Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Deschutes National Forest

A few years ago, Kathi and I left Lincoln city on the Oregon coast with plans to spend the night at Walmart in Bend, OR. We had been boondocking for a while and I neglected to get diesel when we crossed I-5 moving east. We got into the Deschutes National Forest and the evergreen trees were fantastic. The winding roads through the mountains were a hoot and I was doing fine until I looked at the fuel gauge and it was on empty. Kathi never likes the winding roads, so she was already apprehensive and then I mentioned our fuel issue. We both realized no one in their right mind would put a truck stop in the middle of this national forest. The rest of the way up the mountain, around the bends and through the forest the air was filled with tension inside our motorhome.

Beautiful, snowy mountain views in the distance

We finally arrived at Bend, got some diesel, then found the Walmart store. We got parked and set up and opened our shades. Right outside our window was a sign that said, “NO RV Parking.” I showed the sign to Kathi and we both shook our heads. The tension still had not abated. Now it was worse. Before bringing our slide back in, Kathi found us a home further east and we left Bend, OR thinking we did not want to go that way again.

Great scenery

People forget.

July 5, 2017, we were leaving Burns, OR for our return to Lincoln City on the Oregon coast, again. I told Kathi we would be okay going through Bend, OR this time, because we filled up with diesel when we left Winnemucca, NV and had plenty of fuel to get us through the forest.

We left Burns early moving west on US 20 and got through Bend and Sisters in the middle of the day. Sisters, OR is a nice old tourist town on the eastern edge of the Deschutes National forest. Just west of Sisters traffic was blocked and not moving either direction. We pulled off on the side of the road and Kathi made us sandwiches for lunch. While we were eating the traffic cleared and we realized that the traffic delay was due to only one lane being open somewhere ahead. The lanes of traffic were alternating going past a construction area. We were fine, in no hurry and it was a beautiful day to be in the forest.

More forest views

We finally got past the construction area and entered the Deschutes National Forest. The forest was beautiful. We spent some time climbing, mountains, so going was slow, but that gave us more time to admire the trees. We past a sign that said, “6% DOWNGRADE NEXT 11 MILES.” No problem, I have gone downhill successfully many times before, so I was confident. We started down with my engine brake on and me keeping a manageable downhill speed. Then, we started getting curves around the mountains and bumps in the road. Obviously, the repair crews did not understand level, because each bump was at a patch in the road. Somewhere along that downhill run and a big bump in the road, one of the arms on my tow bar lost a connector. I spent a few downhill miles moving slower and assuring our Jeep did not pass us, especially into oncoming traffic. When I finally found a turnout, we discovered that keeping the Jeep behind us caused some bumper damage to the Jeep. Fortunately, I had a spare for the missing part and we were soon back on the road. I had to promise Kathi that was our last trip through Bend, OR and the Deschutes National Forest. I promise.


  1. Wow. This drive had such potential. All that natural beauty. The famed forests of Oregon. Still, I think you have made the right decision. I wouldn't take a chance driving that direction again. I'm glad you two are enjoying the spot where you are spending your summer. Best weather in the country this time of year.

  2. Thanks for reading my blog, AJ. We will have better days in our travels.