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Alvord Desert - We Return to Explore (Apr 2019)

We've been to the Alvord Playa - and to some extent, the Desert that surrounds it - before, but we've never really done that much exploring of the roads that wind their way through this remote section of Oregon. We planned to change that on this trip, checking out several places that we'd seen from afar on our previous trip, but that we'd never actually visited.

Of course, we'd camp on the Alvord Playa - as always; if you're in this area, that's the only place to camp in our opinion. But then, we'd explore a couple of loop roads that would take us through the desert and then back to the playa from the east - through Big Sand Gap - if we could find a passable route through. Along the way, we'd explore several springs (including Mickey Hot Springs and Crippled Horse Springs) and Borax Lake (and it's associated hot springs).

To cap it all off, a nearly-100 mile trip through even more remote areas of the state to Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. An amazing trip, that held so much more excitement than we could begin to imagine when we started out on the first day!


Toyota Tacoma on Alvord Playa 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…
toyota tacoma stuck in mud 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…
Alvord Desert 3 - Gun-Shy, We Head to Hart Mountain 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…
Rig Review: Alvord Desert - What worked and what didn't? Rig Review: Alvord Desert - What worked and what didn't? - April 29, 2019. The trip to the Alvord Desert and Hart Mountain Antelope National Wildlife Refuge was one that we threw together relatively quickly and without much work on the truck after the previous trip. The only work really was maintenance - an oil change, tire rotation, and re-booting the passenger CV axle. That said, as the trip progressed, there were still several items worth noting. Unchanged / Still an issue from previous Rig Reviews There are some things that have been featured in Rig Reviews that are - as yet - unchanged from when I originally reviewed them. Rather…


The Alvord is an awesome place. Check out the
Index to the Alvord Desert
for all our trips and places to see.


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