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Drive Portland to Bend then on to Tule Lake CA

Our original plan was to spend a week or two in Bend OR as the area is very popular with cyclists and outdoorsy folks. Leaving Portland on Tuesday we drove the Mount Hood highway in hopes of enjoying a closer view of the Volcanic Cone; unfortunately the clouds hung tight and never revealed the peaks. Nonetheless we enjoyed a scenic drive over the Cascades and down the east side of the mountains into a high desert plateau.

Bend OR is located on the eastside of the Cascade Range in the rain-shadow of the mountains. As our timing would have it we made it there just in time for the first frost and cold weather. Prior to our arrival we had already chosen to stay only 4 days due to the high prices for the local RV parks (one charged $70 per day and the other $40).

Bend OR is a really pretty city if you are used to high desert living. The city has boomed in recent years growing from 15k to 80k over the last 10-15 years. The majority of this population explosion was the result of an influx of Californians fleeing high prices in Cali. The population boom led to a housing boom that saw prices rise, on a percentage basis, at a rate placing it in the top of all markets. The ensuing crash had a similar impact with prices dropping at some of the highest percentages of the nation. Driving around we noticed many empty commercial and residential buildings all of which looked nearly brand new and very stylish. Overall the community has a great small town feel but trying to get around the place demonstrated the direct problems with rapid growth = traffic.

Heading south out of Bend on Friday we followed US 97 to Klamath Falls. This route took us adjacent to Crater Lake and across the junction where way back in 2009 we took a right to head back to Simi after Teresa fell ill. The route from that junction into Klamath Falls mirrored the same path followed in 2009. From Klamath Falls we cut south east on CA 139 towards Tule Lake CA. As you can see in the pictures below the drive from Portland to Tule Lake is one of the prettier routes we have followed.

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