Slide Lake, Lake County, OR

August 4, 2007: Slide Lake, Winter Rim, Lake County, OR: We had a restless night. Our old air mattress had sprung a leak and when we bought a replacement we failed to check inside the box to see if what we got matched with what was printed on the box. Someone had switched the contents and we ended up with a single mattress instead of a double. The single was much too narrow for two so we turned the mattress crosswise hoping to give our hips and back some cushion… it sounds good in theory but in practice it doesn’t work so well.

Breakfast consisted of a cup of coffee and an oatmeal cookie. We took Lucy for a walk and located Slide Lake. Then we packed up our gear and headed for Lakeview.

The hardware store in Lakeview had air mattresses so we bought another single. We’ll sleep better tonight.

We stopped roadside to fix lunch. Shade is a luxury in this part of the state but we managed to find a tree that cast a large enough shadow. Chris barbecued a couple of burgers and we refueled the truck using our new transfer tank. We noticed diesel in Lakeview was priced at $3.25 a gallon. We paid $2.90 a gallon when we filled the transfer tank so we were saving 35 cents a gallon… it’ll take a few years to save the $800 it cost to install the transfer tank but the peace of mind will be worth it.

This time we found the road (6176) we were looking for and headed north into the desert (6176 intersects SH 140 exactly at the Oregon/Nevada border). Before you try something like this you should realize the danger back road travel presents and be well prepared. We carried plenty of food and water, ax and shovel, heavy duty jack with spare tires, and two way radio equipment. The truck is four wheel drive so we’re not likely to get stuck. Day time temperatures were hovering around a 100 degrees and at night the mercury plummets below freezing. Our tire tracks were the first on the ground since the last rain and who knows when that was. We did meet three men riding motorcycles but one might have to wait a long time for help to arrive.

The three wise men reported that they had come over Domingo Pass and the road was suitable for our rig. They did mention there were steep parts but that turned out to be an understatement. To cross over from 6126 to the Domingo Pass road required going up something that looked like a hill-climb challenge for motorcyles. We made it but it is not something you can tow a trailer over. The initial part of the Domingo Pass road looked like a super highway in comparison.

We stopped at the intersection to do some map-reading and a rig pulling about a 30 foot travel trailer roared past leaving a rooster tail plume of dust in his wake. He was headed our way so we fell in behind after letting the dust settle. A few miles later the super highway gravel road ended at a ranch. A miserable looking two rut road led out into the sagebrush headed in the general direction we wanted to go. The rig we were following never hesitated and forged ahead. After a few miles of very slow travel he edged over and stopped, giving us enough room to pass (thank you). The road ahead got worse… at times the sagebrush was dragging both sides of my rig and as we bounced over basketball sized boulders I wondered how in the world the guy behind me was going to make it through with his trailer. There was no place to turn around and he had a long way to back out. We stopped several times to look back but never saw his rig again. I can just imagine the conversation between the man and his wife. I’m sure it wouldn’t be pleasant.

After miles of gravel road (bumpy rocky rutted gravel road) we crossed the Pueblo Mountains at Domingo Pass and found our way back to paved highway near Fields, OR. We headed for Frenchglen and Steens Mountain. We planned to spend the night at the campground at Fish Lake.

When we arrived at Fish Lake there were two campsites open. We chose one uphill and as far from the lake as we could get… cold air settles at night and the lakeside units get very cold. The elevation here is about 7,400 feet so nights are chilly.


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