After stopping in the middle of Oregon sage country, we drove through Bend, Oregon, south to LaPine State Park in LaPine. The Deschutes River flows through La Pine and Bend, generally from south to north, along the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range all the way to the Columbia River which divides Oregon and Washington. The Cascade Range runs from Canada through Washington and Oregon into northern California.
Just south of the Columbia River, the Deschutes River was the last major stop on the Oregon Trail, in that it was the last major obstacle. The crossing became a choke point for the pioneers who camped and waited to cross. Traces of their campsite can still be identified. After crossing the Deschutes, the pioneers had to go down the Columbia to the Willamette River or south around Mt. Hood.
La Grande or Bend
From Boise, there are two main routes that go into Oregon, the freeway goes through La Grande and the highway goes to Bend, further south. Since it was May, and La Grande is higher in elevation, I determined that the lower elevation route was more suited to our plans. The pioneers choose the route through La Grande mostly because there was water on that route and because they arrive in La Grande in the fall rather than the spring.
Oregon has two mountainous sections on each side of the Willamette Valley. The Willamette Valley was the destination that the Oregon Trail pioneers dreamed about. The Cascades are on the east side of the Willamette Valley. The Cascades block most of the rain, dividing Oregon into two halves. In the west, you have the wet half and in the east, you have the dry half. Both mountainous sections are covered with huge trees.
Bend is the first city on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. We are about twenty miles south of Bend. Bend was first named, Deschutes, then renamed Farewell Bend, and then renamed (by the post office) Bend Oregon. I don’t know why the name Deschutes didn’t stick. Bend is the biggest city in Deschutes County, and I can’t find a different city named Deschutes.
I’m also still not sure why the name Farewell Bend didn’t stick, but Farewell Bend was used to identify a location on the Snake River, where the pioneers departed the Snake River, heading west to Baker City on their way to the Columbia River. Alas, the traditional spot named Farewell Bend is a long way from Bend and perhaps that is why the name Farewell Bend didn’t last. The post office story is also probable; that story goes that the Post office didn’t like the name Farewell Bend because it was too long and shortened it to Bend.
North Bend is also a city in Oregon and that caused some confusion. While we were in Utah, I found out that the Family Motor Coach Association was going to have an area Rally in North Bend. Since I knew we were going to be in Bend, I signed up for the Rally. What I didn’t know at the time was that North Bend is not anywhere near Bend. Instead, North Bend is north of Coos Bay on the coast.
The first hint that I was clueless was when I was asked, whether or not, I wanted to sign-up for the boat tour of the bay. At that time, I knew we wanted to be in Oregon for at least a month, starting in about June, and didn’t have a route defined. Once I identified that North Bend was not near Bend, we decided to visit south-central Oregon on the way to Coos Bay.
Here is a link to the google map for the area.
Link to our route Boise to Coos Bay
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