Carole and I had a great time with the kids in Portland and the High Desert Museum, but I was itching for more. I needed mountains.
The Crooked River Canyon, Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint, OR 12/31/13
As detailed in the last installment, our Adventure began with breakfast. Onward.
Most of the activities in the high desert of Eastern Oregon are seasonal and closed for the winter. Even one Native American Museum Carole looked at was closed.
Checking the AAA app and getting advice from Justin, I planned today's itenerary around three places not too far from Bend, and not too far from each other. After breakfast, we were on the road at last, not too far behind schedule.
First stop: The overview missed on the way back from Portland.
Bangii, Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint, OR 12/31/12
The Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint is part of a larger park area. As it turned out, we never did make it to the scenic viewpoint itself, but explored the bridge over the Crooked River canyon.
Carole couldn't move well so stayed in the car. I had both kids. Who wanted to run. Near a canyon. Suffice it to say that I kept them away from the edge (which had fences) and they ran a great deal more than I did.
And I must say: Worth the trip.
We walked the bridge over the Crooked River canyon, and a bit further. I saw some cat tracks, and mindful of the lecture the day before kept everyone close. We kept going until Legend got cold and headed back to Grandma. Bangii was still up for more, but we followed.
Legend and Bangii, Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint, OR 12/31/12
Next stop: Nearby Smith Rock State Park. Justin recommended Smith Rock as an interesting bit of formation not too far from home. The State Park itself was closed. We parked outside the gate and wandered in. Various trails led all around, but we walked maybe half a mile to where the trails started. The Crooked River snaked through the mountains, providing more dramatic scenery. I'm sure a full hike in the summertime is exhilarating. The mountain offers "bolted routes" and the chance at seeing all sorts of wildlife.
Carole, Smith Rock State Park OR, 12/31/12
Bangii, Smith Rock and Crooked River, Smith Rock State Park, 12/31/12
Legend, farther down the trail than any of us, Smith Rock State Park, OR 12/31/12
Carole got within sight of the the trail for a good view, then went back to the warmth of the car. As before, Legend was eager to explore but I wouldn't let him get out of sight. Bangii and I had a grand time taking postcard-level photos. Eventually we all got cold and returned.
The backroads of central Oregon were passable but icy. We kept passing places that looked interesting and/or advertised interesting ice creams and such... that were closed. As with much of the area, mainly set up for summertime tourism.
Onward. One more place to stop.
Kids climbing on one structure, Petersen Rock Garden & Museum, OR 12/31/12
The AAA app popped up one more Place of Interest along our route: The Petersen Rock Garden & Museum. While closer to Bend, it was well off the beaten trail. Thank heaven for GPS.
Just driving through the area provided local scenery: Llamas, horses, cows, Christmas lights still up.
The Rock Garden itself is... well, other reviewers call it "creepy", but the snow covered much of the dilapidation. Apparently, its heyday was in the 30s and 40s, and the grandkids don't keep it up. The museum was closed, and we didn't see anyone until someone came out to shoo us away from exploring their back yard. I put some money in the admissions box, but really: We were on our own.
Carole, Legend & Bangii, Petersen Rock Garden & Museum, OR 12/31/12
Still, an interesting place. The carefully constructed rock structures are made of many kinds of stones, with stairs and paths to walk up and over many of them.
More than a dozen peacocks weren't too scared of people (though signs warned against chasing them) and coexisted with the cat.
Peacock, Petersen Rock Garden & Museum, OR 12/31/1
I finally felt like I had been to Oregon. We were at someone's home, way off the touristy places, just exploring.
I was sated... for now.
We hadn't been near a bathroom for hours. Still off the main highway, we stopped at a resort-looking place that promised an overview. Alas, mostly an inn, and the restaurant was expensive. Continuing down the road, need compelled us to stop at the first place that looked vaguely interesting, El Pollo Gordo. Mainly a drive-thru, with a small inside restaurant. Well, they had bathrooms. They pushed Kino gambling and served margueritas. Frankly, both Carole and I were disappointed. The only place we ate at below average. The kids didn't care, just happy to be out. If we had driven another 20 yards, the Mexican restaurant next door looked better. Oh well.
But it was getting close to dark, and we didn't want to be out New Year's Eve. Home!
Somewhere in here, we had to make a decision about going back to Mpls. Technically speaking, Carole had to be back at work on January 2. But the kids in Oregon didn't start up until the 7th. Carole was still not close to 100%, and there's a long way from "okay for Carole and Dave to take care of the grandkids" to "too sick to go to work".
We opted for Carole's health. We stayed a few days longer with the kids.
A cold New Year's Day at home, then we drove around Bend on the 2nd while Wenonah and Justin went to work, just to see the sights.
with Michel, owner of Mazza Bistro, Bend OR 1/2/13
Dave and grandkids, with Legend holding some of the wood he brought inside, Bend, OR 1/1/13
I allowed four days of return travel time instead of the pell mell three on the way here. But that's for next time.
Continued in 20130103 Trip to Oregon and Back: Down the mountains to Boise