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HIGH DESERT ADVENTURE – Who’s Crazy Enough To Go To The Desert In The Middle Of the Summer?


Who’s Crazy Enough To Go To The Desert In The Middle Of the Summer?

Editor/Photo: Eric Bewley

BEND, OR – Late in the summer is not usually a time when one wants to go out wheeling in the desert. Temperatures can be quite inhospitable. Water is scarce making trails very dusty and unpleasant. These are just a couple of things that we expected when we headed out to central Oregon on a weekend adventure. What we didn’t count on, was several aggressive hives of bees. More on that later…

The call went out to the Mid-Valley Crawlers, MVC, to go out on an adventure where we would check out the stars at our favorite ‘local’ observatory, Pine Mountain, do some wheeling in the Ft. Rock and Millican OHV areas that always seem to be closed but were open during this weekend, some light spelunking, and some good times around the camp fire.

Many hardy souls made it out for this fun weekend. We made it into our camping area a little late on Friday so by the time we got all situated and ready to go up to the observatory, it was pretty late. Nonetheless, we trudged off towards Pine Mountain in the pitch black of a moon-less night, which is perfect for star viewing by the way, using some of the trails of the Millican trail system to get there. The trails, being smallish in nature were perfect for our Samurai vehicles. It was perfect. What made it even more so was the serenading over the CB by one of our crew. 

The next day began a little bit late due to the experiences the night before. All that we all knew now was that we wanted, no needed… a factory tuned 5mW 532 nm wavelength green laser for pointing and the stars and blinding friends. Anyway, we off to explore the trails system in the area and see what we could see. Most of the trails in the Ft. Rock and Millican OHV areas are for motorcycle and ATV but a few are for us. We spent the day wandering around checking the sites. 

These trails are pretty basic but are fun for the exploration factor. We tried a few GPS geo caches and what not just to spice it up a bit. Before long, we had all the spice that I wanted when a little-bitty rock jumped up and pulled the power wire out of my electric fuel pump. Ugh… After a bit of Macguivering, we used the windshield washer fluid bottle to feed the Weber carburetor. This worked great. We filled it up and headed into LaPine to get a new fuel pump. After a bit of lunch and a quick installation in the parts store parking lot we were back on our way. 

Next on the agenda was trying out the new Ground Hog rock crawl area that has been set up in the Millican OHV area. The Deschutes county 4 wheelers have been working with BLM to set up a rather nice rock crawl area and we were obliged to check it out. There are several fun and exciting things to do here in the crawl. As a promoter, I wish is was a little closer to civilization because I think a rock crawl event would be just fantastic here.

We all played around for a bit and then headed back to camp for the evening’s meal and frolic. The horror was evident as soon as we stepped out of our vehicles as swarms of ‘meat bees’ were surrounding the area. With little fear and some bravado, we carried on through the night, determined not to succumb to the evil that is… angry bees.

We broke camp and headed for home the next morning with only one more adventure goal in mind. We wanted to do some spelunking in the local caves around Bend. There are several easy caves to explore very close to the Bend area. They are mostly all lava tube type caves so they are pretty level and quite easy to traverse with little gear or experience. Which is perfect for us! We spent probably two or three hours in the nice cool caves exploring in air-conditioned delight…. Then it was back on the road towards home. 



Sure, the desert probably isn’t the best place to go for a summer weekend retreat but with a vibrant and inventive crew such as the MVC bunch, it isn’t hard to have a good time just about anywhere at anytime. See you on the next adventure!

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