Supposedly, tons of Californians move to Oregon each year to escape the high cost of living. I know of a couple Marylanders who would love to move to Oregon…for the summer. Driving from Portland to Bend, the landscape goes from the forested hills of the Mt. Hood range to something straight outta the moon and then back to the dense forest. Oregon is an outdoor adventure lovers paradise and Bend is it’s capital.
Before getting to Bend, we stayed at an RV Park in Crooked River Ranch. It was a great stop to enjoy Smith Rock State Park, chase lizards with the kids and jump in the best RV Park pool we have experienced. The pool was a must as we were in the desert and Oregon was still getting over the PacNw heatwave of 2017 that dropped 100+ temps during the day.
When we finally made it to Bend, we got one of the last RV spots in the entire city. As we pulled in, we were greeted with a stunning view of…Wendy’s. We’ve had some great views on our trip, but watching people leave Wendy’s with Frosty’s in their hands as we brush our teeth isn’t one of them. However, the strange camping situation didn’t put a damper on our visit to Bend. The city is fantastic and sits right on the Deschutes River. Everyone in town is apparently into the outdoors because the official city car is a Jeep or Truck with a bike and paddleboard hanging off it. Our kinda town!
Stoked to hit some of the best single track mountain biking trails on the West Coast, I made plans to ditch my family and ride on Sunday morning. After walking along the Deschutes on Saturday and acting as “outdoor adventur’y” as one can be with a 4 and 1 year old in tow, E kept getting more and more excited as people would paddle by on their float trips. “Can we do that Daddy, pleeeeeeease!?” If you have kids, you’ll know that the human tolerance for such a request from a cute lil daughter maxes out at around 20-25 times. I am no ordinary human and I quickly caved after E asked 5 times and my Sunday biking plans were discarded and substituted with a float trip down the Deschutes with my 4 year old daughter – hardcore!
As we had to leave our RV Park on Sunday at noon, we booked the first float trip of the day at 10am. If you want to know how cold the water is at 10am (we were the first people into the Deschutes), take a quick look at my face below. You can use your imagination as to what body part of mine is “freezing off”. E on the other hand was light enough that she barely got wet the entire time. After my lower extremities warmed up from a cryogenic like freeze, the float was one of the highlights of the entire trip up to this point. I haven’t had many, opportunities for some Daddy – Daughter time (separate from J and Lil D) and it was so much fun to float down the river with my favorite little girl. It’s a highlight that I will remember forever and in hindsight it wasn’t a sacrifice at all.
Hustling back to Tin-E after the float trip, we put Bend in the rear view and made our way to Crater Lake National Park. Freecampsites.net didn’t let us down and we found an ideal camping site right next to Annie Creek and just a mile outside of the park boundaries. With the creek rushing right next to us, the spot was perfect except for the fact that we could barely step outside without killer mosquitos trying to pick up Lil D and take him away.
Crater Lake was formed when a volcano collapsed after erupting and formed a massive crater. The only water in the lake is from rain or snow fall, thus it’s the cleanest lake in the world. The lake provides some gorgeous views and E got another Junior Ranger badge, but there isn’t really much to do there. With that, a wonderful couple of weeks in Oregon was checked off and we were off to track down Katy Perry in California – another request Dad would happily assist his daughter with.