Monday, October 10, 2011

The road less traveled

After a month, we are mobile once again.  Spent two nights in Bend, Oregon.  There is a reason they have you check in at the bar.  The smell of popcorn and friendly folks beckon you to linger longer, have a drink, sit and chat.  Stay for a hamburger and karaoke, of course we did.  Thankfully, I did not sing!

Highway 20 alongside the Malheur River, eastern OR

High desert sage brush

We paid another visit to the Columbia Sportswear Factory Outlet to see if there was anything new since we were here a month ago.  Of course there was, but we only shopped in the sale racks...such restraint we showed.  The departure time for our TRIP is drawing nigh, November 3rd.  I have nothing to wear and hate to shop.  Where are my personal shoppers when I need them?

Leaving Bend we decided to take a route we've not taken before, see new sights...that's what we do.  Highway 20 is an east-west route over the Cascade Mountains, through the town of Sisters, to I-5...about a 120 miles or so.  We've done lots of mountain driving in the motorhome, towing the jeep....we're pros!  We got to the summit and there was a major fork in the road, with highway 126 going off to the left.  Most vehicles took that route for some reason.  To us, according to our map, staying on 20 seemed the better choice.

Snow-capped Cascades near Sisters

Sisters, OR

By now it's raining, foggy and the road is getting narrower.  There is not another vehicle in sight.  We pass three, yes three, caution signs warning of the impending 11 miles of steep 6% downgrade.  Too late to turn back, even if there had been a spot wide enough to turn around, which there wasn't.  So down we went, praying to the Pac brake gods, as we maneuvered (yes, I helped with my passenger-side brakes) the many S-turns, the falling rocks, the mudslides, with speeds not to exceed 20 mph.

Chains? We don't carry chains!

When I occasionally opened my eyes I did notice the beautiful fall colors of reds and yellows on the trees as they whirred past my window.  I let go of my death grip long enough to grab the camera for a few drive-by shootings!  What seemed like hours later we pulled into the sweet town of Sweet Home, and civilization.  I-5 is just ahead.  We made it...Piece of Cake!

Fall colors through the fog

Rock out-cropping...my side of the road, mister!

A blur of colors, or camera shake?

If you've read past episodes you know we're heading back to Eugene to get one of our awnings replaced, yet again.  We stayed a couple of nights boondocking at the Valley River Center by the beautiful Willamette River and trails, and a much-needed hike and run.  Then a night at Armitage Campground where we got together with friends John and Bonnie, whom we met at the Escapee's park in Chimacum, WA. this summer.

Do yourself a favor and click on this link and you will meet Laurie and Odel and one of their blogs, We Called It Home, where they rate and review campgrounds they've stayed at.  We were parked next to these folks at the Bend Elk's and found them and their blogs when just now searching for a link to Armitage.  Small world, indeed.
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