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Tag: alvord playa

The Alvord Desert and Playa, in the shadow of Steens Mountain - one of the little-known gems of Oregon!

A Tour of Cabins atop Steens Mountain

I don't know why exactly, but the Alvord Playa holds a special place in our hearts. Perhaps it's because it was the first big playa that we ever drove out onto and camped on. Maybe it's due in part to the history around the women's world speed record and our search for the final tracks left by Jessi Combs after her death there several years ago. At least partially, it's due to the surrounding landscape - full of hot springs, old mines, vast ranches, and of course, the ever-present Steens Mountain. We've ventured onto Steens Mountain before, trying to make…

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Searching for a WWII B-24 at Propeller Meadows | Owyhee #4

Where did we leave off? Oh yes, ...as we pulled out our Kindle Paperwhites and snuggled down in the comforters, I looked at @mrs.turbodb and mentioned to her that if the cloud cover brought rain during the night, we should probably get ourselves out of bed and make a run for the plateau - so we weren't stuck here should the road become impassable. We dozed off around 8:30pm and slept soundly until 12:04am - when the pitter-patter of rain on the tent awoke me from my sleep... Not the least bit thrilled with the situation, I shook @mrs.turbodb awake.…

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We Find Jessi Combs Last Track | Unfinished Business #3

The night wasn't quite as cold as the previous had been, but it was still well below freezing when I looked out the tent door to see an amazing glow on the horizon. Whether I liked it or not, I knew I was going to spend at least a few minutes out there as the light started to spread across the Alvord Playa - before hoping I wouldn't be in too much trouble for climbing back into bed to warm up again. The cold had gotten to everyone overnight, which meant that they were either driven out of their tent…

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Highest Truck in Oregon | Unfinished Business #2

Hoping to catch the stars as they danced through the sky, you may recall that I'd setup the camera to take as many 30 second exposures as it could, until its battery ran out, through the cold night. As morning rolled around, I grabbed a second camera battery and popped out of the tent into the 21°F weather to take a look. ...Only to discover that my second battery was also dead - I'd forgotten to charge it before the trip! So I plugged in the my little 175W inverter and let a battery charge for an hour. As a side…

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Hiking Steens Mountain | Unfinished Business in Oregon #1

I was stir crazy. I'd been back from our didn't-go-quite-as-planned trip to Colorado for two weeks and it was time to get out again. And this time I wanted it to be with @mrs.turbodb. Knowing that she'd be unable to resist a trip back to the Alvord Desert - and for our first time, Steens Mountain - I knew that would be our destination. It'd be a relatively short trip - four days total - but I figured that even at that, we could do a couple things we'd wanted to do for quite some time: We could get to…

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Gun-Shy, We Head to Hart Mountain | Alvord Desert #3

The wind that had been relentless the day before died down over the next several hours, resulting in the most pleasant night of the trip. Oriented just so, there was no need to get up in the morning to enjoy the sunrise either - something I'm sure I'll forget by the next time we go out. A full day ahead, we didn't linger long under the covers, both of us out of the tent by 6:30am - our long shadows playing across the playa, Steens Mountain towering to our west - so we could get breakfast eaten and the tent…

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We Don't Want to Pull Anyone Out | Alvord Desert #2

April 26, 2019. I don't know what the deal is exactly, but it seems that last year was a year of trips with rain and snow, and this year - at least so far - it's all about the wind. It was so windy through the night that at some point I closed the door to the tent just to give us a bit of a reprieve from the insidious cold that kept pushing it's way under our comforters. As the sun rose, so did the wind speeds - clouds zooming across the sky, Earth's natural kaleidoscope. I popped out…

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We Return to Explore | Alvord Desert #1

April 25, 2019. It'd been several weeks since my last trip and as usual that meant I had a bad case of the shakes. Spring is such a frustrating time from an adventure perspective - the weather seems so nice, and yet everywhere interesting is still covered in snow. And, the winter staple - the desert - is getting hot. You can imagine my delight when a check of the weather showed that the Alvord Desert - a place we'd visited for the first time last October - was going to have weather in the mid-70's. From my perspective, we hadn't…

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Hot Springs & the Alvord Playa | Winter Escape #2

Our night on the Alvord Playa was uneventful - the wind picked up a bit around midnight, easily remedied by closing the door on the windward side of the tent. And, one of the nice things about winter - at least when you're camping - is that sunrise is a bit later. For us, it was nearly 7:00am before the light started on the horizon. Clouds having blown in a bit overnight, we got quite the display as the long rays of morning sun played over their undulations, a rainbow of colors ranging from yellow to purple reflecting down onto…

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Hot Springs & the Alvord Playa | Winter Escape #1

"Let's go somewhere." said @mrs.turbodb after I'd been home just a short time from my previous trip. That was of course fine with me, and so we set about finding a place to go. It was going to be cold and rainy on the Washington coast, so we set out looking for somewhere warm. Now, we only had a few days, so that limited our options - essentially to adjacent states. Oregon was our best bet for warmth, so we started looking for options there - and it didn't take long to fill out the itinerary. Ever since visiting the…

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