We accepted an invitation last weekend, as special guests, to “Willys at Whitewater” here in Oregon on the McKenzie River. The ranch was incredibly beautiful. We gave a short presentation about our Dinoot Trailers after lunch. It was a nice low-key event that included great food and company. We enjoyed a trail run around and above the 1800 acre ranch, some relaxing, hanging out and good conversation by the river over a salmon dinner.
Here were some of the very nice Willys Jeeps that attended. The red one is owned and driven by Jim, our host.
We had a nice camp spot, shared by the two donkeys; Sebastian and Daisy. Our spot looked out over the ranch and offered great stargazing from our Tepui Kukenam roof top tent.
As luck would have it, the property has a great stream flowing through it. I could have easily spent a day or two hiking it searching for small waterfalls to shoot. Hopefully I get permission to go back at some point to do that.
On Sunday we packed up and headed off the long way home on a scenic, historical drive. The drive took us up along the McKenzie River on Hwy 126; over the Old McKenzie Hwy. The summit is a massive lava field for as far you can see.
Just over the summit, we stopped at Lava Lake CG for lunch.
At FSR 1028 we left the pavement and started around the east side of the Mt Washington Wilderness. The signs of a large fire that hit this area several years ago remain clear.
Then we headed around the north side of the wilderness area on FSR 500 which is the Old Santiam Wagon road. The Wagon road dates back to 1859 and was first traveled by a car in 1905. For the most part it is easy-going with lots of wop-to-dos and a few rougher sections that required 4WD (at least with a trailer in tow).
The picture doesn’t do it justice; the light was hitting perfectly in this area so the bark-less trees were glowing silver. It was very cool to see that kind of interesting beauty popping out of “devastation”.
We followed the Wagon road past Big Lake and Sand Mountain. A locked gate at the junction of FSR 890 surprised us, so instead of continuing back to Hwy 126, we took FSR 890 and dropped in on Hwy 22 across from Lost Lake.
After a break at Lost Lake, we headed for home. You could easily turn this into a nice multi-day trip visiting the many waterfalls on the upper McKenzie River, the waterfalls off the lower part of the old McKenzie Hwy and/or a stop at the Belknap Hot Springs.