May 30 - June 4, 2016:
The drive from Chiloquin to Redmond, Oregon on Route 97 on Memorial Day was heavily traveled by RV’ers and holiday vacationers, not an enjoyable drive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many RV’s lined up on a highway, everybody in Oregon must have one ? This stretch of highway, to me, is sort of depressing as the forest is so butchered up, like a chainsaw massacre site ! We arrived at the Expo Center RV Park in Redmond in early afternoon for a full hookup site. The Expo Center RV Park is large, clean and efficient, pretty much a parking lot, but very convenient to the towns of Redmond, Bend and Sisters that we are here for.
We took a ride to downtown Redmond for starters, found a car wash to clean the Jeep which was covered in dust from the dirt roads of Chiloquin. We then happened upon “Wide Ride Brewing” which we found very refreshing, a really good brewery. I picked up a brewery trail map there which is a road map showing the location of 16 local breweries and if you visit every one and get your map stamped, you get free stuff, pretty cool ! Redmond has a beautiful town water park across from their retro looking City Hall recycled from an old grocery store. We grew to like Redmond as it has an attractive downtown area that's not so busy and jammed with tourists.
|Wild Ride Brew's Tap Room|
|Redmond's great entrance sculpture|
|Park clock sculpture was great|
|Water park with City Hall in rear|
|Interesting sign for those not toilet trained|
My first priority was to find a local coffee shop for good WiFi, could care less about the coffee. I thought the “Green Plow Coffee Roasters” was a cool name, so it was my first choice and it turned out to be quiet, comfortable with decent WiFi.
|The Green Plow|
The hiking was limited back in Chiloquin, but there are endless possibilities here. We drove to a community called the “Crooked River Ranch” to the trailhead for the “Otter Bench Trail” which was strongly scented by the abundant Juniper Trees. There were also many wildflowers in bloom and great views of the Crooked River Gorge. This gorge is sort of a miniature Grand Canyon and the Crooked River is a beautiful fast flowing stream that has cut an impressive gorge.
|View in the Otter Bench Trail|
|View looking down into the gorge|
|The new Highway Bridge|
|The 1911 Railroad Bridge|
|The 1926 Highway Bridge|
Bend is the largest area town with lots of shopping, restaurants, pubs and about anything else you might need. It was Wednesday, the first day for the Farmers Market which was excellent. We stopped at Dechutes Brewery for lunch, one of the first and largest breweries around and it was very good. The problem these days with the brew pubs is the decision making, what beer to drink, it used to be so much simpler ?
|Beautiful architectural details|
|Classic old Post Office|
|The Tower Theater|
|Farmers Market was very good|
One of the top attractions near Redmond is the Smith Rock State Park which has become famous for rock climbing. I did a portion of the "River Trail" along the Crooked River and thought about doing another steep trail called the “Misery Ridge”. It really did look miserable, it was mid afternoon, very hot and I decided to save it for another day. There were hundreds of people hiking and climbing on the rocks, this is a really popular place.
|The road to the Smith Rocks was also scenic|
|Smith Rocks from the parking lot|
|View from the river|
|Snake along the trail|
|A reflective moment along the Crooked River|
|Those are nice vertical walls to climb|
|But not for me !|
We take a ride to the town of Sisters where Twinkles visits a quilt shop. The town is ultra cute, too cute for my taste and every building has a western false front painted in complimentary colors. It’s nice, clean, has good shops and restaurants, but it's too perfect and too fake for me. I latter find out that all this started as a beautification project funded by a very wealthy nearby resort. They have many festivals during the year, but the biggie is the summer quilt festival that attracts huge crowds. We made a Brewery tour stop for lunch at the “Three Creeks Brewing Company” which was very good. On the way back to Redmond we stopped at "Cline Falls" and took the short hike to the Falls. I wasn’t expecting much after reading about how most of the water is now diverted for irrigation, but it was way better than expected.
|Mountain views from Sisters, please excuse the construction equipment|
|Twinkles at the quilt shop|
|While I eye up the Saloon|
|And the colorful Beer Trucks|
|The Deschutes River|
|View looking downstream|
|Cline Falls on the Deschutes River|
Bend Oregon has a very popular “First Friday” downtown event, most shop are open late, the sidewalks are filled with people and the restaurants are all busy. I walked around a bit, stopped at the Velvet Lounge to listen to a fairly clean cut looking musician who had a pretty good grunge rock sound going. I then headed to "Silver Moon Brewing" for a band that was doing a Led Zeppelin song night. It was packed with revelers, very loud, (as it should be), and much fun.
|Just another wanna be Led Zeppelin Band|
Saturday night takes me to a very strange event, a Grateful Dead tribute fund raiser at a Bend, Oregon Martial Arts Studio. It was very weird, a family type event with people and their kids who are enrolled in this studio, but also open to the public. There were kids wandering around selling unhealthy snacks and there was local wine and beer for the adults. Tee shirts were for sale with a modified Grateful Dead logo with a figure delivering a foot kick in the center. I don’t think Jerry Garcia would have approved of this, it’s not exactly about Peace and Love, but they did have a couple of bands playing who Jerry probably would have been been OK with. I did learn that the Grateful Dead are going back on tour with John Mayer filling in for Jerry. Is that possible ?
The town of Madrid about 25 miles north is a nice ride through farm land, mostly hay fields, cattle, sheep and goats. At Madrid, we found a small market in a park where an extra friendly vendor approached us, introduced himself, took a photo of us on one of his custom wood benches because we looked like cool people. We ended up buying a dozen of his organic eggs. Twinkles says we really aren’t that cool ? Is that possible ?
|Nice corner view across from the old Odd Fellows Hall|
|I loved their street banners |
|A mural depicting the frontier town|
|They have many great hay fields around here|
Back in Redmond, we stopped at the Wild Ride Brewery where there was really a wild ride. It was a ultra cool “Retro Rod” with a large V8 engine with dual turbos. I went to an ATM across the street for money and found that someone had left their bank card in it. If I was so inclined I could have said “yes” to the prompt “Do you want another transaction ? and cleaned out their bank account. Instead, I said “No” and Twinkles did a good deed by called the bank to report the lost card. As a result, we should have some good Karma coming our way soon.
|It sounded way cool when those turbos wound up|
Our next stop is the Deschutes River State Recreation Area in The Dalles, Oregon;Twinkles and Slick