from a glass wall.  Very cool!  They are so cute to watch either inside ot outside.

botter entrance (Medium) botter 4 (Medium) botter 2 (Medium) botter 1 (Medium)The Otter exhibit wrapped up our visit to this museum.  The picture right above is looking at the glass windows people can look out of! This was a really nice surprise to get to tour this beautiful place today!  We went to Lava Land after this but I’ll share those tomorrow!  We plan to go back on Wednesday or Thursday to see the Lava Land Cave and the La Pine State Park, both of which are near by.

We received word from our friends Russ and Annie that they will not be at Cape Blanco in Oregon as planned.  Russ’ dad is dying and his mom needs their help.  He’s now in hospice care and they are on their way to Nevada now.  Please pray for Russ and his family during this time.  We’ll catch up with them somewhere along the way!

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08.21.15 Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint – A Must See!

use sign 20Friday, August 21, 2015 – The Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint, in Terrebonne,Oregon is the amazing sight we zooomed by while driving down the Oregon highway! It is a state park on the Crooked River along U S Highway 97. Thank goodness there was a place to pull over just past it and a pathway to walk back and see it. After walking down the pathway to the dramatic cliff, the view from the center bridge down to the Crooked River and to the bridges and views on either side is breath taking! I said to Roy, “This is absolutely the most beautiful sight we’ve seen!”  The pictures cannot possibly capture the beauty of it all.

To see the pictures bigger double click on them to enlarge them. They will also open in a new window.  I highly recommend doing this because they pictures are amazing!use 3

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Roy on the bridge between the other two bridge. This bridge is closed to traffic so you can walk around and enjoy the magnificent sights.
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One of the side bridges with the larger than life breath taking sight!

use 12 use 11 use 6use 7There is lots to see in this area of Oregon.  After having a couple of days of rest we’ll be checking out these great spots and of course sharing them with ya’ll!

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