We followed a winding stream inland from Portland through the mountains to Bend. On the western side of the mountains everything was green. Bushes with colorful autumnal leaves were a beautiful contrast to the dark green firs. On the eastern side of the mountains, things looked much drier and around Sisters we could see lots of burned forest. The roads around Sisters were closed due to these fires earlier last month. But things were back to normal. The main street was full of tourists, patronizing the T-shirt and taffy shops.
We traveled on to Bend, a large town of 80,000 that makes things as well as catering to tourists who love the out-of-doors. We know about this town, because RV's are manufactured here. We wanted to camp at a state park just north of town. Ken couldn't make a reservation on the website and it looked like after a certain date, reservations are no longer taken or needed. This has been a common occurrence on this trip this late in the season. We were so bummed when we pulled up to the gate and saw the "campground full" sign. It turned out that most of the campground has already been closed for the winter. They had one site left our size, but it was for handicapped travelers. Once again, my handicapped hang-tag (which expired at the end of September) was a life-saver. It's hanging in our window and we have another great campsite.
We spent the afternoon at the High Desert Museum, a high quality collection of anything and everything that has to do with this corner of the world. Their motto is "where wild meets west." A ranger gave a talk about raptors, holding a peregrine falcon on his hand. He said these birds can swoop 240 mph and are the fastest animals in the world. They have special cones in their nostrils so they can breathe while they are moving at such rapid speeds. Their eyes are so sharp that they could sit in the end zone of a football field and read a newspaper in the other end zone (if they could read). Other animals from the area included a large collection of snakes and lizards and porcupines.
A sawmill was on the grounds as well as a pioneer homestead. The corral was very picturesque with willow switches woven between the upright beams. Inside the museums there were many exhibits devoted to the native people that lived in the area and struggled to hang on as white men encroached on them more and more. The beadwork and leather designs on display showed amazing skill and craftsmanship. There were artifacts from the first white men who made their fortune in the area including gold mining implements and covered wagons.