Wednesday, June 15, 2011


East from EugeneThough the temperatures in Eugene were quite pleasant, sunshine was in short supply.  The “dry side” of the Cascades began to look mighty appealing.  We’ve never explored eastern Oregon (the Oregon Outback) as much as we’d like, so with sunshine and moderate temperatures in the forecast, we decided to leave the dreary gray skies behind.

Earlier this year, Croft (he blogs at “Croft’s Mexico”)reported on an RV park with an outdoor hot springs in far eastern Oregon (click here to read his report).  Oh, man, did that look appealing!  I made a note of it for when the right time arrived – and this the right time!  We found it on the map and set a course.

Since we don’t like to drive much more than 150-200 miles a day, we plotted a stopover in Prineville, Oregon, about 30 miles from Bend.  The Elks Lodge in Prineville allows overnight parking (click here to read our review)… perfect.

Sisters, OrWhat a beautiful drive!  We left the clouds of western Oregon behind, traveling up into the Cascades along the rushing Deschutes River.  As we hit the summit, patches of snow were still visible, with snow-covered high peaks on display to the south – all gleaming in bright sunshine. 

As we passed through the little town of Sisters, we pulled over for a quick lunch and a walk.  It was 76 degrees, sunny, with a zephyr of a breeze.  At almost the same time, we both sighed and said “this is PERFECT weather”.  The sunshine felt SO GOOD on my back. 

We arrived in Prineville around 3 pm and found the friendly Elks lodge two blocks off the main street.  Once we had set up, we headed out to explore this appealing small town (population: 10,370), starting at the Ochoco Viewpoint on a high bluff just before the highway descends a grade into town.  The entire town lay at our feet, snuggled up to one of the prettiest golf courses we’d seen in a long time.  Odel gazed at the course for quite awhile – maybe we’ll be back when his knee is ready for a round.

Crook County Courthouse Odel at Prineville

The Crook County Courthouse, the centerpiece of Prineville.

Look at that golf course!  Odel did, for a long time.  We saw Scoopy in the far distance.

Prineville is the county seat of Crook county and appears to prosper without relying on tourist dollars. Civic pride was evident in the well maintained storefronts and parks, the historic courthouse building, public art. And, guess what, RV’ers??? Prineville is the home and headquarters of LES SCHWAB TIRE COMPANY! We love Les Schwab - we buy all our motorhome tires from them, Too bad they aren’t a national company. :( I suspect Les Schwab has a lot to do with the prosperity of Prineville; the parking lot of their huge facility was packed with cars.

We returned from our sightseeing to a quiet lodge, a quiet dinner, and a quiet evening – though Odel made a trip to the nearby Tastee Cone for a chocolate sundae.  What more could you ask for from an overnight stop?

Next stop: Crystal Crane Hot Springs.


  1. Welcome back to the sunny side of the mountains! It's a trade-off it seems, seriously cool food from the fresh markets in the Willamette Valley or seriously cool (or warm) sunshine. The last two days here have been gorgeous. I asked Mo to remind me to always plan to be right here at home in the middle of June.

  2. I stayed at Crystal Crane Hot Springs last August for a few nights before beginning my volunteer stint at Malheur NWR. I loved the springs! :)

  3. Sounds like you two are having a great time...Oregon had lots of different terrain to offer...Love the photo of Odel, looking longingly at that golf course..Won't be much longer, Odel!!!

  4. OK, now that you are on the east side, don't miss the John Day country, and Joseph and the Wallowas. and the Steens and...and...and...

  5. Nothing like sunshine to brighten your day and outlook... The hot springs sound GREAT!!!
    Have fun

  6. Sounds like you might be more solar-powered people. :)

  7. Linda, you hit the mark - I am definitely solar powered!! Funny!

  8. Boy you definitely had a great over night spot. Unlike ours in Cameron, UT. Wish I was an Elk.

    I've definitely put this place with the hot springs on my Oregon list. Thanks for the tip.