We drove a beautiful, but winding road from Ashland to Klamath Falls where we connected with Highway 97, originally a migration trail for deer and elk, then a pathway for native peoples to follow game and seasonal gatherings. This important north-south highway allowed me to pass through Crescent (and Gilchrist) where I lived 48 years ago as a summer forest service employee.  Crescent now has three RV parks and other growth. We stayed in Crown Villa RV Park in Bend, the best RV park we have stayed in to date. We are in a site looking on a wooded hillside. Public spaces, such as restrooms, are high quality. Even the power at the site is superior to most other spots we have stayed. We did discover that we were using our water, not the park’s, which led to some confusion.

Plateau Indian Headdress

Plateau Indian Headdress

We visited the High Desert Museum, which opened 1982, where we took in the following programs: Fish Talk where rainbow trout were fed, Reptile Encounter featuring a cooperative King snake, a Carnivore Talk where one could touch the pelts of several animals, and Otter Encounter for another feeding. We visited with a retired forest service employee in a former Ranger Station. We explored the 1904 Miller Ranch and Sawmill. An 1884 Sheepherders “mobile home” included a canvas cover, Dutch doors, bunks bed, cook stove, and grub boxes. Within the Museum Main Building we spent time learning about Plateau Indians. The women’s basket hats were interesting and, of course, there were some dramatic headdresses. We made a very quick pass through the changing exhibit “WWII: The High Desert Home Front.” A poster about the “Danger of Racial Stereotypes” was a reminder about earlier forms of American fears about other nationalities.

Lava Butte

Lava Butte

Newberry National Volcanic Monument, about the size of Rhode Island, is a great place to learn about Central Oregon’s fiery past. We toured the informational displays at the Lava Lands Visitor Center, including a couple of introductory films. We walked the one-mile Trail of the Molten Land amidst basalt lava flow for views of Lava Butte, the Sisters, and Mount Bachelor. We descended for a one-mile hike in the Lava River Cave and its cool 42- degree temperature. Consider wearing light gloves. We also hiked about a half-mile along the Deschutes River in the Monument to see Benham Falls which was actually a series of rapids.

We enjoyed good restaurants (and beer from local breweries) in Bend by visiting Downtown and the Old Mill District. The city has numerous parks such as Drake Park adjacent to the Deschutes, a popular water sport space.

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