Trees, More Trees, and Desert


My camp in the mountains near Elgin, Oregon

I should know by now, considering how long I have been traveling. I should know that stereotypical assumptions will surely be shattered once I actually experience a place. Of course, this is one of the great benefits of travel. It is hard not to expand your understanding of the world if you travel.

Oregon is supposed to be all forests. At least that is a common assumption about the state. As it turns out, this is partly correct. There are large parts of the state that are heavily forested, but there are also large areas of desert in the eastern part of Oregon.

We arrived in Oregon after a two-day drive from Sedona, Arizona. To say that the weather in Oregon was a disappointment by comparison would be an understatement. While Oregon may be nice in the summer, we arrived to dreary and depressing weather in early October.

The first stop was in the national forest near Elgin. Unfortunately, between the rain and heavy tree cover, it was nearly impossible to find enough sunlight to power solar panels. The group quickly moved to a forest campground near Sisters where the weather was at least somewhat better. We stayed in Sisters for about a week before a major storm system arrived and sent everyone heading south in search of better weather.

While the promise of southern deserts was indeed welcome, the drive through rural Oregon and Nevada is one that I will never make again. There was one stretch where it was more than 100 miles between gas stations, and another where it was more than 200 miles between gas stations. There were some pretty views along the road, but it is incredibly barren - even for a nomadic country boy.

About 30 hours after leaving Sisters we arrived in Pahrump, Nevada for the second time this year. Since we arrived after dark we thought we might be camping at Walmart for the night, but a fellow traveler who is Florida saved the night by pointing us to a good camping area.