On September 29th a very good friend of ours got married in La Pine, Oregon! It was a beautiful wedding for two beautiful people. The weather was absolutely perfect and so was the scenery. We took a few pictures, danced a few dances, ate a lot of food, and had a really wonderful time. We almost couldn’t make it but we’re so glad we did. And of course, we can’t just simply drive to our destination and then turn around and drive home, we made a big road-trip weekend out of it!
We left Friday morning and got home after 10 on Sunday night. We’ve driven pretty much all of the paved roads between Reedsport and Central Oregon by now so there weren’t any options to see something new between the coast and I-5. Once we got east of Eugene we started looking for new roads to explore but found that unless we wanted to take Forest Service Roads (which we didn’t because it was already too late in the afternoon) there was only one option, a seasonal section of McKenzie Highway. We’re never been on it so we took it! And it was a great drive. Really hilly, really squirrely and really narrow, we were wishing we had motorcycles. Trying to pass bicyclists was a little nerve-wracking, no matter how far to the side they got they still took up half a lane….
As soon as we turned onto the road we started seeing signs saying vehicles over 35′ prohibited, a few miles down the road was a large turn around area for vehicles who didn’t heed the first few sets of warnings. We thought maybe it was because the road was narrow and windy but the further we went the more we understood why we should never take our RV down that road. Not unsurprisingly though, there’s always that 10%…we did cross paths with an RV on the way home on Sunday, a rental, go figure. No sane RV owner would drive that road. I’m going to bet that the guy driving the rental had to pay for some damages by the time he took it back. He passed me on a short straightaway, he was taking up the whole road and his mirrors were still hanging over the white line, luckily I had a small turn-out to pull into really quick or he would have taken me out. Tourists….
Anyway, back to the story….What makes the road difficult for bigger vehicles is that as you get closer to Sisters you get into Lava Land and you literally drive through a lava flow. There is no shoulder, the road is still windy and in place the lava rises 10 feet up, like a wall. An RV will lean right into the wall on a curve… Very cool road to drive though, just dangerous for big vehicles, especially duallies.
Ok, enough rambling! On to pictures.
After about 3 hours of driving we stopped for a quick, 1 mile hike at Proxy Falls.
Another hour or so down the road we stopped at Dee Wright Observatory. Very cool place, I loved the viewing tubes, but they were really difficult to get pictures of… We also stopped there on our way home on Sunday to walk to Interpretive Trail.
We didn’t take as many pictures on the way home but we took a new road recommended by the locals at the country market we stopped at for lunch. Aufderheide Dr. (NF 19) follows the rivers and winds its way through the woods from McKenzie Bridge on McKenzie Hwy (Hwy 126) south to Westfir on Willamette Hwy (Hwy 58). Another neat drive, although we didn’t take any pictures, how weird… Before getting on Hwy 58 to head home we stopped to check out Oregon’s longest covered bridge, the Office Covered Bridge in Westfir. It was pretty neat to drive through and in the parking lot were maps of all of the Forest Service Roads in the Westfir/Oakridge area. You could drive for weeks back there and still not see every road. That’s an area we need to spend some time in.
Does anyone know of a better program to use to make maps besides Google? Google irritates me….I can spend a lot of time to get the map perfectly the way I want but when I save it, it goes all wonky on me and I have to start over and I can’t link it to the blog…I want to be able to highlight and save the drives that we do and mark the little stops along the way. I need something easy too, the blog takes me long enough as it is…