Travelin Tiger Archive

March 28, Home

We decided to cut the trip short. We had an appointment in Eugene to look at an electrical problem in the solar system (turned out to be a 5 cent part), the weather had really deteriorated even by Pacific Northwest standards and was predicted to remain bad for several days, so we headed for home.

March 27, Near Christmas Valley Oregon

Today we did a loop from LaPine to Christmas Valley Oregon. Our friend Tim told us about a geological feature called Crack in the Ground so we decided to head out to Christmas Valley to check it out. Our original plan for this trip was to go to the Owyhee’s, but due to the delay for the plumbing issues we decided to wait until later in the year to go there.

In route we stopped at Fort Rock, which is an interesting formation formed when volcanic rock was pumped into an ancient lake about 10000 years ago. It is a state park. We took a quick walk but the high winds and blowing dust discouraged us a bit.

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Next we moved on to Christmas Valley to check out crack in the rock. This is a relatively new feature caused by volcanic activity. It is a fizzure in the ground that runs for about 2 miles and at places is up to 70 feet deep. Getting there was interesting as we traveled 7 miles on a very washboarded forest service road. We finally figured out that the washboard was less of a problem at 30 mph than it was at 20 mph. We climbed down into the crack and followed for about half a mile. It was very interesting and at least in this area a pretty easy walk.

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A Little Snow in the Crack in the Rock.

March 26, LaPine Oregon

Today we wrapped up the repair at Larry’s RV. Ron took Scout in to Larry’s and as promised plan B did work and Scout was returned to us with a fully functioning plumbing system again. While at Larry’s Ron noticed that Malayan number 2 was being prepared for delivery. This truck was built and initially used for a promotional tour and is featured on a cable TV show called Wingshooting USA. It is now being delivered to a buyer in Idaho.

The rest of the day was spent with our friends Tim and Tan enjoying their hospitality and doing some shopping at the outlet mall in Bend.

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Scout at Tim and Tan’s house in LaPine Oregon.

March 25, Redmond Oregon, Larry’s RV

Today we doubled back to Redmond to get our shower restored. It looks like the valve has failed on the shower fixture. This is the third failure of the plumbing fixtures. On the previous trip to Whidbey Island the valve for the water to the toilet failed. Ron was able to source the same part at a Lowes and fix it enroute. The other failure was interesting, in that the cold weather by-pass valve for the Culligan water filter failed and caused a leak under the kitchen sink. Ron installed the filter that the valve was supposed to protect from freezing and the leak stopped.

When we arrived at the dealer they said that they had talked to Mark and they were going to upgrade the shower fixture and install a vent to insure that hot air was getting to the box behind the bathroom to prevent a reoccurrence. They thought we would be on our way in an hour or two. After an hour or so of poking around in a Dollar Store we returned to see a harried looking technician exiting our vehicle. I asked him how it was going and he said not good. Well Murphy had kicked in and our quick fix ended up being quite complicated. By 5 pm we still did not have a valve and the team at Larry’s was coming up with a plan B. Luckily we had a place to spend the night where we did not need the water in Scout.


March 24, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

In the morning we woke up to a reply from the Provan dealer in Redmond saying to just swing by at our convenience and they could replace the failed shower valve. We decided to go ahead with our tour of the wildlife refuge and go to Redmond tomorrow to take care of the problem. Tonight we will be taking a $2 shower.

The Malheur Wildlife refuge is run by the Fish and Wildlife Service and contains two large shallow lakes and the remnants of a turn of the 20th century irrigation sytem that had destroyed a large natural wetland. The FWS is trying to use the irrigation system to restore the wetlands over time. It is quite large running from north of Malheur lake to the base of the Steens Mountains near Frenchglen, Oregon over 187,000 acres.

After a quick stop at the nice visitors center and museum we decided to drive the patrol road which is about 25 miles of gravel through the central “wetlands” of the refuge. This time of year the migratory waterfowl are passing through including Snow Geese and Swans sometimes by the thousands.

On the easy gravel road we did not see too many sightings of birds, mostly Canadian Geese, and one flock of snow birds. We also saw a small herd of mule deer. Ron was excited to see a grouse but was not fast enough to get a picture.

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When we got to the southern end of the patrol road near French Glen we decided to drive around the base of the Steens Mountain. Steens Mountain is one of our favorite places in Oregon. It is an upthrust mountain that is 35 miles long and rises 6000 feet out of the desert to an elevation just a little shy of 10000 feet. On the west side of the mountains is typical Oregon sagebrush desert. On the east side in the rainshadow of Steens Mt. is the Alvord desert a 12 by 7 mile dry lake bed. There are roads to the top of Steen Mountain that are accessible in the summer and we decided that we would be returnng later in the year to climb the mountain in Scout.

At the end of the day Ton wanted to drive into the refuge for a beauty shot of the refuge sign, and right before the headquarters in a farmers field, were all of the snow geese we had spent the day looking for.

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March 23, Short Trip to Eastern Oregon

It has been a while since we posted Ron has been traveling a bit for work so Scout has been sitting in the driveway a while. We did take one short weekend trip to Whidbey Island Washington and Seattle since the shakedown.

After the rest period we decided to take a trip to Eastern Oregon. The plan was to go to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, visit some friends in LaPine Oregon and if weather and road conditions permitted go to Leslie Gulch in the Owahyee’s in far South East Oregon.

Today was primarily a driving day to get out to Burns which is about 250 miles east of Portland. As we made our way east we passed over Santiam pass in the Cascades to Bend. In Bend made our normal stop at Costco to stretch and stock up on food. The 3 hours from Bend to Burns is a great reminder of how big and empty Eastern Oregon is. US Highway 20 does not pass through any towns for the 150 miles from Bend to Burns. It is sagebrush desert and while not spectacular country it is pretty.

Once we got to Burns we had another 30 miles to where we were camping for the night on the edge of the Wildlife Refuge. Had a little unfortunate surprise at the commercial campground we were staying at, when we went to use the showers we discovered that it cost $2 for 4 minutes of water, so we decided to go back and use the shower in Scout only to find that the valve for the shower controller gaskets had failed. Now we will be altering our plans to include a trip to the Provan dealer in Bend as we do not have the tools or the parts on board to fix the problem.

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Sunset near Malheur Wildlife Refuge, Princeton Oregon

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