Moby Goes on a Scout

We did a ramble in SE Oregon, revisiting old favorites and exploring some new country.

There’s a phone booth with a working phone at Coleman’s service station/store/bar in Harper, Oregon.

Coleman’s Service is where Harper gets gas, chips, beer, and all the local news.

Proprietor Brian Coleman runs the place, as did his parents and grandparents before him. Price for a beer? $2.50

Crane Hot Springs in Crane, Oregon. The big pool was about 95 degrees and the smaller soaking pool about 100. Plenty of dry camp spots and some with RV hookups.

One of Larry’s secret spots: a little desert stream with big native redband trout.

A nice place to camp, especially if you want a dark dark dark sky for star gazing.

If you don’t want your rig to get muddy, this is not the road for you.

If you don’t want your rig to get scratched, this is not the road for you. With little traffic, much of it from the ATV crowd, a spiny bush locally known as greasewood is taking over the road.

People who complain lately that everyone’s out camping have never come here. We drove for several days and saw nobody.

Once upon a time, windmills were common. Now, I rarely see one. The cowboys have gone to solar pumps. More convenient, no doubt, but not as lovely as this.

“I wandered lonely as a cloud . . . “ (William Wordsworth)

We spent a very windy and dusty night on this ancient lake bed.

An undeveloped desert hot spring

Moby meets the Alvord Desert, an ancient lakebed that reminded me of Death Valley.

No road needed. Larry drove with his eyes closed until I made him stop.

The Alvord Desert is roughly 12 miles long and 7 miles wide. Without any visual cues, it looks much smaller. I estimated I could walk across it in less than an hour . . . But if it’s 7 miles . . . No way!

Alvord Hot Springs

(Photo from their website)

Leaving the Alvord Desert via Big Sand Gap.

This is the road! If you don’t want to get stuck in sand, this is not the road for you. (But Moby did fine.)

A “secret” wild horse range. We drove up here just to see what we could see and found wild horse herds and lots of tiny new foals.

Another A+ campsite.

Nobody home but us and the horses. So lovely.

Get your binoculars, take a walk, wander around and see what you can see.

12 thoughts

    1. Gary, it wasn’t a vacation. We were working, out there counting sage grouse for the ODFW. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

  1. Thanks for sending this.

    My brother and his wife mentioned this area as a place to go. We thought it might be better to go a little later, maybe mid-June rather than now. We would have our camp trailers and ATV’s to explore. How was the temps and weather when you went ? Do you think later would be better ? We are also interested in the Steens Mountain area, but guesing too early now to explore there.

    Thanks Steve Gale.

  2. Very nice, need to take the Nanuk there again. I have been in most of those places over the years.

  3. You could have driven south to Fields and Denio and taken Whitehorse Road home (intersects 95 at about 86-mile marker). The Alvord cutthroat trout is considered to be extinct. But then, you already know all that. Another informative and interesting chapter, featuring the humor of Janene.

    1. No need to air down. Larry first put Moby’s front wheels on the sand and crept up a bit to check. Then he went through with momentum and it was no problem.

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