We had every intention of heading further, but with the holiday weekend and our realization that we were completely exhausted, we headed back into Bend and got a motel with a heated pool. Bode now insists that all pools must be heated.
I acquired a coupon for beer (!) at the Silver Moon Brewery, so we added that to our attractions list. Beer, college football, and a happy kid eating his veggies. Bode practiced his magic tricks and got a full explanation of disco balls. When our Betty Page waitress transitioned the house CD from Wilco to Pavement, I knew there was a very good chance we’d be there for a while. Jason later referred to this as ‘subtle genius.’
It was a very slow day and everyone was happy about it. There was one occasion today when we simultaneously burst out with multiple verses from the theme song from “The Greatest American Hero“. After 15 years together, who knew? Neither of us claim to have ever watched the show, but it’s a catchy song!
In the morning, it was finally time to leave town. McKenzie Pass was next on the scenic drives list, so we finished our shopping in Bend and headed out. I wasn’t any sort of scout, so the rule about being prepared was not in my mind. When you travel around with all your possessions for a few weeks, you sort of assume you are prepared.
McKenzie Pass was not so scenic in the rain and fog, and we saw almost nothing from the Dee Wright Observatory. We did see lots of lava rock. We never really thought about Oregon having so many volcanoes, but they’re all over. On the way down from the pass, we managed a short hike to Proxy Falls. The rain had cleared during our hike, but we still got a “Where is your rain coat?” from some concerned Oregonians.
Next we headed to the fabulous camping at Belknap Springs. Well, fabulous when the weather is clear. Fortunately, they had two hot spring fed pools to keep us warm. Just about everyone spent the evening lounging around in the hot pools in a cloud of steam. You don’t really notice the raindrops.
Since it was a holiday, we were lucky to find one vacant spot. We were later told that the person before us had just got up and left after getting tired of the rain. Anway, we nestled in between two enormous rigs. California seemed to be filled with lots of rental RVs (mostly driven by people visiting from other countries), but just about everyone here was local and took their “camping” to a professional level. In our VW Bus we constantly get passed by RVs and campers larger than a San Francisco apartment.
Luckily, one of these pros took pity on our starting a fire in the rain (everything was immediately soaked) and came over with a blow torch. Ta-dah! Wet wood lights just fine with a torch – a trick we will not forget. We were all wet and a little cold outside, but old Red Beard kept us dry and warm overnight.
This was the end of a holiday weekend, so everyone was very happy when things finally cleared up the next day. After living in the Bay Area for a while, we’ve grown accustomed to the exact same pleasant weather every day for months on end. This was our first rain for the trip, so we’ll have to start paying closer attention.
We learned 2 things today: 1) check the weather and 2) we need to be better prepared for camping in the rain.
Lessons learned, we’ve already decided tomorrow is going to be AWESOME.