Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
On Tuesday night July 22nd, we had thunderstorms before we went to bed. We awoke in the night to heavy rain (or perhaps hail though we couldn’t see any on the ground). It was still raining when we got up and try as we might to wait until it stopped raining before we left, in the end we had our first experience of breaking camp in the rain. The good news about the rain is that it brought temperatures down and helped with the control of a number of forest fires that were burning just to the north and east of us.

The day before I noticed these strange small trees in bloom in the campground. Walter had noticed an odd fragrance at our campsite and I went over to see if it came from these trees. It did. Once we had an internet connection again, I did some research. They are Golden Chinkapin (Chrysolepis-chrysophylla). I’d never seen them anywhere before. I didn’t see any large specimens but I guess they can get pretty big.

Golden Chinkapin (Chrysolepis-chrysophylla)

And they have these odd flowers.

Golden Chinkapin (Chrysolepis-chrysophylla) flowers

We drove north and then east towards Sisters, OR and I spied some in bloom in the woods just outside of Sisters too.

We got one of the last spots at the Sisters Bend Garden RV Resort just east of Sisters. It’s a very upscale RV park with lovely beds of wildflowers scattered through the park. The rain had stopped by the time we got to Sisters and we even had sun breaks off and on the rest of the day.

Wildflowers Sisters Bend Garden RV Resort

We set up camp and then made our way to the Sisters Post Office to pick up our mail. We had the folks at the UPS Store in Monroe, send the mail that had piled up in our mail box to us via General Delivery. It worked! I just marched in, gave them my driver’s license as ID and said I had a General Delivery package to pick up. Presto, they handed it over to me. Our replacement hot spot was there along with a couple of weeks worth of mail. After the adventure of doing the grocery shopping in yet one more strange grocery store, we went home and got the Hot Spot to work. Whoo Hoo, we’re free of libraries and RV park WiFi again.

The next morning we motored through Bend (after a trip to the bank to make a bank deposit—another interesting adventure when you’re towing a 25 ft trailer in city traffic) and up past Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort to the Cascade Lakes Highway. It’s a gorgeous drive and there were tons of bicyclists making the climb up the mountain and along the Cascade Lakes Highway too. It was in the low 70’s and I guess the bike people were riding while it wasn’t hot. The mountain was beautiful but there was no place to turn off to photograph it. Ah well.

We stopped to check out the campgrounds at a number of the lakes along the way and finally found a spot we liked with a peekaboo view of the lake at Rock Creek Campground on Crane Prairie Reservoir. We’d hoped that there would be Ponderosa Pines here but no luck, just lots of Lodgepole Pines.

Campsite view Rock Creek Campground Crane Prairie Reservoir

The Airstream picked up another hit point when Walter went to turn her around and caught her passenger side on a post. Most of the dent is on the water heater door so we can just get a replacement door and be shiny and new again. The Airstream (now named Genevieve The Silver Palace) is wider than the Casita was and about a foot wider than the truck on each side. It’s taking us a while to get use to that. By the by, the truck is now named François, Genevieve’s loyal steed.

We set the hot spot up and had a signal, though not very strong. When we ran the generator that evening, we turned on the booster and we had a wonderful strong signal to surf the web. This is luxury: camping on a nice lake with a view and running the generator so that you can sit with your computer and surf the internet. It was cold that night—three blankets! But it was sunny and everything warmed up quickly the next morning.

We ran the generator the next morning and then went for a walk along the lake. There really isn’t much of a trail but the kids and adults have made paths from the various campground loops down along the water.

It’s was gorgeous and clear and you could see the mountains across the lake.

Crane Prairie Reservoir from Rock Creek Campground

This is a really popular fishing lake as you can see from all the boats. Most folks were catching 15 to 19 inch rainbow trout. All the lakes along the Cascade Lakes Highway seem to be popular with fisherman.

There were masses of damsel flies in the weeds along the lake’s shore and out over the water too. I love their neon blue color.

Damsel Flies at Crane Prairie Reservoir

We saw a Chipping Sparrow bouncing around on the shore. After several photos where he flitted away, I actually got one of him, though it’s not a great shot.

Golden-crowned Kinglet Crane Prairie Reservoir

We wandered along the shore until the trail ended and then wandered up through the woods. There were little tiny lupine in bloom that my camera refused to acknowledge were flowers and these Lowly Penstemon (Penstemon humilis) along the path.

Lowly Penstemon (Penstemon humilis)

We spent the afternoon sitting in our camp chairs in the shade reading. It was a pleasant afternoon in the low 80’s with a nice breeze. There were osprey circling and crying regularly and we spied a bald eagle too.

The next day we took the path towards the boat launch and talked to a fisherman who was happy with the 7 pound trout he’d caught. Our campground loop at been full the night before but on Saturday morning we had an opening and the loop by the boat launch was nearly empty.

We hung out again in the afternoon, doing little chores like checking the water levels in Genevieve’s batteries and finally locating our water pump which is hidden behind a panel in the hall between the bedroom and the kitchen.

It was good to have a few really laid back days.

Sunset on Saturday night was lovely in a subtle sweet way.

Sunset Crane Prairie Reservoir

We awoke on Sunday July 27th to clouds! No rain in sight, but it was strange after so many lovely clear days to have an overcast sky. We drove south out of the Cascade Lakes Highway area to the little town of Crescent and the Big Pines RV Park. They had a space for us so we could hook up and charge things while we did the laundry.

That evening Mother Nature put on a great show with the last of the clouds.

Sunset Crescent, OR

She even lit up the clouds to the south.

Sunset Crescent OR